Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: IoT Attack, Chemical Spill, Dam Failures, Georgia Fires

EDM Wednesday Briefing: IoT Attack, Chemical Spill, Dam Failures, Georgia Fires

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for October 26, 2016: Hackers reveal the IoT's dark side, investigators identify chemicals in a spill in Kansas, North Carolina experiences 17 dam failures due to Hurricane Matthew, multiple brush fires in Georgia may be the work of an arsonist, a student is shot outside of a middle school in Utah, a fight breaks out in a maximum security section of an Illinois jail, analysts believe non-state actors are to blame for Friday's massive DDoS attack, a Niagara Falls, NY explosion is under investigation, and a storm is set to deliver snow over portions of the Northeast.

  1. The Internet of Things (IoT), as it's known, has the ring of a friendly and harmless entity. But hackers recently showed the IoT's dark side. The dark side of the IoT lies in its inherent insecurity; for evidence, look no further than the massive DDoS attack that struck the U.S. on Friday. Blame for the attack lies squarely on the thousands of highly insecure IoT devices that dot the U.S. map and includes security cameras, smart thermostats, baby monitors and more.
  2. Early Friday morning, a chemical spill that created a large chemical plume forced evacuations in Kansas. MGP plant, headquartered in Atchison, KS, is a company that distills alcohol products and produces food ingredients. City officials identified the chemicals involved in the incident: sulfuric acid and sodium hypochlorite.
  3. Hurricane Matthew dumped copious amounts of rain on the state of North Carolina--nearly 15 inches in some locations. The rains resulted in massive flooding and at least 22 deaths across the eastern portion of the state. Heavy rainfall also inundated the state in September, saturating the ground and filling reservoirs to capacity. As a result of the heavy rainfalls in September, and the deluge of rain provided by Hurricane Matthew, at least 17 dam failures occurred in North Carolina, 13 of which were located in the Cape Fear River Basin.
  4. On Tuesday, firefighters in Floyd County, Georgia were faced with a series of simultaneous brush fires that quickly developed into massive fires, causing the evacuation of at least two dozen families. The five to seven fires are believed to have been started by an arsonist. Two homes were damaged and one barn that housed expensive restored cars and trucks was destroyed as a result of the blaze. At least 50 firefighters battled the blaze for nearly seven hours and officials announced at 10 p.m. on Tuesday that the fires had been 95 percent contained.
  5. In Sandy, UT on Tuesday afternoon, in the Canyons School District, a 16-year-old student was shot twice by a 14-year-old during a fight. The fight and shooting took place outside Union Middle School, where many friends and students of both the victim and the suspect witnessed the shooting. School officials placed the school on lockdown until police had the suspect in custody and were notified it was safe to lift the lockdown.
  6. A fight that broke out between inmates in the maximum security section of a Cook County, Illinois jail left eight inmates and two corrections officers injured. During the fight, several inmates were stabbed, while the corrections officers sustained only minor injuries. The corrections officers and stabbing victims were taken to several local area hospitals for treatment. An investigation into the weapons used and the reason for the fight is currently ongoing.
  7. Investigators believe the massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) Internet attack last Friday was the work of non-state actors. The attack targeted a company, Dynamic Network Services Inc., that handles the domain name system for corporate clients. Analysts found that all but three of the company's 20 data centers were impacted by the attack and the Mirai code -software that infects smart machines including cameras - was involved in at least some of the attack.
  8.  Police in Niagara Falls, NY began receiving calls around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday evening about a loud noise that sounded like an explosion. The sound appeared to be coming from the Legends Park area near Portage Road and 11th Street. Police cordoned off the area of Legends Park behind the YMCA and used a bomb-detection dog to check the area, although there are no reports of any injuries. An investigation is still underway in the area.
  9. Another storm is set to move into the northeastern United States from the Midwest Wednesday night through Friday. Portions of northern Pennsylvania, upstate New York, and up into northern New England could see wet snow, from just a coating, to possibly 6 to 10 inches in the higher elevations in the region. The same system will likely result in rain over Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston.

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.