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:
http://www.theregister.co.uk: Texas cops lose evidence going back eight years in ransomware attack

Public Safety T-Band Fact Sheet 2016

This fact sheet provides answers by the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to common questions asked by public safety licensees about the “T-Band” provisions of The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-96) (the Act) and its impact on public safety licensees. The relevant section of the Act reads as follows:


(a) In General- Not later than 9 years after the date of enactment of this title, the Commission shall–
(1) reallocate the spectrum in the 470-512 MHz band (referred to in this section as the `T-Band spectrum’) currently used by public safety eligibles as identified in section 90.303 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations; and

(2) begin a system of competitive bidding under section 309(j) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)) to grant new initial licenses for the use of the spectrum described in paragraph (1).

(b) Auction Proceeds- Proceeds (including deposits and upfront payments from successful bidders) from the competitive bidding system described in subsection (a)(2) shall be available to the Assistant Secretary to make grants in such sums as necessary to cover relocation costs for the relocation of public safety entities from the T-Band spectrum.

(c) Relocation- Relocation shall be completed not later than 2 years after the date on which the system of competitive bidding described in subsection (a)(2) is completed.”

Follow this link (https://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/docs/T-Band_FactSheet_July2016.pdf) to download the complete PDF from the FCC website.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you have in assessing and planning your next steps with your T-Band based radio system.

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.

For more information visit https://www.recordedfuture.com/rasputin-eac-breach/.

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.


For more information visit https://www.recordedfuture.com/rasputin-eac-breach/.

FCC Buildout Requirements

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established buildout requirements—which require a licensee to build the necessary infrastructure and put the assigned spectrum to use within a set amount of time—for most wireless services, including cellular and personal communication services. FCC tailors the buildout requirements it sets for a wireless service based on the physical characteristics of the relevant spectrum and comments of stakeholders, among other factors. Therefore, buildout requirements vary across wireless services. For example, a buildout requirement can set the percentage of a license’s population or geographic area that must be covered by service or can describe the required level of service in narrative terms rather than numeric benchmarks. Buildout requirements also vary by how much time a licensee has to meet a requirement and whether it has to meet one requirement or multiple requirements in stages.

FCC’s enforcement process for wireless-service licenses with buildout requirements primarily relies on information provided by licensees.  The FCC requires licensees to self-certify that they have met buildout requirements. If a licensee does not do so, FCC automatically terminates the license.  As part of enforcement, the FCC also grants or dismisses licensees’ requests to extend the deadline for meeting a requirement. FCC may grant an extension if the licensee shows that it cannot meet a deadline due to causes beyond its control, like a lack of available equipment.  FCC officials said that the Commission seeks to be aggressive but pragmatic when enforcing buildout requirements, including being flexible on deadlines when needed.

Have more questions about FCC buildout requirements?  Post them below or email us.

FirstNet Outlines Operational Readiness, First 100-Days for Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network

FirstNet Board and executive team

December 14, 2016 (Sacramento): The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today outlined its readiness for a public-private partnership to deploy the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (Network), including a plan to ensure progress on key Network components in the first 100 days of the partnership.

Meeting today in Sacramento, California, the FirstNet Board and executive team discussed major steps in the evolution of FirstNet as an operational entity.  The Board also addressed how FirstNet will meet the objectives for initial deployment of the Network. Specifically, FirstNet leadership focused on the critical work to be completed during the first 100 days on core design and technology roadmaps, the state plans portal, and other network components.

We are now in implementation mode and stand ready to move forward on this Network for public safety,” said FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson. “The first 100 days will be critical to setting the foundation for success; we are prepared from both an operational and planning standpoint to deliver public safety the network they deserve.

During today’s quarterly Board meeting, FirstNet officials highlighted the organization’s operational readiness.  This includes, among other actions, the following capabilities and functions:

  • A network operations team to lead coordination on network design and other components;
  • A customer service team to prepare for delivering service, driving adoption and providing a public safety grade customer experience;
  • A forward-looking budget to ensure the most effective use of funds for the implementation of a public-private partnership and the Network;
  • A world class innovation and test lab and technical team are built to foster innovation for public safety; and
  • Independent procurement authority to enable more efficient and decisive purchasing of goods and services.

“ We now have the people, the processes, and the infrastructure in place to ensure a successful public-private partnership to deploy the Network,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “As an advocate and steward for public safety, it will be our job to ensure the Network meets their needs and objectives.  FirstNet stands ready for this awesome responsibility.”

For more information on the FirstNet Board meeting, visit FirstNet.gov.



Today’s E911 network handles over 240 million calls per year. But its old architecture of routing callers depending on phone numbers gets outmoded the more that technology advances. And for this trouble the Next Generation 911 solution was developed.

However, NG-911 promises a resilient, flexible platform that will make it possible for public-safety answering points (PSAPs) to receive text, voice, video, and data information from emergency callers, but numerous challenges remain before such systems can be implemented and deployed throughout the United States of America.

