Targets for cyberattacks are closer to home than most people think. The water we drink, the electricity that powers our homes, and the banks that store our money are all prime targets for hackers. Recognizing this ever-changing threat, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) leverages innovation in the cyber arena to keep pace with malicious actors who may seek to damage our critical infrastructure sectors.
The key to being able to defend against cyberattacks is getting the right technologies into the hands of industry, where most of our nation’s cyber infrastructure exists. One way S&T helps DHS facilitate this process is through our Transition to Practice (TTP) program, which identifies promising federally-funded technologies and introduces them to industry during the research and development process.
This week, at the RSA Conference 2015 in San Francisco, S&T’s Cyber Security Division (CSD) introduced 12 technologies– eight from the TTP program and four from other CSD programs. These technologies seek to advance the private sector’s capabilities on cybersecurity issues such as cloud security, behavioral classification, and threat landscape analysis. The conference is the industry’s largest global information security event where a broad audience—business, government and investors— comes together to discuss security.
Later this summer, on June 9, S&T will present all nine of its 2014 technologies at TTP Technology Demonstration Day for Investors, Integrators, and IT Companies (I3) – West, in Santa Clara, Calif. This technology demonstration will connect cybersecurity investors, integrators, and information technology professionals with the technology developers at the national laboratories with the goal of commercialization-- ultimately improving our nation’s overall cybersecurity posture.
TTP, now in its third year, has 24 technologies ready for transition to the marketplace. Of these, three technologies—Quantum Secured Communication, Hone and Hyperion—have successfully transitioned into the marketplace via open sourcing and commercial licenses. Additionally, within the next few months S&T hopes to add two more technologies into the commercial market. The TTP process normally takes about three years, so we are excited about the work and what we have accomplished in such a short amount of time. We look forward to sharing future innovations in cybersecurity.
To learn more about this year’s technologies, visit the 2015 TTP guide that gives a full listing and description.
Today, approximately 30,000 runners and 500,000 spectators gathered for the 119th Boston Marathon. Since the tragic events of April 15, 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and local officials in the Boston area have strengthened partnerships and coordination to improve overall event security.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is supporting the Boston Marathon with approximately 1,200 federal officials, explosive ordinance detection teams, canine units, and behavioral detection field officers to assist the Federal Coordinator in helping the event planners enhance the overall event security. On the ground, participants and spectators may notice some of these revamped security measures, but many of these measures will be remain unseen. In fact, the lessons learned from the 2013 Boston tragedy have been incorporated at other special events across the nation to enhance overall security for the American public.
Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge Don McGrail, United States Secret Service, and Allison Thomson, Office of Operations Coordination, coordinate during the 118th Boston Marathon last April (photo by Massachusetts State Police).
Support for Boston Marathon security comes from all corners of DHS: the National Protection and Programs Directorate provides comprehensive infrastructure security assessments; the Office of Intelligence and Analysis provides intelligence information sharing; the Federal Emergency Management Agency supports emergency response, recovery, and communications; and the DHS Office of Operations Coordination and the National Operations Center handles federal support coordination. These efforts in Boston are overseen by Federal Coordinator U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Lisa Quinn, whom Secretary Johnson appointed to this role to participate in pre-event planning and coordinate the federal assets at the request of state and local event organizers.
“The federal agencies view their contributions to the overarching security plan for the 2015 Boston Marathon as an opportunity to ‘give back’ to our local and state partners who provide resources on a daily basis to our collective missions,” said Special Agent Quinn.
A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod helicopter crew works with a Coast Guard Cutter Seneca crew to conduct hoists during Operation Orange Flag in Rhode Island Sound April 1, 2015. Crews from the Coast Guard, Air National Guard, and Canadian Forces worked together to better understand each other's capabilities for Operation Orange Flag.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jimmy Clay | Download High-Resolution Image (6000 x 4000)
Today, we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). DNDO was established through presidential directive on April 15, 2005 with the singular mission to prevent nuclear terrorism through nuclear detection. In 2006, DNDO was tasked with the technical nuclear forensics mission. To accomplish our mission, DNDO collaborates with a wide range of partners and promotes innovative approaches to protect the nation. In fact, the Partnership for Public Service recently ranked DNDO # 2 for Innovation among 314 agency subcomponents, based on results from the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.
Since its establishment, DNDO has made considerable advancements in making our homeland safer from nuclear terrorism. Our research and development efforts have led to new technologies that address critical detection needs. For instance, through our Small Business Innovation Research efforts, one such material, stilbene, is now domestically produced by industry at lower costs and in greater quantities.
