>>Hello, everybody. Good morning. DEF CON. We'll go ahead and get started so hold onto your seat, all right.
>> Thank you so much for joining us at such an ungodly hour. Does anybody have a headache, cuz we can write you something for this.
>> It's good to see you all here, one of the problems with the Con, if you can call it a problem, is it's hard to choose between all the awesome tracks and awesome talks offered at the same time so this morning is no exception. And as you know, there's a bunch of killer presentations being given right now by some incredibly talented researchers and I would encourage all of you go check those out after they are posted.
>> We are sincerely grateful you have chosen to come start your morning with us so proper introductions.
>> My name is Christian DeMeth, please call me "Quaddi", I'm an emergency medicine physician early on in my training, and I am also a DEF CON aficionado, this is my 10th year, I love some capture the flag and It's just like a second home for me here.
>> I'm Jeff Tully, pediatrician, vaccines don't cause autism so pass that around!
[Cheers and applause]
>> I'm Peter Hefley I work for Sunera, IT consultant and I have seen several episodes of "House MD." So a standard legal boilerplate, this talk is not sponsored, endorse or affiliated with any of our respective professional institutions or companies. No unethical or illegal practices were used in the researching, acquiring or presenting of the information contained in this talk. All girls you are going to see are consenting adults over the age of 18.
>> That was good.
>>Do not attempt any of the theoretical or practical tact concepts we talk about in this presentation. We promise you will go to jail and it will not have a fun time in jail.
>> One last thing I want to make sure we emphasize, we've done a lot of work to learn a great deal about how the 911 system works and we have had some really unique opportunities to explore behind the scenes but we're certainly claiming to be world experts in 911. The 911 systems in our country have such varying implementations. The tacts we talk about, may or may not apply to all of them and most certainly may not apply abroad.
>> Just the last little bit of disclaimer here. We will play two audio recordings of 911 calls. They are rather disturbing. If you are sensitive to that kind of stuff, maybe go check out another talk or just plug your ears.
>> With that in mind, I'm sure many of you guys are wondering what the hell are these clowns doing up here? What do we know about 911? This actually starts four years ago, Jeff and I began working on medical research involving the free hospital, specifically at a hospital with cardiac arrest and how 911 dispatchers teach people how to do CPR over the phone. It's a life saving intervention What that meant at the end of the day is that we have listened to thousands of 911 recordings.
>> As we listened to a multitude including where dozens which technical issues prevented the dispatcher from immediately identifying the location thus delaying medical response we realized we knew nothing about the technical infrastructure behind 911. This is just a slide of some of the papers we actually ended up publishing about dispatching 911.
>> Furthermore after listening to some of these calls where there are technical limitations, we really wanted to dive really deeper and see how, what are the security measures really being put in place here to prevent use of this system.
>> Little background. My wife went to school with these two, we became great friends we play DND, we drink beer together, as someone not behind the scenes from a medical perspective I was fascinated when they would talk about this because this is one of those things we take for granted. When do you think the last time these emergency response centers conducted any type of risk assessment or vulnerability scans against their systems.
>> That's kinda how we got together and thought this is something we should probably research formally.
>> This actually is a result of that. We are gunna talk a little bit about an outline here and start with why you are all here, why this talk really matters.
>> Then we'll go over a 30,000 foot view of how these systems are designed to work and then talk about the research methods and avenues we were able to explore.
>> Then we'll hit attacks we feel emphasize particular points about where these systems are most vulnerable.
>> Then we hope to loop it back to people. Our patients, your family members, your friends. Because that's how we came into all of this. Let's start with an example why this stuff matters.
>> This is going to be a call recording of a rather disturbing 911 call. Just be prepared.
>> 911 Emergency.
Help me my husband has fallen he is holding his chest and I don't know what to do please come!
I need your address ma'am
Okay oh um I live at 1375 Orange Street, I think he is still breathing but ya'll need to hurry it is bad.
