High Threat Response

High Threat Response Building capacity to prepare and respond to complex coordinated terrorist attacks

"For years, the cybersecurity industry has warned that state-sponsored hackers could shut down large swathes of US energ...
05/11/2021
The Colonial Pipeline Hack Is a New Extreme for Ransomware

"For years, the cybersecurity industry has warned that state-sponsored hackers could shut down large swathes of US energy infrastructure in a geopolitically motivated act of cyberwar. But now apparently profit-focused cybercriminal hackers have inflicted a disruption that military and intelligence agency hackers have never dared to, shutting down a pipeline that carries nearly half the fuel consumed on the East Coast of the United States."

Source: WIRED

https://www.wired.com/story/colonial-pipeline-ransomware-attack/

An attack has crippled the company’s operations—and cut off a large portion of the East Coast’s fuel supply—in an ominous development for critical infrastructure.

"Authorities in the UK recently conducted a series of arrests of individuals suspected of terrorism offenses motivated b...
05/11/2021
IntelBrief: Arrests of Far-Right Violent Extremists in UK Highlight Scale of the Threat

"Authorities in the UK recently conducted a series of arrests of individuals suspected of terrorism offenses motivated by far-right violent extremism. The arrests follow the UK government’s proscription of the Atomwaffen Division, a transnational white supremacy extremist organization.

The UK faces a multitude of threats, with jihadist ideology still a significant motivator of terrorism but accompanied by an increased focus on far-right violent extremism. The platform of far-right violent extremists in the UK has evolved over the past decade to incorporate xenophobia, populism, and anti-globalism."

Source: The Soufan Center

https://thesoufancenter.org/intelbrief-2021-may-10/

Authorities in the United Kingdom recently conducted a series of arrests of individuals suspected of terrorism offenses motivated by far-right violent extremism. The arrests included a sixteen-year-old boy, highlighting the complexities of the threat in the UK

"Seven children were killed and at least 16 people injured on Tuesday after a gunman opened fire in a school in the Russ...
05/11/2021
At least 7 children killed in Russian school shooting

"Seven children were killed and at least 16 people injured on Tuesday after a gunman opened fire in a school in the Russian city of Kazan, according to the country's National Anti-Terrorism Committee. The suspected shooter, an armed young man and local resident born in 2001, has been detained, state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a law enforcement source.

TASS reported that the Investigative Committee has opened a case of mass murder after the shooting."

https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/11/europe/russia-school-shooting-kazan-intl/index.html

Seven children were killed and at least 16 people injured on Tuesday after a gunman opened fire in a school in the Russian city of Kazan, according to the country's National Anti-Terrorism Committee.

"His plan was to lure law enforcement to a remote location then murder as many as he could in hopes of starting an “upri...
05/11/2021
Cleveland man found guilty in plot to kidnap and ambush law enforcement officers

"His plan was to lure law enforcement to a remote location then murder as many as he could in hopes of starting an “uprising.”

According to court records, the FBI received a call regarding several violent postings made in an online chatroom. He discussed purchasing high-powered fi****ms, creating homemade chemical weapons, and leaving a “calling card” to promote media attention to his uprising."

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/cleveland-man-found-guilty-in-plot-to-kidnap-and-ambush-law-enforcement-officers/ar-BB1guhsp

Cleveland man found guilty in plot to kidnap and ambush law enforcement officers

"Police departments big and small have been plagued for years by foreign hackers breaking into networks and causing vary...
05/10/2021
Ransomware gangs get more aggressive against law enforcement

"Police departments big and small have been plagued for years by foreign hackers breaking into networks and causing varying level of mischief, from disabling email systems to more serious problems with 911 centers temporarily knocked offline. In some cases important case files have gone missing.

But things have taken a dark turn recently. Criminal hackers are increasingly using brazen methods to increase pressure on law enforcement agencies to pay ransoms, including leaking or threatening to leak highly sensitive and potentially life-threatening information."

https://apnews.com/article/ransomware-gangs-hacking-police-cybercrime-pipeline-3a38c27c4fafe0c39461fb71bf91a42a

RICHMOND, Va., (AP) — Police Chief Will Cunningham came to work four years ago to find that his six-officer department was the victim of a crime. Hackers had taken advantage of a weak password to break in and encrypt the files of the department in Roxana, a small town in Illinois near St...

"Threats have surged against the people and property that Capitol Police are charged with protecting, according to the m...
05/10/2021
Capitol Police lack "adequate resources" to investigate a surge in new threats, watchdog finds

"Threats have surged against the people and property that Capitol Police are charged with protecting, according to the most recent report by the department's inspector general, which also found the department did not have "adequate resources" to analyze and investigate the rising risks.

The April report, obtained first by CBS News, revealed that the number of threat cases increased from 171 in 2017 to 586 in 2020 and have already topped 200 through the first three months of the year. The department views a threat as "a communication or action showing clear or implied intent to inflict physical, psychological, or other harm," including those targeted at lawmakers and the Capitol building itself."

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/capitol-police-riot-low-staffing-threats-resources/

The April report, obtained first by CBS News, revealed that the number of threat cases increased from 171 in 2017 to 586 in 2020 and have already topped 200 through the first three months of the year.

