Tag Archive for Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Government Foreign Telecommunications Providers Network Security Agreements

A collection of Network Security Agreements (NSAs) entered into with foreign communications infrastructure providers ensuring U.S. government agencies the ability to access communications data when legally requested. The agreements range in date from 1999 to 2011 and involve a rotating group of government agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DoJ), Department of Defense (DoD) and sometimes the Department of the Treasury. According to the Washington Post, the agreements require companies to maintain what amounts to an “internal corporate cell of American citizens with government clearances” ensuring that “when U.S. government agencies seek access to the massive amounts of data flowing through their networks, the companies have systems in place to provide it securely.”

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Bulletin: Fireworks as Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Components

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Recent incidents in the Homeland demonstrate that consumer fireworks—widely used during the upcoming 4 July 2013 celebrations—can be misused by criminals and violent extremists to construct improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Consumer fireworks are defined as devices that produce audible and visible effects by combustion, containing between 50-130 milligrams of explosive material. They are banned in Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

(U//FOUO) DHS Protective Measures Guide for the U.S. Outdoor Venues Industry

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Within DHS, this overarching responsibility for critical infrastructure protection is delegated to the National Protection and Programs Directorate’s (NPPD) Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP), specifically the Sector-Specific Agency Executive Management Office (SSA EMO) CF Branch for commercial facilities. Serving as the Sector-Specific Agency (SSA) for the CF Sector, the CF Branch works with its partners to address and highlight low-cost preparedness and risk management options in the products and tools it makes available to the private sector. For example, the CF SSA has been working to produce a suite of protective measures guides that provide an overview of best practices and protective measures designed to assist owners and operators in planning and managing security at their facilities or events. The Protective Measures Guide for the U.S. Outdoor Venues Industry is one of these guides and reflects the special considerations and challenges posed by the Outdoor Venues Subsector.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Bulletin: Use of the Internet for Attack Planning

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Malicious actors may leverage the Internet to gain information against a potential target to support pre-operational planning efforts for kinetic or cyber attacks. Malicious actors can use Internet search engines for information such as maps, company photographs or blueprints, and gain additional details from social media sites and Web blogs. Some actors may use more sophisticated techniques—such as phishing, spear phishing, or actual penetration of an organization’s network or devices—which can be used to gather personal, sensitive, or proprietary data.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Report: Idaho Man Arrested for Providing Material Support to Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

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This Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB) provides information on the 16 May 2013 arrest of Idaho-based Uzbekistan national Fazliddin Kurbanov by the FBI Boise Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). On 16 May, Kurbanov was charged under two indictments alleging terrorism, one each in the United States District Court, District of Idaho and United States District Court, District of Utah. FBI and DHS are providing this information to support their respective activities and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials and the private sector in deterring, preventing, or disrupting terrorist attacks against the United States. All events described in this JIB are taken from the criminal indictment. The charges contained in the indictment are mere allegations. As in any criminal case, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

DHS Says Aging Infrastructure Poses Significant Risk to U.S.

A recent version of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Risk Profile found that old and deteriorating infrastructure in the U.S. could pose significant risks to the nation and its economy. According to the report, insufficient funding of inspection and maintenance of critical infrastructure throughout the U.S. could create wide-ranging problems as the nation’s infrastructure continues to age. Along with pandemics and nuclear terrorism, a draft version of the DHS National Risk Profile for 2011 lists “aging infrastructure” as having a “potentially significant impact” on the nation’s critical infrastructure. The assessment states that “unusable, ineffectual, and deteriorating critical infrastructure, as well as the potential for exploitation of these vulnerabilities, increase risk . . . due to the inadvertent introduction of flaws, reduced inspection and maintenance workforce, and insufficient investment.” Moreover, this is not a limited threat, as the assessment states that the “entire United States is at risk from aging infrastructure that will eventually “affect all critical infrastructure sectors and ultimately reduce or erode their capacity and lifetimes in unexpected and unpredicted ways.”

