FRESH IDEAS IN PUBLIC SAFETY


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      • What's Your Pa$$word? Secure Your Organization by Securing Your Accounts

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:21 PM by Lesley Carhart

        About this Series
        There was a time in the not-so-distant past when personal and work lives were two separate things. A person worked at the office, went home, and usually had little to do with his or her employer until the next day. Since the advent of the home computer, the mobile phone, then telecommuting and social media, these lines have blurred. For better or for worse, our personal lives creep into our work, and we're often working during our "off" hours. What many people don't consider is the unprecedented security risk this poses to our employers. Our personal choices can impact the security of our organizations, and making the right choices can help deter attempts at theft and damage. With this series of blogs, we dig into current threats to cybersecurity for everyone — and for organizations.

        Read Part 1 here: Secure Your Organization by Securing Yourself on Social Networks
        Read Part 2 here: Secure Your Organization by Securing Yourself: Beware the Removable Device

        This is part three of a multi-part blog series.

        The topic of password security has been spoken about continually for the past two decades. However, passwords continue to be a problem for almost every organization, and "password" and "qwerty" are still among the most common passwords in the world. Let's go through seven basic facts about authentication and see if your accounts are as secure as they should be.

        1. Everybody should know the basics of how passwords are cracked. For your security, most passwords are stored and transmitted in an encrypted form. There are two ways a hacker can decrypt, or "crack" your passwords. The first is "brute force". This requires generating every possible combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, encrypting each one the same way, and checking if the result matches your encrypted password. For longer passwords, this can be very time consuming. The faster option is a "dictionary" attack, which means checking the encrypted password against the encrypted results of a large dictionary of known words or names. So, passwords that are words are generally significantly easier to decrypt than random strings or phrases.
        2. We've all been trained to think about password creation wrong. Years of password instructions have made us think of passwords in a faulty way. We've been brainwashed into creating one or two-word passwords containing a numbers and punctuation, like ‘P@55w0rd!'. Oddly, in most cases there is no longer anything that limits us to a single word. Most modern software allows for very long passwords, and it's more secure to use a passphrase, or a short sentence. A sentence is easy to remember, contains spaces and some punctuation, and can easily contain a number if required. I can't demonstrate this more succinctly than xkcd.com:
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        3. Hackers know all of your password tricks. Password-cracking software has evolved to the point where it can automatically check for words in which letters have been replaced by numbers. Numbers and punctuation at the end can be ignored as well (forget adding the month or year). Checking all these possibilities may take longer, but today the distinction is seconds or minutes, not hours or days. See if you can find any of your ‘tricks' in the built-in options in the password cracking software Cain:
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        4. Hackers love it when you reuse your passwords. Nothing will make Jane Hacker happier than cracking the password to your home PC, then finding it opens your Twitter account and your work email, too. I'm not naïve enough to expect everyone to memorize long, complicated passwords. If you're having trouble, use a reputable password manager, like Keepass or Lastpass, which can generate strong passwords and store them securely for your use.
        5. Hackers also love it when you don't change your passwords. There are endless ways that your passwords could be stolen; both in and outside of your control. Presume that at some point, your passwords will be intercepted or stolen from a third party. It does take time for thieves to decrypt large numbers of passwords when they are stolen in bulk, or sell them on the black market. The bottom line is: Changing your passwords on a regular basis is a real simple thing that you can do to help protect yourself.
        6. The password really is dead. Michael Barrett of PayPal stated fittingly this year, "Passwords, when used ubiquitously everywhere at Internet scale, are starting to fail us." More powerful computers, easy-to-use hacking tools, and shared resources have made it a trivial effort for anybody to crack passwords. Organizations and developers need to find new ways to authenticate users. Which leads us to…
        7. Everybody should be using two-factor authentication. Most large social networking, financial, and email websites now support two-factor authentication. This means using a combination of something you know (such as your password or pin number), and something you have (a token, mobile phone, your fingerprint, or a smart card) to authenticate you. Checking a text message on your mobile phone to log into Gmail provides a drastic increase in your security in exchange for a small inconvenience.

        Over the next decade, it is very likely we will see more methods of authenticating users without passwords. Organizations are moving in the right direction. The Bank of Utah is monitoring the way users type, while Motorola Mobility has gone so far as to imagine a world where we take pills or use tattoos to log into computers. Unfortunately, it is also likely we will still see passwords in use at work and at home for many years to come. Good password practices and awareness can help decrease the risk associated with them.