Our testing, acquisition, and deployment of detection equipment for DHS operational components, including the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Transportation Security Administration, has ensured frontline personnel have the right tools to protect the nation from nuclear terrorism. Working with our state and local partners, DNDO is engaged with 33 states and will expand basic preventive nuclear detection efforts to reach all 50 states by the end of fiscal year 2015. From aiding our state and local partners to developing international guidance, DNDO works across all boundaries in furtherance of the mission. To enhance the detection capabilities of these partners, we assist with training, exercises, and assessments.
Partnerships with academia and the National Laboratories have restored a healthy pipeline of next-generation scientists in nuclear forensics-related fields in response to a national security demand. We are on track to have 35 new PhDs in the workforce by 2018 in nuclear forensics- related fields.
Planning efforts with the U.S. Government interagency have culminated in strategies and reports that guide the development and implementation of nuclear detection and forensic activities and capabilities. In 2014, DNDO along with the interagency, updated the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture Strategic Plan with mission, goals, and objectives for U.S. Government efforts to detect, analyze, and report on nuclear or other radioactive materials that are out of regulatory control. DNDO established the Nuclear Forensics Requirements Center, co-chaired with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which for the first time identifies, develops, and documents strategic, operational, and technical requirements across the nuclear forensics mission space. Through a government-wide approach, DNDO is leveraging interagency efforts to better and more effectively protect the Nation.
In the past ten years, we have seen a remarkable increase in our nation’s capabilities to protect against nuclear terrorism. This is in large part, due to the great work of the men and women of DNDO, and we look forward to furthering this important mission in the decade to come.
To learn more about DNDO, visit http://www.dhs.gov/about-domestic-nuclear-detection-office.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is briefed while walking through Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. On his first trip to Asia, Sec. Johnson met with his counterparts to discuss a range of homeland security-related issues, including counterterrorism, cybersecurity, global supply chain security, combating transnational crime, and maritime law enforcement. Secretary Johnson also delivered remarks at the Chinese People’s Public Security University.
Official DHS Photo by Barry Bahler| Download High-Resolution Image (2560x1920)
-Greg Touhill, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Cybersecurity and Communications
With the April 15 deadline approaching, millions of Americans are finalizing the preparation and filing of their taxes. Unfortunately, tax season is a busy time for cyber criminals and scammers as well. Tax-refund fraud is a serious and fast-growing problem.
Tax-refund fraud happens when a cyber criminal steals someone’s personal information to file a fake tax return and to claim that individual’s the refund. To file a tax return online, they only need a name, date of birth, and a Social Security Number.
Cyber criminals are constantly searching for Social Security Numbers and other personal information that they can leverage for fraudulent purposes. Because identify theft and tax-refund fraud often starts long before tax season, it’s important to protect your personal and financial information year round.
Here are some tips to protect yourself and your loved ones from tax-refund fraud:
- Don’t give out your personal information, unless it is to a trusted entity. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media to request personal or financial information. If you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, do not click on any links or reply. Instead, forward it to email@example.com and delete it from your inbox.
- Look out for phony messages or websites claiming to be from the IRS or tax preparation services. Exercise caution when opening suspicious email attachments and do not click on web links in unsolicited email messages. Scammers who try to access your personal or financial information may use the IRS name or logo in email messages and on fake websites to lure potential victims.
- Beware of promises of “free money” from inflated refunds. Scammers frequently pose as tax preparers during tax season. If you are contacted by someone who promises a large tax refund or a refund you are not expecting, do not give out any personal or financial information. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Back up your data and store your electronic tax files securely. Last year, most Americans opted to file their taxes online. When preparing your tax return for electronic filing, make sure to use a strong password. If you are working with an accountant, ask them what security measures they have in place to protect your personal information.
- Only share personal information over a secured network. Criminals increasingly are using free public Wi-Fi and poorly secured network access points to intercept and steal information. Even if you are at home and logging into to a wireless network, make sure you only join a properly secured password-protected network. For all my financial transactions I don’t connect if the network is publicly available and recommend you consider similar precautions. Remember: using free public Wi-Fi makes it easy for cyber criminals to intercept and steal your information. Never prepare your tax return or conduct other online activities such as banking and shopping when connected to an unsecured wireless network.
