FirstNet is here. Now what?

With AT&T releasing it new FirstNet logo and signing up its first two customers many agencies are wondering what this means for them.

Over the next few weeks, we will be providing guidance on how to evaluate the use of FirstNet versus the services in use today by most public safety agencies.  Our experts, who have managed, consulted for and run large scale public safety agencies will provide you with the information that you need to make an informed decision and make the best use of your agency’s limited budget.



AT&T disclosed its new logo for its FirstNet service.

AT&T has now released its branding around its FirstNet services.  Looking to stress that FirstNet is a public safety only communications platform to help public safety save lives AT&T has released a dedicated brand for the platform.

 AT&T unveiled the new visual identity for FirstNet products and services. Designed with only public safety in mind, this brand is rooted in 3 essential elements:
  • Symbol – 3 horizontal lines represent the distinct but interconnected disciplines of public safety. They’re united in communications, symbolized by a notch in the lower right corner. This forms a speech bubble that signifies seamless communication and harmonious interoperation for first responders nationwide.
  • Wordmark – FIRSTNET. We’ve bolded “first” to show that this network is, first and foremost, a solution for firstresponders. The technology will never be more important than the first responders it benefits. This platform belongs to them. They fought for it, and they will continue to guide its development. Plus, they’ll always be first in line for service.
  • Attribution – “Built with AT&T.” We chose each word carefully to reflect the brand’s commitment to public safety.
    • Built: This is a new effort, new solution and new network that is purpose-built for first responders. It’s the only communications platform dedicated to public safety. And there’s nothing else like it in the market.
    • With: Collaboration with first responders will always be our foundation.
    • AT&T: This is a solution built with the expertise of the nation’s largest and most reliable network provider.* So, first responders can rely on it for their technology and communications needs.

AT&T – FirstNet  senior vice president Chris Sambar stated “We’ll begin rolling out this new brand today. Whenever first responders see it, they can be  confident that they are getting something just for them. It’s built in collaboration with them, backed by the expertise of AT&T and approved with the advocacy of the First Responder Network Authority.”

The story of FirstNet is far from over.  As the platform is built out it will be interesting to see how it unfolds and whether FirstNet can truly provide a cost effective and superior solution to other carriers offerings.  Although all states and territories have opted in to the FirstNet buildout, public safety agencies nationwide have no requirement to use the fee-based FirstNet services.

NG 9-1-1 Makes Progress in 2017

Each year, the National 911 Program and the National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) collaborate to collect the most comprehensive data on:

  • funding and revenue,
  • text-to-911,
  • progress toward implementing NG911 and
  • more.

Data is submitted voluntarily and is available through the Program’s National 911 Profile Database  and they

  • the Program and NASNA work together to analyze the results,
  • identify trends and
  • share the findings in the annual National 911 Progress Report.

The report calls out three major findings in its executive summary.

  1. The majority of 9-1-1 calls are increasingly received from cellphones.
  2. In addition, progress is being made toward implementing NG 9-1-1.
  3. 9-1-1 authorities are capable of using NG 9-1-1 infrastructure to process and interpret location and caller information for all service types in 21 percent of reporting states.

The report provides the segmented information state 911 leaders, legislators and policy makers need to make informed decisions about 911 services in their jurisdictions. The results of the data collection can have the ability to help a state advocate for policy changes, increased funding and more.

Here is the latest report:

National 911 Program Profile Database Progress Report 2017

How An Outside Expert Can Help Improve Innovation

In most office or business settings, you always work with the same group of people. You get to know each other very well, and you share ideas and make your business grow. However, what happens when you reach a point where you have stagnated and the business is not growing? Can your same team develop new ideas to stimulate an increase in profits? What else could you be doing?

By bringing in an external expert to help with the team’s innovation, you can jump start your progress and get your team and your business moving in the right direction. Your team has a limited background and limited set of skills. By bringing in even just one new person with a different skill set, you can drastically alter the direction of your business.

To make the most of an outside expert or consultant, make sure you set the stage with your team first. The team needs to know that their opinions are still valued, but that you are pushing them to grow and see the business and the problems in a different way. This expert can help. When you want innovation within a team, having a new set of eyes – even if they aren’t as familiar with the intimate details of your business – can make a dramatic improvement. Simply by asking questions – the right questions – the expert consultant can open the eyes of your existing team and create an innovate environment for all.

Because they are not long-term employees, external consultants are often able to be more direct and honest about the business situation. Often, this candor encourages people to see things as they really are instead of how they want them to be. Once the problem is more clearly defined with the help of the new expert consultant, it is often a collaborative effort between the external consultant and the existing team to innovate a solution to the problem.

