The Importance Of Cyber Security For Police, Fire and EMS Departments
Recent studies have shown cyber crime rates show no signs of slowing—in fact, criminals are finding new, innovative ways to access and destroy data and networks (even though 92% of malware is still distributed through e-mail.) The FBI recently said that cybercrime is the biggest threat they face in any of their alert areas, and for good reason—it has globally become a $600 billion industry, up from $445 billion in 2014. And although government organizations, law enforcement, and first responders may not be the first victims the average citizen thinks of, they are frequent cybercrime targets with potentially catastrophic results for public safety and privacy. Cyber solutions for police has become an necessary part of the modern times.
A New Era of Awareness
This rise and prevalence of cybercrime is ushering in a new era of awareness for law enforcement and first responder agencies. Cybersecurity responsibility is not just limited to IT departments of the agencies in specific units—it’s part of the daily lives of all employees, officers, and first responders. Since there are no federal regulations or guidelines governing specific plans of actions, it’s essential for individual agencies to take action and not only become educated about potential cybercrime scenarios, but to take proactive steps and make changes to increase their agency’s security.
A Large Data Breach
Recently, a large data breach affected the federally funded Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) facility at Texas State University, which helps train law enforcement officers for active shooter scenarios. The data breach contained names and work information of law enforcement officers from the FBI and border protection and patrol, as well as home addresses, skills, and capabilities of over 17,000 instructors, and an email database with detailed information on how prepared specific police departments and agencies are at handling active shooter information.
One compromised email revealed that a police department “doesn’t have a full-time SWAT team,” and ALERRT responded that the organization couldn’t accommodate their request for training. Another compromised message from a police sergeant requested training, stating that any shooter response team would be more than a half hour away from their rural town.
It’s not difficult to see why this information could be completely disastrous in the wrong hands—not only would a data breach of this severity cripple an agency’s ability to do its job, but it puts the lives of officers, first responders, and the community at risk when information of this significance is revealed.
Up until recently, cybercrime knowledge across agencies has been limited to how it impacts citizens. Cybersecurity training and knowledge isn’t just an option anymore—it’s the future of policing, and it has to include a comprehensive solution for agency cybersecurity in addition to helping protect the community. Clear policies, employee training, secure networks, and an incident response team and procedure are absolutely imperative to protect police and first responders from data breaches.
Applied Network Solutions is an experienced team of engineers and technologists building and securing critical infrastructures, and we’re experienced in solving critical issues within the networks and cyber domains.
Not only do we build the most secure enterprise systems, we give you the distinct skills to see, understand, and respond to network activities. With our integrated solutions, we build the ability to quickly visualize and analyze your threat landscape as well as identify and respond to threats. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your organization reach optimal security, contact us today.