- A false alarm was broadcast to Hawaii on Saturday warning of an inbound missile.
- In the days following the alert, people discovered that a photo taken in Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency for a newspaper article in July includes a sticky note with a password on it.
- Hawaii says the false alarm was because an employee “pushed the wrong button,” not because it was hacked, but the photo sparked criticsm from the security industry about the general level of security at the agency.
Over the weekend, people who lived in Hawaii were awakened by a terrifying false missile alert1 . It turned out that it was a “mistake2,” according to Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency, which said that the emergency system had not been hacked . Instead, the agency said a worker had clicked the wrong item in a drop-down menu3.
“It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button,” Hawaii Gov .
David Ige said.
But a photo from July4 recently resurfaced on Twitter raises questions about the agency’s cybersecurity practices . In it, Hawaii EMA’s current operations officer poses in front of a battery of screens.
Attached to one of the screens is a password written on a post-it note.
Jeffrey Wong, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s current operations officer, shows computer screens monitoring hazards at the agency’s headquarters in Honolulu on Friday, July 21, 2017 . Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the possibility of a ballistic missile strike from North Korea. AP
Hawaii’s EMA didn’t immediately respond to a request for more information.
While these computers are likely different from the system that sent the false missile alert, the photo does raise questions about the general approach to security at the agency that may have led to the scary situation on Saturday. (On the other screen, a post-it note reminds the user to “SIGN OUT.”)
Writing down passwords isn’t a strict security no-no, with some security experts suggesting that keeping a hard copy of a password in your wallet is a defensible decision if you can keep the piece of paper secure5 . Obviously, a post-it note on a monitor is not secure, especially if it’s protecting computer systems dedicated to keeping people safe.
Here’s what the Hawaii EMA system that sent the false alert on Saturday looks like:
- ^ a terrifying false missile alert (www.businessinsider.com)
- ^ mistake (www.businessinsider.com)
- ^ in a drop-down menu (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ a photo from July (www.apimages.com)
- ^ you can keep the piece of paper secure (www.schneier.com)
- ^ already drawn (twitter.com)
- ^ some ridicule (twitter.com)
On 9 December 2017 at Teesside Crown Court, jailed security director Christopher Catchpole, was ordered to pay back proceeds of crime amounting to 63,628.
Catchpole, formerly of Pro-Lock Security Limited based in Durham, had previously been sentenced to 32 months in prison at Teesside Crown Court in June 2017. He was convicted of money laundering, supplying an unlicensed security operative and acting as the director of a security company without an SIA licence. The judge gave Catchpole three months to pay. He faces an extra nine months in prison if he fails to produce the money, which will be raised by the sale of property belonging to Catchpole and his wife. Our Director of Partnerships and Interventions, Dave Humphries, said:
The successful results of this prosecution will reassure the public that we will continue to work with the police to ensure compliance with the law.
It is important that Mr Catchpole was pursued under Proceeds of Crime legislation, to recover the benefit he gleaned from his actions.
The successful conclusion of the case was the result of a lengthy investigation involving the SIA and the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART). The North East RART used their powers under the Private Security Industry Act to obtain information relating to the conduct of Catchpole and his security business. In support, the SIA investigation team provided evidence in court that Catchpole s activities had deprived legitimate security companies of 1.1 million of business.
Detective Sergeant Thomas Maughan, from the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team, said:
We are very pleased with the outcome today, which involved fantastic partnership work between ourselves, the North East Regional Special Operations Unit, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
“Christopher Catchpole s company, Pro-Lock Security, has traded illegally from the outset. Although his companies received more than 1million since 2013, his illegal trading started years before. He requested a SIA licence application but never applied. He has showed a complete disregard for SIA licencing which exists to keep such people out of the private security business, so the public are not put at risk. Catchpole is also subject to a Serious Crime Prevention Order, which will come into effect once he is released from prison. The order includes a condition that he must not have a role in any business relating to security.
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA’s main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk.
Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II listens as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks at the Nativity of Christ Cathedral in Egypt’s future administrative capital (Getty Images)
The Liturgy marked the consecration of the largest cathedral in the Middle East
In a show of solidarity with Egypt s embattled Christians, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Saturday made a symbolic appearance at an Orthodox Christmas Liturgy in a new cathedral as tens of thousands of soldiers and police deployed outside churches across the country in anticipation of possible attacks by Islamic militants.
We, with the grace of God, are offering a message of peace and love from here, not just to Egyptians or to the region, but to the entire world, el-Sissi told a jubilant congregation while standing next to Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic pontiff.
I always say this and repeat it: destruction, ruin and killing will never be able to defeat goodness, construction, love and peace . It s impossible, said el-Sissi, a Muslim . Pay attention, you are our family . You are part of us . We are one and no one will ever drive a wedge between us. In Cairo and across much of the Muslim majority country, soldiers in full combat gear joined the police in protecting churches, most of which are now equipped with metal detectors . Worshippers undergo body searches at church entrances .
Some churches have had their surrounding streets sealed off, with sidewalks barricaded to control pedestrian movement. The tight security across Egypt is a precaution against possible attacks by Islamic militants who have specifically targeted Christians since December 2016, staging a series of bombings, killing about 100 people. Orthodox Christians are the overwhelming majority of Egypt s Christians, who account for about 10 percent of the population, or nearly 10 million . They celebrate Christmas on January 7.
The new cathedral in which Mass was held has been named Christ s Nativity and is located in Egypt s new Administrative Capital, a 45-billion-dollar, under-construction project some 45 kilometers (28 miles) east of Cairo . The Christmas Mass consecrates the new cathedral and marks the first time in living memory that the liturgy is not held at St Mark s Cathedral, the seat of the orthodox church in central Cairo. The new cathedral can house up to 9,000 worshippers and is touted as the largest in the Middle East. El-Sissi arrived shortly after nightfall, as silver lights twinkled on the cathedral s dome, piercing the surrounding darkness .
A general-turned-president, el-Sissi is viewed by most of Egypt s Christians as their protector and ally in the face of Islamists . He led the military s 2013 ouster of an Islamist president whose divisive rule alarmed many Christians fearful over their future in the country. The cathedral s bells tolled as Tawadros received el-Sissi outside the cathedral and they walked inside together . Women ululated in jubilation and many in the congregation waved Egyptian flags or threw white rose buds at the smiling president, who waved back and shook hands with some of them. The consecration of the new cathedral attracted the attention of Pope Francis, who visited Egypt last year where he spoke of the need for tolerance between Muslims and Christians.
I d like to express in a special way my closeness to Orthodox Coptic Christians, and I cordially greet my brother Tawadros II in the glorious occasion of the consecration of the Cathedral of Cairo, Pope Francis said in remarks to the faithful after celebrating an Epiphany Mass Saturday in St .
Peter s Basilica. But not everyone was as positive about the new cathedral or holding Christmas Mass there. Ishak Ibrahim, a prominent expert on Christian affairs in Egypt, said in a Facebook post that moving Mass to an isolated spot projected a disappointing message.
Christianity never commanded us to build churches so we can boast about their size, beauty or to accord legitimacy to the sultan, he wrote .
Those in the villages, meanwhile, are hurt and see their churches shuttered, wrote Ibrahim, alluding to frequent instances of Muslim mobs in rural Egypt reacting violently to the construction or repair of churches, or the use of private Christian homes as places of worship. The latest such incident took place last month, when an angry Muslim mob stormed an unlicensed church in a village south of Cairo, ransacking the facility . Christian rights activists point to such incidents as evidence of the government s inability to protect Christians, particularly outside big cities.
The latest deadly attack against Christians was on December 29, when a militant opened fire outside a suburban Cairo church, killing at least nine people.
A local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for most attacks on Christians, including a series of killings that forced scores of Christian families last year to flee their homes in northern Sinai, the epicenter of an insurgency spearheaded by IS militants, who also target the country s mainland.