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FCC ANNOUNCES UPCOMING FORUM ON 5G OPEN RADIO ACCESS NETWORKS

posted Aug 19, 2020, 4:59 AM by IT Admin

August 18, 2020 - WASHINGTON, D.C. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today announced that the Forum on 5G Open Radio Access Networks will take place on September 14, 2020.  The forum, previously scheduled for March but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place by videoconference and stream online.  The full news release is attached, 

NIOC Announces MSA

posted Aug 3, 2020, 3:38 PM by IT Admin

July 31, 2020, Washington, D.C. - The NG9-1-1 Interoperability Oversight Commission (NIOC), the independent oversight body for standards-driven interoperability programs for NG9-1-1, is proud to announce approval and signature of a Master Services Agreement (MSA) with DigiCert for the US PSAP Credentialing Agency. The full press release is attached. 

FCC TAKES FURTHER ACTION TO HELP FIRST RESPONDERS QUICKLY LOCATE 911 CALLERS IN MULTI-STORY BUILDINGS

posted Jul 22, 2020, 5:48 AM by IT Admin

Washington, D.C., July 16, 2020 - Agency Builds on Rules for Transmitting Vertical, or 'Z-Axis,' Location Information with Wireless 911 Calls. News Release. (Dkt No 07-114). Adopted: 2020-07-16. 

FCC and CISA issue joint letter to governors across the country

posted May 26, 2020, 3:17 PM by IT Admin   [ updated May 26, 2020, 3:19 PM ]

Washington, D.C., May 26, 2020 - 

 

FCC AND CISA STRESS NEED FOR COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY ACCESS AND RESOURCES DURING PANDEMIC

Offer Recommendations to States to Help Keep Americans Connected

  --

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2020—Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs today sent a letter to the nation’s governors encouraging them to provide necessary access and resources to the communications workers helping to keep Americans connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

“Communications networks are a lifeline during this challenging time, enabling the public to call 911 and participate in telehealth, distance learning, and telework,” said Chairman Pai.  “To continue meeting these needs during the pandemic, workers in the communications industry must have the necessary access and resources.  We urge state leaders, who are playing a critical role in protecting their communities, to consider the recommendations we are making today to ensure that communications networks and services remain available to the public and first responders.”

 

“As our nation continues to respond to COVID-19, our ability to maintain reliable and consistent communication is vital.  We commend industry on making the investments to ensure the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure was ready for this moment and CISA is committed to ensuring the sector has the support and resources needed to continue operating.  We also recognize the critical role state and local officials play in managing and executing COVID-19 response activities and will continue to help them identify essential services to safeguard the continuity of functions needed to protect their communities,” said Director Krebs. “We thank all of our essential critical infrastructure workers who have continued doing their jobs throughout the response.”

 

The letter includes these key points:

·         Highlights recent guidance from CISA related to the essential critical infrastructure workforce and 911 centers during the pandemic

·         Asks that certain communications industry entities and personnel be declared essential to the pandemic response and afforded all appropriate access and resources

·         Asks that states consider prioritizing the distribution of personal protective equipment to communications personnel when available

·         Underscores the role of various communications industry personnel to supporting consumers’ remote emergency communications needs

·         Encourages industry and government to work together to prioritize and complete communications infrastructure and next generation 911 projects

·         Calls on states to facilitate the maintenance, repair, and provisioning of communications infrastructure and services by providing online access to relevant government functions, such as the permitting process, where not already available electronically.

 

The letter is available at: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-364566A1.pdf.

 

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Media Relations: (202) 418-0500 / ASL: (844) 432-2275 / TTY: (888) 835-5322 / Twitter: @FCC / www.fcc.gov


FCC Media Contact:

MediaRelations@fcc.gov

 

CISA Media Contact:

CISAMedia@cisa.dhs.gov

 

For Immediate Release

 

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action.  Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.  See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

 

FCC - OVER 750 BROADBAND AND TELEPHONE PROVIDERS EXTEND KEEP AMERICANS CONNECTED PLEDGE

posted May 14, 2020, 11:10 AM by IT Admin

 Washington, D.C. , May 14, 2020  - Today the FCC announced that 774 broadband and telephone providers have taken the Keep Americans Connected Pledge and extended that commitment through June 30.

