Doug Bedell — October 20, 2016, 3:13 pm

DHS Carrying Out a Plan to ‘Prevent Violent Extremism in the U.S.’

If you’re tuned into the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), you probably know it has an Office of Community Partnerships that is carrying out the “Strategic Implementation Plan to Empower Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States”. Wow, that’s a mouthful, both in language and, doubtless, implementation. The plan, first issued in 2011, has just been updated. It’s described as a pact between the Executive Office of the President and local partners.

Here’s an opportunity to learn about the anti-terrorism plan and perhaps participate in some manner. It’s got the most essential and urgent of intentions. Godspeed!

Doug Bedell — October 18, 2016, 3:41 pm

Vulnerability Awareness Key to Security, Safety

“Emphasis on hazards instead of vulnerability is a major error among scholars and practitioners,” says an amazing infographic on “Trends in Emergency Management,” posted on the site.

Doug Bedell — October 12, 2016, 3:13 pm

‘Active Shooter’ Readiness Requires Workplace Training

Silhouette of a man with a handgun, XXXL image
Yes, it’s unthinkable. But it’s happening at an increasing rate – “it” being active shooter incidents either at businesses or K-12 schools and colleges.

SecurityInfoWatch has been keeping a watchful eye on trends in school and workplace violence. Watchfulness is, after all, the linchpin of site security. So active threat training is recommended, even though it’s not everyone’s favorite type of training. “However,” InfoWatch notes, “looking the other way is not a solution to any problem, much less one with harmful consequences.”

As in other types of less stressful corporate best practices, such training should include regular workplace drills and critiques. The InfoWatch post goes into some of the readiness realities involved.

Doug Bedell — October 10, 2016, 12:07 pm

U.S. Military Needs to be ‘Cool’ to Attract Cyber Recruits

It used to be that you had only to be compliant and enterprising to succeed in U.S. military ranks. Now it helps to be “cool” as well.

U.S. security, the DefenseTech blog explains, is based increasingly on cyber security and technology. “The military,” says writer Richard Sisk, quoting a defense panel, “should consider setting up a ‘Digital ROTC’ to attract cyber experts and also try harder to appear ‘cool’ to a new generation of potential recruits.”

“You can’t just say come because we’re cool – you have to be cool,” adds astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Do that, “and you’ll get them (recruits) for sure,” Tyson recently told the Defense Innovation Board.

Doug Bedell — October 7, 2016, 2:34 pm

Security Risks to the Presidential Election Discussed

Here’s the clearest discussion we’ve seen about security threats to voting in the U.S. presidential election. Homeland Security Today reports that 21 states have contacted the Department of Homeland Security about concerns over possible cyber vulnerability their voting systems.

“These challenges aren’t just in the future – they are here today,” says Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “In recent months, malicious cyber actors have been scanning a large number of state systems, which could be a preamble to attempted intrusions. In a few cases, we have determined that malicious actors gained access to state voting-related systems. However, we are not aware at this time of any manipulation of data.”

The electoral defenses are up apparently as high as they can currently be.

Doug Bedell — October 3, 2016, 6:33 pm

Employees May Not Feel Well-Trained for Emergencies When Employers Think They Are

Polling has its limits in accurate findings, but it’s worth considering the difference between workers and managers/supervisors on how ready employees are to handle an emergency.

Government Security News advises that, “according to a National Safety Council poll, 34 percent of workers in the United States do not feel well trained in emergency practices, including evacuation. The finding reveals a disconnect between workers’ perceptions and those of their employers. Seventy-five percent of managers and supervisors say their employees are well trained to handle an emergency.”

“In light of the findings,” the report continues, “the National Safety Council is calling for all employers to review emergency processes and procedures, particularly as Emergency Preparedness Month draws to a close.”

We’d think so.

Doug Bedell — September 30, 2016, 11:52 am

Nasty Weather Coming, Along With Its Own Security Concerns

We don’t normally venture into weather forecasting, but dire atmospheric outlooks should be considered as site security concerns. So here’s one from Government Security News: “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently revised its 2016 Atlantic hurricane outlook, calling for a higher likelihood of an above-normal season which often brings heavy rains and storms.”

In particular, GSN notes precautions to take against flooding: Recognize your risk, have an emergency plan and “protect what matters” through the purchase of flood insurance. And make your reckoning promptly: “Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover floods, and there typically is a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective.”

We’d presume that much the same process applies to business sites. But make a prompt check with your insurance agent to confirm whether your own potential liability – home or business – is adequately protected.

Doug Bedell — September 26, 2016, 11:40 am

FEMA Offers Site Security Protection Manual


The Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) provides guidance on protecting building sites from terrorist attacks in its manual, “Site and Urban Design for Security“. Chapters three through five are especially helpful on perimeter security protection.

“A perimeter security design,” FEMA explains, “involves two main elements” – the perimeter barrier that prevents unauthorized vehicles and pedestrians from entering the site, and access control points at which vehicles and pedestrians can be screened and, if necessary, inspected before they pass through the barrier.”

PRO Barrier Engineering provides consulting guidance in sorting through these issues – all around the aim of providing effective, reliable site safety.

Doug Bedell — September 23, 2016, 9:26 am

College Training in Cybersecurity

So where do you get training in cybersecurity or send your employees for training? Ericka Chickowski on Information Week’s Dark Reading blog runs through her listing of the “Top Colleges for Cybersecurity.” This isn’t an exclusive list, but it might give you an idea of what to look for when you’re considering academic training in cybersecurity.

Hit the books hard!

Doug Bedell — September 22, 2016, 9:07 am

Federal Cyber Security Incidents Soaring

stethoscope on black laptop keyboard
Following up on our last post on cyber – or computer – security, here’s parallel word from In Homeland Security that the number of cyber incidents reported by federal agencies “jumped more than 1,300 percent, from 5,503 to 77,183, over the 10 years through fiscal 2015.”

Here’s more in a quote from Gregory C. Wilshusen, director of information security issues for the Government Accounting Office: “Over the last several years, we have made about 2,500 recommendations to agencies aimed at improving their implementation of information security controls. These recommendations identify actions for agencies to take in protecting their information and systems.

“For example, we have made recommendations for agencies to correct weaknesses in controls intended to prevent, limit, and detect unauthorized access to computer resources….However, many agencies continue to have weaknesses in implementing these controls, in part because many of these recommendations remain unimplemented. As of September 16, 2016, about 1,000 of our information security-related recommendations have not been implemented.”

If there is cyber complacency in certain sectors of the U.S. government, grouse about it, but give your own systems another scan as well. It’s a continually changing world.