CISA Releases Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Outbreak


On Thursday, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released guidance to help state and local jurisdictions and the private sector identify and manage their essential workforce while responding to COVID-19.  

As the Nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, on March 16, the President issued updated Coronavirus Guidance for America. This guidance states that:   

“If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”   

CISA executes the Secretary of Homeland Security’s responsibilities as assigned under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide strategic guidance, promote a national unity of effort, and coordinate the overall Federal effort to ensure the security and resilience of the Nation’s critical infrastructure. 

The list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers was developed in coordination with Federal agencies and the private sector as a guide to help decision-makers within communities understand how to ensure continuity of essential functions and critical workforce as they consider COVID-related restrictions in certain communities (e.g., shelter-in-place). The list can also inform critical infrastructure community decision-making to determine the sectors, sub sectors, segments, or critical functions that should continue normal operations, appropriately modified to account for Centers for Disease Control (CDC) workforce and customer protection guidance.

These critical functions include, but are not limited to, systems that support healthcare personnel (e.g., doctors, nurses, laboratory personnel, etc.), the food industry (e.g., retail groceries and pharmacies), communication providers (e.g., operator, call centers, IT data centers), defense systems support, law enforcement, public works, and other essential operations. Workers who support these critical functions are necessary to keep critical systems and assets working.  

“As the nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, everyone has a role to play in protecting public health and safety. Many of the men and women who work across our nation’s critical infrastructure industries are hard at work keeping the lights on, water flowing from the tap, groceries on the shelves, among other countless essential services,” said Christopher Krebs, CISA Director. “As the nation’s risk advisor, this list is meant to provide additional guidance to state and local partners, as well as industry, building on the President’s statement that critical infrastructure industries have a special responsibility to keep normal operations.  We’re providing recommendations for these partners as they carry out their mission to keep their communities safe, healthy, and resilient. And on behalf of CISA, we thank the brave men and women who continue these essential jobs in challenging times.”   

The list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers was developed using existing data and analysis, including publicly available analysis done by the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council in 2007. The list does not impose any mandates on state or local jurisdictions or private companies. 

CISA will use this list to support federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government response to COVID-19. To view the full list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers and to learn more about our efforts, visit www.cisa.gov/coronavirus.  

Cisa.gov (March 2020) CISA RELEASES GUIDANCE ON ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS DURING COVID-19

Global operation sees a rise in fake medical products related to COVID-19


Coronavirus outbreak sparks a new trend in counterfeit medical items

Counterfeit facemasks, substandard hand sanitizers and unauthorized antiviral medication were all seized under Operation Pangea XIII, which saw police, customs and health regulatory authorities from 90 countries take part in collective action against the illicit online sale of medicines and medical products.

The operation resulted in 121 arrests worldwide and the seizure of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals worth more than USD 14 million.

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease has offered an opportunity for fast cash, as criminals take advantage of the high market demand for personal protection and hygiene products.

Law enforcement agencies taking part in Operation Pangea found 2,000 online links advertising items related to COVID-19. Of these, counterfeit surgical masks were the medical device most commonly sold online, accounting for around 600 cases during the week of action.

The seizure of more than 34,000 counterfeit and substandard masks, “corona spray”, “coronavirus packages” or “coronavirus medicine” reveals only the tip of the iceberg regarding this new trend in counterfeiting.

“Once again, Operation Pangea shows that criminals will stop at nothing to make a profit. The illicit trade in such counterfeit medical items during a public health crisis shows their total disregard for people’s wellbeing, or their lives,” said Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL’s Secretary General.

Compared to the week of action in 2018, this latest edition of the operation reported an increase of about 18 per cent in seizures of unauthorized antiviral medication, and an increase of more than 100 per cent in seizures of unauthorized chloroquine (an antimalarial medication), which could also be connected to the COVID-19 outbreak.

During the week of action (3 – 10 March 2020) authorities in participating INTERPOL countries inspected more than 326,000 packages of which more than 48,000 were seized by customs and regulatory authorities.

Overall, authorities seized around 4.4 million units of illicit pharmaceuticals worldwide. Among them were:

  • erectile dysfunction pills
  • anti-cancer medication
  • hypnotic and sedative agents
  • anabolic steroids
  • analgesics/painkillers
  • nervous system agents
  • dermatological agents
  • vitamins.

More than 37,000 unauthorized and counterfeit medical devices were also seized, the vast majority of which were surgical masks and self-testing kits (HIV and glucose), but also various surgical instruments.

Information received from the participating countries during the operation points to a considerable decrease in international shipments of small parcels (by about 40 per cent), probably due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The operation has already closed down more than 2,500 web links, including websites, social media pages, online marketplaces and online adverts for illicit pharmaceuticals with a similar number in the process of being closed down. The combined efforts of the authorities disrupted the activities of 37 organized crime groups.

Under Operation Pangea XIII, INTERPOL member countries also reached out to the general public – through videos, brochures, exhibitions and talks at hospitals and schools – to raise awareness of the dangers of buying pharmaceuticals from unregulated online sources.  

