MCP Insights

If You Do Nothing Else, Implement Multifactor Authentication to Head Off Cyberattacks

Posted on May 28, 2020 by Mike Beagles

MCP’s NetInform solution leverages a variety of tools that enable our subject-matter experts to assess our clients’ communications network security postures. That assessment includes looking for vulnerabilities that could allow a bad actor to gain access to the network and then navigate through it, seeking opportunities to perform cyberattacks. Typically, a lot of vulnerabilities exist, and they’re not always easy to see. It can be something as simple as a network port being left open by a service technician after the work is done, or a former employee’s account is still active long after they left. This is problematic because numerous, easy-to-use scanning programs are readily available to hackers that enable them to probe an organization’s network to discover every open port, i.e., breach point, and attempt access.

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Whitepaper Cautions Against Using TIGER Data for GIS Data Development

Posted on May 21, 2020 by Glenn Bischoff

Geographic information system (GIS) data is a foundational component in the migration to, and continuing operation of, Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems.

But developing local GIS data so that it aligns with NG911 standards is a laborious and time-consuming process that can take months or years to complete.

Despite this, MCP’s Robert Horne, one of the firm’s GIS gurus, cautions in a recent whitepaper against taking shortcuts in developing GIS data for use in a NG911 environment. Spe cifically, Robert writes that public safety agencies should avoid using the U.S. Census Bureau’s open-source Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) data for 911 call-routing purposes. TIGER data is available free of charge, but does not meet basic public safety requirements, nor the established NG911 standards, Robert writes. This is due to incomplete data attribution, poor spatial accuracy, incomplete coverage of the PSAP’s jurisdictional footprint, inaccurate street names and address ranges, and a lagging data update schedule. local GIS data so that it aligns with NG911 standards is a laborious and time-c onsuming process that can take months or years to complete.
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One Way To Keep Public Safety Technology Procurements from Derailing

Posted on May 5, 2020 by Glenn McLemee

Emergency communications centers need a lot of gear. They need wireless communications systems to communicate with first responders in the field. They need call-handling systems to process 911 calls. They need computer-aided dispatch systems, as well as mapping and automatic vehicle location applications, to dispatch the appropriate emergency response. And those are just the backbone systems. The ECC technology ecosystem that enables effective emergency response is quite expansive.

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Cybersecurity Threat Advisory: Hackers Still Are Exploiting COVID-19

Posted on April 28, 2020 by Mike Beagles

As part of our effort to inform our clients about potential and serious cybersecurity issues, MCP provides advisories about vulnerabilities and exploits that could threaten the operations of their mission-critical communications networks. Sign up to receive these advisories in your inbox as soon as they are released.

This week, there is a new critical alert that requires the mission-critical community’s immediate attention.

Advisory Summary

Hacking groups still are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to perform cyberattacks. The United States’ Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a joint alert regarding the threats. To combat these threats, their recommendations are focused on user training and good cyber hygiene. A comprehensive list of recommendations to mitigate the risk can be found on the CISA website.

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Why COOP/DR Plans Need to Consider GIS Data Maintenance

Posted on April 17, 2020 by Robert Horne

A couple of weeks ago, MCP’s Richard Gaston posted about why it is critically important for every public-safety agency, regardless of size and resources, to have continuity-of-operations plans (COOP) and disaster-recovery (DR) plans in place. This post addresses an element that is lacking in many such plans, a gap that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus—geographic information system (GIS) data maintenance.

For decades, location of 911 callers was determined solely by querying the master street address guide (MSAG) and automatic location identification (ALI) tabular databases. About a quarter century ago, GIS-generated data entered the picture—quite literally—as computer-aided dispatch (GIS) system mapping applications began to leverage it to depict 911-caller locations on the map display on telecommunicators’ screens. In the Next Generation 911 (NG911) environment, GIS data will play an even bigger role, because geospatial data will replace MSAG and ALI data as the primary means of locating 911 callers.

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