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Spring Journal

Volume 29, Issue 2

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Jon Seals

(TNS) - The powerful blizzard that slammed the East Coast on Saturday quickly surpassed forecasters’ dire predictions, claiming at least 18 lives, flooding coasts, unleashing hurricane-force winds and paralyzing life for residents of at least 20 states from Georgia to Massachusetts.

The storm was well on its way to smashing snowfall records.

Mayors and governors said they did not expect their cities to be back in business until next week.

“Safety is our number one priority – and right now, it is not safe for the general public to travel,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned as the heart of the storm hit his state. Visibility was so low that those walking across the Brooklyn Bridge couldn't see the East River beneath or the Manhattan skyline soaring above. Since Thursday night, 25 inches had fallen in Central Park, nearing the city’s record of 26.9 inches, which fell over two days in 2006.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Storm-brings-heavy-snow-strong-winds-flooding-to-East-Coast-at-least-18-are-killed.html

(TNS) - Southcentral Alaska was rocked by a strong and prolonged magnitude-7.1 earthquake early Sunday morning.

The quake struck 86 miles west-southwest of Anchor Point at 1:30 a.m. Alaska time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.  The Alaska Earthquake Center said it hit on the west side of Cook Inlet, about 65 miles west of the Kenai Peninsula town of Homer and about 160 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The quake knocked items off shelves and walls and shook buildings throughout the region. A series of aftershocks followed, including a magnitude 4.5 that struck about two hours after the initial quake and could be felt again in Anchorage.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/No-injuries-reported-but-some-damage-as-71-earthquake-rocks-Southcentral-Alaska.html

If the chatter is to be believed, identity theft tops the list of taxpayer concerns for 2016. And it’s not all in your head: a 2015 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that identity thieves stole $16 billion from 12.7 million U.S. consumers in 2014, a new victim every two seconds .

Those statistics are scary but there is some good news to be found in the report: the numbers are actually down from the previous year. The reason? It’s very likely the result of an increased awareness from consumers together with increased protections in place from industry and government. That includes efforts like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “Taxes. Security. Together.” campaign. The more you know about how to protect yourself, the better chance you have to not be a victim. Here are 11 tips help you protect yourself from identity theft and identity theft related tax fraud:

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2016/01/24/11-tips-to-protect-you-from-identity-theft-related-tax-fraud/#3d1acc704bb6

More than half of U.S. consumers think that storing their credit and banking information in the cloud is more risky than driving without a seat belt, according to a new report from Symantec. Those consumers are correct, and the other half of them need to change their thinking – or their wallets may take a hit. The Symantec report states that consumers globally lost $158 billion to cyber crime in the past year. In the U.S. alone, the figure is nearly $30 billion.

Director of the FBI, James Comey, called the Internet, “the most dangerous parking lot imaginable,” and warned people to be just as aware of scams, compromised websites, malware and other threats as they would be of a physical theft.

Symantec, the world’s largest security software company, advises consumers to ‘go boldly, not blindly’ onto the Internet. The company has opened up a lot of eyes to the cyber risks and consequences facing consumers globally in its 2016 Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report.

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevemorgan/2016/01/24/how-consumers-lost-158-billion-to-cyber-crime-in-the-past-year-and-what-to-do-about-it/#32a5d38f6b6f

(TNS) - When officials with the city of Lubbock’s Emergency Operations Center gathered at 6 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 27, they had a prepared list of objectives from emergency management to deal with large snowstorms.

The first two objectives were related to first responders: to make sure they were prepared — and for public safety services to remain active throughout the city.

And while things like equipment, routes for snow plows, communication and employee shift operations are being audited in the storm’s aftermath, city officials say the first two objectives were on target.

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http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/Revisiting-the-Emergency-Operations-Centers-list-of-objectives-during-Goliath.html

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Residents of 33 Missouri counties who have been affected by the recent severe storms and flooding may soon see Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) teams and home inspectors in their neighborhoods.

Those counties are: Barry, Barton, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Hickory, Jasper, Jefferson, Laclede, Lawrence, Lincoln, Maries, McDonald, Morgan, Newton, Osage, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Scott, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Taney, Texas, Webster, and Wright counties.