Media Contact:

Will Wiquist, (202) 418-0509

will.wiquist@fcc.gov

 

For Immediate Release

 

OVER 750 BROADBAND AND TELEPHONE PROVIDERS EXTEND KEEP AMERICANS CONNECTED PLEDGE

Providers Pledge to Maintain Service, Waive Late Fees, and Keep Wi-Fi Hotspots Open Through June 30

  --

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2020—The Federal Communications Commission today announced that 774 broadband and telephone providers have taken the Keep Americans Connected Pledge and extended that commitment through June 30.  Last month, Chairman Pai announced he was extending the Pledge, originally set to expire on May 12, to June 30.  And since that announcement, the number of companies covered by the Pledge has actually increased rather than decreased, as more companies have signed onto the Pledge for the first time than declined to extend it.

 

By taking the Pledge, each of these companies has committed through June 30 to (1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic; (2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and (3) open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

 

“I’m pleased that the overwhelming majority of companies taking the Pledge has agreed to extend that commitment through the end of June and that new companies have joined this effort,” said Chairman Pai.  “This will help ensure that Americans can continue to communicate with loved ones, access education, and get healthcare remotely as they practice social distancing.  I am grateful to all who are working to keep Americans connected and those who continue to go above and beyond to help consumers during this pandemic.”

 

The FCC encourages consumers to contact their service provider directly to make them aware of their specific circumstances and to discuss options.  Consumers can also visit consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.  For more information on Chairman Pai’s Keep Americans Connected Initiative, visit www.fcc.gov/keepamericansconnected, which includes a list of all the providers that have extended their commitment to the Keep Americans Connected Pledge.  For updates on the FCC’s wide array of actions to keep consumers connected during the coronavirus pandemic, visit www.fcc.gov/coronavirus.

 

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Media Relations: (202) 418-0500 / ASL: (844) 432-2275 / TTY: (888) 835-5322 / Twitter: @FCC / www.fcc.gov

 

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action.  Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.  See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

CISA - Issues Cyber Warning for Key Healthcare Organizations in UK and USA

posted May 12, 2020, 12:52 PM by IT Admin

Washington, D.C. , May 5, 2020 - 

Cyber Warning Issued for Key Healthcare Organizations in UK and USA

  • UK and US reveal campaigns against healthcare policy makers and researchers
  • Advice issued to stop ‘password spraying’ techniques gaining access to accounts
  • Campaigns’ threat can be mitigated by implementing advice on strong passwords

WASHINGTON - Security agencies in the United Kingdom and United States have exposed malicious cyber campaigns targeting organizations involved in the coronavirus response – and given tips to stay safe. 

An advisory for international healthcare and medical research organizations has been published today (May 5), advising staff to change any passwords that could be reasonably guessed to one created with three random words and implement two-factor authentication to reduce the threat of compromises.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have seen large-scale ‘password spraying’ campaigns against healthcare bodies and medical research organizations.

The ‘advanced persistent threat’ (APT) groups target such bodies to collect bulk personal information, intellectual property and intelligence that aligns with national priorities.

Paul Chichester, NCSC Director of Operations, said:

“We are fully focused on supporting the UK’s health and research services to defend themselves from cyber attack during the coronavirus outbreak.

“By prioritizing any requests for support from health organizations and remaining in close contact with industries involved in the coronavirus response, we can inform them of any malicious activity and take the necessary steps to help them defend against it.

“But we can’t do this alone, and we recommend healthcare policy makers and researchers take our actionable steps to defend themselves from password spraying campaigns.”

Bryan Ware, CISA Assistant Director of Cybersecurity, said:

“CISA has prioritized our cybersecurity services to healthcare and private organizations that provide medical support services and supplies in a concerted effort to prevent incidents and enable them to focus on their response to COVID-19.

“The trusted and continuous cybersecurity collaboration CISA has with NCSC and industry partners plays a critical role in protecting the public and organizations, specifically during this time as healthcare organizations are working at maximum capacity.” 

Security officials have identified targeting of national and international healthcare bodies, pharmaceutical companies, research organizations, and local government with the likely aim of gathering information related to the coronavirus outbreak. 

‘Password spraying’ is the attempt to access a large number of accounts using commonly known passwords. The NCSC previously revealed the most commonly hacked passwords which attackers are known to use to gain access to personal and corporate accounts and networks. CISA has a security tip sheet to help organizations and individuals avoid making common mistakes when choosing and protecting their password.