"Four people have been injured, three of whom are now in a critical condition, after a stabbing attack at a New Zealand ...
05/10/2021
New Zealand: At least four injured in supermarket stabbing

"Four people have been injured, three of whom are now in a critical condition, after a stabbing attack at a New Zealand supermarket.

The stabbing took place at a Countdown store in the city of Dunedin on the South Island. Bystanders tackled the attacker, who was then arrested. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the motive was not clear but that there was no indication it was a domestic terror event."

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57053265

The motive behind the attack is unclear but there is no indication it was a domestic terror event.

"A Falls Church man is under arrest and faces charges after Fairfax County, Virginia, police said he pointed a knife at ...
05/10/2021
Police arrest Falls Church man in Fairfax Co. mosque stabbing attempt | WTOP

"A Falls Church man is under arrest and faces charges after Fairfax County, Virginia, police said he pointed a knife at several people in a Seven Corners mosque.

Police said officers were dispatched around 3 p.m. Saturday for reports that a man with a knife had entered the DAR Al Hijrah Islamic Center off Leesburg Pike, tried to stab a security guard and threatened several other people before leaving.

No one was injured."

Source: WTOP News

https://wtop.com/fairfax-county/2021/05/fairfax-co-police-seek-man-in-mosque-stabbing-attempt/

A Falls Church man is under arrest and faces charges after Fairfax County, Virginia, police said he pointed a knife at several people in a Seven Corners mosque.

"A cyberattack has prompted a company that operates a major energy pipeline in the U.S. to shut down operations.The Colo...
05/08/2021
Cyberattack prompts major pipeline operator to halt operations

"A cyberattack has prompted a company that operates a major energy pipeline in the U.S. to shut down operations.

The Colonial Pipeline Company said in a statement it learned on Friday that it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack, and so "proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems."

The breach appears to be an attack on the nation's critical energy infrastructure."

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/colonial-pipeline-cyberattack-halt-operations/

The Colonial Pipeline Company announced it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack, forcing a shutdown.

The ICCT - The Hague is hosting webinars on The Handbook of Terrorism Prevention and Preparedness: Prevention of, and Pr...
05/07/2021

The ICCT - The Hague is hosting webinars on The Handbook of Terrorism Prevention and Preparedness: Prevention of, and Preparedness for, Terrorist Attacks.

The next webinar is on Tuesday, May 11 at 10am (ET) on the following chapter topics:
-The Role of Intelligence in the Prevention of Terrorism
-Prevention of Low-Tech, Lone Actor Terrorist Attacks: The Case of the United States
-Prevention of Gun-, Knife-, Bomb-, and Arson-based Killings by Single Terrorists
-Prevention of Bomb Attacks by Terrorists in Urban Settings
-Prevention of Kidnappings and Hostage-Takings by Terrorists
-Preventing Su***de Attacks by Terrorists

More information and registration available here:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScL4Wc6iGEaLl6fEbVMA5ZHTjqzQfLvvY9BXGNd2x2t2FL9Yg/viewform

The ICCT - The Hague is hosting webinars on The Handbook of Terrorism Prevention and Preparedness: Prevention of, and Preparedness for, Terrorist Attacks.

The next webinar is on Tuesday, May 11 at 10am (ET) on the following chapter topics:
-The Role of Intelligence in the Prevention of Terrorism
-Prevention of Low-Tech, Lone Actor Terrorist Attacks: The Case of the United States
-Prevention of Gun-, Knife-, Bomb-, and Arson-based Killings by Single Terrorists
-Prevention of Bomb Attacks by Terrorists in Urban Settings
-Prevention of Kidnappings and Hostage-Takings by Terrorists
-Preventing Su***de Attacks by Terrorists

More information and registration available here:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScL4Wc6iGEaLl6fEbVMA5ZHTjqzQfLvvY9BXGNd2x2t2FL9Yg/viewform

"A Maryland woman was charged with attempted murder, arson and assault after witnesses said they saw her set a house on ...
05/07/2021
Woman accused of setting home on fire with person inside, watching it burn from lawn chair

"A Maryland woman was charged with attempted murder, arson and assault after witnesses said they saw her set a house on fire while a person was trapped in its basement. The person in the basement was able to escape."

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/woman-allegedly-sets-home-fire-person-still-inside-watches-it-n1266400

Gail J. Metwally was charged with attempted murder and multiple arson-related counts after witnesses alleged that they saw her setting a home on fire.

Please find below the Monthly Threat Update for April 2021. Incidents from this month include: a confirmed New IRA attem...
05/07/2021
Monthly Threat Update April 2021

Please find below the Monthly Threat Update for April 2021. Incidents from this month include: a confirmed New IRA attempted bombing on an off-duty police officer in Northern Ireland, a police administrator killed by a suspected Islamist extremist in France, a potential cyber attack on the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran, and an explosive drone deployed by cartel against Mexican police.

