News & Information       http://info.owt.com

Security

11/24/2020   Security Focus Vulnerabilities
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Privilege Escalation Vulnerability (CVE-2019-1888)
11/24/2020   Security Focus Vulnerabilities
[SECURITY] [DSA 4633-1] curl security update
11/24/2020   Security Focus Vulnerabilities
LPE and RCE in OpenSMTPD's default install (CVE-2020-8794)
11/24/2020   Security Focus Vulnerabilities
Local information disclosure in OpenSMTPD (CVE-2020-8793)
11/24/2020   SecurityFocus News
Enterprise Intrusion Analysis, Part One
11/24/2020   SecurityFocus News
Responding to a Brute Force SSH Attack
11/24/2020   SecurityFocus News
Data Recovery on Linux and <i>ext3</i>

>> Advertisement <<
Can you answer the ERP quiz?
These 10 questions determine if your Enterprise RP rollout gets an A+.
http://www.findtechinfo.com/as/acs?pl=781&ca=909
11/24/2020   SecurityFocus News
WiMax: Just Another Security Challenge?
11/24/2020   SecurityFocus News
Time to Squish SQL Injection
11/24/2020   SecurityFocus News
Lazy Workers May Be Deemed Hackers

>> Advertisement <<
Can you answer the ERP quiz?
These 10 questions determine if your Enterprise RP rollout gets an A+.
http://www.findtechinfo.com/as/acs?pl=781&ca=909
11/24/2020   SecurityFocus News
The Scale of Security
11/24/2020   SecurityFocus News
Hacker-Tool Law Still Does Little
11/24/2020   Sophos Security
These crooks hacked into a network hoping to get everyone in the company to buy them gift cards.
11/23/2020   Sophos Security
Here's the latest Naked Security Live video - how to beat the crooks! Watch now...
11/20/2020   Sophos Security
Do you ever make, ahem, "pointed remarks" just before answering calls from people you would rather avoid?
11/19/2020   Sophos Security
Here's the latest podcast - listen now!
11/19/2020   InfoWorld Security

Much of the anti-adversarial research has been on the potential for minute, largely undetectable alterations to images (researchers generally refer to these as “noise perturbations”) that cause AI’s machine learning (ML) algorithms to misidentify or misclassify the images. Adversarial tampering can be extremely subtle and hard to detect, even all the way down to pixel-level subliminals. If an attacker can introduce nearly invisible alterations to image, video, speech, or other data for the purpose of fooling AI-powered classification tools, it will be difficult to trust this otherwise sophisticated technology to do its job effectively.

Growing threat to deployed AI apps

This is no idle threat. Eliciting false algorithmic inferences can cause an AI-based app to make incorrect decisions, such as when a self-driving vehicle misreads a traffic sign and then turns the wrong way or, in a worst-case scenario, crashes into a building, vehicle, or pedestrian. Though the research literature focuses on simulated adversarial ML attacks that were conducted in controlled laboratory environments, general knowledge that these attack vectors are available will almost certainly cause terrorists, criminals, or mischievous parties to exploit them.

To read this article in full, please click here

11/18/2020   Sophos Security
Here's the latest Sophos Threat Report - learn what cybercriminals are up to on Windows, Linux, Android and more
11/16/2020   Sophos Security
Bad news: data stolen, data dumped, customers affected. Good news: crooks got $0. The ransom was $11M, so that's a big deal!
11/16/2020   Sophos Security
Here's the latest Naked Security Live video - enjoy (and please share with your friends)!
11/16/2020   Sophos Security
Join us this week or next week for a free online event to learn how cybersecurity is evolving, and why.
11/12/2020   Department of Homeland Security

Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Chad F. Wolf, introduced two new members to the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC): Tom Jenkins and Catherine Lotrionte. Created by President George W. Bush in 2002, the HSAC is a Department of Homeland Security federal advisory committee that provides the secretary with independent, informed recommendations, and advice on a variety of homeland security issues.

“My vision for the Homeland Security Advisory Council, consistent with its charter, is to seek strategic, timely, specific and actionable advice on a range of homeland security issues,” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “I’m pleased to appoint these leaders in their respective fields to the council, and I thank all the HSAC members for their continued service to the country, and to the Department.”

Please find additional background information on the new Homeland Security Advisory Council members below.

Tom Jenkins was appointed Fire Chief for the City of Rogers, Arkansas on January 16, 2009.  In this capacity he is responsible for over 150 career firefighters in ten locations.  Chief Jenkins has served under Governors Beebe and Hutchison on several state commissions and groups, including the Trauma Advisory Council, the Firefighter Benefit Review Panel and the Safe Schools Commission.  Chief Jenkins has served as a professor for both Northwest Arkansas Community College, Drury University and Oklahoma State University, teaching topics that range from leadership and administration to fire hydraulics and suppression tactics.  Chief Jenkins served as the President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs from 2017-2018. 

