Protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure is never far from Brian Banning’s mind. President of the InfraGard Sacramento Chapter, Banning has taken his years of experience as a police hostage negotiator and used that insight to great effect in his work at the State Threat Assessment Center (STAC), California’s statewide fusion center supporting the Homeland Security Advisor and the rest of the state’s fusion centers. Among his worthy contributions to the field from which security professionals everywhere can benefit is his team’s recent analysis of jihadist-produced e-zines and how their findings impact those working to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure. Continue reading
InfraGard Magazine is now accepting proposals and submissions of content for review and possible inclusion in upcoming editions!
The purpose of InfraGard Magazine is to deliver information into the hands of first responders and security professionals in a timely and accurate manner, and in doing, serve to inform, inspire and promote those professionals who protect American lives, liberty and critical infrastructure.
For this edition of Member News, the spotlight is on InfraGard Los Angeles, but it could just as well be about any and all chapters or members of InfraGard. This letter illustrates the importance of what we do as an organization, and the far-reaching effects that successful mitigation of threats to our critical infrastructure can have.
On June 7th, 2016 a Los Angeles-based hospital was the subject of an unsuccessful ransomware attack with the “UltraCrypter” ransomware virus, otherwise known as “.cryp1” for the file extension it uses to encrypt files. Continue reading
Washington, D.C. —InfraGard National Members Alliance (INMA) has announced that its 2016 Annual Congress and Conference will be part of a historic joint Conference with ASIS International and (ISC)2. In an unprecedented move, InfraGard will co-locate their Congress and first annual Conference with ASIS and (ISC)2 on September 12-15 in Orlando, Fla. This joint conference will represent more than 150,000 security professionals who are members of these three associations. The events, which together are anticipated to draw more than 20,000 attendees from around the world, combine to offer dynamic educational programs, interactive networking forums, and 700+ product and service displays across more than 230,000 square feet. General education sessions, networking events, and the exhibit floor are open to registered attendees for either event, which for the first time will include registered members of InfraGard. The educational sessions will now include an InfraGard track integrated into the three days of focused education programs, developed and delivered by ASIS, (ISC)2 and InfraGard. Continue reading
Pictured here are the eight logos that were submitted for the InfraGard 20th Anniversary logo competition. After review by the INMA Board, a winning design was selected — that of Brian Friedman of the InfraGard Atlanta Members Alliance. Brian is the Vice President of Membership Outreach and has been a member of InfraGard since October 2015. In this role he manages the chapter’s website, email marketing and communications to members. As the winner of the logo competition, Brian receives airfare, hotel and registration to attend the 2016 InfraGard National Members Alliance Conference and Congress Sept. 12-15, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.
InfraGard GETS/WPS National Coordinator Jaime Chanaga encourages you and all InfraGard members to enroll in both telecommunications programs ASAP.
One of the advantages of InfraGard Magazine is that it’s a reliable avenue through which information can be disseminated to as much of the membership as is willing to read it, and take advantage of its benefits. This quarter, we spoke with InfraGard GETS/WPS National Coordinator Jaime Chanaga, CISSP, CISA, about the GETS and WPS programs — and why it’s crucial for you to enroll in them now.
Both the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) and Wireless Priority Service (WPS) programs are administered by the Office of Emergency Telecommunications, within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, reporting directly to the president. The purpose of both programs is to provide fluid telecommunications service to first responders, government workers and some in the private sector to facilitate their ability to effectively communicate in a large-scale emergency. Continue reading
On December 3-4, 2015, the InfraGard National EMP SIG convened day-long sessions for the fourth year at the Dupont Summit on the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat in Washington, D.C., to discuss the ongoing efforts for mitigation and possible contingency plans should an EMP event take place. InfraGard National’s EMP SIG Chairman Chuck Manto lined up a day brimming with expert speakers presenting valuable information underscoring the seriousness of this insidious threat and the importance of remaining diligent in developing and maintaining our defense against it.
Among the many highlights included a presentation by Mr. Bill Murtaugh from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, on the role of the new National Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan, which was subsequently echoed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and DHS A/S Caitlin Durkovich. In previous plans, efforts at emergency preparedness had suggested having three days’ worth of food and water, since federal help was committed to arrive no later than the fourth day following a disaster. In the event of extreme space weather, that time window may stretch from 40 days to 400, adding whole new dimensions of complexity to the prospect of survival of the populace. The plan also spoke to other high-impact threats covered in the Triple Threat Power Grid Exercise formally presented to FEMA and the DHS at the Summit. The hope is that counties and states nationwide will make use of the exercise and subsequently issue feedback so that the Exercise can continue to be improved.