        Lesley Carhart is a Senior Information Security Specialist in the Motorola Solutions Security Operations Center. She has 13 years of experience in information technology, including computer networking and tactical communications. For the past five years, she has focused on security, specializing in digital forensics.

        Read past blogs by Lesley Carhart here:

        Secure Your Organization by Securing Yourself: Beware the Removable Device

        Secure Your Organization by Securing Yourself on Social Networks

        Log Monitoring and Cyberthreat Detection

      • Motorola Solutions Demonstrates Technology at APCO 2013

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:21 PM by Motorola Solutions

        The APCO 2013 conference was held in Anaheim California last week, and it was an exciting week full of great discussions with our customers. If you were not able to join us at APCO this year, I thought I would share with you some of the highlights from Motorola Solutions' presenters in our booth at the show.

        Rachael O'Connor from our ASTRO 25 team talks about the latest enhancements to the powerful ASTRO 25 Mission critical system which helps public safety agencies around the world.

        Citizen text to 9-1-1 is an issue facing PSAPs everywhere. Brian Frommelt from our command center team talks about new capabilities that can allow citizens to text to their 9-1-1 center.

        Aggregating information and sharing it in real time with officers in the field is a challenge agencies face. New technology is making it possible and Ryan Seick from our Public Safety applications business is going to explain a new application for tablets or laptops that simplifies data aggregation, Intelligent Data Portal.

        Motorola is constantly innovating new public safety concepts and part of that process is asking for customer feedback. At APCO Julie Folden from our Public Safety Application business was demonstrating a new thought leadership concept using Google® Glass to enhance information access for the officer on the street. Check it out as we look into the future to see what's next.

        This is an exciting time in public safety communications, as new capabilities become available to connect citizens and officers in the field with the right information at the right time. This is just a slice of some of the new and exciting offerings to help agencies respond more effectively.

        Please take a moment to visit our Public safety web site or check back to our blog site where we will continue to address the challenges that public safety faces with new and innovative thought leadership solutions.

        Liz Matz is a Senior Solutions Marketing Manager for Motorola Solutions.

        This blog features the following Motorola Solutions employees:

        Rachael O'Connor, Motorola Solutions - ASTRO 25 Systems & Infrastructure Operations, Strategic Marketing Manager

        Brian Frommelt, Motorola solutions – NG 9-1-1, Senior Product Manager

        Ryan Seick, Motorola Solutions, Lead Applications Manager

        Julie Folden, Motorola Solutions, Public Safety Mobility Applications Product Manager

        Follow us on Twitter @MotPublicSafety to stay on top of public safety communications news or visit our web site to learn more about solutions we are developing to help make Safer Cities.

      • Delivering Intelligence in Real-Time

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:21 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Dissecting a Real-Time Crime Center Solution at APCO

        Today, public safety has access to a lot of information sources that might be relevant to an incident, but the challenge they face is making the information usable in mid-incident. This week at the APCO conference in Anaheim, I was talking to conference attendees about Motorola's Real Time Crime Center Solution and how we can help them to take information such as video camera inputs, CAD, voice and make it usable in real time to improve incident response. If you were not able to attend the show and would like to hear about this aggregation platform, I encourage you to watch my video.

        Steve Beach Reviews the Real-time Console

        Check back to this blog site where you will find additional discussions around the topic of Real-Time Crime Centers and how setting up a center in your town can help you to provide better situational awareness. If you would like more information today drop me a comment and I will get back to you.

        Steve Beach is a Motorola Global Solutions Engagement Manager focused on helping police departments unify existing information sources, aggregate them on a single platform and then deliver that intelligence to first responders.

      • Public Safety Enters the Collective Intelligence Era

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:21 PM by Motorola Solutions

        High-speed, Mission-critical Wireless Communications Help First responders Overcome Public Safety Enemy #1: the Unknown

        It's often said that what you don't know can't hurt you. But in public safety, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, perhaps the biggest challenge first responders face is being forced to deal with the unknown.

        Public safety CIOs are tasked with the important job of making sure the right information gets to the right people, in the right way, at the right time. Over the years, the quality of information and the ways it can be collected and communicated have improved substantially. And more recently, we entered the era of “collective intelligence,” where everybody and an ever-increasing number of “things” can produce and consume information. It's not simply pushed out to individuals in the field, but is shared among team members and disparate teams via two-way broadband communication technology to increase situational awareness.