Catherine Lotrionte is a Senior Researcher at Georgetown University, a Senior Associate in the Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a Senior Fellow at the McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security at Auburn University. Previously she served as the Brent Scowcroft scholar at the Atlantic Council. She is also the founder and former Director of the CyberProject at Georgetown University, where she has taught and written on international and national security law, international affairs and technology. At Georgetown she founded the Annual International Conference on Cyber Engagement which draws on the experience of government practitioners, industry representatives and academic scholars, providing technical, corporate, legal and policy perspectives from the international community.

On Thursday, the HSAC gathered to welcome the new members, discuss homeland security issues, and receive briefings from the council's Economic Security, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Risk Reduction, Youth Engagement, Biometrics, Emerging Technologies and Academic subcommittees. Additionally, the HSAC received public comment on, reviewed, deliberated, and voted to approve, the final reports from the subcommittees on Economic Security, ICT Risk Reduction, Emerging Technologies, and Biometrics. These final reports will now be delivered to Acting Secretary Wolf.

For more information about the HSAC, visit www.dhs.gov/hsac.

Keywords: Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC)
Topics:
11/12/2020   Sophos Security
New episode - listen now!
11/11/2020   Sophos Security
You need to spread the word to your family and friends NOT to spread the word to their family and friends
11/11/2020   InfoWorld Security

The year was 2012, and a revised security protocol called OAuth 2 swept the web, allowing users to use security providers to easily log in to websites. Many single sign-on systems, from AWS’s Cognito to Okta, implement OAuth. OAuth is what enables you to “authenticate with Google” or other providers to a completely different website or application.

It works like a beer festival. You go to a desk and authenticate with your ID (and some money), and they give you tokens. From there, you go to each beer tent and exchange a token for a beer. The individual brewer does not need to check your ID or ask if you paid. They just take the token and hand you a beer. OAuth works the same way, but with websites instead of beers.

To read this article in full, please click here

11/11/2020   InfoWorld Security

Developers often want to do the “right” thing when it comes to security, but they don’t always know what that is. In order to help developers continue to move quickly, while achieving better security outcomes, organizations are turning to DevSecOps.

DevSecOps is the mindset shift of making all parties who are part of the application development lifecycle accountable for the security of the application, by continuously integrating security across your development process. In practice, this means shifting security reviews and testing left—i.e., shifting from auditing or enforcing at deployment time to checking security controls earlier at build or development time.

To read this article in full, please click here

11/04/2020   InfoWorld Security

Looking to bring security and compliance analytics to devops, IBM has added its Code Risk Analyzer capability to its IBM Cloud Continuous Delivery service.

Code Risk Analyzer is described by IBM as a security measure that can be configured to run at the start of a developer’s code pipeline, analyzing and reviewing Git repositories to discover issues with open source code. The goal is to help application teams recognize cybersecurity threats, prioritize application security problems, and resolve security issues. IBM Cloud Continuous Delivery helps provision toolchains, automate tests and builds, and control software quality with analytics.

To read this article in full, please click here

11/04/2020   InfoWorld Security

In the cloud-native space, microservice architectures and containers are reshaping the way that enterprises build and deploy applications. They function, in a word, differently than traditional monolithic applications.

Microservices are far more distributed and dynamic than their traditional counterparts. A single application might have tens or hundreds of microservices, leading potentially to thousands of separate OS-level processes, each with its own API, deployed across multiple data centers all over the world, and spun up and down dynamically. These architectural differences from monolithic applications cause challenges for developers, operations, and security alike.

To read this article in full, please click here

11/02/2020   Department of Homeland Security

Throughout the pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has stood ready to assist communities across the nation in the fight against COVID-19.

“Under the guidance of President Trump and this Administration, the Department of Homeland Security has taken unprecedented action to fight COVID-19,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. “There is no doubt that the COVID-19 related measures the Department undertook, especially at our southern border, continues to save American lives. DHS stands ready to assist and address unforeseen challenges that come our way, and we remain committed to protecting the safety and security of the American public.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Providing Grants to States for Supplemental Lost Wages Payments. To ease the economic burden for those struggling with lost wages due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Trump authorized FEMA to expend up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund for lost wage payments. As of October 16th, Administrator Gaynor has approved 49 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and the District of Columbia for FEMA grants under this unprecedented program. FEMA’s grant funding will allow the approved states to provide those unemployed due to COVID-19 $300 or 400 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefit. As of October 16th, FEMA has awarded more than $42.4 Billion in support of Lost Wages supplemental assistance. All approved grant applicants receive an initial obligation of three weeks of funding, with additional disbursements made on a weekly basis.

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)

Graduating the Next Generation of Law Enforcement. FLETC continues to successfully implement testing, identification, isolation and containment protocols in managing the COVID-19 virus. As of October 23, nearly 4,000 officers and agents have successfully graduated and are now in the field performing work that is critical to protect the homeland since training was restarted on June 17. There are currently 2,402 students attending in-residence training at Glynco, Charleston, and Artesia training delivery points, with an additional 71 students attending training at the Cheltenham training delivery point. Their graduation in the coming months and the continual influx of new students ensures that our federal law enforcement partners receive the trained personnel they need to help keep our nation secure. In addition, more than 7,200 officers and agents from federal, state, local, and tribal have taken part in FLETC online training, including nearly 4,200 participants for the Integrated Use of Force series.

