Tag Archive for Department of Homeland Security

DHS National Biosurveillance Integration Center Ebola Update October 14, 2014

DHS-NBIC-Ebola-2

The most recent U.S. case, announced on 12 October 2014 is the first reported domestic transmission in the U.S. Three of the American EVD patients recovered and were discharged from the hospital, while three remain hospitalized. One American died while receiving treatment in Nigeria. The Liberian EVD patient was not symptomatic upon arrival and determined not to be infectious during travel. The Liberian patient died while in isolation on 8 October 2014. On 11 October 2014, the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs & Border Protection (CBP) began enhanced entry screening of passengers with recent travel to West Africa at New York’s JFK International Airport. Enhanced entry screening is scheduled to begin on 16 October 2014 at Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O’Hare, and Atlanta international airports. Based on the recent domestic transmission, state and federal officials are re- examining whether equipment and procedures were properly followed, and whether additional protective steps and guidance are needed. The CDC believes the U.S. medical, public health infrastructure/responses are sufficient to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the U.S.

DHS National Biosurveillance Integration Center Enterovirus EV-D68 Update October 2014

DHS-NBIC-Enterovirus

As of 3 October 2014, 43 states and the District of Columbia have reported 538 cases (+325 since 23 September 2014) of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of the cases have been identified among children; however, one case was identified in an adult. This outbreak was first announced in a media conference held on 8 September 2014. In this announcement, the CDC stated that EV-D68 was detected in clusters of individuals with respiratory illness in Kansas City, Missouri and Chicago, Illinois. Many of the initial identified cases had a history of asthma or wheezing. Recent increases in cases can be attributed to awareness of this issue among health officials and the amount of time necessary for disease investigation and confirmation. Current surveillance tools for influenza-like illness may not be appropriate for the detection of EV-D68 because many of the identified cases failed to develop fever. The CDC is involved in the ongoing investigation of a possible link between EV-D68 and acute paralysis. Furthermore, the CDC has identified EV-D68 in specimens from patients who have died, but the role of EV-D68 in these deaths remains unclear. EV-D68 has rarely been reported in the U.S. since first recognized in California in 1962. Enterovirus infections are not reportable in the U.S., so the illness is likely underreported because most enterovirus infections are self-limiting and do not require medical attention. The CDC estimates that non-polio enteroviruses are very common and are responsible for 10 to 15 million U.S. infections each year.

(U//FOUO) DHS National Risk Estimate: Risks to U.S. Critical Infrastructure from Insider Threat

DHS-NRE-InsiderThreats

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center (HITRAC) produced this National Risk Estimate (NRE) to provide an authoritative, coordinated, risk-informed assessment of the key security issues faced by the Nation’s infrastructure protection community from malicious insiders. DHS used subject matter expert elicitations and tabletop exercises to project the effect of historic trends on risks over the next 3 to 5 years. In addition, DHS used alternative futures analysis to examine possible futures involving insider threats to critical infrastructure over the next 20 years. The results are intended to provide owners and operators a better understanding of the scope of the threat and can inform mitigation plans, policies, and programs, particularly those focused on high-impact attacks.

DHS National Biosurveillance Integration Center Ebola Update October 1, 2014

DHS-NBIC-Ebola

On 8 August, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing epidemic of Ebola virus to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). According to the WHO, regional health authorities in western Africa have reported 7,178 cases of Ebola virus disease with 3,338 deaths to the WHO since the outbreak was first recognized in March 2014. On 30 September 2014, The U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) announced that an unidentified man, who is receiving treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, has been diagnosed with Ebola virus. All previous cases associated with the U.S. were diagnosed in West Africa. One patient died while in Nigeria, and four were diagnosed in West Africa before traveling to the U.S. for treatment.

FBI Warns of Hacktivist Threats Following U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq and Syria

A twitter account

The FBI Cyber Division has issued a notification to private industry and law enforcement to be aware of the potential for retaliatory cyber attacks following recent U.S. military actions in the Middle East. While the FBI has “no information at this time to indicate specific cyber threats to US networks or infrastructure in response to ongoing US military air strikes against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)” the bulletin states that the FBI believes that “extremist hackers and hacktivist groups, including but not limited to those aligned with the ISIL ideology, will continue to threaten and may attempt offensive cyber actions against the United States in response to perceived or actual US military operations in Iraq or Syria.”

Feds Issue Bulletin on Google Dorking

An examples

A bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center earlier this month warns law enforcement and private security personnel that malicious cyber actors can use “advanced search techniques” to discover sensitive information and other vulnerabilities in websites. The bulletin, titled “Malicious Cyber Actors Use Advanced Search Techniques,” describes a set of techniques collectively referred to as “Google dorking” or “Google hacking” that are used to refine search queries to provide more specific results.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Malicious Cyber Actors Use Advanced Search Techniques

DHS-FBI-NCTC-GoogleDorking

Malicious cyber actors are using advanced search techniques, referred to as “Google dorking,” to locate information that organizations may not have intended to be discoverable by the public or to find website vulnerabilities for use in subsequent cyber attacks. “Google dorking” has become the acknowledged term for this malicious activity, but it applies to any search engine with advanced search capabilities. By searching for specific file types and keywords, malicious cyber actors can locate information such as usernames and passwords, e-mail lists, sensitive documents, bank account details, and website vulnerabilities. For example, a simple “operator:keyword” syntax, such as “filetype:xls intext:username,” in the standard search box would retrieve Excel spreadsheets containing usernames. Additionally, freely available online tools can run automated scans using multiple dork queries.

