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Information Technology - page 295

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Transaction Security: Safe, Sealed and Secure

At a time of unprecedented financial volatility, protecting transactions has taken on new importance—and developers are trying to stay one step ahead of savvy criminals and terrorists. Keep Reading

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// by Homeland Security Today

Getting real results with virtual training

Michael Tremlett, director of the center for team performance for Dynamics Research Corp. (DRC) of Andover, Mass., sees parallels between a combat team and an emergency response group. Both involve cells of people who have to stand up quickly and deal with what may be a rapidly evolving situation. It places a premium on certain skills.

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// by Homeland Security Today

Making sure that every vote counts

With another election fast approaching, it’s time to ask the question: Are you better off today than you were four years ago? The answer, according to the makers of direct recording electronic voting machines, is yes—at least as far as making sure every vote counts is concerned. However, when asked the same question, computer security experts have a different response.

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// by Homeland Security Today

The 2008 IT Report Card

In its annual computer security report card issued in May, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) showed substantial improvement, vaulting from the previous year’s dismal D to a much better B+. However, this good news about DHS’ success in meeting the mandates of the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act, or FISMA, has its critics, some of them within Congress. For its part, DHS had earlier given itself a solid C with regard to cybersecurity.

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// by Homeland Security Today

Registered Traveler: Faster frequent flying, and perhaps help elsewhere

For anybody who’s struggled through airport check-in, help is on the way—but it’s not free. The Registered Traveler program, a public/private partnership, seeks to identify passengers who are a minimal security risk, provide them with a smartcard credential and allow them access to a reserved security lane at the airport. Anecdotal reports indicate that Registered… Keep Reading

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// by Homeland Security Today

Getting good data on demand

You may not need a weatherman, as Bob Dylan asserted, to know which way the wind blows. On the other hand, access to such information doesn’t hurt—particularly if you want to know which way the wind will be blowing.

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// by Homeland Security Today

Visiting the USA? Take 10

I watched the customs officer collect the fingerprints of one visitor entering the United States after another. The line was moving pretty fast, but I suspected things didn’t always go so well.

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// by Homeland Security Today

Cutting the glare of war

Timely, accurate, and relevant information is famously essential to homeland security. It’s also notoriously difficult to process that information into true situational awareness. Our ability to collect information outstrips our ability to analyze and use it. Some commentators have observed that our problem today is not so much the “fog of war” as it is the “glare of war.”

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// by Homeland Security Today

Tags and terrorists

Another cyber-reconnaissance tool for potential attackers is what is known as “geotagged” photos. Keep Reading

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// by Homeland Security Today

Every Eye a Spy

Geospatial information on the Internet has put enormous power in the hands of everyone with a personal computer—a power that can be used for both good and evil. Keep Reading

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// by Homeland Security Today

The IT behind SBInet

As 2007 was ending, there came news of something beginning. In early December, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) directorate of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conditionally accepted Project 28 from its lead contractor, Chicago-based Boeing. This happened despite there being a less than a total meeting of the specifications spelled out in the $20 million contract. In explaining the conditional acceptance, CBP spokesperson Michael Friel said, “The contractor has met the vast majority of the contractual requirements.” Keep Reading

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// by Homeland Security Today

More than just a badge

“There’s the problem,” said the IT manager.

I glanced at the empty cubicle. It looked harmless to me. “Where?”

“There.” She pointed at the monitor, which was adorned with paper. Stepping closer, she tapped the sticky notes one by one. “I count four – no, five – user IDs and passwords.”


 

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// by Homeland Security Today

Sharing information, but not too much

IT snapshot: With the report done and approved, the analyst was just giving it a final check before putting it up on the website. Full of images, graphs and tables, the document spelled out what the agency had accomplished, thanks in part to the information shared across departments via the newly implemented service-oriented architecture. Meant to highlight the good, the document wasn't supposed to divulge anything sensitive.

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// by Homeland Security Today

Follow that car!

IT snapshot: By the time the three trucks reached the bridge, figurative alarm bells were going off throughout the EOC and the commanders were worried. From the bridge video feed, it didn't look like your typical freight convoy. It might be nothing but nobody wanted to take that chance. The nearest black-and-white was at least five, maybe 10 minutes away. Then the trucks split up, each going its own way. They quickly disappeared, blending in with all the other traffic.

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// by Homeland Security Today

Not just points on a map

An IT snapshot: Looking at the image on the screen, the field commander muttered, "Well, if everything were on the roof, we ' d be set. ” Sure, he knew where the streets and buildings were. He even had this overhead shot. But it wasn ' t enough. He needed something from the side so that he could see the exits and their condition. He shook his head. How could you know where everything was and still not really know anything at all?

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// by Homeland Security Today

Going universal with emergency communications

IT snapshot: The deluge of problems started after the storm. People had to be rescued and they needed emergency supplies. The chief of police needed help and he knew it. But he couldn ' t communicate with the outside world. And when help did arrive, problems with interoperability kept the separate groups from communicating with each other. Eventually, things got better, but for a while all he could do was talk to himself —in more ways than one.

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