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Spring Journal

Volume 28, Issue 2

Full Contents Now Available!

Jon Seals

By James Moore

Increasing reports of compromises by well-funded and resourced attackers are raising the profile of cyber security to such an extent that headlines of data breaches are becoming mainstream. On a regular basis, reports are being released showing the skill and persistence of attackers. Advanced attacks such as spear phishing, watering holes booby-trapped with custom malware and zero-day exploits, even entry via supplier links are all being reported on an almost weekly basis. And all of these attacks have one thing in common - they target individuals.

Generally, we still see that most organizations rely on traditional security controls in the form of technology such as anti-virus, firewalls, SIEM etc to protect their critical assets. However, the increasing importance of employee security awareness is often overlooked and instead only basic awareness training is given, focussing available resources on deploying and testing traditional security controls.



The US National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards Council has approved a request to establish a standard for community risk assessments and reduction plans.

The standard will provide a process for jurisdictions to follow in developing and implementing a community risk reduction plan, which helps identify a community risk profile and allocate resources to minimize risks.

The standard is expected to be completed in the next two years.


A new UK-based company which aims to demystify business continuity management and make it easier and more straightforward than ever before has opened its doors for business.

With more than 15 years’ business continuity experience with RSA (Royal & SunAlliance), one of the UK’s leading general insurers and a FTSE 100 company, Ian Houghton’s trademark no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach will now be available to clients across the country with the launch of his own consultancy.

Called Easy BCM Ltd, Houghton’s new venture aims to make business continuity management easy to understand, implement and maintain for companies large and small.

“I’ve always believed that BCM should be approached in a sensible and straightforward way, to reflect the nature, scale and complexity of a business,” explains Houghton. “Too often plans are dictatorial and take no account of the industry, the size of the organization and the complexity of its operations.

“At Easy BCM we make business continuity management accessible and show clients that it can be a valuable asset for a company which can help drive improvements in many different areas.”



Thursday, 02 October 2014 15:49

Designing resilient critical infrastructure

Ten new National Science Foundation projects will investigate how to keep complex, interdependent infrastructure available.

When critical infrastructure is resilient, it is able to bounce back after a disruption at an acceptable cost and speed. When resilient infrastructure is interdependent, cascading failures between infrastructure systems may be eased or possibly even avoided.

This ideal of resilience is far from the norm, particularly as critical infrastructure becomes more interconnected and complex.

To investigate innovative ways to bolster the resilience of the electrical grid, water systems and other critical infrastructure areas, the US National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded grants totaling nearly $17 million through cross-disciplinary funding by its Directorates for Engineering and Computer and Information Science and Engineering.

During the next three years, more than 50 researchers at 16 institutions will pursue transformative research in the area of Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Processes and Systems (RIPS).



It’s an unfortunate truth. The holes in your IT security are most likely to be where you neither see them nor expect them. That means they’ll be outside the basic security arrangements that most organisations make. Firewalls, up to date software versions and strong user passwords are all necessary, but not sufficient. Really testing security is akin to an exercise in lateral thinking or even method acting. You have to look at your systems and network from the outside to see how a hacker or cybercriminal might try to get through or round the mechanisms you’ve put in place. And there’s more still to this inside-out approach to protecting your organisation.



The government released 4.4 million medical payment records this week as part of the Open Payments database, and it’s already attracting national headlines and criticisms for being incomplete and slow.

It’s a major reminder that while open data may be free, it isn’t necessarily clean.

NPR, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, have all reported on the controversial data release, which is required under a provision of the Affordable Care Act. The records show $3.5 billion in payments made by pharmaceutical and device companies to doctors.



PHILADELPHIA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region III office in Philadelphia is encouraging the whole community to take action to prepare! It’s the end of National Preparedness Month and time to move from awareness to action on National PrepareAthon! Day, September 30th.

The Ready Campaign established four building blocks of preparedness − Be Informed, Make a Plan, Build a Kit and Get Involved − and raised awareness about the importance of preparing. America’s PrepareAthon! builds on this foundation by adding a focused national call to action for individuals and organizations to take simple, specific actions to increase their preparedness for a potential disaster.

“Anyone and everyone can make the choice to be informed and be better prepared,” said FEMA Region III Administrator MaryAnn Tierney, “We encourage everyone to simply take action – any action – to better prepare yourself, your family and your community.”

FEMA Region III has been working and supporting many organizations that will be taking action for America’s PrepareAthon! and on National PrepareAthon Day! Below are highlights of only a few of the many events occurring around the region.

