EDM Friday Briefing: iPhone Unlocking Cost, U.S.-Mexico Tunnel, Utah Earthquake Risk, Ransomware
Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 22, 2016: The FBI Director says that it cost more than $1.3 million to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone, U.S. authorities discover a new tunnel between Mexico and California, a study projects earthquake risk in Utah over the next 50 years, and Cisco discovers widespread vulnerability to a serious ransomware threat.
- The FBI-Apple battle over iPhone security made a lot of headlines in recent weeks, and apparently cost the FBI a lot of money, too. FBI Director James Comey revealed yesterday that the agency ended up paying more than $1.3 million to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. If the entire $1.3 million went to the third party company that hacked and unlocked the phone, it would be the largest amount ever publicized for a hacking technique.
- U.S. authorities discovered a half-mile, cross-border underground tunnel that runs from Tijuana to San Diego. The tunnel is three feet wide and runs from a San Diego wooden pallet business lot to a Tijuana house over the border and has a rail system, lighting, ventilation, and an elevator. The passageway was reportedly used to bring cocaine to the U.S., and is the 13th sophisticated underground tunnel discovered along California's border with Mexico since 2006.
- A new study analyzed earthquake risk in a highly populated metropolitan region in Utah over the next 50 years and discovered that there is a 43 percent chance that the region will be hit with a large earthquake in the next five decades. When scaling back the criteria to an earthquake of moderate severity, the likelihood of a quake rises to 93 percent.
- The Cisco Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group (Talos) uncovered a widespread vulnerability to a serious ransomware threat, and discovered at least 3.2 million machines at risk. Talos discovered 2,100 backdoors installed across nearly 1,600 IP addresses and began immediately contacting the owners of the infected machines, which includes schools, governments, and aviation companies.
- A wildfire burning the southern part of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia grew to 8,000 acres and is still burning, although authorities reported the fire 40 percent contained as of yesterday evening. And another wildfire burning in North Carolina near the coast and south of Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge has consumed at least 14,000 acres and was last reported as approximately 15 percent contained.
- FEMA reported yesterday that federal disaster aid given to Missouri to help the state rebuild and recover from December and January floods now tops $91 million. More than two-thirds of the aid, $62.1 million, went toward National Flood Insurance Program payments to homeowners, renters and businesses, while $16.7 million came in the form of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans to 392 recipients.
- This weekend, from April 23 – 25, 2016, Texas residents can purchase certain emergency preparation supplies tax free as part of the state's 2016 Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday. Specific emergency preparation supplies qualify for tax exemption during this time period. The Texas Comptroller of Public Services website has a full list of tax-free items.
- A collaboration between the University of Montana, Missoula County, and the City of Missoula produced a disaster preparedness website for Missoula, MT as the high-risk flood season approaches. The website, titled Missoula Ready!, gives specific risk information by location and offers tips for preparedness.
- An estimated 195,400 gallons of wastewater spilled into Garlic Creek in Buda, Texas this week, but city officials said that there has been no impact to the public water supply system. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) reported that is did not detect any adverse effects due to the spill, but did urge residents with private water wells to get their well water tested and disinfected.
- The man who flew his gyrocopter on the west front lawn of the Capitol building last year in Washington, D.C. was sentenced in federal court yesterday. Doug Hughes, a former postal worker from Florida, was sentenced to 120 days in jail after pleading guilty to a felony charge of flying an aircraft without a license. Hughes was also sentenced to a year of supervised release after he gets out of prison.