Home Emergency Management News EDM Thursday Briefing: Questions Remain in Brussels, Cyber Attacks Increase in U.S., Hospitals Hit With Ransomware

EDM Thursday Briefing: Questions Remain in Brussels, Cyber Attacks Increase in U.S., Hospitals Hit With Ransomware


Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 24, 2016: Belgium authorities are still searching for possible suspects in the Brussels bombings, the U.S. government sees a rise in cyber attacks, and three U.S. hospitals are hit with ransomware.

  1. Authorities continue to investigate the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium that killed 31 people and wounded 270 others. What is known at this time: Officials said that two brothers had a main role in the bombings. Ibrahim El Bakraoui reportedly detonated a suicide bomb at Brussels Airport while brother Khalid El Bakraoui reportedly detonated a suicide bomb on a train near the Maelbeek metro station.
  2. There are still more questions than answers in Brussels. The key outstanding question is how many suspects may be involved in all. Officials are searching for a possible accomplice to the two brothers who reportedly blew themselves up, and said that a second attacker from the subway bombing may still be at large. Belgian authorities believe that at least four people were involved in the two bombings.
  3. The U.S. government fended off a total of 77,183 cyber incidents in 2015, according to a recent report from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The total number of incidents last year represents an approximate 10 percent increase from 2014, and a 27 percent rise from total events in 2013.
  4. Three separate U.S. hospitals were hit by a ransomware attack in recent days. All three hospitals -- Kentucky Methodist Hospital, Chino Valley Medical Center in California, and Desert Valley Hospital in California -- are reportedly back online and none is believed to have paid the ransom. The FBI is still investigating the incidents.
  5. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant asked for a federal disaster declaration to help the state recover from recent flooding in southern parts of the state. Officials have called flooding damage the worst since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. Disasters have already been declared in both Texas and Louisiana due to flooding in that region of the country.
  6. South Korea is on high alert after North Korea claimed that it conducted a successful test of a solid-fuel engine yesterday. This latest claim is another indication that North Korea is developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at a rapid pace in defiance of U.N. sanctions and raised concerns that the country may soon conduct another nuclear test.
  7. Flint, MI officials released a plan this week to help the city recover from its drinking-water contamination crisis. The plan includes state health official support for children under 6 with high levels of lead in their blood, the replacement of drinking water faucets and fixtures in public facilities, and continued replacement of lead service lines in the city's water system.
  8. Scientists in England are working to develop robots for use in disaster zones. The robots in development, which combine multiple technologies, would be able to fly into disaster zones and even potentially build life-saving structures in areas that are too dangerous and/or difficult for humans to reach.
  9. President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for Pennsylvania to help the state recover from the blizzard that hit the state on January 22. Winter Storm Jonas dropped up to two feet of snow in some parts of the state. Federal aid is now available in 23 counties.
  10. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency as a huge snowstorm descended on the state. Heavy snow, strong winds, and potential blizzard conditions are all expected, as forecasts call for up to a foot of snow for central Wisconsin.

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.