  • Louisa County Virginia’s PrepareAthon! TAKE ACTION AGAINST EARTHQUAKES! Louisa County (VA) Public Schools is leading the PrepareAthon action by having 6 schools take part in a preparedness drill on the 30th. The main event will be at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School with school wide earthquake dill with FEMA staff during the day. In addition, the county Administration Building and Fire and EMS will be involved and participate in drills. Over 5,600 students and staff will be participating in a drill for Louisa County’s PrepareAthon!
  • Delaware’s PrepareAthon! TAKE ACTION AGAINST FLOODS on September 20th  from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., take action against flooding at the Fall in to Action Community Preparedness Day in Dover, Delaware. Residents can learn about flooding and protective measures in addition to the numerous organizations that will provide fun, food, and preparedness activities for the whole family.
  • Marion County West Virginia’s PrepareAthon! TAKE ACTION AGAINST WINTER WEATHER on September 27th from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Marion County Preparedness Expo hosted by the Greater Fairmont (WV) Council of Churches. Over 40 organizations will be participating to help the families increase their preparedness. Additionally on September 26th, the Small Business Administration will be conducting a workshop for local small businesses to increase their preparedness to support Marion’s PrepareAthon! You can sign-up at SBA.gov/content/sba-score-host-disaster-workshop-fairmont.  
  • National Capital Region’s PrepareAthon! SIGN-UP FOR ALERTS AND HOLD A DILL on September 30th. Led by Brookfield Properties, private sector businesses in the greater Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland will be encouraged to participate in a drill to help increase their individual preparedness. Sixteen Commercial Real Estate companies and other organizations have committed their employees to participate in National Capital Region’s PrepareAthon!, at Brookfield Properties; over 6,140 employees and tenants will be taking action by holding drills and signing up for alerts.
  • Team Rubicon’s PrepareAthon! TEST YOUR PLANS! From September 17th – 20th Team Rubicon will be in Philadelphia, PA testing their ability to activate and communicate for a 3 day event. While they are working to build six homes in three days, they will be exercising their command structure and ability to respond quickly and affectivity to a disaster.  Anyone can Join Team Rubicon and help spread the word.
  • Amtrak’s PrepareAthon! SIGN-UP FOR ALERTS! On September 30th at their Harrisburg, PA station, Amtrak will be encouraging train riders to sign up for emergency alerts and download the FEMA App. Look for FEMA staff at the train station to talk about alerts and other great ways to get prepared.

Want to join and take action on September 30th ? Here are some simple ways you can get involved:

Learn more and register your actions at Ready.gov/prepare to be join the 14.5 million taking action for America’s PrepareAthon!

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.

(MCT) — Tom Fuller could tell how well folks understood earthquake insurance once he mentioned that he has a policy for his damaged home in Napa.

The uninitiated responded, “Well, you’re lucky.” The more knowledgeable said, “I hope you didn’t hit your deductible.”

Fuller, a public relations consultant, said the repairs from last month’s magnitude-6.0 quake won’t come close to his $48,000 deductible — the amount of structural damage his home must suffer before the insurance company becomes liable for major repairs. That means he will cover virtually all the damage from the Aug. 24 temblor to his 1940s-era home south of downtown.

Even so, his insurance policy still gives him peace of mind that he could rebuild should a massive, 1906-type quake ever level his city.



(MCT) -- Under the blistering Central Valley sun, Filiberta Sanchez and her toddler granddaughter strolled down a Parkwood sidewalk lined with yellow weeds, dying grass and trees more fit for kindling than shade.

"It was very pretty here, very pretty," said Sanchez, 56, as little Jenny crunched a fistful of parched dirt and pine needles she grabbed from the ground. "Now everything's dry."

Parkwood's last well dried up in July. County officials, after much hand-wringing, made a deal with the city of Madera for a temporary water supply, but the arrangement prohibited Parkwood's 3,000 residents from using so much as a drop of water on their trees, shrubs or lawns. The county had to find a permanent water fix.



WARMINSTER, Pa. — Mail-Gard®, a division of IWCO Direct and one of the nation’s leading providers of critical communication recovery solutions, has announced that Jerry Montella, executive vice president of sales and marketing, has been elected to the National Postal Policy Council (NPPC) Board of Directors.

NPPC is a trade association that has established and maintained a trusted partnership with the USPS, focusing primarily on First-Class letter mail, and representing large business mailers. The association has been active in shaping postal policy and regulatory issues with both the Postal Service and the Postal Regulatory Commission, as well as on Capitol Hill. With a collaborative mission to drive continuous improvement and shape overall postal strategy, members have welcomed the Postmaster General, senior postal managers, Postal Regulatory Commissioners and key congressional staff to NPPC’s quarterly meetings since 1982.

“My membership over the past few years has been insightful and informative as the USPS navigates a changing landscape,” Montella said. “Our customers rely on the Postal Service when disaster strikes—and so do millions of people in their day-to-day business. We need strong, long-term solutions to achieve and maintain quality mailing service at an affordable price. NPPC has long been deeply involved in the search for and execution of those solutions, and I am proud to bring the unique insight of Mail-Gard’s continuity services to my duties as a board member.”


About Mail-Gard

Mail-Gard, a division of IWCO Direct, is one of the nation's leading providers of print-to-mail continuity and recovery services. With locations in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, Mail-Gard maintains fully-secured and dedicated recovery facilities that support cut sheet, continuous form, duplex, MICR and color printing as well as accumulating, folding and inserting capabilities in conjunction with on-site U.S. postal substations and warehousing. In case of any business interruption – human error, power outage, or natural disaster – Mail-Gard can ensure that a company's invoices, statements and other critical documents will reach customers and vendors.