This latest report follows a joint advisory published by the NCSC and CISA on 8 April about cyber criminals exploiting the coronavirus outbreak for their own personal gain. It is expected that the frequency of coronavirus-related cyber attacks will increase over the coming weeks and months.

Last month, the NCSC created the Suspicious Email Reporting Service after seeing an increase in coronavirus-related email scams. In its first week, the service received more than 25,000 reports – resulting in 395 phishing sites being taken down.

Additional Information

  • Refer to trusted resources such as www.coronavirus.gov in the U.S., or in the U.K., www.gov.uk/coronavirus or the NHS website, for official information about the coronavirus.
  • APT groups conduct sophisticated attacks which typically aim to compromise an organization either through espionage or sabotage, but which aim to remain undetected for a long period of time.
  • Earlier this year, CISA published Cyber Essentials that is a guide for leaders of small businesses and local government agencies to reduce their cyber risk. It will help them develop an actionable understanding of where to start implementing organizational cybersecurity practices.
  • For more information, please visit www.cisa.gov/coronavirus


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Topics
Last Published Date: May 5, 2020 

FCC TO ROBOCALLERS: THERE WILL BE NO MORE WARNINGS.

posted May 4, 2020, 4:01 PM by IT Admin

 May 1, 2020 - AGENCY DROPS CITATION REQUIREMENT AND EXTENDS STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS. The FCC issued an order to end the practice of warning most robocallers before issuing penalties for violating the law and for harassing consumers with unwanted robocalls. Such warnings were previously required by law until the TRACED Act was enacted. Full news release below. 

 

Media Contact:

Will Wiquist, (202) 418-0509

will.wiquist@fcc.gov

 

For Immediate Release

 

FCC TO ROBOCALLERS: THERE WILL BE NO MORE WARNINGS

Agency Drops Citation Requirement and Extends Statute of Limitations

  --

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2020—The Federal Communications Commission today issued an order that will end the practice of warning most robocallers before issuing penalties for violating the law and for harassing consumers with unwanted robocalls.  Such warnings were previously required by law until the TRACED Act was enacted in December 2019. 

 

Under the prior statutory requirement, the Commission had to issue robocallers that did not otherwise fall within its jurisdiction warnings—formally called citations—related to their alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (by, for example, robocalling cell phones without prior consumer consent) before the agency was able to move forward with an enforcement action.  In addition, prior to the TRACED Act, any fine the Commission proposed for TCPA violations by robocallers could be based on violations that occurred only after the warning had been issued.  While caller ID spoofing violations—namely, the use of spoofing to scam consumers—did not require warnings, the act of illegal robocalling by these scammers did.

 

“Robocall scam operators don’t need a warning these days to know what they are doing is illegal, and this FCC has long disliked the statutory requirement to grant them mulligans,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “We have taken unprecedented action against spoofing violations in recent years and removing this outdated ‘warning’ requirement will help us speed up enforcement to protect consumers.  With strong enforcement and policy changes like mandating STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication and authorizing robocall blocking, we are making real progress in our fight against fraudsters.”

 

In addition, today’s FCC action extends the statute of limitations during which robocallers can be fined for TCPA and for spoofing violations.  Until now, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau had either one or two years, respectively, from the day a violation took place to propose a fine, and only the violations that took place within that timeframe could be included when calculating the proposed forfeiture.  With today’s change, the Commission has four years to propose a fine for spoofing and intentional robocall violations.  The Order also increases the maximum fines for intentional robocall violations.

 

Under Chairman Pai, the FCC has taken unprecedented enforcement actions against spoofed robocallers under the Truth in Caller ID Act.  These included a $120 million fine against a Florida-based time-share marketing operation, an $82 million fine against a North Carolina-based health insurance telemarketer, and a $37.5 million proposed fine of an Arizona marketer—all three of which were also issued citations for TCPA violations.  The Enforcement Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission also recently pushed gateway providers to stop their suspected facilitation of COVID-19-related scam robocalls.  Within 24 hours, those gateway providers stopped carrying those scam robocalls.  

 

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Media Relations: (202) 418-0500 / ASL: (844) 432-2275 / TTY: (888) 835-5322 / Twitter: @FCC / www.fcc.gov

 

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action.  Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.  See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

News from the FCC - CHAIRMAN PAI EXTENDS KEEP AMERICANS CONNECTED PLEDGE

posted Apr 30, 2020, 11:08 AM by IT Admin   [ updated Apr 30, 2020, 11:09 AM ]


April 30, 2020 - Washington, D.C.