The future of 9-1-1 NG911 offers huge benefits which include:

  • Data sharing between public-safety answering points (PSAPs)
  • Improved redundancy and reliability (virtual PSAPs)
  • Improved response times
  • Better service to citizenry, specifically the hearing-impaired
  • True System Interoperability
  • Greater visibility into emergency incidents: videos from public-safety systems, images and videos from citizenry, texts from and to citizenry

As with most technologies though, there will be challenges. Telecommunicators will be dealing with substantially more data and communicating with citizens and first responders in very new ways; so quite a lot of training and education will need to be put in motion as well as revamped policies, laws and regulations. But before we deal with these challenges we must face getting the system up and running, the huge challenge of integrating these technologies from an engineering and networking viewpoint.

Challenges and Costs

Even if regionalization helps to reduce the cost of upgrading 911 systems, some parts of new technology make modernization a challenge.

However, Next Generation 911 technology will certainly rely on an Internet Protocol-based system that will have to be protected from hacking. Also it will have to possess the ability to handle a wider range of technology than before, from rotary telephones to developing smart phone applications.

The changes needed to gratify NG911 also have related costs. Software and hardware updates to make the county’s system appropriate for others in the region will probably cost less than five hundred thousand dollars, while the texting service will probably cost the county two thousand four hundred dollars to four thousand dollars monthly.
Some other facts we learn about NG 9-1-1:

  • We have seen there are good reasons to wait and prepare for the arrival of NG911, though; it is still in its infancy right now.
  • By making a text to 911 will be the first thing integrated to 9-1-1 for the hearing impaired. It is up to NENA to embrace and adopt the protocol and figure out the next steps of bringing this standard into the communication centres.
  • Video is the next thing coming down the road…not just texting but being able to take shot of incidents and send video live from an incident while occurring and getting it to 9-1-1 instantly. So if you observe a bank robbery the 911 center could be watching your video live while happening.

Since Next Generation is not ready to go live yet, there is an alternative for call-taking centres to take the first step forward by making use of geo-diverse technology. This alternative solution is an Internet-Protocol-based emergency response system that allows agencies to receive emergency calls and assist sends the fastest, most appropriate emergency responders while also lightening the brunt of the major project updates that will be coming in the future.

Some Telecommunications in Chicago completed the implementation of a huge 911 system with this exact same type of solution. The great thing about this project was that there were three systems at three different call-taking centers, so the agency acquired the ability to move these positions to one area at a later date. Whenever they do, they will be able to do so without losing any data or having any disruption in the service. The other two locations can close down, or a dispatcher can log out and leave that area and go over to the hub center, log in and pick up the calls from their area at the hub continuing as normal. This solution prepares them for Next Generation 911.

14th Annual 9-1-1 Honor Awards Nominations Now Open

14th Annual 9-1-1 Honor Awards

February 28, 2017
Washington, D.C.

Nominations Now Open
Deadline: Monday, January 16, 2017
The NG9-1-1 Institute is seeking nominations for the
14th Annual 9-1-1 Honor Awards.Nomination Form

Email completed nomination form to: contactus@ng911institute.org

Deadline: Monday, January 16, 2017

All nominations (including self-nominations) welcome.  You do not need to be an NG9-1-1 Institute member to nominate or receive an award.

This NG911 Honor Awards Reception is a free widely attended public event hosted by the NG9-1-1 Institute, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization.  Congressional staff, the general public, public safety professionals, and members of the press are welcome. 

For more information; contactus@ng911institute.org

Cyber Threat Intelligence?

What is cyber intelligence?

According to CERT-UK, cyber threat intelligence (CTI) is an “elusive” concept. While cyber security comprises the recruitment of IT security experts, and the deployment of technical means, to protect an organization’s critical infrastructure, or intellectual property, CTI is based on the collection of intelligence using open source intelligence (OSINT), social media intelligence (SOCMINT), human Intelligence (HUMINT) or intelligence from the deep and dark web. CTI’s key mission is to research and analyze trends and technical developments in three areas:

Cyber crime
Cyber activism
Cyber espionage (advanced persistent threat or APT)

Those accumulated data based on research and analysis enable states to come up with preventive measures in advance. Considering the seriousness impacts of cyber threats, CTI has been raised as a(n) efficient solution to maintain international security.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why does this matter?

So the idea behind cyber intelligence is to understand the intent of the adversary in order to develop better strategies for dealing with them, including whether to be offensive, defensive or both. This cyber intelligence is provided in the form of intelligence products that result from collecting, evaluating and interpreting available data concerning known cyber attacks and their surroundings activities. It is important to remember that cyber intelligence is just that intelligence not fact. It is the best educated guess at what your adversary may do based on the data available. The larger the pool of data, the better the analytical abilities and the more effective the countermeasures may only serve to delay, deflect or disengage the adversaries.

What cyber intelligence sources do you rely on?