Cybersecurity | St. Louis Public Radio

Cybersecurity

Illustration of a person who has just been laid off sitting at a computer looking at a website that asks him to enter his personal information to get benefits quickly.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The FBI says it has received hundreds of complaints about cyberscams based on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“When there’s a lot of fear and anxiety in the general population, it just seems that a lot of times scammers and criminals take advantage of those emotions and try to rob people of their money or their personal information,” said Mark Dargis, assistant special agent in charge of national security and cyber programs at the St. Louis field office.

The Labadie Energy Center was one of two Ameren Missouri power plants involved in the data breach.
File photo | Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Ransomware attackers have stolen data from a third-party vendor that supplies utility equipment to Ameren Missouri power plants.

Dozens of data files from Ohio-based LTI Power Systems appeared on a ransomware server in late February, including equipment diagrams and schematics from two Ameren Missouri facilities. No customer information appears to have been involved in the data breach.

An audit is criticizing cybersecurity practices at the Illinois State Board of Elections, but the board is taking issue with some of the findings.

(March 29, 2019) Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano discussed how American security policy has developed since 9/11 on Friday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The events of September 11, 2001, changed how many Americans thought of security – and which security concerns they worried about. But in the nearly 20 years since the attacks, threats to American security have continued to evolve, and the United States has not always kept up.

That’s what former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano argues in her new book “How Safe Are We?” She joined Friday’s St. Louis on the Air to discuss how American security policy has developed since 9/11.

Sam O'Keefe | Missouri S&T

A team at Missouri University of Science and Technology has received a $1 million grant to research better kinds of cyber security.

They aren’t looking to stop outside hackers — they want to stop threats from the inside.

Facilities and systems like power grids, water plants and driverless cars could all benefit from the research funded by the National Science Foundation.

Marlysha Tucker of River Roads Lutheran School connects a wire in order to program a computer to turn on an LED light during a Webster University cyber workshop Oct. 21, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Webster University held a workshop Saturday to introduce middle school girls to computer science and cybersecurity, with a goal of encouraging them to pursue careers in the field.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, less than 20 percent of the country’s cybersecurity analysts are women. The field is expected to grow rapidly in the next decade.

Maurice Dawson and Shaji Kahn, information security professors at UMSL, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss cybersecurity.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed cybersecurity issues in light of the recent hacking of Equifax, one of three major credit reporting agencies in the United States.

Nearly 146 million Americans were impacted by the data breach that involved social security numbers, birth dates and other personal information. A website has been set up to help those impacted by the breach monitor their credit accounts. 

Joining him for the discussion were:

Angus Kingston | Flickr

A cybersecurity initiative launched two years ago to protect public schools in Missouri from hackers is getting good marks from educators. 

It was launched in September 2015 by State Auditor Nicole Galloway and has become a permanent part of the auditor's office's practices.

(Flickr, Marcie Casas)

A new cybersecurity apprenticeship program is about to begin in the St. Louis region.

The Midwest Cyber Center is partnering with the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment, known as SLATE, to launch the 18-month apprenticeship.

The Cybersecurity Analyst Registered Apprenticeship  is aimed at those who are at least 18, with a high school diploma or G.E.D. Midwest Cyber Center Executive Director Tony Bryan said they wanted to attract those with little experience into the field.

Dan Chace | Flickr

Rumors of an executive order about cybersecurity from President Donald Trump have been swirling for the last week, and improving our national cybersecurity has been a political issue for the last couple of years.

On a personal level, hacking, data collection and recording by personal devices all pose threats to personal information security.

derekGavey | Flickr

Missouri school districts need to tighten controls over student data and other information to help ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands for the wrong purpose, a state audit said Thursday.

Using information she gleaned earlier this year from audits on five districts, including Orchard Farm in St. Charles County, state Auditor Nicole Galloway said schools need to pay more attention to cybersecurity in several areas including who has access to the information and what needs to be done when a breach is discovered.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill listens to a presentation on Aug. 29, 2016, at Jefferson Barracks from members of a Missouri National Guard cyber unit.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says the military needs to be more aggressive in attracting and recruiting qualified people for cyber security operations.

That’s one of the big takeaways the Democratic senator had after receiving a presentation on Monday from Missouri National Guard personnel at Jefferson Barracks. The cyber unit that’s stationed there was established in 2013 and is often sought to train military units across the country.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Every time a consumer applies for a mortgage or car loan – and, in many cases, signs up to rent an apartment or applies for a new job – a major factor in the decision to accept or reject the application is their credit report.

The  $100 million complex has about 1,000 employees responsible for keeping the U.S. Department of Defense's computer network safe.
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

There's a new, $100 million dollar building at Scott Air Force Base that is keeping the U.S. Department of Defense's computer network out of trouble.

Military and political dignitaries gathered on Thursday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the 164,000- square-foot complex that houses the Defense Information Systems Agency's Global Operations Command. It’s the largest cyber operations center in the United States.

SixThirty Cyber Logo
SixThirty

A new St. Louis-based initiative might produce the next big advancement in the war against hackers and data thieves. SixThirty Cyber is an offshoot of financial technology venture fund and business accelerator SixThirty, which is housed in the T-Rex co-working space downtown.

