Monday, June 10, 2019

How Cisco Talos helped Howard County recover from a call center attack


On Aug. 11, 2018 the 911 non-emergency call center in Howard County, Maryland was in crisis — not for the types of calls flooding into dispatchers, but simply for the sheer numbers. The center, which usually receives 300 to 400 calls a day was now getting 2,500 in a 24-hour span of time. The center, which takes calls for everything from home security alarms going off to cats getting stuck in trees was overwhelmed. What was going on?

James Cox, a network-server team manager for the Howard County government was tasked with answering that question. It turns out, a lone foreign actor created this crisis. “The phone system doesn’t care who you are,” Cox explained. “You hit that 10-digit number and the phone rings. There’s no check and there’s no balance.”

At this point, Howard County called on Cisco Talos for assistance. Cox talked about the lessons he learned from this during the second annual Talos Threat Research Summit, a sold-out one-day conference for security professionals who are also attending Cisco Live.

Read the complete story over at the Cisco Newsroom here.

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