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Bulletin: Increasing Exploitation of Mobile Device Vulnerabilities

State, local, tribal and territorial (SLTT) computer networks have been increasingly targeted by cyber adversaries. At the same time, the expansion of mobile devices integrated into SLTT networks provides new opportunities for cyber adversaries seeking to collect information or disrupt operations by compromising mobile technology and exploiting vulnerabilities in portable operating systems, application software, and hardware. Compromise of a mobile device can have an impact beyond the device itself; malware can propagate across interconnected networks.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Bulletin: Diversion as a Terrorist Tactic

Terrorists and violent extremists have used—or considered using—diversionary tactics in terrorist attacks overseas. Diversionary tactics are often used to draw security forces and first responders away from the intended primary target of the attack and may be used as part of a complex or multi-pronged attack. Diverting first responders to a location other than the primary target of an attack delays the response and the provision of medical care to victims, and depletes first responder resources.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Bulletin: Use of Unsuspecting Civilians in IED Attacks

Terrorists and violent extremists could use unsuspecting civilians to transport improvised explosive devices (IEDs) artfully concealed in seemingly harmless items for use in attacks in the Homeland. Overseas attacks demonstrate that violent extremists have successfully used unsuspecting individuals to carry items containing IEDs to specific targets where the devices are then detonated remotely. This tactic enables terrorists and violent extremists to place IEDs in secure areas, among large gatherings of people, or at high profile events and detonate them from a standoff distance.

DHS and FBI Bulletins on OpUSA Tools and Tactics

Multiple groups, and individual hacker handles have claimed their intent to attack U.S. websites as part of OpUSA. As seen in many hacktivist operations (Ops), willing participants have posted free tools to assist other like minded individuals in their attack efforts. Often, more coordinated attacks will name a specific tool, target, day and time for the attack. That has not been the case for OpUSA thus far. Individual hacker groups seem to be conducting attacks independently, each claiming responsibility for individual defacements and data breaches that have supposedly recently taken place. Below you will find some of the tools being posted in conversations about OpUSA and links to US-CERT sites which provide background on the vulnerabilities exploited by these tools as well as mitigation advice for computer network defense actions.

DHS-Connecticut Intelligence Center (CTIC) Active Shooter Individual Response Guidelines

An “Active Shooter” is an individual actively engaging in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active Shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of Law Enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Because Active Shooter incidents are often over within 5-15 minutes, before Law Enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

DHS-FBI Bulletins Identifying IP Addresses, Hostnames Associated With Malicious Cyber Activity Against the U.S. Government

Various cyber actors have engaged in malicious activity against Government and Private Sector entities. The apparent objective of this activity has been the theft of intellectual property, trade secrets, and other sensitive business information. To this end, the malicious actors have employed a variety of techniques in order to infiltrate targeted organizations, establish a foothold, move laterally through the targets’ networks, and exfiltrate confidential or proprietary data. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other partners, has created this Joint Indicator Bulletin, containing cyber indicators related to this activity. Organizations are advised to examine current and historical security logs for evidence of malicious activity related to the indicators in this bulletin and deploy additional protections as appropriate.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Indicators and Protective Measures In Light of Boston Marathon Explosions

This Joint Intelligence Bulletin provides law enforcement and private sector safety officials with protective measures in light of the recent explosions that took place at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts. The information is provided to support the activities of DHS and FBI and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government counterterrorism and first responder officials and the private sector to deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks in the United States.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Information Regarding the Devices Likely Used in Boston Marathon Explosions

This Joint Intelligence Bulletin provides information on the devices used in the 15 April 2013 Boston Marathon explosions. The information is intended to provide aid in identifying devices and to support the activities of DHS and FBI and to assist federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government counterterrorism and first responder officials and the private sector to deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks in the United States.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Update: Pressure Cookers as IED Components

This is an update of an RCR published on 1 July 2010. Rudimentary improvised explosive devices (IEDs) using pressure cookers to contain the initiator, switch, and explosive charge frequently have been used in Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Pressure cookers are common in these countries, and their presence probably would not seem out of place or suspicious to passersby or authorities. Presence in an unusual location—or if noticed in a contanier such as a backpack—should be treated as suspicious.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Suspicious Activity Reporting Bulletin: Expressed or Implied Threat