A panel discussion was held regarding the Department of Defense’s request for proposals (RFP) through the Small Business Innovation Research program to establish EMP-protected microgrids for military bases and other key institutions, as well as resources that enable these places to function normally. As with the National Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan, the DoD RFP urged community preparedness for highly extended nationwide power outages, and general increased resilience — a primary goal of the EMP SIG since its inception. Another panel, led by Ambassador R. James Woolsey explored the possibilities of direct-current microgrids as an effective option, as well as other similar solutions that are making inroads into the market.
Both the Space Weather Strategy and the DoD RFP were published as part of a kit called Planning Resilience for High-Impact Threats, which includes verbatim transcripts of the 2014 conference presentations, with hyperlinks to videos of them, featuring speakers Sen. Ron Johnson, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, and other officials from the federal, state and local levels, as well as leaders from the private sector. It also includes supplemental publications and official documents that arose since the first conference. This will enable future conference new attendees the ability to get up-to-date quickly.
Additional publications available in the wake of the Summit include the above-mentioned Triple Threat Power Grid Exercise, available with a companion PowerPoint presentation and facilitator’s guide (via controlled circulation). The premise of this exercise starts with the concept that this is the first time the federal government has been willing to admit that they won’t always be able to effectively rescue the populace within four days after a disaster. The program as it exists has been offered to the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, the National Guard, and is being considered for use by the National Governors Association and the National Association of Counties. InfraGard looks forward to collaborating with others to expand the use of the Triple Threat Power Grid Exercise to raise awareness of the need for greater preparation and increased mitigation efforts nationwide. InfraGard National would like to see a dozen local exercises take place within the next six months, and hundreds, if possible, over the following year.
But help is needed at the Chapter level to accomplish this. The previous day at the Dupont Summit, the EMP SIG convened a planning session to discuss the creation of this companion book to the Exercise that will provide help to those wishing to improve their disaster and continuity planning. Most planners have not previously confronted such a difficult planning task and need help exploring ideas, relationships and additional resources. Leading experts and organizations continue to provide input into that book, which should be completed by this fall. Those who are interested in participating in that effort should contact Ms. Mary Lasky at [email protected]
A final note: Previous conference proceedings from the Dec. 2014 Summit, Mitigating High-Impact Threats to Critical Infrastructure and 2013’s High-Impact Threats to Critical Infrastructure, address the threat of solar weather, as well as firsthand discussion of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Both are also currently available on the EMP SIG portion of the website at www.infragard.org.
Terry Donat, MD, FACS, FICS, co-presented a closing plenary session on March 23 at the 2015 Preparedness, Emergency Response and Recovery Consortium (PERRC) in Orlando, Fla. Dr. Donat, a specialist in otolaryngology at CGH Medical Center and an IEMA-certified Illinois professional emergency manager, and David Hunt, an independent homeland security consultant, presented “Current and Emerging Threats to Our Electrical Grid.” They addressed the short-term and long-term challenges of catastrophes such as extreme space weather, cyberattack and high-altitude electromagnetic pulse attacks so attendees could understand what critical contingent capabilities must be engaged and promulgated now.
One of the objectives of the session was learning about current and increasing threats to the North American electrical grid, especially regarding policy and procedure toward emergency management. Another was studying the most major immediate, short-term and long-term effects of various levels of electrical power grid disruption and how to best address the problems within catastrophic scenarios. The consortium and expo was held at the Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel and Convention Center from March 23-26.
ASIS International’s Women in Security (WIS) Council has a new pilot program — Lean In(to) WIS — thanks to Donna
Kobzaruk, vice-president and Midwest regional security manager at JP Morgan Chase. The program is based on the Lean In Circles and through it, eight to 10 men and women will meet virtually to discuss topics based on suggested articles and videos to learn new skills and develop relationships among WIS members. Kobzaruk will coordinate the program. She introduced the pilot program as the first quarter speaker on Jan. 28 for the 2015 Ask a Mentor Series. Kobzaruk is on the ASIS WIS Committee Leadership & Management Practices Council.
New InfraGard member Robert Reyes was recently appointed as the new Incident Response Lead to HALOCK, an information security services consulting firm based in Schaumburg, Ill. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Reyes spent more than 18 years as a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and six years with the Army Criminal Investigations Division’s Computer Crime Investigation Unit.
“Robert’s 25 years of law enforcement experience make him a tremendous complement to HALOCK’s existing team,” Jim Mirochnik, CEO of HALOCK offered. “Reyes will be leveraging the custom tools and processes he utilized at the Agency to further enhance HALOCK’s incident response delivery framework. This combination of Reyes’ government experience along with HALOCK’s commercial experience rounds out our already strong Incident Response offering to provide a level of breadth and depth that is difficult to match.”
InfraGard welcomes Reyes and congratulates him in his new role.