Tuesday, January 8, 2008
• The Associated Press reported that hundreds of thousands of Californians were still without power after a series of fierce storms pounded the state over the weekend and toppled nearly 500 miles of power lines. More than 145,000 homes and businesses in Northern California and the Central Valley were in the dark Sunday, down from more than 215,000 earlier in the day, ahead of rain and snow that were forecast to return again soon. In all, more than 2 million customers from the Oregon border to Los Angeles have lost power since the storms arrived Friday. (See items 1)
• According to Computer Weekly, hackers may be able to access aircraft flight and management systems in Boeing’s new mid-range jet, the 787-8. The FAA said that there are links between the networks that run the passenger “domain,” which allows passengers to access the internet during flights, and aircraft-management systems. A Boeing spokesman said the aircraft maker was aware of the problem and would test its fix in March. (See item 11)
26. January 5, Government Health IT – (National) DHS offers advice for ensuring telecom during pandemic. The so-called “last mile” of the nation’s telecommunications system would be vulnerable in the event of a pandemic influenza, according to a working group tasked with studying the potential communications consequences of an outbreak. The Department of Homeland Security’s assistant secretary of cybersecurity and communications weighed in on the security of a pandemic health crisis, noting that as much as 40 percent of the workforce would be unable to go to work during peak periods of an outbreak. “And you don’t get to pick which 40 percent that could be,” he said during a speech at the New York Metro Infragard Alliance Security Summit in December. “Naturally, telecommuting will be a key mechanism to keeping our businesses and government operational during a pandemic flu.” The working group, which meets monthly, found that connections to homes, hospitals, health plans, and physicians would likely be disrupted. But that scenario could be mitigated if ISPs, telecommunications carriers and service vendors put in place safeguards, policies and best practices ahead of time, he said. Among the group’s recommendations to hospitals, businesses, and government agencies: obtain a telecommunications service priority (TSP) for enterprises; subscribe to government emergency telecommunications service (GETS) cards and/or wireless priority services (WPS) capabilities for critical IT staff; limit access to business critical services through the enterprise connection; limit remote access to users critical to maintaining business continuity; adjust or retime automatic desktop backup software updates for telecommuters; and enhance the enterprise’s cybersecurity posture due to increased reliance on communications and IT, reduced support staff and the increased threat of cyber attack.