Expressed or implied threats by an individual or a group communicating intent to commit acts of terrorism or violence or advocating violence against a person, population, or to damage or destroy a facility can be an indicator of pre-operational attack planning. For example, in 2010 a Virginia-based US person pled guilty to communicating threats after he posted a video to the Internet encouraging violent extremists to attack the creators of a television show, including highlighting their residence and urging online readers to “pay them a visit.” He also admitted to soliciting others to desensitize law enforcement by placing suspicious looking but innocent packages in public places, which could then be followed up by real explosives.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Terrorist Tradecraft: Impersonation Using Stolen, Cloned or Repurposed Vehicles

Stolen, cloned, or repurposed commercial or official vehicles—such as police cars, ambulances, and public utility service trucks—have been used in terrorist attacks. These vehicles could facilitate terrorist access to restricted and hardened targets as well as to emergency scenes. The use of these vehicles can provide individuals the ability to approach targets to conduct pre-operational surveillance or carry out primary attacks or secondary attacks against first responders.

FEMA Guide: Improving Your Community’s Awareness and Reporting of Suspicious Activity

This guide offers recommendations for local outreach campaigns, explains how to effectively develop and disseminate messages in order to help the public better understand their role in reporting suspicious activity, and helps law enforcement agencies and community partners to understand, navigate, and use the many resources available to help build and sustain local efforts. New technologies, resources, and innovative practices highlighted within this document can be used to improve the education, communication, and trust amongst communities and law enforcement agencies who serve them. With the proper tools and knowledge, individuals and entire communities will help law enforcement agencies identify, investigate, and prevent crime and terrorism.

GAO Report: Increasing the Effectiveness of Efforts to Share Terrorism-Related Suspicious Activity Reports

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has largely implemented the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative among fusion centers—entities that serve as the focal point within a state for sharing and analyzing suspicious activity reports and other threat information. The state and local law enforcement officials GAO interviewed generally said the initiative’s processes worked well, but that they could benefit from additional feedback from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on how the reports they submit are used. The FBI has a feedback mechanism, but not all stakeholders were aware of it. Implementing formalized feedback mechanisms as part of the initiative could help stakeholders conduct accurate analyses of terrorism-related information, among other things.

DHS Geospatial Concept of Operations (GeoCONOPS) Version 4

The Homeland Security Geospatial Concept of Operations (GeoCONOPS) provides an understanding of the current landscape for the coordination of disaster response geospatial activities at the Federal level. The document serves the geospatial communities that support emergency management activities of the Federal government under Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD-8). This includes individual Emergency Support Functions (ESFs), the Joint Field Offices, FEMA Regional Coordination Centers (RRCC), and the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC). Stakeholders and actors representing the federal geospatial community have been extensively engaged in providing input for the development of the GeoCONOPS document. The GeoCONOPS serves as a guide to the Federal departments and agencies providing geospatial support under the Stafford Act which defines the programs and processes by which the Federal Government provides disaster and emergency assistance to state and local governments, tribal nations, eligible private nonprofit organizations, and individuals affected by a declared major disaster or emergency.

Here are Homeland Security’s Top 5 Priorities for Suspicious Activity Reporting This Season

A document issued last month by the Department of Homeland Security identifies priorities for the collection of suspicious activity reports from local communities around the U.S. The document describes”topics of interest” identified by DHS Intelligence and Analysis (DHS/I&A) analysts as priorities for the Winter 2013 period that should be utilized by “law enforcement, first responders, and other homeland security professionals” to improve their reporting of suspicious activity.

(U//FOUO) DHS Intelligence and Analysis Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Topics of Interest Winter 2013

DHS/I&A is interested in the following SAR topics, which have been updated based on current issues of national interest. Previous topics remain relevant, and law enforcement, first responders, and other homeland security professionals should continue to submit reports on these issues. Per the SAR Functional Standard, only information validated as reasonably indicative of preoperational planning related to terrorism should be reported as a SAR. I&A is reviewing SAR reports on these topics but would welcome any additional context, ideas or local analysis on these topics and opportunities for joint production.