ICAO update Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP) for strengthening aviation security

ICAO's newest edition of the Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP) is designed to enhance the international aviation security environment by providing detailed guidance to governments, industry, and other stakeholders. This new plan focusses on six global aviation security priority areas:
- Risk awareness and response;
- The preservation of a strong and effective security culture;
- Human factors (including human performance and the professionalization of the aviation security workforce);
- Innovation and the allocation of technological resources;
- Oversight and quality assurance; and
- Cooperation and support among stakeholders.
ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar addressed the importance of GASeP, “The new ICAO Global Aviation Security Plan is both an acknowledgment of the urgent and evolving aviation security challenges we face and a product of ICAO’s unwavering commitment to confronting them head-on. The Plan is a central element in our support for robust action by governments on aviation security and cybersecurity. It also provides crucial support to our advocacy for heightened resourcing and focus for these priorities.”
This second edition of the GASeP is a response to ICAO Assembly Resolutions A41-18 and A41-19 and is in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2309 (2016). It aims to help States fulfill their commitments under these instruments and under Annex 17 – Aviation Security of the Convention on International Civil Aviation. States have set themselves an aspirational goal to “achieve and maintain a strong global aviation security system that is underpinned by full and effective implementation of ICAO aviation security Standards in all Member States.”
The GASeP structures States’ progress towards this goal, which will be monitored by ICAO. The results of the UN agency’s Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP), which assesses States’ implementation of ICAO Security Standards, will be used to measure progress towards the aspirational goal and its milestones. Additionally, the voluntary sharing of experience by States and all relevant stakeholders will help measure improvement in the global AVSEC priority areas.
As the global aviation community continues to face evolving security threats, the GASeP serves as a vital tool in ICAO’s ongoing efforts to strengthen aviation security worldwide. ICAO calls upon all States and stakeholders to actively engage with and implement the Plan to ensure a secure and resilient international aviation system.

CISA and Partners join ASD’S ACSC to Release Advisory on PRC State-Sponsored Group, APT 40

CISA has collaborated with the Australian Signals Directorate’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ASD's ACSC) to release an advisory, People’s Republic of China (PRC) Ministry of State Security APT40 Tradecraft in Action outlining a PRC state-sponsored cyber group’s activity. The following organizations also collaborated with ASD's ACSC on the guidance:
- The National Security Agency (NSA);
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);
- The United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC-UK);
- The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS);
- The New Zealand National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC-NZ);
- The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV);
- The Republic of Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) and NIS’ National Cyber Security Center (NCSC); and
- Japan’s National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) and National Policy Agency (NPA).
The advisory is based on current ACSC-led incident response investigations and shared understanding of a PRC state-sponsored cyber group, APT40—also known as Kryptonite Panda, GINGHAM TYPHOON, Leviathan and Bronze Mohawk in industry reporting.
APT 40 has previously targeted organizations in various countries, including Australia and the United States. Notably, APT 40 possesses the ability to quickly transform and adapt vulnerability proofs of concept (POCs) for targeting, reconnaissance, and exploitation operations. APT 40 identifies new exploits within widely used public software such as Log4J, Atlassian Confluence and Microsoft Exchange to target the infrastructure of the associated vulnerability.
CISA urges all organizations and software manufacturers to review the advisory to help identify, prevent, and remediate APT 40 intrusions. Software vendors are also urged to incorporate Secure by Design principles into their practices to limit the impact of threat actor techniques and to strengthen the security posture of their products for their customers.

Hurricane Beryl Causes Havoc for State of Texas, 2.3m without power

Hurricane Beryl made landfall along the Texas coast as a Category 1 storm, unleashing a barrage of severe weather as it moved inland before weakening into a tropical storm, yet still cable of widespread damage.
Beryl had sustained winds of over 80 mph as it made landfall, as it battered communities and infrastructure, with more than 2.3 million people are without power in Texas, according to poweroutage.us.
The storm prompted closures or vessel traffic restrictions at multiple ports in cities from Houston to Corpus Christi. The ports of Corpus Christi, Houston, Galveston, Freeport, and Texas City said they closed after condition "Zulu" was set by U.S. Coast Guard captains.
Disruption was also caused to transport where road closures and high-water locations in Houston and Texas City caused problems.
Acting Governor Dan Patrick urged Texans to make final preparations and announced that 121 counties were added to the state’s Hurricane Beryl Disaster Declaration, as storm forecasts shifted the expected landfall north and east of previous projections.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) increased its readiness level of the State Emergency Operations Center and Texas Emergency Management Council agencies worked 24-hour operations, while continuing to preposition state emergency response resources that were readied for deployment by Governor Greg Abbott.