Science and Technology (S&T)

Driving Evidence-Based Policymaking. On October 28, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate updated its Master Question List (MQL), and does so weekly, to compile available research on operationally-relevant questions to aid decision makers in the COVID-19 response. The MQL is a quick-reference guide covering what is known about the virus, what additional information is needed, and who may be working to address these fundamental questions. New entries include:

  • There is some evidence that asymptomatic individuals transmit SARS-CoV-2 less often than symptomatic individuals, and asymptomatic children may have substantially lower levels of virus in their upper respiratory tracts than symptomatic children.
    • Kociolek, L. K.; Muller, W. J.; Yee, R.; Dien Bard, J.; Brown, C. A.; Revell, P.; Wardell, H.; Savage, T. J.; Jung, S.; Dominguez, S.; Parikh, B. A.; Jerris, R. C.; Kehl, S. C.; Campigotto, A.; Bender, J. M.; Zheng, X.; Muscat, E.; Linam, M.; Abuogi, L.; Smith, C.; Graff, K.; Hernandez-Leyva, A.; Williams, D.; Pollock, N. R., Comparison of upper respiratory viral load distributions in asymptomatic and symptomatic children diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection in pediatric hospital testing programs. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2020, JCM.02593-20. https://jcm.asm.org/content/jcm/early/2020/10/22/JCM.02593-20.full.pdf
  • In a large Chinese case series (n=1,407), superspreading events were less common (k=0.7) drivers of transmission.
    • He, D.; Zhao, S.; Xu, X.; Lin, Q.; Zhuang, Z.; Cao, P.; Wang, M. H.; Lou, Y.; Xiao, L.; Wu, Y.; Yang, L., Low dispersion in the infectiousness of COVID-19 cases implies difficulty in control. BMC Public Health 2020, 20 (1), 1558. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09624-2
  • Patients being released from the hospital may still exhale detectable levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA (~7,000 genome copies per hour), though the infectivity of these patients is unknown.
    • Zhou, L.; Yao, M.; Zhang, X.; Hu, B.; Li, X.; Chen, H.; Zhang, L.; Liu, Y.; Du, M.; Sun, B.; Jiang, Y.; Zhou, K.; Hong, J.; Yu, N.; Ding, Z.; Xu, Y.; Hu, M.; Morawska, L.; Grinshpun, S. A.; Biswas, P.; Flagan, R. C.; Zhu, B.; Liu, W.; Zhang, Y., Breath-, air- and surface-borne SARS-CoV-2 in hospitals. Journal of Aerosol Science 2020, 105693. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021850220301786
  • Exhaled breath condensate may be an effective supplement to nasopharyngeal swab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
    • Ryan, D. J.; Toomey, S.; Madden, S. F.; Casey, M.; Breathnach, O. S.; Morris, P. G.; Grogan, L.; Branagan, P.; Costello, R. W.; De Barra, E.; Hurley, K.; Gunaratnam, C.; McElvaney, N. G.; OBrien, M. E.; Sulaiman, I.; Morgan, R. K.; Hennessy, B. T., Use of exhaled breath condensate (EBC) in the diagnosis of SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19). Thorax 2020, thoraxjnl-2020-215705. https://thorax.bmj.com/content/thoraxjnl/early/2020/10/23/thoraxjnl-2020-215705.full.pdf
  • Reductions in transmission are generally visible 6-9 days after the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), and increased transmission is generally visible 14-20 days after NPIs are lifted.
    • Li, Y.; Campbell, H.; Kulkarni, D.; Harpur, A.; Nundy, M.; Wang, X.; Nair, H., The temporal association of introducing and lifting non-pharmaceutical interventions with the time-varying reproduction number (R) of SARS-CoV-2: a modelling study across 131 countries. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30785-4
  • SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be detected on leather and synthetic leather products for at least 8 days.
  • It appears that pollen or air particulates are not carriers of SARS-CoV-2, despite some country-level associations.
  • Experiments with mannequins show that face masks reduce potential spread of SARS-CoV-2 when worn by an infectious individual, but also that face masks by non-infected recipients can reduce the number of inhaled particles; the protective effect was maximized when both infected and uninfected individuals (mannequins) wore masks.
  • Researchers have identified a number of human proteins associated with COVID-19 severity, which could be used as a screening tool for designing appropriate treatment regimens.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Keeping Americans Safe While Ensuring Continuity of U.S. Travel and Commerce. Between Oct. 18th through Oct. 24th, TSA screened more than 5.9 million passengers, who have all reached their destinations safely. TSA officers are required to wear facial protection and gloves while on duty at the checkpoint. In support of air travel and all other modes of transportation, the agency continues to follow CDC guidance to protect Americans, its workers, and the nation’s transportation system. TSA continues to promote its “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign which outlines significant airport checkpoint modifications, including new technologies that reduce or eliminate physical contact, implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19, comply with CDC guidelines, and promote healthy and secure summer travel.

Ready to Ensure Safety During the Summer Travel Period. TSA announced ongoing deployments of various technologies at airports nationwide to contain the spread of COVID-19. Those efforts included 3D computed tomography (CT) equipment at Bishop International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport, as well as acrylic barriers installed at John F. Kennedy International Airport and new credential authentication technology equipment at Atlantic City International Airport.

