Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: PNW Tries to Prepare for Megaquake, Details Emerge About Ukraine Power Grid Attack

EDM Wednesday Briefing: PNW Tries to Prepare for Megaquake, Details Emerge About Ukraine Power Grid Attack


Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 9, 2016: Experts say that the Pacific Northwest is long overdue for a major earthquake, specific details emerge about the December hack on Ukraine's power grid, and the unlocking-iPhone debate continues.

  1. It's "only a matter of time," the experts say, before a massive earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest. Scientists say it's a question of "when, not if" the megaquake -- or "Big One" -- occurs, as research points to the fact that this region of the U.S. is long overdue for a megaquake.
  2. More details have emerged about how hackers were able to cause a blackout in Ukraine in December, knocking out power to more than 230,000 Ukrainians. Investigations revealed that the hackers were not opportunists who decided to try to take down the power grid with little preparation, but rather were stealthy strategists who carefully planned their assault over many months. The team of hackers began the attack months before the blackout by stealing credentials to the utility company's network.
  3. Amid the ongoing battle between tech giant Apple and the FBI about unlocking an iPhone for a criminal investigation, an Apple executive has now come out and said that creating software to unlock the iPhone would compromise the safety of everything from information at government agencies to the U.S. power grid. The "backdoor" that the FBI wants Apple to create in order to unlock an iPhone would weaken a crucial protector of national security, Apple's head of software Craig Federighi said.
  4. The Department of Defense (DoD) issued a military-wide cyber security discipline implementation plan that has one main goal -- increasing accountability for cyber security up and down the chain of command. The DoD originally created the plan in October 2015 and then amended it in February.
  5. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that parts of six states will be eligible for disaster aid due to destruction of crops from flooding. Farmers in a total of 47 counties in Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas are eligible for funds if they lost crops to rain and flooding between November 1 2015 and January 12, 2016.
  6. A group of seven families from Flint, MI filed a class-action lawsuit that seeks damages from the both the city of Flint and the state of Michigan over the contaminated drinking water crisis. The suit could eventually include most or all of the estimated 8,000 young people who may have been exposed to lead-contaminated drinking water.
  7. U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy filed an emergency measure this week to get federal help dealing with Florida's ongoing water issues near Lake Okeechobee. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released water from Lake Okeechobee in January in an effort to protect South Florida from flooding after heavy rains hit the region, and coastal waterways have been suffering from the drainage.
  8. Officials in Pacifica, CA continued to monitor crumbling cliffs as high surf hit the region earlier this week. Accelerated coastal erosion of the city’s oceanside cliffs is causing growing concern and forcing some residents to relocate. An apartment building sitting on the edge of one of Pacifica's crumbling cliffs was scheduled for demolition yesterday.
  9. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continued with verbal threats yesterday, declaring that his country has miniaturized nuclear warheads that can be mounted on ballistic missiles. This is the latest in a recent string of threats directed at the U.S. and South Korea. North Korea has been on the offensive since it was hit with sanctions due to its ill-advised satellite launch and missile test in early 2016.
  10. A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimated that pedestrian deaths increased 10 percent in the U.S. last year. According to the GHSA, the significant year-over-year increase can likely be attributed to multiple factors, such as increased cell phone usage and increased motor vehicle travel.

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.