DHS Cybersecurity Woes, Officers Shot During Mistaken Response, Northeast Storm, and More

DHS Cybersecurity Woes, Officers Shot During Mistaken Response, Northeast Storm, and More
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should reevaluate its cybersecurity protocols, two government watchdog reports found. The DHS Office of the Inspector General ​found cybersecurity vulnerabilities—including outdated, unsupported operating systems without security updates—that could expose DHS and its classified information to unnecessary risks. The report found 64 vulnerable systems in the network, including servers run by DHS, the Coast Guard, and the Secret Service that were still running Windows Server 2003 and had not had security patches in 2015. And a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report analyzed DHS’s procedures on managing its cybersecurity positions, finding that the department cannot effectively examine its cybersecurity workforce, identify critical skill gaps, or improve workforce planning "until DHS establishes plans and time frames for reporting on its critical needs, the department may not be able to ensure that it has the necessary cybersecurity personnel to help protect the department's and the nation's federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyber threats,” the GAO report notes.

  • Two police officers were shot—one fatally—in Missouri earlier this week after they were sent to the wrong house following a 911 call. A call came in with women arguing in the background and nobody speaking to emergency personnel, but officers were mistakenly sent to a house 15 miles away from where that call originated. It appears that they instead arrived at a house where methamphetamine was being produced. After trying to enter the property, the officers were shot by a man inside the house. The shooter was found dead inside the house from gunshot wounds, but it is unclear whether it was self-inflicted or from police fire. A woman who lived at the house was charged yesterday with drug charges. Officials say the mistake is being investigated but should be considered an unfortunate coincidence.

  • second major storm in the Northeastern United States has once again brought communities, commuters, and airplanes to a halt and cut power for more than 1 million customers after more than 2 feet of snow fell yesterday. The storm is expected to intensify today, exacerbating the suspension of almost 2,600 flights and Amtrak service. It also caused bizarre accidents, including lightening that struck a teacher, carbon monoxide poisoning that hospitalized 10 people, and a college women’s basketball team having to push its bus back on the road. The region is more susceptible to power outages due to existing damage from last week’s storm—many communities are still recovering from flooding and downed power lines. 

  • In other news, an ex-Russian spy and his daughter are still in critical condition after being poisoned with nerve gas in England in a “brazen and reckless attack.” Florida is inching closer to passing gun control measures designed to prevent another mass shooting. Thousands of cheerleaders may have been exposed to mumps at a national competition in Dallas last month. Australia’s supply chain industry is aiming to close its gender gap. Experts are raising the alarm about the threat uranium imports could have on national security. The GAO has also released reports on reforming the security clearance process and how U.S. Customs can work with the private sector to combat counterfeit goods. One high school student was killed and another wounded in an accidental shooting in an Alabama classroom despite security measures at the school including metal detectors. ​