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

The final audit has begun in a series of cyber security checks of five of Missouri's K-12 school districts.

Orchard Farm in St. Charles County is the fifth school district getting this type of review.It began this week, so there is no information yet on any findings or issues.

Locally-based security researcher Charlie Miller is internationally-known for his hacking capabilities.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Feb. 17, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. with quotes about encryption, Apple news – Yesterday, a federal court ordered Apple to unlock the iPhone of one of the people involved in the San Bernadino shooting as a means to obtain evidence against the suspected shooter. Apple is refusing to unlock the phone, as CEO Tim Cook reaffirmed in a letter addressing the security of its customers.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Cyber security has become a major initiative of the Pentagon.

As part of that initiative, Scott Air Force Base has a new cyberspace operations group that will eventually include 300 new jobs. The 688th Cyberspace Wing activated the group on Tuesday.

Colonel Roger Vrooman also became the new commander of the group during Tuesday's activation ceremony. He later told members of the media that he worries about cyber attacks that aren’t detected.

Aegis Strategies logo
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

A new partnership in the Metro East is designed to train more workers for cybersecurity careers. Organizers are hoping it will boost the area’s chances of landing the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which will be moving from south St. Louis.

The Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence is based just outside Scott Air Force Base. It's goal is to help to train workers in all sectors to better protect an employer's online network.

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

It will be this fall at the earliest before Congress begins negotiating provisions in a cyber-security bill. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says he’s disappointed a bill wasn’t ready to be debated next week, before senators leave town for their month-long August break. The House left Wednesday night.

Raymond Evans,left; Paul Jordan, right
Alex Heuer

Every day, billions of internet users are inevitably vulnerable to hackers from across the world.

While regular citizens are susceptible to attacks, so is the government. Professionals at Scott Air Force Base are tasked with ensuring our systems are secure and some of those airmen are passionate about cybersecurity outside of work, and on a personal level.

Webster University

If you need any more reason to be concerned about security of the global online system that runs everything from the financial world to the airlines to the federal government, consider these headlines from last week:

“Apocalypse Now?: NYSE, WSJ outages spook Twitter" 

“The Glitching Hour”

“Ladies and Gentlemen, It’s Time to Panic" 

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis police said last month’s decision to dedicate additional resources to the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood on the city's northwest side is paying off.

Since designating the area as a "hot spot," police have made nearly 90 arrests. Some were for probation and parole violations, others for crimes in progress. They also pulled 20 guns off the street during the 10-day period.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 8, 2013: Edward Snowden, the National Security Administration computer contractor who leaked details regarding secret U.S. and British government mass surveillance programs to the press, has become a polarizing figure. This June, the U.S. government charged Snowden with such crimes as theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communication with an unauthorized party. Snowden left the country to avoid prosecution and has been given temporary asylum in Russia.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 10, 2013: I am as angry as anyone about the NSA’s persistent, nefarious, cynical -- and successful -- efforts to open back doors into the world’s computer systems, developing honed abilities to wander through the private communications of just about everyone in with a screen-name. 

But it’s no more than we deserve.

Charlie Miller, this time hacking into the steering wheel of a Ford Escape.
(Courtesy Charlie Miller)

There’s tech in your car and tech in your phone. Internet connections in your Xbox and your printer. Convenient. But also a potential conduit to breach your security.

A person with the know-how can even remotely hack into your steering wheel. With his research partner Chris Xavier, Charlie Miller of Wildwood, Mo. recently revealed this vulnerability in cars as part of an enterprise in what he calls "white hat" or "ethical" hacking.

(via Flickr/espensorvik)

Employment in the field of information security, web development and computer networks—cybersecurity—is expected to increase 22 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Washington University and Fontbonne University are offering new cybersecurity programs this Fall in response to the growing demand in the workforce for people in this field. 

(Courtesy: USTRANSCOM)

Cybersecurity is especially vital to the nation's military. Last year U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base formed the Joint Cyber Center "in recognition of cyberspace as a warfighting domain. "

Colonel Tom Clancy is Chief of the Joint Cyber Center at Scott Air Force Base. He said that during routine sweeps in 2011, more than 44,000 "attempted accesses to systems" at U.S. Transportation Command were discovered. That number quadrupled in 2012.  

With cyber attack threat rising, Senate bill falters

Jul 31, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 31, 2012 - On Thursday, after days of behind-the-scenes talks fell short of a bipartisan compromise, the Senate failed to advance the cyber security bill -- throwing into question the bill's future. The cloture vote was 52-46, with 60 votes needed to stop debate and proceed to a final vote on the bill.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 6, 2012 - WASHINGTON – Echoing other Senate cybersecurity experts, Sen. Roy Blunt argued Wednesday that alleged White House leaks about a U.S. cyber attack on Iran make this country “more vulnerable” to similar attacks on critical infrastructure such as utilities.

“It would seem to me that the president actually heightened our potential to have a cyber problem by pointing out to the world, through the administration, that ... we’re doing it,” Blunt, R-Mo., told reporters.

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