A cyber attack may have both immediate and long-term affects on public safety that impacts life, health, and security.
Public safety agencies are often the "tip of the spear" in maintaining safety and security in our communities. These agencies are responsible for law enforcement, emergency preparedness and response, and serve as important partners in maintaining homeland security.
Technology solutions and data provide the foundation of agency's ability to provide services across the spectrum; prepare, enforce, and respond. Telecommunications and radio systems, computer-aided dispatch and records management systems are all essential components of daily operations. Access to information, such as fire protection, hazardous materials and building plans, crime statistics and evidence data extends and agency's ability to deliver services. Social media, agency websites, and community messaging systems provide platforms that assist in keeping the public informed and safe, as well as enhance an agency's ability to stay connected to their community.
Safety Compromised by Cyber Attacks on Public Safety Departments
|Salisbury, Maryland Police Department - back to pen and paper, thankful for good neighbors||
In January of 2019 the Salisbury Police Department, in Maryland, suffered a compromise of their systems. The incident had widespread effects on daily operations with employees unable to check emails, recent reports, or analyze crime data. Captain Rich Kaiser of the Salisbury Police Department noted the attack included its CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system, records management system, email, network servers, and supplemental network systems. In the week it took the department to recover, officials relied on paper-based operations and relied on neighboring departments to assist with routine digital searches like registration checks and wanted person checks through state and federal databases.
|Following a cyber attack, the public safety department in the City of Muscatine, Iowa, lost access to mobile computers in police cars, their records management system, as well as the National Crime Information Center database||
An incident in October 2018 had widespread effects on public safety and municipal systems in Muscatine, Iowa. In an attempt to isolate the attack and prevent it from spreading further, network connections to public safety and jail facilities were shut down which affected access to several critical public safety systems. Police officers in cruisers lost access to mobile computers which can be a serious officer safety issue. In fact, all law enforcement in the county were affected by the cyberattack because each department used the same records system management and computer-aided dispatch system.