United States Coast Guard (USCG)

Monitoring Vessels that Pose a Risk to Public Health. As of October 23rd, the USCG is tracking 62 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a U.S. port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with approximately 9,736 crewmembers. This includes an estimated 190 American Citizens crewmembers dispersed among 33 vessels. The Coast Guard is working with the CDC based on its extension of the No Sail Order for cruise ships, which permits the off-loading of crewmembers following submission of a plan to the CDC.

Reservists. As of October 23rd, the USCG has recalled and deployed 453 Reservists in support of COVID-19 operations. They are activated to serve in numerous types of roles, including work in IT support, medical clinics, PPE warehouses, command centers and other incident management roles, notably assisting federal partners such as HHS, and supporting state emergency operations centers on behalf of FEMA.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Keeping the Public Safe from COVID-19-related Fraud. ICE’s Operation Stolen Promise (OSP) targets fraudulent activity stemming from the pandemic. The initiative combines ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) expertise in global trade investigations, financial fraud, and cyber investigations with robust private and public partnerships to disrupt and dismantle this criminal activity and strengthen global supply-chain security. As of October 28, as part of OSP, the agency has made 166 criminal arrests, analyzed 68,343 COVID-19-related domains, seized more than $ 12,755,665 million in illicit proceeds, disrupted 51 instances of illicit activity, sent 1,432 leads to domestic and international field offices, executed 141 search warrants and made 1,598 COVID-19-related seizures to include prohibited test kits and pharmaceuticals, counterfeit masks and more.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

CBP Continues to Keep America Safe. From January 1 through October 19, CBP seized:

  • 386 seizures of FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits, with more than 177,000 test kits seized.
  • 389 seizures of counterfeit facemasks, with more than 13 million masks seized.
  • 118 seizures of EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards, with more than 36,000 seized.
  • 207 seizures of FDA-prohibited chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine tablets, with more than 35,000 seized.
  • 97 seizures of antibiotics, such as azithromycin, with more than 5,000 tablets seized.
  • 35 seizures of hand sanitizers, with nearly 300,000 items seized
Keywords: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Public Health
Topics: Border Security, Critical Infrastructure Security, Cybersecurity, Economic Security, Homeland Security Enterprise, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Intelligence and Analysis, Law Enforcement Partnerships, Science and Technology, Secretary of Homeland Security, Weapons of Mass Destruction
10/30/2020   Department of Homeland Security

In an open letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf today called on Twitter to no longer obstruct Americans’ unalienable right to communicate with each other, their government, and its officials on the platform, because doing so endangers the national security. As an example of such “unjustified” and “disturbing” censorship, the Acting Secretary cited and condemned the company’s recent actions against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan.

“As the Department of Homeland Security and other Federal agencies continue to rely on Twitter to share important information with the U.S. public, your censorship poses a threat to our security,” Acting Secretary Wolf wrote. “Twitter is sabotaging public discourse regarding important national and homeland security issues,” he later added.

Please find the full letter here.

 

Keywords: Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Communication, Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Topics: Secretary of Homeland Security
10/29/2020   Department of Homeland Security

Effective physical infrastructure works to secure our Southwest Border. Since the U.S. Border Patrol began constructing border barriers nearly 30 years ago, these barriers have proved to be a critical component in gaining operational control of the border.

Deploying the wall system in high priority areas—particularly urban areas where illegal border crossers can quickly vanish into the surrounding community—allows the USBP to decide where border crossings take place, not smugglers, and the USBP can deploy personnel and technology in complement to the border barrier.

In 2006, the U.S. Senate voted in a bipartisan 80 to 19 majority to pass the Secure Fence Act, which authorized construction of physical infrastructure to secure the border. Securing our Southwest Border was once a bipartisan issue.

Neglected, easily compromised, and sparsely constructed, the border fence concept needed a reinvestment in 2017. From day one, President Trump prudently recognized that America must have an effective border wall system that delivers first-of-its kind capabilities to the men and women of the USBP.

Today, CBP is constructing a border wall system which includes a combination of various types of infrastructure including:

  • Internally hardened steel-bollard barriers from 18’ to 30’ high
  • New and improved all-weather access roads
  • Perimeter lighting
  • Enforcement cameras
  • Other related technology

The border wall system deploys the right mix of personnel, technology, and infrastructure to meet the challenges of a dynamic border threat environment and ultimately achieve operational control of the border.

DEPLOYED:

As of October 23, 2020, construction of the wall system breaks down as follows:

  • FUNDED: 738 miles
  • COMPLETED CONSTRUCTION: 386 miles
  • UNDER CONSTRUCTION: 195 miles
  • PRE-CONSTRUCTION PHASE: 157 miles

Bottom line: The Trump administration is well on its way to meet the goal of having 450 miles of new border wall system deployed by December 31, 2020.