 

Media Contact:

Tina Pelkey, (202) 418-0536

tina.pelkey@fcc.gov

 

For Immediate Release

 

CHAIRMAN PAI EXTENDS KEEP AMERICANS CONNECTED PLEDGE THROUGH END OF JUNE DUE TO ONGOING

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

With Initial Pledge Expiring on May 12, the Chairman Urges Providers to Continue Service, Waive Late Fees, and Keep Wi-Fi Hotspots Open Until June 30

 

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2020—Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced the extension of his Keep Americans Connected Pledge until June 30, 2020.  Since launching the pledge last month, more than 700 broadband and telephone service providers committed for 60 days to (1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic; (2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and (3) open their Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.  Chairman Pai is now asking providers to extend these offerings to consumers and small businesses until the end of June.  Earlier this week, the Chairman held calls with providers representing the vast majority of broadband and telephone subscribers in the United States as well as trade associations to relay this request. 

 

“Hundreds of providers have stepped up to the plate to keep Americans connected to communications services in this time of need,” said Chairman Pai.  “This includes the largest and some of the smallest providers across the country.  I salute them for making broadband available to Americans who increasingly rely on it for work, school, healthcare, and communicating with loved ones.  And given our nation’s current situation, I’m urging these companies to extend these important offerings—uninterrupted service, waiving of late fees, and continued availability of Wi-Fi hotspots—until June 30.  Companies representing the vast majority of broadband and telephone subscriptions have already agreed to this extension.  I thank them for stepping up to the plate once again during this national emergency, and I encourage others to do so as well.”

 

While the FCC encourages all providers that have signed the pledge previously to extend their commitments to June 30, we understand that some providers, particularly those in small markets and rural areas, may not be able to do so as a result of financial challenges.  Those providers should contact KACpledge@fcc.gov by May 12 if they wish to opt out of the extension.

 

The FCC encourages consumers to contact their service provider directly to make them aware of their specific circumstances and to discuss options.  Consumers can also visit consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.  For more information on Chairman Pai’s Keep Americans Connected Initiative, visit www.fcc.gov/keepamericansconnected.  For updates on the FCC’s wide array of actions to keep consumers connected during the coronavirus pandemic, visit www.fcc.gov/coronavirus.

 

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Media Relations: (202) 418-0500 / ASL: (844) 432-2275 / TTY: (888) 835-5322 / Twitter: @FCC / www.fcc.gov

 

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action.  Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.  See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

 

 

FBI Warns of Schemes Related to Supplies During COVID-19 Pandemic

posted Apr 21, 2020, 10:09 AM by IT Admin   [ updated Apr 21, 2020, 10:14 AM ]

FBI Warns of Advance Fee and BEC Schemes Related to Procurement of PPE and Other Supplies During COVID-19 Pandemic - April 13, 2020:  

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is providing this industry alert to warn government and health care industry buyers of rapidly emerging fraud trends related to procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical equipment such as ventilators, and other supplies or equipment in short supply during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The FBI recently became aware of multiple incidents in which state government agencies, attempting to procure such equipment, wire transferred funds to fraudulent brokers and sellers in advance of receiving the items. The brokers and sellers included both domestic and foreign entities. In one case, an individual claimed to represent an entity with which the purchasing agency had an existing business relationship. By the time the purchasing agencies became suspicious of the transactions, much of the funds had been transferred outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement and were unrecoverable.

The current environment, in which demand for PPE and certain medical equipment far outstrips supply, is ripe for fraudulent actors perpetrating advance fee and business email compromise (BEC) schemes, such as those described above.

In advance fee schemes related to procurement, a victim pre-pays (partially or in full) a purported seller or a broker for a good or service and then receives little or nothing in return.

BEC schemes often involve the spoofing of a legitimate known email address or use of a nearly identical email address to communicate with a victim to redirect legitimate payments to a bank account controlled by fraudsters. A variation on BEC schemes can involve similar social engineering techniques via phone call.

