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Managed cloud provider Rackspace announced it has appointed two new executives to its international team. Reinhard Waldinger has been promoted to Managing Director, International, and Alex Fuerst, Regional Leader for DACH.

The appointments come as Rackspace, which recently went private in a $4.3 billion buyout, is opening a new office in Munich that will help support the growth of its German-speaking customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Waldinger has worked at Rackspace for more than 10 years. Previously, Waldinger was VP of Finance for Rackspace International. In his new role he will work with customers, partners and employees in its international operations.



Regardless of whether you work in the hosting industry, you would have likely encountered an outage Friday on a website that you may visit frequently, due to a DDoS attack targeting Dyn.

You can read the news story here.

A DDoS attack on an individual website can cause lots of issues in and of itself, but a DDoS attack on a DNS network has a much bigger impact. Friday’s DDoS attack impacted sites ranging from Twitter to AirBnb to The New York Times and, even to PagerDuty, a site that helps alert you of downtime.

In an emailed statement, Dave Larson, Corero COO, explained how DDoS attacks against DNS providers can be particularly damaging.



The enterprise cloud industry is starting to take on some semblance of order as both providers and consumers gain a clearer understanding of how it is to function within the broader data ecosystem.

To be sure, there are still many questions regarding deployment, configuration, services and a host of other factors when creating individual clouds, but in general the need to establish robust hybrid infrastructure that can accommodate legacy applications and emerging services for mobile, Big Data and IoT functions is coming into focus.

This clarity is also driving much of the deal-making on both the provider and infrastructure layers, not the least of which is Amazon’s recent tie-in with VMware. As Information Week’s Charles Babcock noted recently, the deal gives Amazon something it desperately needed to combat chief rival Microsoft: a means to easily port workloads from legacy infrastructure to its largely proprietary cloud architecture. VMware fills the bill nicely because it provides the virtual format to shift workloads without bothering with a lot of hardware configuration, and it has one of the largest installed bases of enterprise customers on the planet.



On Thursday, I wrote a blog post about the Mirai IoT malware infecting IoT devices, turning them into botnets that create DDoS attacks. I knew that this was going to become a serious problem but at that moment, it hadn’t become a mainstream issue.

That certainly changed quickly, didn’t it? On Friday, I was leaving my office when my phone chirped with a breaking news story – Homeland Security was investigating a major DDoS attack against Dyn. A quick check of Facebook told me all I needed to know: My friends were wondering why they couldn’t access so many of their favorite websites all of a sudden. Now everyone is asking questions about not only IoT security but DDoS attacks. It’s good that people are now aware; I wish we could be aware proactively rather than reactively.

But where does this proactive behavior begin? For this type of attack, it is a two-pronged issue. First, we have to do a better job addressing IoT security. A new survey from ESET found that 40 percent of us are not confident that our smart devices are secure enough, and as Tech Crunch added:



Tuesday, 25 October 2016 00:00

FEMA: Long Term Recovery

PHILADELPHIA – Long term recovery begins and ends in local communities.  To support state and local officials, and help build back communities to be more resilient, FEMA developed the National Disaster Recovery Framework, also known as the NDRF, to help guide federal agencies in their support efforts. The NDRF empowers federal, state, local and other partners to work together to find solutions for some of the major challenges communities face after a disaster, such as housing needs, rebuilding the local economy, and preserving the communities’ heritage and traditions while making strides towards resilience against future disasters.

FEMA Region III has released a podcast on the NDRF to help explain how the program works and our goal in working with and supporting communities’ long term recovery. The podcast is a great way to learn more about the framework, roles, responsibilities and objectives.  It is available at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/audio/126251 and through the Multimedia Library Audio section. The podcast interviews FEMA Region III’s Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator (FDRC) Kevin Snyder and Community Planning and Capacity Building (CPCB) Coordinator Michelle Diamond on the NDRF, as well as how FEMA works with our partners to make long term recovery happen for communities.

Below are some excerpts from the podcast:

FDRC Kevin Snyder: “In Region III we have what we call our Recovery Support Function Leadership Group and that is a steady state group, we meet monthly and we talk about our issues, needs, and activities and through that network we can reach back to our regional infrastructure system partners and say hey – here is this issue that we didn’t identify early on but we are seeing right now. What are your ideas of how we can coordinate solutions to address that? And kind of take it from there.”

CPCB Coordinator Michelle Diamond: “…we do work with a number of federal partners, but in addition to the federal partners, we also work with the private sector, with universities, with professional associations, foundations, and nonprofits and all of these partners – they all have the goal of working with local governments and state governments to help address issues of local needs for planning and for capacity building.”

To listen to and download the podcast, please visit https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/audio/126251. For more information on the NDRF, please visit https://www.fema.gov/national-disaster-recovery-framework.

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.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 00:00

What IoT Cyber Attacks Mean for Insurers

The massive global distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) against internet infrastructure provider Dyn DNS Co. that left over 1,000 major brand name sites including Twitter, Netflix, PayPal and Spotify, inaccessible Friday has implications for insurers too.

While the nature and source of the attack is under investigation, it appears to have been (in the words of Dyn chief strategy officer Kyle York) “a sophisticated, highly distributed attack involving tens of millions of Internet Protocol addresses.”