EFFECTIVE – DISRUPTING CRIMINALS AND SMUGGLERS

The results speak for themselves: illegal drug, border crossings, and human smuggling activities have decreased in areas where barriers are deployed. For example:

San Diego Sector:

  • In one short 12 mile section in the San Diego Sector, the wall reduced CBP manpower requirements by 150 agents every 24 hours. That is approximately a $28 million return on investment per year in salaries and benefits. These agents were redeployed to fill resource gaps in other areas of the border -- further improving our security.
  • CBP’s San Diego Field Office continues to be a significant source of narcotics seizures. From FY 19 to FY 20, seizures of fentanyl, marijuana, and methamphetamine all increased, with meth seizures jumping at alarming rates in the past several years – demonstrating that the border wall is forcing drug smugglers to where we are best prepared to catch them – our ports of entry.

Yuma Sector:

  • Illegal entries in areas with new border wall system plummeted over 87% in FY 20 compared to FY 19.
  • In FY 19, CBP deployed a temporary barrier, which it has replaced with a permanent system, at the Sanchez Canal, which resulted in illegal entries decreasing in this area by more than 1,000 per month.
  • In FY 19, in areas of older existing border fencing or barriers, Yuma Sector apprehended 12 large groups (over a 100 persons) compared to zero large groups in FY 20 with new border wall system.
    • Family Unit entries have decreased over 95%
      • FY 19: 51,961 vs. FY 20: 2,940

RGV Sector:

  • In a section of RGV (Zone 1) apprehensions have decreased since the construction of the border wall system. This is a location that has never had any border infrastructure.
    • CBP has seen 79% decrease in apprehensions in this area (Zone 1) since the completion of border wall system.
    • CBP has seen a 26% decrease in narcotics seizures since the completion of border wall system in this area.
  • In another section of RGV, prior to construction of the border wall system it was common to see illegal aliens running across a heavily traveled road, putting themselves and members of the community at risk.
    • Smugglers are now forced to take their groups further west into areas that are less dense with brush and easier for CBP surveillance cameras to detect illicit activity.

El Paso Sector:

  • El Paso Sector has experienced a significant reduction in drug and smuggling activities in areas where the new border wall system was built.
    • Most notably, in Zones 14 and 15 of the Santa Teresa (STN) AOR where apprehensions have decreased by 60% and 81% respectively when comparing the last half of fiscal year FY 20 to the first half of FY 20.
  • El Paso Station has experienced similar results from the new border wall in Zones 20 – 23, with a reduction in apprehensions of 70% during the same timeframe.

WHAT OUR CRITICS ARE SAYING:

Rather than working in a bipartisan manner to secure our border, our critics have advocated for:

Destroying the wall would put needless strain on DHS resources, lead to increases in crime, and make it nearly impossible for us to determine who is coming into our country.

Keywords: Border Security, Border Wall, Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Topics: Border Security
10/29/2020   Department of Homeland Security

WASHINGTON – Today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) celebrated the construction of nearly 400 miles of new border wall system, in high priority locations across the Southwest border under the Trump Administration.

Since CBP began constructing border barriers nearly 30 years ago, these barriers have proved to be a critical component in gaining operational control of the border. Deploying the wall system in high priority areas allows U.S. Border Patrol to decide where border crossings take place, not smugglers, and where to deploy personnel and technology in complement to the border barrier.

“The progress we are celebrating here did not happen by accident. The many miles of border wall system exists because of the will and vision of President Trump, and the dedication and hard work of the men and women of DHS, the Army Corps of Engineers and our colleagues from across the Administration, said Acting Secretary Chad Wolf. “While this is an important milestone, we are building even more wall. Currently, we have nearly 210 more miles under construction, and we expect to complete 450 miles by the end of the year.”

“Today is an historic day for the American people and for the Trump Administration, defying all those who said it couldn’t be done,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. “The celebration of 400 miles of border wall system is a testament to President Trump’s leadership and this Administration’s commitment to secure our southern border and build an effective border wall system that protects all Americans.”

“The border wall system is Exhibit A in showing that the Trump Administration is serious about border security,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan. “This wall saves American lives. Every single bit of concrete and steel that goes into the ground stops dangerous people and deadly drugs from coming into this country.”

“We are shutting down illegal border crossing points with the new border wall system,” said U.S. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott. “For too long, the smugglers had the upper hand in choosing where and when they smuggle their contraband, and that will no longer be the case.”

Today, construction is averaging approximately 10 miles per week of completion. New border wall system is funded and will be constructed in San Diego, El Centro, Yuma, Tucson, El Paso, Del Rio, Laredo and Rio Grande Valley Sectors. Approximately 338 additional miles are currently under construction or in the pre-construction phase.

The new border wall system is helping to secure the Southern border from illicit cross border activity and is encouraging lawful entry in a safe and legal manner through available ports of entry. The system is designed to enhance national security and increase safety of Border Patrol agents.

Keywords: Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Border Wall, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Deputy Secretary
Topics: Border Security, Secretary of Homeland Security
10/28/2020   Department of Homeland Security

Today’s announcement by Mr. Taylor demonstrates that he was clearly pursuing a self-serving, self-promoting agenda while at the Department of Homeland Security rather than pursuing an agenda aimed at securing the Homeland. Having worked with Mr. Taylor on the President’s immigration and counter-terrorism policy agenda, I can attest that he never vocalized disagreement with the President’s policies – and in fact expressed strong support.  This charade is another sad reminder that not all who pursue public service are doing so for the public good.