If you believe you have been the victim of tax-refund fraud, contact the IRS. If you have been a victim of identity theft in general, report such incidents to the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or to the FTC Identity Theft hotline at 1-877-438-4338.
Everyone must play their part in order to stay safe online during tax season and all year round. To learn more about how to protect your information during tax season, visit: www.irs.gov/Individuals/Identity-Protection.
For additional general cyber tips and resources, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.
April 15th rapidly is approaching. Best of luck as you safely and securely file your taxes this year!
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: At NYPD Headquarters in New York City, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced that more than $1.6 billion will be available to help communities and first responders prevent terrorism and secure our transportation systems, ports and borders through the nine FY 2015 DHS preparedness grant programs.
Official DHS Photo by Jetta Disco | Download High-Resolution Image (3200x4800)
Earlier this month, federal, state, and local law enforcement along with first responder agencies in San Diego participated in simulated radiological and nuclear threat situations associated with small maritime vessels. Deploying protocols and procedures that would occur in a real incident, law enforcement were able to practice detecting and identifying radiological and nuclear material using human portable handheld and backpack detection equipment.
This assessment provided an opportunity for the participants to evaluate the current procedures in place for incident response, and helped to identify areas for improvement and further collaboration between all partners.
The Department is committed to enhancing radiological and nuclear detection capabilities in the maritime domain to ensure our nation’s shores are protected, and the DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office continues to support these activities across the country. This assessment was the second of its kind to evaluate the law enforcement response to a maritime direct-to-target threat.
Federal, state, and local agencies participating in the event included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Fire – Rescue Department, San Diego Fire – Rescue Department/ Lifeguard Division, San Diego Harbor Police Department, Imperial Beach Lifeguards, Coronado Lifeguards, Coronado Fire Department, and the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health.
Coordination between partners across the nuclear security enterprise is important, and continued collaboration between the Department and law enforcement partners, such as the San Diego law enforcement community, is vital in protecting our nation from the threat of nuclear terrorism.
For almost half a century, Rand Beers has devoted himself to the service of his country and the American people, from commanding a Marine Corps rifle company in Vietnam to serving as a top adviser in the Obama White House. And earlier this month, officials throughout the U.S. Government came together in honor of Rand’s retirement and to recognize his distinguished career in public service.
For his nearly 50 years of dedication to the strengthening of our homeland and ensuring the safety and security of the American people, Rand Beers received the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Department’s highest civilian honor.
Rand Beers has been a selfless, diplomatic and skilled public servant. Over the course of his career – one that includes service on the National Security Council Staff of five Presidents from different political parties – he has been at the forefront of the most challenging national security issues we have faced as a country; from counterterrorism to cybersecurity; from border security to advancing the nation’s security relationship with critical North American partners.
Prior to his last appointment, as the Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, Rand served as the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security. Throughout his time at DHS, he provided guidance on a wide range of homeland security-related priorities, including overseeing departmental operations and policies to prevent, respond to, and mitigate terrorist threats to U.S. national security. He also led efforts to reduce risks to physical, cyber, and communications infrastructures for more than four years as the Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate.
Throughout his career, Beers has been a champion for the safety and security of the American public. During his retirement ceremony, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas, on behalf of the entire Department, paid tribute to a great leader and true public servant.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Nation will remember the lasting impact of Rand Beers. We thank him for his service and his patriotism.
The Department of Homeland Security is proud that three of our social media accounts have been recognized among Government Executive’s top accounts in government. DHS utilizes social media to communicate with the public in dynamic and innovative ways, and strives to provide more information in more places in ways.
Learn more about these award-winning accounts:
S&T was recognized for their monthly Twitter chats that share the latest in government research and development, and our continued work to provide first responders nationwide with the technology their need to do their jobs.
FEMA’s blog is authored by employees from around the agency, utilizing a variety of viewpoints to communicate on topics ranging from technology to emergency preparedness tips to how we are staying one step ahead of the next threats. The latest blog post, authored by FEMA Region 10 Public Affairs Specialist Erin Ward, is focused on recovery and rebuilding efforts one year after the Oso, Wash. mudslide.
Transportation Security Administration’s Instagram Account
TSA’s Instagram account shares photos of wide variety of prohibited items that our hardworking TSA officers find daily at our nation’s airports – to remind the traveling public what can and can’t fly aboard the aircraft. Additionally, the account highlights useful travel tips, risk-based security initiatives like the popular TSA Pre✓® program, and of course our dedicated workforce and their canine companions.
Learn more about the Department of Homeland Security on social media here.