1375 Orange Street
Yes ma'm, please hurry he is holding his chest
Emergency personnel will be over as soon as possible
Oh my god, Hurry, hurry oh please thank you, thank you, please hurry!
>> Little sobering there. We also thought about incorporating a laugh track so you guys don't get particularly depressed.
That is how the 991 system is supposed to work, quick, address, get out on the gate and get someone help. This is the subsequent call that caller calls back a few minutes later. And this is the recording.
>> 911 Emergency
Oh my god where are you guys at! He is on the floor he has turned blue he is dying oh my god where are you guys at!? He is not breathing anymore I do not know what to do please help me please help me!
Okay ma'am, I'm going to call the paramedics right now
Just hold on, please don't go please don't go honey
Ma'am I'm having difficulty finding your house
What? I live at 1375 Orange Street
Paramedics are at the intersection of Palm and Orange Street
Intersection of Palm and Orange Street
Oh my god that's too far. Please hurry please hurry I don't know what to do he has stoped breathing he is blue please help mne!
>> So yeah definitely pretty heavy stuff and thankfully most of the time the emergency medical system works really well to respond to serious situations like that call.
>> There is a lot that goes into this response and a lot we rely on in an emergency. If my heart were to stop right now, I would hope one of you would call 911.
>> And do CPR
>> Then hopefully you would call 911 on your network phone here and that call would be carried by a wired or wireless provider to a dispatch center where people with freakishly unnatural zen-like calm necessary respond.
>> Then they'll relay that information to firefighters and paramedics on the fire engines who will take you for definitive treatment.
>> If this is done in a timely enough process you are hopefully you get to the hospital through this door and not through this one. Exactly how does this system work and is it as secure, effective, and safe as it could be and are these questions even worth asking? We thought so.
>> We began with a couple goals when we began to explore this field. We wanted to understand the components of this system, better identifiers of vulnerability and also get a better idea of some of the attacks that have happened before as well as some of the solutions that were implemented in their aftermath
>> Finally we wanted to see if research would lead to any ideas for solutions to problems that haven't been addressed yet.
>> We'll talk about the future of 911, how understanding future state can help us identify potential weakness, attacks and solutions for the system's next evolution.
>> So research. We've been saying that a lot. What does it mean in this case? As you can imagine it's not easy to walk into a dispatch center or server room and ask to take a look around. One of the main things we hope to convey is how difficult it can be to get the conversation started with people in charge of these systems. The only advantage we had in our prior research is we had a lot of contacts within the 911 system. We had a little bit of access to these systems that other people may not.
>> We'll keep those partners anonymous but we did have a number of doors open that allow for ways to collect information that we'll share with you today from in-person interviews to process observations, to regional surveys.
>> And as you can imagine experimentation on a live 911 system can be a little dicey if you are not careful.
>> We'll tell you about examples of how we messed around with the system without getting in too much trouble.
>> Persistent element that has continued through all this and will hopefully continue through the future of our research is a development of solutions that will enhance and strengthen this infrastructure.
>> Without any further ado let's get to our 30,000 foot view. Start by how the structure currently operates with the simple example, wired telephone call.
>> Here an individual will pick up their telephone or home phone and dial 911. The call reaches the end office by the telco provider at which point the telco attaches subscriber information onto the call, specifically automatic number identification or ANI, this functional tags the subscriber's billing telephone number onto the call at which point the voice call and unlimited amount of data, or ANI, are pushed forward.
>> Recognizing this is an emergency call the end office will send that call to the selected router over dedicated emergency call trunks. Selective router's function in e 911 or enhanced 911 is to route the call to an appropriate basing point, that is the PSAP, public service answering point, PSAP. That's routing based on the ANI with the routing that it maintains. If for some reason the call comes in without information or the ANI is corrupted router sends the call to a designated PSAP based on default route, much in the way routers we are all familiar with work.