Biden Announces $1 Billion in Project Selections to Make Communities More Resilient to Climate Change and Natural Hazards

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell today announced the 656 project selections for $1 billion in climate resilience funding as part of his Investing in America agenda. The selections through the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program will help state, Tribal, local and territorial governments address current and future risks from natural disasters including extreme heat, wildfires, drought, hurricanes, earthquakes and increased flooding.
“Every American community faces risks from extreme weather, and the DHS workforce and our partners across the Administration will always be there for communities in their time of need,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Investing in preparedness and resilience today can help keep our country safe tomorrow. Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program grants are a lifeline for communities across the country, funding projects big and small -- from major flood mitigation projects to shaded bus shelters. The impact of these projects will ultimately be measured in lives saved and disasters averted.”
“We’ve already seen an unprecedented level of extreme weather events this season, and with more expected on the way, we’re encouraged to see increased interest in communities applying for FEMA’s BRIC program,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Thanks to extra funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, FEMA is now better situated to help communities, especially those that are disadvantaged and disproportionately impacted by climate change, invest in resilience. FEMA will remain focused on getting these critical infrastructure dollars to the communities that need it the most.”
This effort highlights the importance of FEMA’s continued commitment to putting “people first” and helping communities, families, and businesses build climate resilience. It also aligns with the 2024 FEMA Year of Resilience theme to build capacity to withstand tomorrow’s hazards.
To strengthen America’s climate resilience, President Biden secured more than $50 billion for climate resilience and adaptation through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act and established a National Climate Resilience Framework, which is advancing locally tailored, community-driven climate resilience strategies. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law contributed approximately $398 million to today’s announcement. Overall, the President’s Investing in America agenda provides FEMA nearly $7 billion to help communities proactively reduce their vulnerability to climate-fueled events and natural hazards.
Of the approximately $674 million in 56 national competition selections, more than half of the selections use nature-based solutions and other natural ways to combat climate change, restore and protect wetlands and to harness nature to enhance climate resilience. FEMA announced this funding opportunity in October 2023 alongside an $800 million Flood Mitigation Assistance opportunity. Selections for Flood Mitigation Assistance will be made later this year.
This year’s selections cover a variety of natural hazards, including extreme heat, flooding and earthquakes. The top three funded project types are:
- Flood control for $395 million across 28 projects, designed to eliminate or reduce flood damage;
- Utility and infrastructure protection for $237 million across 30 projects, like elevating pumping stations, enhancing power poles, strengthening water towers and floodproofing utility plants;
- Building code-related projects for $55 million across 129 projects for enforcement and adoption of more modern, hazard-resistant building codes. This is the greatest number of projects FEMA has ever selected for building code-related activities in a grant cycle. These funds were reserved as a non-competitive set-aside for states, Tribes and territories, resulting in a 180% increase in requests for adoption and enforcement funding.

Critical infrastructure: Blueprint for protecting EU citizens and the internal market

Because disruptions to critical infrastructure may have repercussions in many EU member states, the Council today adopted a recommendation on a Blueprint to coordinate a response at EU level to disruptions to critical infrastructure with significant cross-border relevance.
The recommendation puts in place an EU Critical Infrastructure Blueprint. The objective of the Blueprint is: to promote shared situational awareness of the origin and consequences of an incident, to reinforce the coordination of public communications and to strengthen an effective response.
The Blueprint recommends several actions such as information sharing, coordination with other EU crisis and emergency mechanisms, exchanges on public communication approaches, the preparation of incident reports and technical support provided by other member states or relevant EU institutions to the affected member states.
Specifically, when the member states affected by a critical infrastructure incident with significant cross-border relevance activate this Blueprint, they are recommended to share with the rotating presidency of the Council and the European Commission relevant information on that incident.
According to the recommendation, a critical infrastructure incident with significant cross-border relevance takes place when an incident involving critical infrastructure:
- significantly disrupts the provision of essential services, as assessed by six or more affected member states
- has a significant disruptive effect on the provision of essential services by a critical entity of particular European significance
- significantly disrupts the provision of essential services to or in two or more member states and requires, in agreement with the affected countries, a response at EU level
Next steps
The recommendation encourages all relevant actors to practise and test the functioning of the EU Critical Infrastructure Blueprint at national, regional and EU level.
The Commission will organise the exercise at EU level not later than 18 months after the adoption of the recommendation.
As of 18 October 2024, the resilience of critical entities (CER) directive will apply throughout the EU. Its aim is to reduce the vulnerabilities and strengthen the resilience of critical entities. Critical entities are entities providing essential services in sectors such as transport, energy and health that are crucial for the maintenance of vital societal functions, economic activities, public health and safety, and the environment.
The directive will oblige member states to put in place a national strategy to enhance the resilience of critical entities, carry out risk assessments and identify those critical entities that provide essential services. Critical entities will need to identify the relevant risks that may significantly disrupt the provision of essential services, take appropriate measures to ensure their resilience and notify the competent authorities of any disruptive incidents.
In the aftermath of the Nord Stream pipeline attack, and complementing the CER directive, the Council adopted a recommendation in December 2022 on a Union-wide coordinated approach to strengthen the resilience of critical infrastructure, which invited the European Commission to table a draft for a blueprint to coordinate an EU-level response to disruptions of critical infrastructure with significant cross-border relevance.