The DSA teams offer survivors registration assistance, up-to-date information on their application status, on-the-spot needs assessments and referrals to help fill any outstanding needs.  Following an individual assistance disaster declaration, FEMA provides this mobile resource to help connect homeowners, business owners and faith-based and community organizations with the necessary resources to start the recovery process.

Home inspectors will also be in the field verifying damages for those who have applied for federal assistance.  Inspectors will contact homeowners and renters to schedule a time to meet to verify flood damages that occurred December 23, 2015 through January 9, 2016.

Inspectors are contractors who will display official photo identification. If the photo identification is not displayed, it is important to ask to see it. This helps prevent fraudulent activities.

Individuals or business owners that apply for a disaster loan with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) may also be contacted by a loss verifier who will inspect the damaged property. 

Residents who were affected can apply for assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.  Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 800-621-3362.  The application deadline is March 21.

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Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

 

In October 2013, Affinity Gaming, a casino operator based in Nevada, heard from customers that their credit cards had been hacked. Before too long, the company’s IT department concluded it likely suffered a data breach.

Within days, professional forensic data security investigators from Chicago-based Trustwave Holdings Inc. were analyzing the company’s system, and suggesting remedial measures.

That account is taken from a federal lawsuit that Affinity filed in Las Vegas. It accuses the IT security company Trustwave it hired to conduct a forensic investigation of failing to proscribe appropriate remedial measures and not removing the malicious malware. The suit states that within three months, a second data breach occurred. Affinity is suing Trustwave for fraud, fraudulent inducement, constructive fraud, gross negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract and declaratory judgment.

The lawsuit, filed in late December and first noticed by Ars Technica, and poses an interesting test case of whether a security vendor can be held liable for not ensuring the complete safety of a company.

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https://bol.bna.com/cybersecurity-lawsuit-poses-vendor-liability-question/

Fairfax County, Virginia is home to over 1 million residents across 390 square miles in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.. Since 2003, the county’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has embraced the reality that residents need to be prepared for major emergencies.

“Widespread emergencies like the Derecho windstorm of 2012 and the “Snowmageddon” snowstorm of 2010 emphasize that emergency responders are not always the first responders—bystanders and neighbors are often relied upon during and after disaster,” explained Jeffrey Katz of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

Over 2,500 county residents have learned necessary skills for emergency situations. The 25-hour CERT course is delivered by the fire department and in coordination with the county’s Office of Emergency Management. CERT training is based on the national CERT program curriculum administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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http://www.everbridge.com/contactbridge-app-helps-fairfax-county-cert-volunteers-report-field-assessments/

While the rain keeps falling in Northern California, the state’s water supply is nowhere near bouncing back from a shortage caused by years of severe drought, and data center cooling technology that doesn’t use water is one way data center operators in the state can be part of the solution.

Emerson Network Power claims data center operators that installed its pumped refrigerant-based cooling system in North America have saved more than 1.4 billion gallons of water in the last three years. A traditional chilled water-based system uses about 1 million gallons of water to cool 1 MW of IT capacity in a data center for one year, John Peter Valiulis, VP of marketing at Emerson, said.

The savings estimate comes from a process the company recently went through with the California Energy Commission to get pumped refrigerant-based systems approved as accepted form of economization, or free cooling, under the state’s Building Standards Code, known as Title 24. The code requires new data centers to use economizers but until recently only specified air-side and water-side economization systems as appropriate ways to satisfy the requirement.

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http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2016/01/22/emerson-claims-water-less-data-center-cooling-tech-saved-1b-plus-gallons-of-water/

Monday, 25 January 2016 00:00

The Cloud: A New Way to Conduct Business

At this point, it doesn’t make much sense to talk about whether IT infrastructure will change in the cloud, or even how it will change, but how data and business processes will change to suit the new reality.

Infrastructure, after all, is merely a means to an end, so the real measure of the cloud is how it will alter the things we do, not the resources we use to do them.

We are already seeing this effect in motion. Traditional applications like BI and CRM are not being ported directly to the cloud anymore, they are being recoded to suit the dynamic, resource-shifting realities that cloud computing brings to the table. At the same time, entirely new business processes are emerging to take advantage of new service- and application-layer flexibility to out-perform their legacy counterparts.

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http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/infrastructure/the-cloud-a-new-way-to-conduct-business.html