        For example, each individual or team at an incident scene has a unique perspective and can collect information that may be unknown to others. Next generation public safety wireless communication networks will make it possible for everyone on the team – from dispatch to command to individual first responders – to access, contribute and share critical information in real-time.

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        The collective intelligence era correlates with the advent of the ubiquitous broadband wireless internet, smart devices, cloud computing and social networking. Essentially, we are taking the social networking phenomenon and applying it to public safety in a structured way. Agencies are communicating and collaborating in a social, interactive way over land mobile radio (LMR) and broadband networks. Public safety professionals are able to interactively collaborate over a variety of communication technologies and portable devices to bring up-to-the-instant knowledge to response teams as events evolve and are resolved.

        For example, a SWAT team dealing with a hostage situation can use two-way streaming video for communications and collaboration. High performance bi-directional communications allow the “feet on the street” to not just access the collective, but dynamically contribute content to it. Video is captured on the scene by officers on the ground, in vehicles or in helicopters, by the general population, or it may be filmed by robots or drones.

        Constant feeds of images and information from different perspectives are streamed to the on-scene mobile command unit. The team leader then directs the video feeds to provide responders with the most relevant information, and disseminates the video to whoever needs it to enhance safety with improved situational awareness.

        Collective intelligence is just as critical on a fire scene, for example, at a chemical plant. Incident command centers and individual firefighters can access a wealth of real-time information on wireless broadband devices such as ruggedized handheld computers. Each team member can gain immediate access to building details such as floor plans, sensor inputs, location of hazardous materials and more. They can also get streaming video from various angles and perspectives. When the incident commander in the mobile command center views live footage from a helicopter or drone, he sees what the team on the ground can't see: that the cut they're about to make to vent the roof is being made in a less than optimal place. The commander annotates the video to the team leader, who then moves the venting operation to a more effective location.

        Public Safety LTE will be essential to deliver exceptional real-time situational awareness and allow managers to prioritize and pre-empt traffic whenever necessary in emergency situations. Although still in the planning process, FirstNet – the nation's proposed coast-to-coast interoperable public safety broadband network – will ultimately enable first responders in every part of the U.S. to communicate and collaborate with others in times of statewide, regional or national emergencies like hurricanes, major floods or acts of terrorism.

        Bottom line – collective intelligence systems help save first responders and the public from the dangers of the unknown. It's also a future paradigm enabled by technology. We can only imagine how it will play out based on advancements in broadband networks, portable devices and public safety applications.

        Learn more about collective intelligence.

        Paul Steinberg is Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Motorola Solutions, Inc.

        Read additional blogs by Paul Steinberg here.

        Click here to learn more about innovation and technology leadership at Motorola Solutions.

      • Architect a Plan for the New Realities of Public Safety Communications

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:21 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Over the course of my career, I have had the unique opportunity to meet with public safety customers around the world. What’s interesting is that no matter the size of their organizations or their location, they face the same challenges. And I hear the same question again and again, "How will technology help keep my citizens safer?"

        To answer this question, we need to consider the rapidly changing operational landscape for public safety agencies. Two of the biggest new realities are the ever-increasing volume of data and the growing complexity of devices and networks available.

        Data Requirements

        Big data is changing how government and public safety works. It drives decisions and helps allocate resources. But almost daily, there are new kinds of big data to contend with. Police departments understand that fixed and mobile video are critical to the evidentiary process; however, an agency may have only one analyst watching 1,500 camera feeds and may struggle with effective ways to store and share all of the data. Social media has transformed citizen expectations, but emergency call centers are not prepared to handle the flood of new information, let alone process texts, photos and videos. Data is important – 89 percent of public safety decision makers agree that mission critical data is as important as voice communications – but so is managing it.

        The Need for Mission Critical Networks

        Every agency should have a plan for public and private network communications. The weight given to each network depends on agency requirements. The disasters over the last few years have proven that public carrier networks are not designed to be mission critical. You need to find a balanced approach that will give you the reliable, always-on connectivity required to keep citizens and cities safe. A mission-critical architecture provides that, along with the security to keep networks, devices and data access secure.