EPA Outlines Enforcement Measures to Help Prevent Cybersecurity Attacks and Protect the Nation’s Drinking Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an enforcement alert outlining the urgent cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities to community drinking water systems and the steps these systems need to take to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act. The alert is part of a government-wide effort – led by the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – to reduce the nation’s infrastructure and cybersecurity vulnerabilities. EPA is issuing this alert because threats to, and attacks on, the nation’s water system have increased in frequency and severity to a point where additional action is critical.
“Protecting our nation’s drinking water is a cornerstone of EPA’s mission, and we are committed to using every tool, including our enforcement authorities, to ensure that our nation’s drinking water is protected from cyberattacks,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “EPA’s new enforcement alert is the latest step that the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to ensure communities understand the urgency and severity of cyberattacks and water systems are ready to address these serious threats to our nation’s public health.”
Recent EPA inspections have revealed that the majority of water systems inspected – over 70 percent – do not fully comply with requirements in the Safe Drinking Water Act and that some of those systems have critical cybersecurity vulnerabilities, such as default passwords that have not been updated and single logins that can easily be compromised. As EPA and its state and federal security and intelligence partners continue to identify vulnerabilities, informed by successful cyberattacks to water systems across the United States, the agency remains committed to working with state and sector organization partners to successfully protect drinking water for communities.
Today's alert emphasizes the importance of EPA’s ongoing inspection and enforcement activities under Safe Drinking Water Act section 1433. The agency will increase the number of planned inspections and, where appropriate, will take civil and criminal enforcement actions, including in response to a situation that may present an imminent and substantial endangerment. Inspections will ensure that water systems are meeting their requirements to regularly assess resilience vulnerabilities, including cybersecurity, and to develop emergency response plans. In addition, EPA, CISA, and the FBI strongly recommend system operators take steps outlined in Top Actions for Securing Water Systems:
- Reduce exposure to public-facing internet.
- Conduct regular cybersecurity assessments.
- Change default passwords immediately.
- Conduct an inventory of OT/IT assets.
- Develop and exercise cybersecurity incident response and recovery plans.
- Backup OT/IT systems.
- Reduce exposure to vulnerabilities.
- Conduct cybersecurity awareness training.
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also recently sent a letter to the nation’s governors on the urgency of the threats and the importance of collaboration across federal and state partners to develop comprehensive strategies to close gaps in cyber-resilience. Following the meeting, the National Security Council encouraged each state to prepare an action plan presenting the state’s strategy to mitigate the most significant cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the states’ water and wastewater systems by late June. EPA is also moving forward with the Water Sector Coordinating Council and Water Government Coordinating Council to establish a Task Force to identify additional near-term actions and strategies to reduce the risk of water and wastewater systems nationwide to cyberattacks.

Securing Critical Infrastructure With Validated and Trusted AI

AI is changing cybersecurity – providing new tools for security professionals, but also giving cyber threat actors a better arsenal of weapons for their attacks. Fortress is leveraging the latest in GenAI to better identify and understand the supply chain risks critical infrastructure organizations face.
Fortress's AI Monitoring, tailor made for the unique threats Critical Infrastructure organizations face, enables security pros to get quicker and more accurate data on the most critical risks and vulnerabilities across vendors and products. In short, it's a new evolution in cyber supply chain risk management (C-SCRM) and third-party cybersecurity risk management (TPCRM).
"AI is changing cybersecurity, but it is not the cure-all to national security threats from nation-state adversaries," said Fortress CEO and co-founder Alex Santos. "We were extremely deliberate in how we decided to deploy AI in our solutions. AI-enabled data retrieval without collaborative data sharing and human validation leaves large blind spots and generates false positives that divert resources from fighting the most pressing challenges. However, AI combined with a comprehensive approach to cyber defenses can quickly identify the 'needles in the haystack' that pose the most critical risks."
AI gives Fortress the ability to reduce risk assessment and monitoring costs by up to 90% and discover risks more than 80% faster. Using the latest in GenAI, Fortress automates the retrieval and analysis of vendor and product risk resulting in actionable, prioritized, and conclusive steps to empower security and risk management teams and keep your organization safe.
Besides generating comprehensive insights alerting organizations to emerging risks faster, Fortress integrates with legacy systems that can be omnipresent in critical infrastructure and streamlines government and energy regulatory compliance to simplify complex and time-consuming audits administered by regulatory enforcement.
"Certainly, there is an industry-wide push to get AI integrated into cybersecurity products as fast as possible," said Santos. "Others saw AI as a 'move fast and break things' moment. We knew AI had to be done right and done responsibly. We knew by working hand in hand with our customers that AI had to be done right and responsibly. Our AI Monitoring suite is built for today's rapidly changing and complex cyber supply chain and third-party attack surfaces. We've allowed our clients to stay one step ahead."