As Bryan Krebs’ KrebsOnSecurity blog first reported, the attack was launched with the help of hacked Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices such as CCTV video cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs) that were infected with software (in this case the Mirai botnet) that then flooded Dyn servers with junk traffic.



Managed DNS provider Dyn was hit by a series of massive DDoS attacks on Friday, October 21, which left several major sites inaccessible for hours, including Box, CNN, HBO Now, PayPal, Pinterest, Reddit, Spotify, Squarespace, Twitter, Weebly, Wired, Wix, Yelp, Zendesk and Zoho, among many others, Gizmodo reports.

In a statement on its website, Dyn explained that its Managed DNS infrastructure in the Eastern U.S. came under attack from 11:10 UTC to 13:20 UTC, and again from 15:50 UTC to 17:00 UTC. "We will continue to evaluate every situation with the goal of improving our systems and processes to deliver the utmost customer experience," the company stated.

In a blog post, security expert Bruce Schneier suggested that someone has spent the past year or two probing the defenses of companies critical to the operation of the Internet. "These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down," he wrote.



Any repetitive IT task that requires IT organizations to detect patterns within a massive amount of data is now generally subject to being automated. With that in mind, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) has been applying Big Data analytics to multiple forms of data protection.

The launch of HPE Backup and Recovery Suite brings all HPE data protection offerings together under a common analytics framework as part of an effort to first identify bottlenecks in the process, make recommendations on how to fix scheduling conflicts and ultimately eliminate the amount of IT intervention currently required to complete them.

In addition, Stephen Spellicy, vice president of product management for information management and governance says, HPE is now providing a “what-if” capability that allows IT administrators to model different data protection strategies before implementing them.



RALEIGH, N.C. – If you applied for FEMA help in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and you disagree with the decision stated in the letter you received, a quick fix may be all that is needed to change it. 

It’s important that you read your letter carefully to understand FEMA’s decision so you will know exactly what you need to do. Many times applicants just need to submit extra documents for FEMA to process their application.

Examples of missing documentation may include an insurance settlement letter, proof of residence, proof of ownership of the damaged property, and proof that the damaged property was your primary residence at the time of the disaster.

If instructed and needed, you can simply submit missing documentation to FEMA online at www.disasterassistance.gov, by mail or fax, or by visiting a Disaster Recovery Center.

There may be more than one reason you disagree with FEMA’s decision. For example, if you feel the amount or type of assistance is incorrect, you may submit an appeal letter and any documents needed to support your claim, such as a contractor’s estimate for home repairs.

If you have insurance, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments. However, if you’re under-insured you may receive further assistance for unmet needs after insurance claims have been settled.

How to Appeal a FEMA Decision

All appeals must be filed in writing to FEMA. You should explain why you think the decision is incorrect. When submitting your letter, please include:

  • Your full name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Address

In addition, your letter must be either notarized, include a copy of a state issued identification card, or include the following statement, “I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.” You must sign the letter.

If someone other than you or the co-applicant is writing the letter, there must be a signed statement from you affirming that the person may act on your behalf. You should keep a copy of your appeal for your records.

To file an appeal, letters must be postmarked, received by fax, or personally submitted at a Disaster Recovery Center within 60 days of the date on the determination letter.

By mail:

FEMA – Individuals & Households Program
National Processing Service Center
P.O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055

By fax:
Attention: FEMA – Individuals & Households Program

You should have received a booklet called "Help after a Disaster." It explains what you need to provide for your appeal. The booklet is available online at www.fema.gov/help-after-disaster.

If you have any questions about submitting insurance documents, proving occupancy or ownership, or anything else about your letter, you may call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. If you use TTY, call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service can call 800-621-3362. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. EDT, seven days a week, until further notice. You can also visit a North Carolina disaster recovery center and speak with a disaster assistance representative. Locate your closest center by going online to fema.gov/drc or by calling the FEMA Helpline.


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 800-621-3362 or TTY at 800-462-7585.

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. Follow FEMA on twitter at @femaregion4. Download the FEMA app with tools and tips to keep you safe before, during, and after disasters.

Dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162 to speak with a trained call specialist about questions you have regarding Hurricane Matthew; the service is free, confidential and available in any language. They can help direct you to resources. Call 5-1-1 or 877-511-4662 for the latest road conditions or check the ReadyNC mobile app, which also has real-time shelter and evacuation information. For updates on Hurricane Matthew impacts and relief efforts, go to ReadyNC.org or follow N.C. Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook. People or organizations that want to help ensure North Carolina recovers can visit NCdisasterrelief.org or text NCRecovers to 30306.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call (800) 877-8339.

How would emergency management and public health officials handle a catastrophe that taxed local supplies of vaccines or medical equipment? Since 1999, the federal government has had a way to help: the Strategic National Stockpile.

The stockpile consists of warehouses that contain medicines — both those that prevent the onset of an illness and those that can treat illnesses — and medical supplies and equipment. It is not meant to be the first line of defense, but rather to supplement resources when state and local supplies run short.

“The underlying premise of the Strategic National Stockpile is to respond to primarily chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear events,” said Greg Burel, director of the Division of Strategic National Stockpile at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “We also hold material that would be useful in an influenza event.”



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