November is Infrastructure Security Month (ISM) in the United States, and the theme for week two is ‘Secure Public Gatherings: Build in security for mass gatherings, starting with your planning.’ This theme encompasses many things, including bomb threats, active shooters, and attacks from weaponized vehicles and unmanned aircraft. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) provides resources to help people identify, prevent, and respond to these threats. One example is the Bomb-Making Materials Awareness Program (BMAP), which increases awareness around the everyday products that can be used to make explosives. BMAP and many more resources can be found in the 2021 Infrastructure Security Month Toolkit.
One of CISA’s primary functions is to coordinate the cybersecurity engagements between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and nonfederal government entities. CISA also helps state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) government entities protect their networks and other resources through cybersecurity assessments, training, alerts, and more. In addition, CISA manages cybersecurity incident reporting and maintains a catalog of Known Exploited Vulnerabilities.
Ways technology is improving emergency response
Another DHS agency to know is the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). This agency serves as ‘the science advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the research and development arm of DHS.’ S&T works with private and public sector partners to improve the effectiveness of the nation’s emergency response. They have several recent accomplishments that align with public safety. Some highlights:
- Commercialized a new framework for IoT software trustworthiness. The framework validates system upgrades and provides feedback and statistics to vendors to help them understand current threats.
- Released a framework to standardize position, navigation, and timing (PNT) equipment requirements, which include GPS and other systems in our critical infrastructure sectors.
- Deployed the “Slash CameraPole,” which is a wireless system that detects activity along the U.S.-Canadian border area known as “the Slash.”
- Improved TSA screening technology to increase safety and reduce traveler delays and inconvenience.
- Developed sensor and scanning technologies that improve border security and provide early detection for disasters like fires and floods.
These accomplishments were made possible by the many S&T grants, initiatives, and cross-sector partnerships.
Protecting large groups of people is as much about humans as it is about technology. There have been remarkable innovations in cybersecurity, but Infrastructure Security Month is about empowering people to protect the country and each other.
If you’d like to learn more about security for mass gatherings, or any other ISM topic, visit the CISA ISM website.
Christine Barry is Senior Chief Blogger and Social Media Manager at Barracuda. Prior to joining Barracuda, Christine was a field engineer and project manager for K12 and SMB clients for over 15 years. She holds several technology and project management credentials, a Bachelor of Arts, and a Master of Business Administration. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Connect with Christine on LinkedIn here.