Updates

CISA’s CSET Tool Sets Sights on Ransomware Threat

CISA has released a new module in its Cyber Security Evaluation Tool (CSET): the Ransomware Readiness Assessment. CSET is a desktop software tool that guides network defenders through a step-by-step process to evaluate the cybersecurity practices on their networks.

Joint CDC and FDA Statement on Vaccine Boosters

The United States is fortunate to have highly effective vaccines that are widely available for those aged 12 and up. People who are fully vaccinated are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants, such as Delta, that are currently circulating in the country. Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time.

DHS Announces Expansion of the Securing the Cities Program

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office announced the expansion of its Securing the Cities program to two additional metropolitan regions, Boston and New Orleans. This expansion will assist these regions with building capabilities to detect, analyze, and report nuclear and other radioactive materials.

NYC Subway Sensors Could Provide Early Warning for Potential Chemical and Biological Threats

Quickly detecting and mitigating biological or chemical threats in the subway is critical for preventing the spread of hazardous materials should the unthinkable occur. However, technologies that are currently in use do not perform fast enough for a subway environment, and false alarms may cause unnecessarily disruptive and expensive closures. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate has been developing and perfecting various sensor technologies for public transit to help protect high-density urban areas against threats.

DHS S&T Successfully Evaluates Wildfire Sensors With California Emergency Responders

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) successfully tested four prototype technologies for early detection of wildfires in California this week. The test was the second phase of S&T’s Wildland Urban Interface wildfire sensor technology program, which brings together government and private sector partners to identify technologies that meet first responders’ operational needs and ensure the nation’s critical infrastructure remains secure and resilient.

FDA Approves Drug to Treat Smallpox

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Tembexa (brincidofovir) to treat smallpox. Although naturally occurring smallpox no longer exists, concerns about potential uses of variola virus as a bioweapon has made smallpox drug development an important component of the U.S. medical countermeasures response.

HHS Launches First Venture Capital Partnership to Develop Transformative Technologies to Combat Future Pandemics, Other Health Emergencies

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today unveiled a new type of public-private partnership that enables investments using venture capital practices. Through the BARDA Ventures program, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, is launching a partnership with the nonprofit organization Global Health Investment Corporation (GHIC) to accelerate development and commercialization of technologies and medical products needed to respond to or prevent public health emergencies, such as pandemics, and other health security threats.

Hands-Free Comms Tech Breaks Through the Noise

First responders are often in critical response scenarios where a hands-free voice interface would improve both safety and efficiency, which could ultimately translate into saving lives. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) partnered with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to develop Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) technology. The resulting innovation is known as the Direct Artificial Intelligence System Interface, or DAISI, which enables voice-activated capabilities in noisy operational environments.

Teledyne FLIR Introduces New identiFINDER R700 Backpack Radiation Detector

Teledyne FLIR announced the launch of the identiFINDER® R700 Backpack Radiation Detector, an advanced mobile system that offers capability for broad-area radiological monitoring missions. The company also announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has placed the first order for the device as part of its Helium-3 Alternative Implementation Backpack Program (HAIBP). Programmed out of the Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction office, the $6.5 million award spans nine months of product deliveries.

DHS Announces New Cybersecurity Requirements for Critical Pipeline Owners and Operators

The Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a security directive that will require critical pipeline owners and operators to report confirmed and potential cybersecurity incidents to the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and to designate a cybersecurity coordinator, to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will also require critical pipeline owners and operators to review their current practices as well as to identify any gaps and related remediation measures to address cyber-related risks and report the results to TSA and CISA within 30 days.