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Critical Infrastructure

United, NYSE and WSJ Glitches Were Not a Cyber Attack

There’s an old axiom in science and statistics: correlation does not imply causation. Sometimes what walks and talks like a duck isn’t actually a duck. Technical glitches on Wednesday sure looked like a cyber attack…but they weren’t. Here’s how we know.

Building Resilience in U.S. Healthcare Sector

By Tim Stephens
Healthcare is the largest single sector of the U. S. economy, and the continuity of this sector is essential to the functioning of all American infrastructure sectors. Yet, federal funding of hospital preparedness is not at a scale necessary to move the system or achieve its stated goals.

Looking Back and Looking Forward – DHS Moves into 2015 Amid Uncertainty and Hope

By most objective measures, 2014 was not a good year for the Department of Homeland Security. As we enter 2015, I sense there is a slight bit of subjective optimism that, under the leadership of DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, things are getting better. Here are the opportunities (and potential challenges) for the Department in 2015.

Welcome to the (Internet) Balkans

“Balkanization” is a splitting into many opposed factions closely located in one area. It ain’t good to be Balkanized, but that is what is happening to the Internet, and there is nothing Washington can do about it. The Obama Administration’s move to let go of U.S. government control over the naming rights of Internet sites is being viewed as the latest in a long line of U.S. withdrawals from control of the Internet.

Announcing the First Chris Battle Homeland Security Colloquium

On Thursday, February 27, 2014, Security Debrief and Catalyst Partners will host the First Annual Chris Battle Homeland Security Colloquium. Security Debrief’s expert contributors will come together to discuss and debate the current state of U.S. homeland security, DHS, and the threats and priorities the country will face in the year ahead.

Big Retail – The Next Critical Infrastructure?

By Gary Warner
This week, President Obama unveiled a set of guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology and a new public-private partnership program. While I join with others in applauding Mr. Obama’s creativity in making progress in protecting our nation’s cyber infrastructure, it is important to note what is and what is not being addressed by these guidelines. Where, for example, does the Target Breach fall?

Water in West Virginia – An Ounce of Prevention…

Last Thursday, a chemical storage tank leaked about 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River, just one mile upstream from the West Virginia American Water plant. Thankfully, the water plant owner was forward thinking enough to invest in preparedness before an immediate need arose. This undoubtedly helped the plant respond to the chemical leak. Something tells me there’s a lesson there.

Risk in Full Disclosure – Chlorine Locations Posted

Last week, the Center for Effective Government (CEG) posted online a comprehensive list of how much chlorine water utilities have onsite and provided the specific coordinates of where they are stored. This information, while already available in the public domain, has never before been put on a single website because it could more easily give bad actors information to use for nefarious purposes. Here are a few questions for the CEG.

Facing Water Shutdown, Major Utility Gets it Right

On Monday night, the Washington Sanitation and Suburban Commission (WSSC) announced that in order to do emergency repair work on a major main, it would be shutting down water service to roughly 150,000 people for a period of several days. Unfortunately, instead of celebrating this as a victory and recognizing how well WSSC handled this situation from top to bottom, there are those who are choosing to find ways to blame the utility for causing public alarm.

Security for Critical Water Infrastructure – How About Some Help for the Little Guy

In an era of diminished budgets and vanishing security grants, a recent break in at the Carters Lake Water Treatment Plant in Georgia highlights how the federal government is leaving small water systems, and the communities they serve, hanging in the wind. I’m not suggesting DHS throw obscene amounts of money at rural water systems, but I would argue that these systems can make major strides with small amounts of money.