Risk Factors

While pre-payment is more common in the current environment, it substantially increases the risk of a buyer being defrauded and eliminates most potential recourse. The following indicators are warning signs that an offer to sell items may not be legitimate:

  • A seller or broker initiates the contact with the buyer, especially from a difficult to verify channel such as telephone or personal email.
  • The seller or broker is not an entity with which the buyer has an existing business relationship, or the buyer’s existing business relationships are a matter of public record.
  • The seller or broker cannot clearly explain the origin of the items or how they are available given current demand.
  • The potential buyer cannot verify with the product manufacturer that the seller is a legitimate distributor or vendor of the product, or otherwise verify the supply chain is legitimate.
  • Unexplained urgency to transfer funds or a last minute change in previously-established wiring instructions.

Mitigation Recommendations

The FBI recommends that buyers consider the following recommendations to protect their companies or agencies:

  • If the seller claims to represent an entity with an existing relationship to the buyer, verify claims through a known contact—do not contact the vendor through information provided in an email or phone communication.
  • If possible, have a trusted independent party verify the items for sale are physically present and of the promised make, model, and quality, and take delivery immediately upon payment.
  • If immediate delivery is impossible, route payments to a domestic escrow account to be released to the seller upon receipt of the promised items.
  • Verify with the manufacturer or verified distributor that the seller is a legitimate distributor or vendor for the items being offered.
  • Be skeptical of last minute changes in wiring instructions or recipient account information—do not re-route payments without independently verifying the direction came from an authorized party.
  • Verify the email address used to send emails, especially when using a mobile or handheld device, by ensuring the sender’s email address appears to match who it is coming from.

If you think your company or agency is the victim of a fraud scheme related to COVID-19 immediately contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.

For accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit:

The NCSL Blog - States' COVID-19 Legislative Activity

posted Apr 16, 2020, 6:14 AM by IT Admin   [ updated Apr 16, 2020, 6:22 AM ]

April 15, 2020 - States Acting Quickly to Support COVID-19 Responders by Samantha Bloch:  

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly affected first responders across America as some 911 call centers experience a record number of calls and frontline workers grapple with new and unknown circumstances.

First responder loads patient into ambulance. Credit: CNN

State emergency executive orders in many states, such as Arizona and Delaware, mention first responders explicitly when defining essential workers.

A pending U.S. Senate resolution commends their bravery and courage for “putting themselves at risk while providing critical care to those who have COVID-19.” Legislatures around the country have reacted fast to help tackle the most pressing issues.

Expanding workers’ compensation benefits seems high on the agenda in several states. Minnesota recently enacted legislation ensuring that first responders qualify for workers’ compensation if they catch the coronavirus. The new law exempts them from having to prove they got sick on the job to obtain benefits. Similar initiatives are pending in Massachusetts and Ohio.

The bill in Massachusetts would establish the presumption that any coronavirus illness experienced by first responders, and any resulting hospitalization, quarantine or self-quarantine, is work-related. Consequently, any time spent in recovery or quarantine would be counted as duty time. New York has pending legislation that would allow volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers to be covered by the state’s workers’ benefits law for any condition, impairment of health or death resulting from COVID-19.

States have also implemented or introduced initiatives that would help protect first responders from getting sick with the novel virus. Health authorities in Alabama, Massachusetts and South Carolina have adopted administrative orders or other administrative decisions to start sharing addresses of all individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 with first responders so that they can take extra precautions when responding to a particular emergency call.

pending bill in Louisiana has similar requirements and also mandates local public health authorities to determine whether a person with a presumptive positive COVID-19 result was handled by a first responder and if so, to provide verbal notification of the presumptive positive case to each first responder that was involved with that individual.

Other initiatives aim to help with the increased demand. A bill in Pennsylvania seeks to create a grant program for fire companies and emergency medical services companies to provide services during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Pending legislation in Ohio would allow pushing back end-of-employment dates for first responders who had to retire or re-employment of already retired first responders.

In addition to the evident health and organizational challenges for emergency workers, social distancing recommendations have also impacted states' 911 technological modernization efforts that would support the COVID-19 response. For example, access restrictions are delaying California’s planned upgrades to its Next Generation 911 system. The situation is evolving quickly, and states continue to introduce initiatives to support first responders. Visit NCSL’s 911 Legislation Tracking Database to access up to date, real-time information about 911 legislation introduced in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Samantha Bloch is a policy associate in NCSL’s Transportation Program. 

To access this story online, click here  NCSL

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