Keywords: Acting Secretary Chad Wolf
Topics: Secretary of Homeland Security
10/28/2020   Department of Homeland Security

DHS, Trump Administration Protect American Jobs from Unfair International Competition

Agency Proposes Prioritizing Higher Wage Levels to Better Protect U.S. Workers

WASHINGTON —Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the transmission to the Federal Register of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would prioritize the selection of H-1B registrations (or petitions, if the registration process is suspended) based on corresponding wage levels in order to better protect the economic interests of U.S. workers, while still allowing U.S. employers to meet their personnel needs and remain globally competitive.

Modifying the H-1B cap selection process by replacing the random selection process with a wage-level-based selection process is a better way to allocate H-1Bs when demand exceeds supply. If finalized as proposed, this new selection process would incentivize employers to offer higher wages or petition for positions requiring higher skills and higher-skilled workers instead of using the program to fill relatively lower-paid vacancies.

“With this proposed rule, the Trump administration is continuing to deliver on its promise to protect the American worker while strengthening the economy. The H-1B program is often exploited and abused by U.S. employers, and their U.S. clients, primarily seeking to hire foreign workers and pay lower wages,” said Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. “The current use of random selection to allocate H-1B visas makes it harder for businesses to plan their hiring, fails to leverage the H-1B program to truly compete for the world’s best and brightest, and hurts American workers by bringing in relatively lower-paid foreign labor at the expense of the American workforce.”

This effort would only affect H-1B registrations submitted by prospective petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. It would be implemented for both the H-1B regular cap and the H-1B advanced degree exemption, but would not change the order of selection between the two as established by the H-1B registration requirement final rule.

DHS will open a public comment period once the NPRM is published in the Federal Register. Interested parties will have 30 days to submit comments relevant to the proposed rule and 60 days to submit comments relevant to the proposed information collection. The Department will review all properly submitted comments, consider them carefully, and draft responses before issuing a final rule.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis) and LinkedIn (/uscis).

Keywords: Deputy Secretary, Visa
Topics: Citizenship and Immigration Services, Homeland Security Enterprise, Secretary of Homeland Security
10/27/2020   Department of Homeland Security

In response to U.S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee preparing to order the separation of families in the case of Flores v. Barr, United States District Court for the Central District of California, DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli released the following statement:

“Under President Trump, the administration is committed to keeping families together, but an activist judge is preparing to order the separation of families in DHS custody. DHS will not assist in this process without a court order. Under the judge’s new policy, countless children may be released into the United States without lawful status and without their parents. Instead of creating new loopholes, we should be enforcing our laws.”

Keywords: Deputy Secretary, Immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Topics: Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
10/27/2020   Department of Homeland Security

WASHINGTON – Acting DHS Secretary Chad F. Wolf released the following statement on the announcement of Luke Bellocchi as the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Ombudsman for Immigration Detention.

“Today, I am pleased to announce Luke Bellocchi as the Department’s Ombudsman for Immigration Detention. Luke’s experience in both the public sector and the federal government has positioned him well for this new role at DHS, and I look forward to working with Luke to stand-up this new office.”   

Luke has previously served as the Department’s Deputy Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, where he coordinated, managed, and edited the office’s annual report to Congress regarding the processing of immigration applications and various related policy issues. Luke’s prior experience as the Assistant Commissioner for Congressional Affairs while at Customs and Border Protection will be instrumental in establishing and administering the new statutory authorities provided to the Immigration Detention Ombudsman—a new position mandated by Congress in December of 2019. Please find the responsibilities and functions of the Ombudsman by statute here.

In addition to these important roles, Mr. Bellocchi has served as Strategic Advisor for Aviation Policy at the Department of Transportation, and Counsel to both the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee as well as the House Judiciary Committee. Mr. Bellocchi holds a Juris Doctor from the State University of New York, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia, a Master of Science from the Joint Military Intelligence College and a Master of Comparative Law from Georgetown Law School.

Keywords: Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CISOMB)
Topics: Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman
10/26/2020   Department of Homeland Security

For months, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has worked side by side with state, local, and private sector partners to ensure a safe and effective response to COVID-19 across its component offices.

“TSA has been diligent in our efforts to ensure checkpoints are clean, safe and healthy for frontline workers and airline passengers, implementing new protocols and deploying state-of-the-art technologies that improve security and reduce physical contact,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA)

Providing Resources to Election Partners. On October 14th, CISA published the Assisting Sick, Exposed, Symptomatic, and Quarantined Voters guidance which provides measures for election officials to consider to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during the November elections. The document is part of a series produced by the Election Infrastructure Subsector’s GCC and SCC Joint COVID-19 Working Group.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Providing Grants to States for Supplemental Lost Wages Payments. To ease the economic burden for those struggling with lost wages due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, President Trump authorized FEMA to expend up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund for lost wage payments. As of October 16th, Administrator Gaynor has approved 49 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and the District of Columbia for FEMA grants under this unprecedented program. FEMA’s grant funding will allow the approved states to provide those unemployed due to COVID-19 $300 or 400 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefit. As of October 16th, FEMA has awarded more than $42.4 Billion in support of Lost Wages supplemental assistance. All approved grant applicants receive an initial obligation of three weeks of funding, with additional disbursements made on a weekly basis.

