Two weeks ago, the ExxonMobil complex in Baytown, Texas caught fire after a petrochemical unit exploded. This was the latest in a series of incidents at petrochemical units in the area: in March and April a series of fires occurred at the same ExxonMobil complex and nearby petrochemical storage facilities, releasing pollutants. Harris County, the county where these facilities are located, conducted an analysis of how local agencies and officials were responding to these incidents. As a result, the county decided to focus on improving communications during incident response—specifically, improving communications between agencies responding to the incidents and keeping the public informed.
With over 106 million customers and applicants’ personal data exposed, the Capital One breach is one of the biggest breaches of a financial institution in US history. A former employee of Amazon’s cloud-computing unit was able to exploit a vulnerability in Capital One’s cloud service provider AWS,exposing some 140,000 Social Security Numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers of US customers.
The rate at which sensitive data gets compromised is growing exponentially. In a recent series of tech articles, the Wall Street Journal examined how people in the public and private spheres are vulnerable to and seriously impacted by various cyber-attacks. Governments experience losses of upwards of fifty-thousand dollars from ransomware attacks, and that is just in ransom alone. Corporations are wrestling with protecting computer and network supply chains from information-stealing software. And individuals must now contend with new methods of phone hacking, such as when hackers swap SIM cards. The answer? An alternative secure communications channel that runs independently from your public, private or individual networks.
Companies have been harvesting our data without our knowledge for years now. Whether its because they didn’t inform us, we didn’t read the terms and conditionsor because the language in the terms and conditions was so complicated and misleading that we didn’t understand what was about to happen – many of us now feel duped.
Mobile devices have become ubiquitous in day-to-day life. The majority of Americans own a smart phone and use it not just for personal matters but for professional matters, too. It’s a technology that spans gender, location, profession and age – with 46% of senior Americans owning a smart phone. With smartphones this ubiquitous, it’s not a surprise that senior living residences are starting to leverage smart phones to streamline their operations.
After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Department of Energy (DoE) asked the National Petroleum Council (NPC) to provide specific actionable steps to better prepare the oil and natural gas industry’s response to natural disasters. In response, the NPC released “Enhancing Emergency Preparedness for Natural Disasters” in 2014, which included a series of recommendations for emergency preparedness, response and recovery in the oil and natural gas industry. A key finding? That effective communications during emergency response is a major challenge for the industry and that a standardized, rehearsed approach toward communications that addresses escalated and expanding responses as an event unfolds is critical.
It’s been forty years since the infamous Three Mile Island accident, an incident made famous bythe confusion and panic it spawned in its wake. But while the incident is remembered for the fear it stoked about nuclear energy, it also set the stage for the US nuclear industry to become the safest in the world. To this day, the Three Mile Island accident impacts the nuclear industry and provides valuable lessons about incident response and communication.
It’s more important than ever that every business be prepared to handle a crisis. A 2017 survey of 164 CEOs showed just how prevalent they are: 65% of the CEOs surveyed reported experiencing at least one crisis since 2013. In the same survey, 40% expected to experience a crisis in the next three years and an additional 33% expected multiple crises. When it comes to crises, everyone in an organization needs to be on board with how to respond. Unfortunately, many organizations are not adequately prepared or aware of the appropriate steps they need to take to respond to a crisis.
They’re a basic foundation of security, yet somehow constantly dismissed.
Passwords are one of the most important components of a strong cybersecurity strategy—but employees overwhelmingly have bad password habits – despite all attempts to ensure best practices across the organization. People pick simple, easy-to-guess phrases like “password” or “12345” or regularly reuse the same password for multiple logins.
Today, pretty much everyone is texting. It’s made life so much easier – send a message on your own time and preferred device, usually without having to stop what you’re doing, and rest assured that the recipient will receive the message and be able to respond on their own time, without having to take too much time out of theirlife either.
Over 90% of all cyberattacks begin with email phishing. It’s a startling statistic, but it’s not a surprise: businesses send over 281 billion emails every day. Phishing attacks, which typically ask targets for sensitive information or to download malware, work because they prey on human nature—victims respond out of curiosity, a sense of urgency, even fear.
The DNC email leak in 2016 revealed just how insecure email communications can be. It should be no surprise that government officials have been turning to other, more secure mediums, to communicate. White House staffers have reportedly usedthe encryption app Confide to communicate, French president Macron’s inner circle has reliedonTelegram, and former Australia Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull turned to Wickr and Whatsapp. But as government messaging solutions go, such tools are limited, and in most cases not as secure as one might think. They may offer encryption but they fail to secure messages on devices and don’t address critical compliance issues related to government communication.
For more than a decade, the energy and utilities industry has been investing in smarter energy infrastructure in order to enhance energy grid resiliency, reliability and efficiency. Grid modernization has become essential to integrating an increasing number of renewable energy sources and technologies – or distributed energy sources (DERs) – including electric vehicles, energy storage, private solar and smart appliances.
The California wildfires have been especially devastating this year, with fires reaching unprecedented sizes. Hundreds of thousands of acres have been burned and it may take until September to contain the fiercer fires. When it comes to emergencies like wildfires, strong incident response is important for protecting those affected.
In February 2018, the United States Department of Energy established the new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response (CESER), focused on cybersecurity, energy security and emergency response with $96 million in government funding – and not a moment too soon. One month later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert alleging that Russian hackers mounted a methodical, long-term campaign to infiltrate and surveil critical US energy and utility infrastructure.
“Whoever Wins the White House, This Year’s Big Loser is Email.” Thus, reads the headline in the NY Times on October 19, 2016. Indeed, in the current election cycle, month after month, the focus has been on hacked and released emails, on disappearing emails, on emails that reappear on various devices – not of the user’s choosing. It certainly seems that the people who sent those emails should have known better than to write what they actually wrote in the first place.
Secure communications are essential to the HR recruiting process. From initial correspondence with potential new hires to salary negotiations, HR recruiters need the ability to communicate internally and externally while keeping confidential information secure. But, keeping this information private in today’s technology landscape can be a challenge for both recruiters and job candidates.