EDM Wednesday Briefing: Power Grid Cyber Attack Concerns Grow, South Carolina Gets Aid For October Floods
Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 2, 2016: The federal government warns utility companies about the potential of dealing with sophisticated cyber attacks, South Carolina gets $157 million in federal aid to help with flood recovery, and the Ohio school shooting suspect denies charges in court.
- The federal government took steps to warn U.S. utilities of the potential for cyber attacks after a detailed investigation of the attack on Ukraine's power grid in December 2015. American investigators concluded that hackers behind the Ukrainian attack -- which cut power to more than 225,000 Ukrainians -- utilized sophisticated cyber attack techniques that could easily be turned on U.S. utility companies in a similar manner.
- South Carolina will be receiving $157 million in federal aid to help the ongoing recovery efforts from historic floods that devastated the state in October 2015. The funds are meant to help the state with housing, economic development, and infrastructure needs that are still outstanding due to structures that were damaged or destroyed by the floods.
- The 14-year-old suspect in the Ohio school shooting that wounded four denied charges in court yesterday. The suspect is being charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of felonious assault after allegedly opening fire in the school's cafeteria on Monday. Authorities said that they are still uncertain of a motive in the shootings. All four students wounded by the gunfire are expected to survive.
- The largest-ever disaster training exercise in Europe is currently taking place in London this week. The exercise, which is running from February 29 through March 3, is emulating the collapse of a subway station. Response to the fake disaster is being observed to learn lessons for a potential similar real-life event. In the U.S., FEMA recently announced that it will be conducting a similar exercise in June, when it will stage a megaquake in the Pacific Northwest.
- Protestors marched in Raleigh, NC yesterday in response to a fatal police shooting that occurred in the city on Monday. Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane asked for calm as protestors demanded answers. The 24-year-old victim was reportedly being served a warrant for drug-related charge when he attempted to flee and was ultimately shot. There is contention as to whether or not the victim was armed.
- Police in Salt Lake City are still refusing to release body camera video of a fatal police shooting of an unarmed teenager that occurred in the city this week. The decision to withhold the footage is fueling protests and reigniting national debates about the appropriate times to release police footage that took center stage in Chicago in recent months in connection with the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video.
- A NASA study found that the current drought in the Eastern Mediterranean is likely worst drought in more than 900 years. The Eastern Mediterranean region studies includes Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey. Scientists plan to use data from the study to help identify the underlying causes of drought and to better understand the impacts of human-induced global warming.
- Below-average levels of snowpack in California mountains is prompting new drought concerns in the state. Currently, snowpack levels in California overall stand at about 83 percent of the normal average for this time of year -- a low number that officials are blaming on "moderate" fall and winter seasons. Officials said the snowpack would need to reach 150 percent of average on April 1 to make significant progress against drought conditions.
- FBI Director James B. Comey admitted yesterday that an FBI mistake made it more difficult to capture data from the iPhone in question in the current legal battle between the FBI and Apple. The FBI reportedly ordered the resetting of the iCloud password on the iPhone, which ended up locking the phone and eliminating other means of gaining access to its data.
- Comey also told a congressional panel yesterday that the FBI has engaged all parts of the U.S. government in its attempt to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's phone, but to no avail. The FBI is still
exploring all options of gaining access to the phone's data, including some untested methods recommended by phone security experts.