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)

Graduating the Next Generation of Law Enforcement. FLETC continues to successfully implement testing, identification, isolation and containment protocols in managing the COVID-19 virus. As of October 16, nearly 3,800 officers and agents have successfully graduated and are now in the field performing work that is critical to protect the homeland since training was restarted on June 17. There are currently 2,192 students attending in-residence training at Glynco, Charleston, and Artesia training delivery points, with an additional 99 students attending training at the Cheltenham training delivery point. Their graduation in the coming months and the continual influx of new students ensures that our federal law enforcement partners receive the trained personnel they need to help keep our nation secure. In addition, more than 7,200 officers and agents from federal, state, local, and tribal have taken part in FLETC online training, including nearly 4,200 participants for the Integrated Use of Force series.

Science and Technology (S&T)

Driving Evidence-Based Policymaking. On October 14, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate updated its Master Question List (MQL), and does so weekly, to compile available research on operationally-relevant questions to aid decision makers in the COVID-19 response. The MQL is a quick-reference guide covering what is known about the virus, what additional information is needed, and who may be working to address these fundamental questions. New entries include:

  • Phylogenetics shows the importance of super-spreading events early in the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Wang, L.; Didelot, X.; Yang, J.; Wong, G.; Shi, Y.; Liu, W.; Gao, G. F.; Bi, Y., Inference of person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 reveals hidden super-spreading events during the early outbreak phase. Nature Communications 2020, 11 (1), 5006. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18836-4
  • A large meta-analysis estimates that children are 44% less susceptible to COVID-19 than adults, though modeling suggests that susceptibility does not differ substantially by age.
    • Omori, R.; Matsuyama, R.; Nakata, Y., The age distribution of mortality from novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) suggests no large difference of susceptibility by age. Scientific Reports 2020, 10 (1), 16642. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73777-8
  • Approximately 25% of pregnant COVID-19 patients had symptoms for at least 8 weeks.
  • The antibody immunoglobulin M (IgM) appears to contribute substantially to SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing ability, with IgG also contributing to a lesser extent.
    • Gasser, R.; Cloutier, M.; Prévost, J.; Fink, C.; Ducas, É.; Ding, S.; Dussault, N.; Landry, P.; Tremblay, T.; Laforce-Lavoie, A.; Lewin, A.; Beaudoin-Bussières, G.; Laumaea, A.; Medjahed, H.; Larochelle, C.; Richard, J.; Dekaban, G. A.; Dikeakos, J. D.; Bazin, R.; Finzi, A., Major role of IgM in the neutralizing activity of convalescent plasma against SARS-CoV-2. bioRxiv 2020, 2020.10.09.333278. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/early/2020/10/09/2020.10.09.333278.full.pdf
  • Serum from patients exposed to seasonal coronaviruses did not neutralize SARS-CoV-2.
  • Both Eli Lilly and Regeneron have applied for Emergency Use Authorizations for their monoclonal antibody products.
  • The Johnson & Johnson Phase III trial was paused on 10/12/2020 due to a potential adverse event.
  • In the US, increasing SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in 18-24 year-old individuals precedes cases and hospitalizations in older adults; limiting transmission in younger populations is crucial for reducing hospitalizations and mortality.
    • Oster, A. M.; Caruso, E.; DeVies, J.; Hartnett, K. P.; Boehmer, T. K., Transmission Dynamics by Age Group in COVID-19 Hotspot Counties— United States, April–September 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2020, ePub (9 October 2020). https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6941e1.htm
  • Premature relaxation of public health control measures may facilitate rapid increases in prevalence at the state level.217
    • Gallaway, M. S.; Rigler, J.; Robinson, S.; al., e., Trends in COVID-19 Incidence After Implementation of Mitigation Measures — Arizona, January 22–August 7, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2020, 2020 (69), 1460-1463.
  • In the absence of light, infectious SARS-CoV-2 can remain on non-porous (e.g., glass, vinyl) surfaces for at least 28 days at 20oC (68oF) and 50% relative humidity; higher temperatures greatly reduce the environmental stability of SARS-COV-2. This value is longer than other stability estimates, potentially due to a fluid matrix with more protein to simulate human respiratory fluid, a higher inoculation dose, and the absence of light.
    • Riddell, S.; Goldie, S.; Hill, A.; Eagles, D.; Drew, T. W., The effect of temperature on persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on common surfaces. Virology Journal 2020, 17 (1), 145. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-020-01418-7
  • Due to inefficiencies in end-to-end sampling techniques, it is estimated that at least 1,000 viral particles per RH are needed to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA on surfaces.
    • Parker, C. W.; Singh, N.; Tighe, S.; Blachowicz, A.; Wood, J. M.; Seuylemezian, A.; Vaishampayan, P.; Urbaniak, C.; Hendrickson, R.; Laaguiby, P.; Clark, K.; Clement, B. G.; O’Hara, N. B.; Couto-Rodriguez, M.; Bezdan, D.; Mason, C. E.; Venkateswaran, K., End-to-End Protocol for the Detection of SARS-CoV-2 from Built Environments. mSystems 2020, 5 (5), e00771-20. https://msystems.asm.org/content/msys/5/5/e00771-20.full.pdf
  • There is no documented evidence that food, food packaging, or food handling is a significant source of COVID-19 infections, though several outbreaks have a hypothesized food origin.
    • Han, J.; Zhang, X.; He, S.; Jia, P., Can the coronavirus disease be transmitted from food? A review of evidence, risks, policies and knowledge gaps. Environmental Chemistry Letters 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10311-020-01101-x
  • Indoor air filters based on non-thermal plasma or reactive oxygen species may be effective at reducing circulating SARS-CoV-2 concentrations, though additional testing is needed.
  • The D614G mutation increased viral loads in experimentally infected hamsters in the nose and throat, hastened transmission (evidence of spread between hamsters after 2 days for D614G mutants vs. 4 days for wild-type virus).
    • Hou, Y. J.; Chiba, S.; Halfmann, P.; Ehre, C.; Kuroda, M.; Dinnon, K. H.; Leist, S. R.; Schäfer, A.; Nakajima, N.; Takahashi, K.; Lee, R. E.; Mascenik, T. M.; Edwards, C. E.; Tse, L. V.; Boucher, R. C.; Randell, S. H.; Suzuki, T.; Gralinski, L. E.; Kawaoka, Y.; Baric, R. S., SARS-CoV-2 D614G Variant Exhibits Enhanced Replication and Earlier Transmission. bioRxiv 2020, 2020.09.28.317685. http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2020/09/29/2020.09.28.317685.abstract
  • Antibodies induced by the D614G mutation or wild type virus are able to neutralize each other.
    • Lee, C. Y.-P.; Amrun, S. N.; Chee, R. S.-L.; Goh, Y. S.; Mak, T.-M.; Octavia, S.; Yeo, N. K.-W.; Chang, Z. W.; Tay, M. Z.; Torres-Ruesta, A.; Carissimo, G.; Poh, C. M.; Fong, S.-W.; Bei, W.; Lee, S.; Young, B. E.; Tan, S.-Y.; Leo, Y.-S.; Lye, D. C.; Lin, R. T. P.; Maurer-Stroh, S.; Lee, B.; Cheng-I, W.; Renia, L.; Ng, L. F. P., Neutralizing antibodies from early cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection offer cross-protection against the SARS-CoV-2 D614G variant. bioRxiv 2020, 2020.10.08.332544. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/early/2020/10/09/2020.10.08.332544.full.pdf