DHS National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center Bulletin: Hotel Business Centers Keyloggers

NCCIC-HotelMalware

The following is an advisory for owners, managers and stakeholders in the hospitality industry, which highlights recent data breaches uncovered by the United States Secret Service (USSS). The attacks were not sophisticated, requiring little technical skill, and did not involve the exploit of vulnerabilities in browsers, operating systems or other software. The malicious actors were able to utilize a low-cost, high impact strategy to access a physical system, stealing sensitive data from hotels and subsequently their guest’s information. The NCCIC and the USSS have provided some recommendations at the end of this document that may help prevent similar attacks on publicly available computers.

DHS Warns of “Domestic Violent Extremists” Targeting Government Officials, Law Enforcement

bunkerville2

An intelligence assessment released July 22 by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis warns of an increasing trend of “anti-government violence” from what are described as “domestic violent extremists” inspired by the recent standoff at the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada. The report, titled “Domestic Violent Extremists Pose Increased Threat to Government Officials an Law Enforcement,” was originally obtained and published by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a non-profit alliance of local state and federal resource professionals that has been advocating for criminal charges against Cliven Bundy and “militia snipers” involved in the April standoff with the Bureau of Land Management. In recent months, the report suggests that there has been a notable increase in violence from domestic extremists motivated by “anti-government ideologies.”

(U//LES) DHS Assessment: Domestic Violent Extremists Pose Increased Threat to Law Enforcement and Government Officials

DHS-DomesticViolentExtremists

After years of only sporadic violence from violent domestic extremists motivated by anti-government ideologies, I&A has seen a spike within the past year in violence committed by militia extremists and lone offenders who hold violent anti-government beliefs. These groups and individuals recognize government authority but facilitate or engage in acts of violence due to their perception that the United States Government is tyrannical and oppressive, coupled to their belief that the government needs to be violently resisted or overthrown. Historically, spikes in violence have followed high-profile confrontations involving the United States Government, such as Ruby Ridge and Waco. The April 20 14 Bunkerville, Nevada standoff likely represents a similar event that could inspire further violence.

DHS Infrastructure Sector Resilience Report: Electric Power Delivery

DHS-ElectricPowerResiliency

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis (DHS/OCIA) Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center (HITRAC) produces Sector Resilience Reports to improve partner understanding of the interdependencies and resilience of certain sectors. Specifically, this report provides a brief overview of the electric power system, and analysis of key electric power system dependencies and interdependencies. Additionally, this product includes an assessment of, and best practices for, improving community, system, and facility resilience. This Sector Resilience Report was produced to complement other sector-specific guidance, analysis, and scholarly papers on infrastructure resilience by applying data obtained from DHS site visits and assessments analyzing the resilience of critical infrastructure assets and systems.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Medical Treatment Presents Opportunity for Discovery of Violent Extremist Activities

DHS-FBI-NCTC-MedicalTreatmentExtremists

Efforts to gain expertise with explosive, incendiary, and chemical/biological devices may lead to injuries and emergency treatment, which may provide potential indicators of violent extremist activities to responding emergency medical service (EMS) personnel. Scene size-up and patient assessment provide first responders the opportunity to view both the scene and any patient injuries. EMS personnel and other first responders should consider the totality of information gleaned through direct observation and the statements of patients, witnesses, and bystanders to evaluate whether an injury is a genuine accident or related to violent extremist activity.

DHS Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) 2014 Location of Origin Map

DHS-UAC-Map

We analyzed these locations to determine the factors pushing child migration to the US Border. We assess these reasons vary regionally. For example, many Guatemalan children come from rural areas, indicating they are probably seeking economic opportunities in the US. Salvadoran and Honduran children, on the other hand, come from extremely violent regions where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the US preferable to remaining at home. This violence, combined with poor economies and other secondary factors will make stemming the flow of UACs to the US a very complex issue to address.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Terrorists Continued Interest in Targeting Mass Transit

DHS-FBI-NCTC-MassTransit

Terrorists in late December 2013 conducted three attacks targeting people using public transportation systems in Russia, emphasizing terrorists’ persistent interest in attacking locations where large congregations of people are confined to small, often enclosed spaces. Russian officials claim North Caucasus-based violent extremists associated with the Imirat Kavkaz (IK) probably conducted these attacks to embarrass the Russian government in the build-up to the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. The IK, a violent extremist group based in Russia, has no known capability in the Homeland and is unlikely to directly target Western interests overseas.