20.3 million of EU Funds for major flood protection project in Eisenach

EU funds will be used to build flood protection along the section of the river Hörsel which goes from Langensalzaer to Karolinenstraße. The project in this challenging section addresses existing infrastructure, traffic management, and urban integration. In addition, the region is also planning a new Karolinen Bridge.
Currently, flood protection measures near the "Auf dem Gries" industrial area, including the cycling path connection to Stedtfeld, are nearing completion.
Support of €16 million in previous programming period
Thanks to substantial financial support from the EU, the flood protection efforts in Eisenach have been progressing systematically since 2015. Initial measures began in the district of Stedtfeld, with completion achieved by 2017. Next, the flood dike near the Stedtfeld wastewater treatment plant was replaced.
Construction started in 2020 along the Hörsel river. Additionally, from August 2021 to August 2022, flood protection measures were implemented in the Hörschel district.
In 2023, an EU-funded project completed flood protection measures near the Opel factory in Eisenach.
These ambitious projects show the EU's commitment to boosting the region's flood resilience. They will protect residents and critical infrastructure.

IACIPP Appoints Frederic Petit as Liaison Director with the European Commission

The International Association of CIP Professionals (IACIPP) has appointed Frederic Petit, currently a Project Officer at the European Commission Joint Research Centre, as the Association’s ‘Liaison Director with the European Commission’.

Prior to his move to the European Commission JRC, Frederic was a Research Scientist specialising in critical infrastructure interdependencies and resilience at Argonne National Laboratory, and the Association’s representative for North America. With Mr Petit’s recent move to the JRC, he has been appropriately appointed as Association’s ‘Liaison Director with the European Commission’ with the role of industry/Commission liaison and keeping membership informed of the ongoing activities on the European activity/research around the protection and resilience of Infrastructure.

With the imminent implementation of The Critical Entities Resilience Directive (CER Directive), which lays down obligations on EU Member States to take specific measures to ensure that essential services and infrastructures, for the maintenance of vital societal functions or economic activities, are provided in an unobstructed manner in the internal market, and the NIS 2 Directive, also known as the Network and Information Security Directive, aimed at improving cyber security and protecting critical infrastructure across the European Union (EU), the appointment of Frederic is timely to aid with the outward facing communications and clarification of these important directives.

Compliance with the CER Directive and NIS2 Directive are crucial for businesses operating in the EU to safeguard their systems, mitigate threats, and ensure resilience, of which penalties are enforceable on agencies and operators for non-compliance.

John Donlon QPM, Chair of IACIPP, said, “We are delighted that Frederic has undertaken this new position within the Association. He was an excellent representative for us as our Regional Director in North America for a number of years, and his new role now in Europe will add real value at a time when there is significant change on the horizon in terms of regulations relating to national infrastructures”.

Frederic Petit will be presenting, on behalf of the European Commission JRC, at Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Europe (www.cipre-expo.com) in Madrid, Spain, on 12th-14th November, part of the Association’s CIP Week in Europe, to raise greater awareness on the necessities of enhancing security and resilience of Europe’s critical infrastructures.

UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force rehearses undersea critical infrastructure protection from the North Atlantic to the Baltic Sea

The Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) has begun a month-long Response Option  activity Nordic Warden this week for strengthening security of the critical undersea infrastructure in the area from the North Atlantic to the Baltic Sea.

JEF partner nations, including Lithuania, will train at  Nordic Warden exchanging information and provide a synchronized and coordinated response to ensure security of critical undersea infrastructure.

Operation activities will include reconnaissance flights and patrols in cooperation with the JEF air forces and navies. Partner nations will also enhance information exchange and coordination to ensure better situation awareness to ships in the JEF area of responsibility. Operation Nordic Warden is controlled from the JEF headquarters in Northwood, UK.

The Response Option activity Nordic Warden is similar to the first JEF activity conducted in December 2023 in response to the critical infrastructure damage in the Baltic and North Sea regions, namely, the damage to the cable connecting Sweden and Estonia, as well as the pipeline between Finland and Estonia, with real capabilities.

From Lithuania’s perspective, partnership in the JEF is one of the initial means of response to any crisis, including damage to undersea infrastructure. It enables resource sharing, intelligence exchange and joint solutions to mutual regional issues.

The JEF is led by the United Kingdom, its comprises maritime, air and land capabilities contributed by the ten Northern European partners: UK, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.  Geographical proximity, shared sea borders and economy means cooperation on undersea infrastructure security is not just effective but also vital.

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