Another advantage to bringing in an outside expert is that this expert is not afraid to ask questions. Often, having a new set of eyes on the team can trigger questions that were once considered as given assumptions. By challenging these assumptions, true innovation can begin. Once the artificial barriers are broken down by the questions and queries of the outsider, the team can begin to rebuild their base of assumptions and change their entire outlook on the problem and its potential solutions.

Bringing in an outside expert to help with innovation and problem solving can drastically shift the climate of your workplace. The existing team will begin to see the problem and potential solutions in a new manner and will begin to question their own assumptions. Bringing in someone with a different background can also add to the knowledge and skill base of the team and lead to a more varied and better list of solutions for the problem. Even after the external consultant leaves, the team will continue to have improved innovation based on their experiences.

A $31.6 billion hedge fund is calling for a major overhaul of laws meant to prevent another financial crisis

The billionaire hedge fund manager and big Republican donor Paul Singer has long criticized Dodd-Frank, the post-financial-crisis regulation intended to prevent another meltdown.

Now that President Donald Trump’s administration is expected to dismantle the regulation, Singer’s $31.6 billion hedge fund is weighing in again, calling to revamp the law formally known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

“The financial system needs to be freed from the dysfunctional dictates of this ineffective law and properly and efficiently regulated instead,” Elliott Management said in its fourth-quarter letter to investors.

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Using big data for security only provides insight, not protection

Cybersecurity experts are excited about big data because it is the “crime scene investigator” of data science. If your organization is hacked and customer information compromised, your use of big data to collect massive amounts of information on your systems, users and customers makes it possible for data analysts to provide insight into what went wrong.

But while big data can help solve the crime after it occurred, it doesn’t help prevent it in the first place. You’re still left cleaning up the mess left behind by the breach: angry customers, possible compliance issues with data privacy standards like HIPAA and PCI DSS, maybe even government fines and class-action lawsuits.

This is where big data fails to meet its big promise: when it is employed after a data breach happens. As the old saying goes, “Hindsight is the best sight.” Big data, when utilized after a cyberattack, certainly gives you that. However, what it doesn’t give you is the ability to realize that a breach is happening, or is about to happen, and stop it before massive damage is done. Because of this, big data, when used in a vacuum, will not secure your systems, your business, or any of your sensitive information.

Read more in: Using big data for security only provides insight, not protection Authority

Google Launches Root Certificate Authority

Last week, Google announced that it has established its own Root Certificate Authority. Google Trust Services will operate Certificate Authorities in behalf of Google and Alphabet. Google has bought existing root certificate authorities Global Sign R2 and R4. Google will continue to operate its GIAG2 subordinate Certificate Authority.

Read more in: Google Establishes Independent Root Certificate Authority Google launches root certificate authority The foundation of a more secure web Google Trust Services

Ransomware Infects D.C. Police Closed Circuit Camera Storage Devices

A ransomware attack caused storage devices for surveillance cameras used by police in Washington D.C. to be offline for three days in mid-January. The attack affected 70 percent of the devices that the police use to monitor public spaces. The ransom demand was not paid; instead, the city took the devices offline, removed all the software, and reset them.
Read more in: Police camera system in D.C. hit with ransomware Ransomware killed 70% of Washington DC CCTV ahead of inauguration Hackers hit D.C. closed-circuit camera network, city officials disclose

Ransomware Costs Texas PD Eight Years of Evidence

The computer system at a police department in Texas became infected with Ransomware. The Cockrell Hill Police Department’s backup system had backed up its files only after they had been encrypted with the malware. The department decided not to pay the ransom after learning from the FBI that there was no guarantee their encrypted data would be returned. The lost files included video evidence in legal cases. The department has started notifying defense attorneys that the video evidence in those cases no longer exists.

Read more in: Texas cops lose evidence going back eight years in ransomware attack

Russian-Speaking Hacker Selling Access to the US Election Assistance Commission

Recorded Future threat intelligence technology identified chatter (not intelligence at that point) related to a suspected breach of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).

Further research identified a Russian hacker (Recorded Future refers to this actor as Rasputin) soliciting a buyer for EAC database access credentials.

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Key Findings

  • On December 1, 2016, Recorded Future identified chatter related to a suspected breach of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).
  • Recorded Future engaged the Russian-speaking actor (referred to as “Rasputin” in this research) to assess the full scope of the unauthorized access, and provided all relevant information to federal law enforcement.
  • Further analysis identified more than 100 potentially compromised access credentials, including some with administrative privileges.
  • Rasputin offered to sell an unpatched system vulnerability to a Middle Eastern government broker.
  • Recorded Future successfully attributed the EAC breach to Rasputin.


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