GAO Reported Cyber security Issues in Emergency Services like 911


With reference to the GAO (Government Accountability Office) reports unveiled last Tuesday, the rescue services of federal government like 911 are vulnerable to cyber-criminal activities now. The introduction of shared systems and internet in such services obviously increases respondents and agencies as well as provides the ultimate chance for cyber-criminal groups.

To meet today’s cyber security challenges, advanced technologies in communications must be provided to the emergency services. On other hand state is unable to provide such advanced and secure cyber systems due to over-budget expenditure. Emergency services like 911 and Police have been operated with substandard equipment which definitely decreases the velocity and efficiency.

Reports also contained that:

Individuals can contact fire, medical, and police first respondents in an emergency by dialing 911.

As per reports:

To provide effective emergency services, public safety entities such as 911 call centers use technology including databases that identifies phone number and location data of callers.

The report further revealed:

Because these critical systems are becoming more interconnected, they are also increasingly susceptible to cyber-based threats that accompany the use of Internet-based services. This, in turn, could impact the availability of 911 services.

About for 600 times in 2013, the emergency services had been found non- responsive due to cyber hacking attacks. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its findings advised the five identified federal agencies (Departments of Homeland Security, Commerce, Justice, and Transportation and Federal Communications Commission) to accept security threats and introduce highly advanced technology as a remedy to block criminal cyber activities by hackers.

To reform the emergency services, Federal Government with the help of DHS (Department of Homeland Security) has taken revolutionary steps to enhance cyber safety systems. An amount of 4.3 million dollars have had been granted to 911 to upgrade technology from 2009 to 2012 by the departments of Commerce and Transportation.

The plans to deal with the threats due to cyber protocol and cloud based infrastructure are at top priority of Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) according to the report. The process of up gradation of internet safety measures in National Public Safety Broadband Network and specially in 911 will be finalized up to December 2014 under the plan named as, “The National Infrastructure Protection Plan”.