“As reducing demand is an important aspect in Operation Pangea, Malaysia is strongly promoting awareness activities to the public. These include the distribution of car stickers, video broadcasts via electronic billboards as well as radio and television interviews”, said Norlida Binti Abdul Rahman, Senior Principal Assistant Director, Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

Fake medicines often contain the wrong amount of active ingredient (too little, too much, or none at all). In other cases, the medicines may be genuine but have been stolen and then badly stored or may have expired. This means they could be ineffective or contaminated.

https://www.interpol.int/en/News-and-Events/News/2020/Global-operation-sees-a-rise-in-fake-medical-products-related-to-COVID-19

Interpol.int (March 2020) Global operation sees a rise in fake medical products related to COVID-19

Video: Fight Incident at Sam’s Club in Georgia

On Thursday, March 12th, 2020, at approximately 5:30 pm, Hiram Georgia Police Department officers were dispatched to the Sam’s Club (4798 Jimmy Lee Smith Parkway) within the city limits of Hiram in reference to an assault in progress.


On Thursday, March 12th, 2020, at approximately 5:30 pm, Hiram Georgia Police Department officers were dispatched to the Sam’s Club (4798 Jimmy Lee Smith Parkway) within the city limits of Hiram in reference to an assault in progress.

Several officers arrived on the scene within minutes to discover two males with injuries, and a small crowd gathered around the incident location. Paulding County Ga. Sheriff’s Office deputies responded as well to the initial call in order to assist Hiram Police Department officers, if needed.

Initial investigation, along with statements from the involved parties and witnesses, revealed the following:

A male (Person A) had been navigating the aisles of the retail establishment in a motorized shopping cart (apparently utilized due to a recent leg injury), while a family was utilizing the same aisle, consisting of a male (Person B), a female (Person C), and a juvenile riding in the shopping cart.

While attempting to get to the same location, Person A’s motorized shopping cart bumped into Person B’s shopping cart.

Person C then confronted Person A, struck him with her hand, and was apparently accusing him of ramming her shopping cart while her child was inside of it.

The video was uploaded to Twitter on Thursday night by a popular aggregated news account and has since been shared thousands of times. A caption on the video suggested the fight broke out over low supplies of water bottles at the warehouse store in Hiram.

Person A reportedly attempted to back away from the confrontation, at which point Persons B and C re-approached him, escalating the confrontation further. Person A then retrieved a wine bottle, reportedly to defend himself (initially) from Persons B and C. Person B then grabbed a wine bottle, and the two males began striking one another with the wine bottles.

The altercation continued after the bottles were broken, causing lacerations to both parties, in addition to the altercation ending on the ground with both parties fighting among the broken glass. Bystanders assisted in separating the parties until Police arrival.

This incident is still under investigation, so no names are being released at this time; however, criminal charges have been prepared for all three persons involved. The two male parties (Persons A and B) were treated for non-life-threatening injuries sustained in the altercation.

Despite rumors reportedly circulating social media, there are no indications that this incident was related to an altercation over water, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, or any other supplies being sought in connection to the concerns over COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

No traditional weapons (firearms or knives) were involved in this incident.

Help a veteran in need by donating here.

CityofHiram.gov (March, 2020) City of Hiram, GA: Fight Incident at Sam’s Club

Guarding Against COVID-19 Cyber Scams

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have released a warning to citizens to remain vigilant for scams related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).


The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have released a warning to citizens to remain vigilant for scams related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Cyber actors may send emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes.

Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19.

Soffe Men’s 3 Pack-USA Poly Cotton Military Tee

CISA encourages individuals to remain vigilant and take the following precautions:

Help a veteran in need by donating here.

US-Cert.gov (March, 2020) Defending Against COVID-19 Cyber Scams

Statement by U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Repatriation of American Passengers from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship

On February 16, the U.S. State Department facilitated the voluntary repatriation of over 300 U.S. citizens and their immediate family members who had been passengers on the Diamond Princess Cruise ship.


On February 16, the U.S. State Department facilitated the voluntary repatriation of over 300 U.S. citizens and their immediate family members who had been passengers on the Diamond Princess Cruise ship. 

Passengers were evaluated by medical personnel from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and all were deemed asymptomatic and fit to fly before being processed for evacuation.

During the evacuation process, after passengers had disembarked the ship and initiated transport to the airport, U.S. officials received notice that 14 passengers, who had been tested 2-3 days earlier, had tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Soffe Men’s 3 Pack-USA Poly Cotton Military Tee

These individuals were moved in the most expeditious and safe manner to a specialized containment area on the evacuation aircraft to isolate them in accordance with standard protocols. 

After consultation with HHS officials, including experts from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the State Department made the decision to allow the 14 individuals, who were in isolation, separated from other passengers, and continued to be asymptomatic, to remain on the aircraft to complete the evacuation process.  During the flights, these individuals will continue to be isolated from the other passengers. These flights departed Japan at approximately 4:30 PM Eastern time on February 16 and will arrive in the United States later this morning. 

All passengers are being closely monitored by medical professionals throughout the flight, and any who become symptomatic will be moved to the specialized containment area, where they will be treated.

Upon landing in the United States, passengers will deplane at either Travis AFB or Joint Base San Antonio and will remain under quarantine for 14 days. Passengers that develop symptoms in flight and those with positive test results will remain isolated on the flights and will be transported to an appropriate location for continued isolation and care.

Every precaution to ensure proper isolation and community protection measures are being taken, driven by the most up-to-date risk assessments by U.S. health authorities. 

We continue all possible efforts to protect the welfare of U.S. citizens. 

Cell Phones and Accessories

We encourage U.S. citizens considering international travel to continue to review State Department Travel Advisories at Travel.State.gov, and to closely monitor and follow the guidance of the CDC and local health authorities.

State.gov (February, 2020) Joint Statement by U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Repatriation of American Passengers from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship

Help a veteran in need by donating here.