        The Right Plan

        Today, you have all this data, volumes and volumes of it, much of it unstructured. You also have a wide range of network issues to deal with as a result. You may be thinking: "I need a plan, what’s my plan? What will my needs be five years from now? How will I connect the dots and get where I need to be?" It’s important to have a plan in place to figure out how to get there. That plan needs to answer a few key questions:

        • How do you get unstructured data into a structured format? How do you turn data into intelligence? What analytics are required?
        • How do you get only the most relevant information to responders so they can make better proactive decisions? How do you integrate applications?
        • How do you ensure the mission critical performance of your networks, applications and devices? What can you live without should a carrier network fail?

        Mission critical technology plays an important role in architecting that plan. It should be tailored to your agency needs, flexible enough to adapt and evolve with you as those needs change, easy and cost-effective to migrate over time, and intuitive to how public safety works – both in the command center and out in the field. At the end of the day, it really comes down to using the data you have to do your job better, be more proactive and work more efficiently.

        My development team at Motorola continues to look for ways to use technology to keep responders and citizens safe. With our VALR™ Mission Critical Architecture, we enable agencies to collect, correlate and share data between existing sy

        stems, responders in the field and other agencies – helping to improve response and keep cities safer.

        Bob Schassler is Motorola's Senior Vice President for Government Solutions.

        To learn more about how our VALR Architecture can help your organization, click here.

        Read additional blogs by Bob Schassler here.

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      • What Not to Miss at APCO 2013

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:21 PM by Motorola Solutions

        APCO 2013 is almost here! More than 5,000 attendees are expected to attend this major trade show for public safety communicators, which kicks off on August 18th in Anaheim, California. This year's theme is "Connect, Innovate and Accelerate" – with a focus on the newest advances in public safety communications technology.

        I wanted to highlight a few of the interesting seminars you might want to attend while you are at APCO:

        "Predictive Policing: Enabling your Agency Now"

        Monday Aug.19 - 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., Presentation Theater

        Alf Fordham, the assistant Commissioner of Intelligence and Communications, Western Australia Police, and Tom Gross from Motorola Solutions, will talk about technology advancements that can enhance your operations, whether responding to or preventing crime and protecting the community. These senior leaders will share their experience and vision blending systems like CAD and Real-Time Crime Centers to drive enhanced intelligence practices.)

        Real-life "Argo" Hero & CIA Operatives

        Tuesday, Aug. 20, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m., Anaheim Marriott Platinum Ballroom

        The 2012 film "Argo", which starred Ben Affleck as CIA operative Tony Mendez, told the story of how Mendez engineered and oversaw the extraction of six U.S. diplomats from Iran during the hostage crisis. At this keynote breakfast, Mendez and his wife, Jonna, both former CIA Chiefs of Disguise, will talk about the experience and share lessons learned.

        T-Band: What's Next for Public Safety

        Wednesday, Aug. 21, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m., Presentation Theater

        Public safety is a heavy user of the T-Band (470-512 MHz) spectrum in the top 11 urban areas. Congress passed legislation that requires the FCC to auction that spectrum for commercial use by 2021 with public safety clearing out of the band by 2023. Come and listen to a panel of experts and users, including Stu Overby from Motorola Solutions, as they address potential spectrum options, relocation costs and timing, and recommended next steps.

        Partnerships with Utilities for the 700 MHz National Broadband Public Safety Broadband Network

        Wednesday, Aug. 21, 3:45 p.m.

        As potential partners are considered for the construction, maintenance and operation of the 700 MHz public safety broadband network (PSBN), utilities are among those under consideration. Mike Koch of Motorola Solutions participates in a panel discussion on the concept, where utilities could provide access to infrastructure and other resources, particularly in rural and underserved areas. Partnering with utilities can also promote opportunities for improving interoperability during emergency response, such as hurricanes and other disasters.

        And don't forget to stop by the Motorola booth, where we will be demonstrating some of the most advanced solutions for public safety, from the Real-time Crime Center to the latest in in-vehicle and on-the-officer communications. Learn how we are creating a mission critical architecture that will help you to unify your data and provide dynamic intelligence to officers in the field.

        I am really looking forward to the show this year, and we hope you are too. Learn more about the show on the APCO 2013 site and follow @MotPublicSafety and hashtag #APCO2013 on Twitter to keep up with event happenings. If you are not able to attend APCO, check out the latest in public safety communications from Motorola here.

        Alan Lopez is Director of Government Solutions Marketing for Motorola Solutions.

        Read additional blogs by Alan Lopez here.

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