(U//FOUO) DHS Violent Extremist Profile: Walter Bond

DHS-WalterBond

Walter Bond’s path to animal rights extremism was driven by witnessing what he perceived as animal abuse and by frustration stemming from his perception that lawful, nonviolent actions appeared to have little impact on advancing the goals of the animal rights movement.* Prior to becoming violent to advance animal rights, Bond showed a tendency to use violence to advance other beliefs, such as protesting illicit drug sales by committing arson against a drug trafficker’s home and protesting against religion by burning a pentagram symbol inside a church.

DHS National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center Heartbleed Advisories

NCCIC-Heartbleed

Security researchers from Google Security recently discovered a vulnerability with the Heartbeat extension (RFC6520) to OpenSSL’s Transport Layer Security (TLS) and the Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) protocols. According to open source reports, the vulnerability has existed within certain OpenSSL frameworks since at least 2012. The Heartbeat extension is functionally a “keep-alive” between end-users and the secure server. It works by sending periodic “data pulses” of 64KB in size to the secure server and once the server receives that data; it reciprocates by re-sending the same data at the same size. The out-of-bounds “read” vulnerability exists because the Heartbeat extension in OpenSSL versions 1.0.1 through and 1.0.2-beta (including 1.0.1f and 1.0.2-beta1) do not properly validate the data being sent from the end-user. As a result, a malicious actor could send a specially-crafted heartbeat request to the vulnerable server and obtain sensitive information stored in memory on the server. Furthermore, even though each heartbeat only allows requests to have a data size limited to 64KB segments, it is possible to send repeated requests to retrieve more 64KB segments, which could include encryption keys used for certificates, passwords, usernames, and even sensitive content that were stored at the time. An attacker could harvest enough data from the 64KB segments to piece together larger groupings of information which could help an attacker develop a broader understanding of the information being acquired.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Fake Help Desk Scams an Ongoing Problem

DHS-FBI-NCTC-FakeHelpDesk

Law enforcement continues to see reporting of malicious cyber actors using fake help desk scams, also known as technical support scams. These scams, if successful, seek to compromise and take control of computer systems. Malicious cyber actors send users an e-mail or they make cold calls, purportedly representing a help desk from a legitimate software or hardware vendor. The malicious cyber actors try to trick users into believing that their computer is malfunctioning—often by having them look at a system log that typically shows scores of harmless or low-level errors—then convincing them to download software or let the “technician” remotely access the personal computer to “repair” it.

(U//FOUO) DHS Infrastructure Protection Report: Higher Education Institutions

DHS-HigherEducationInstitutions

The higher education community in the United States consists of more than 11,000 higher education institutions that collectively serve more than 17 million students, employ more than 3.4 million faculty and staff, and have combined budgets approaching $360 billion. Higher education institutions range in size from small institutions with fewer than 100 students to large universities with tens of thousands of students and faculty occupying campuses the size of a small town or city. Institution grounds are generally open-access, with varying levels of security within the campus.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Building Security Measures May Hinder Emergency Response Efforts

DHS-FBI-NCTC-SecurityMeasuresResponse

Facility security measures, such as interior control points or exterior barriers, may require first responders to adjust normal protocols and procedures to operate rapidly during emergencies. The timeline below is an overview of attacks and plots against US-based facilities with varying levels of security. The diversity of tactics and targets used underscores the need for interagency exercises and training that incorporates multiple scenarios to account for building security measures likely to be encountered.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI-NCTC Bulletin: Extortion Schemes Use Telephony-Based Denial-of-Service Attacks

DHS-FBI-NCTC-TDoSExtortion

Since at least January 2012, criminals are using telephony-based denial-of-service (TDoS) combined with extortion scams to phone an employee’s office and demand the employee repay an alleged loan. If the victim does not comply, the criminals initiate TDoS attacks against the employer’s phone numbers. TDoS uses automated calling programs—similar to those used by telemarketers—to prevent victims from making or receiving calls.

Feds Tell Law Enforcement to Look Out for Dead Body Bombs

dead-body-bomb

In the first weeks of 2013, police officers were combing through a bloody scene in the Indian state of Jharkhand where a dozen security personnel had died in a shootout with local rebels. The Naxalite fighters, who promote a Maoist ideology through their ongoing guerrilla conflict with the Indian government, had killed the men, including five Central Reserve Police Force members, in a gun battle days before. When local villagers and police tried to remove the bodies, a bomb went off killing four more people. After the incident, a group of doctors in nearby Ranchi were performing an autopsy on one of the bodies when they encountered something metal lodged inside the body. A bomb squad was called in and an explosive device triggered by shifts in pressure that had been sewn into the police officer’s body was successfully defused.

(U//FOUO) DHS Bulletin: Self-identified Anarchist Extremists Target Urban Gentrification Sites with Arson

DHS-AnarchistGentrificationArson

This Note analyzes the recent use of arson by anarchist extremists targeting urban development sites they describe as negatively impacting lower income residents through “gentrification.” This information is provided to enable federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement; first responders; and private sector security officials to identify, preempt, prevent, or respond to intentional acts targeting urban development sites by anarchist extremist campaigns.