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Keeping Americans Safe While Ensuring Continuity of U.S. Travel and Commerce. Between Oct. 11th through Oct. 17th, TSA screened more than 6.1 million passengers, who have all reached their destinations safely. TSA officers are required to wear facial protection and gloves while on duty at the checkpoint. In support of air travel and all other modes of transportation, the agency continues to follow CDC guidance to protect Americans, its workers, and the nation’s transportation system. TSA continues to promote its “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign which outlines significant airport checkpoint modifications, including new technologies that reduce or eliminate physical contact, implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19, comply with CDC guidelines, and promote healthy and secure summer travel.

Ready to Ensure Safety During the Summer Travel Period. On October 18, TSA announced that it had screened more than 1M passengers in a single day on Sunday, October 17 – the first time the agency surpassed the milestone since mid-March. Although passenger volumes remain well below pre-pandemic levels, the one million single-day passenger volume is a noteworthy development that follows significant TSA checkpoint modifications in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

United States Coast Guard (USCG)

Monitoring Vessels that Pose a Risk to Public Health. As of October 13th, the USCG is tracking 63 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a U.S. port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with approximately 9,612 crewmembers. This includes an estimated 184 American Citizens crewmembers dispersed among 31 vessels. The Coast Guard is working with the CDC based on its extension of the No Sail Order for cruise ships, which permits the off-loading of crewmembers following submission of a plan to the CDC.

Reservists. As of October 16th, the USCG has recalled and deployed 450 Reservists in support of COVID-19 operations. They are activated to serve in numerous types of roles, including work in IT support, medical clinics, PPE warehouses, command centers and other incident management roles, notably assisting federal partners such as HHS, and supporting state emergency operations centers on behalf of FEMA.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

CBP Continues to Keep America Safe. From the beginning of the pandemic through September 28, CBP seized:

  • More than 177,000 FDA-prohibited test kits;
  • More than 12.7 million counterfeit masks;
  • Nearly 37,000 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards;
  • Approximately 38,000 tablets of FDA-prohibited chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
  • More than 5,800 tablets of azithromycin and other antibiotics.

Additional Information

Keywords: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Public Health
Topics: Border Security, Critical Infrastructure Security, Cybersecurity, Economic Security, Homeland Security Enterprise, Intelligence and Analysis, Science and Technology, Secretary of Homeland Security, Transportation Security, Weapons of Mass Destruction