To view more on this monthly update, please visit:
https://www.poolre.co.uk/news/monthly-threat-update-apr-2021/

Monthly Threat Update April 2021

"A rifle-armed recruit from the U.S. Army basic training facility at Fort Jackson hijacked a school bus with 18 children...
05/07/2021
Army trainee armed with rifle hijacks bus with elementary school children aboard

"A rifle-armed recruit from the U.S. Army basic training facility at Fort Jackson hijacked a school bus with 18 children aboard. The incident began around 7:00 a.m. on Thursday with students enroute to Forest Lake Elementary School.

The suspect eventually ordered the students and the driver off the bus. He then drove the bus several miles before abandoning the vehicle on the side of the road, leaving the weapon – a standard military M4 carbine – on the bus, and then fleeing on foot."

Source: Police1

https://www.police1.com/vehicle-incidents/articles/army-trainee-armed-with-rifle-hijacks-bus-with-elementary-school-children-aboard-LKFcpt55KFKfs9SG/

Children are now safe, police said. The suspect was not immediately identified

"A shooting at an eastern Idaho middle school Thursday injured two students and a custodian, and a male student has been...
05/06/2021
Three Injured in Idaho Middle School Shooting | FirefighterNation

"A shooting at an eastern Idaho middle school Thursday injured two students and a custodian, and a male student has been taken into custody, authorities said.

The victims’ injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said."

Source: FirefighterNation.com and FireRescue

https://www.firefighternation.com/ems/three-injured-in-idaho-middle-school-shooting/

“Today we had the worst nightmare a school district could encounter. We had a school shooting here at Rigby Middle School,”

"Targeting critical infrastructure is an attempt to destabilize the social and economic functioning of the state and, th...
05/06/2021

"Targeting critical infrastructure is an attempt to destabilize the social and economic functioning of the state and, therefore, will remain an extremely important concern for those tasked with prevention of terrorist attacks. The number of incidents grew substantially as a comparison of attacks between the periods 2000-2009 and 2010-2017 shows. While the threat of cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure is gaining momentum, the use of fi****ms and explosives still remains the preferred modus operandi. As a result, the protection of critical infrastructure had been an important component of governments’ counterterrorism strategies in focusing on both traditional tactics and, more critically, on new technological advances such as the growing threat presented by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Developing successful counter- and preventative measures starts with understanding the “enemy,” specifically the objectives, the political message, and capabilities of terrorist organizations."

Source: ICCT - The Hague

https://icct.nl/publication/handbook-part-iv-prevention-of-and-preparedness-for-terrorist-attacks/

"Targeting critical infrastructure is an attempt to destabilize the social and economic functioning of the state and, therefore, will remain an extremely important concern for those tasked with prevention of terrorist attacks. The number of incidents grew substantially as a comparison of attacks between the periods 2000-2009 and 2010-2017 shows. While the threat of cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure is gaining momentum, the use of fi****ms and explosives still remains the preferred modus operandi. As a result, the protection of critical infrastructure had been an important component of governments’ counterterrorism strategies in focusing on both traditional tactics and, more critically, on new technological advances such as the growing threat presented by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Developing successful counter- and preventative measures starts with understanding the “enemy,” specifically the objectives, the political message, and capabilities of terrorist organizations."

Source: ICCT - The Hague

https://icct.nl/publication/handbook-part-iv-prevention-of-and-preparedness-for-terrorist-attacks/

"Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned that cyberattacks -- specifically ransomware attacks -- are on th...
05/06/2021
DHS secretary warns ransomware attacks on the rise, targets include small businesses

"Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned that cyberattacks -- specifically ransomware attacks -- are on the rise and targets range from government agencies to small businesses.

"The threat is real. The threat is upon us. The risk is to all of us," Mayorkas said at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Now & Then Speaker series Wednesday. "Inform oneself. Educate oneself and defend oneself."

Mayorkas said that $350 million was paid out for ransomware attacks in 2020."

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/dhs-secretary-warns-ransomware-attacks-rise-targets-include/story?id=77512872

Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned that cyberattacks -- specifically ransomware attacks -- are on the rise and targets include government agencies and small businesses.

"Conspiracy theories circulated online via social media contribute to a shift in public discourse away from facts and an...
05/06/2021
Machine Learning Can Detect Online Conspiracy Theories

"Conspiracy theories circulated online via social media contribute to a shift in public discourse away from facts and analysis and can contribute to direct public harm. Social media platforms face a difficult technical and policy challenge in trying to mitigate harm from online conspiracy theory language. As part of Google's Jigsaw unit's effort to confront emerging threats and incubate new technology to help create a safer world, RAND researchers conducted a modeling effort to improve machine-learning (ML) technology for detecting conspiracy theory language. They developed a hybrid model using linguistic and rhetorical theory to boost performance. They also aimed to synthesize existing research on conspiracy theories using new insight from this improved modeling effort. This report describes the results of that effort and offers recommendations to counter the effects of conspiracy theories that are spread online."

Source: RAND Corporation

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA676-1.html

As social media platforms work to prevent malicious or harmful uses of their services, an improved model of machine-learning technology can detect and understand conspiracy theory language. Insights from this modeling effort can help counter the effects of online conspiracies.

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