>> When the selective router sends this call tagged with information on to the PSAP it does so over a dedicated trunk, ISDM line or POTs line . Once the call reaches the PSAP dispatcher will answer the call. Frequently assisted by a computer-aided dispatching system or CAD System. It's really important at this point the dispatcher be able to accurately determine two things, first is where is the caller located? We need to know this so they need to dispatch responses to the appropriate location. Second thing is what public services actually service that address or that location? Is it county, fire, city police, and a local ambulance company?
>> To get this information quickly PSAP, usually through a CAD, does a lookup against a database. PSAP will send the caller's ANI information and in response an automatic location record back. This information and the database that it is stored are maintained by a for-profit 3rd part. You pick up the phone, dial 911 Comcast sends emergency call and selective details to that selective router which then sends your call to the dispatcher or PSAP and you hear, 911, what is your emergency?"
All the while your location is being determined in the background by the database.
>> Things get more complex when the caller can move around. In the case of cell phones. Have you ever called 911 when you are not at home? Maybe at out of state on vacation? How is it that your call is answered by a PSAP that is close to your physical location and not billing address? How does that work? Well the answer truly varies and it depends on the implementation of e 911 standards based on the physical location. One is called wireless phase 1 as in the older version, little bit less accurate, and then wireless phase 2. Which is what is being rolled out around this nation right now.
>> Starting out by talking through phase 1 which is displayed here, when you make a cell phone call, your call reaches a cell tower maintained by a provider. In phase 1 scenario that call is passed by the tower to a mobile switching center which starts the bifurcation of location data and voice call. You can think of this as location information flowing along the bottom in yellow and the call flowing in red over familiar infrastructure. To the selective router and then along to the PSAP.
>> In phase 1 your location is approximated based on the cell tower you are using. That location and sector or phase of the tower handling the call. So the mobile switching center will send a cell tower location, cell tower sector handling the call and a call-back number to or CBM a mobile positioning system which, this is complex, it provides you a token called the emergency services routeing K, ESRK or psudo ANI or PANI. It provides the same function as the ANI on the hardwired telephone call. Just a little token then used to tag the call to the selective router and then on to the PSAP.
>> In this scenario the selective router looks up the appropriate PSAP because you don't want to be sent to a dispatch center not close to you or send the right strike package. In this situation that is based on mapping between the cell tower face and appropriate PSAP. On the bottom you can see the mobile positioning center forces the CVN, cell tower location and cell tower sector into a temporary ALI record and that's referenced by the ESRK or Psudeoani PANI. This way when the PSAP does a lookup of the location based on the PANI, they receive the information in the computer dispatch. All this is done seamlessly and automatically.
>> This is what the CAD is going to show the dispatcher. You have your callback number up top, next is the emergency services number or identifying number. Then we have the wireless carrier name, cell tower location, PSAP name, the Call type, carrier that we have our little temporary ESRK or PANI and location. If this were a real lookup you'd also see an emergency services strike package which basically tells you what police, fire and ambulance providers will end up servicing in that location.
>> Wireless pahse 2 is an enhancement, allows the PSAP to locate wireless callers and cell providers positioning determination equipment seen here in the lower left. It's important to understand this is an abstraction and implementation is left up to the cell telephone provider, this allows provider to implement whatever technology they want to determine caller location. This could obtain -- be obtaining GPS data, signal triangulation, both or some other technology. The delta between a phase 1 and a phase 2 call for 911 is that at the actual caller's location as opposed to a guess based on cell tower location and sector is passed along to the ALI database. When the mobile positioning sensor gets the initial data for a call to include the call tower or cell tower, tower sector and callback number it queries the position determination equipment to determine where the caller is at. That data is inserted as a temporary ALI record and is provided to the PSAP when they request it. This allows the PSAP to best direct emergency responses to the correct location. In these implementations it is also common to see a mapping system integrated, with the computer dispatch system, that pulls up the caller's location on a map.
>> Here you can see the ALI data provided back from a phase 2 system. Major change is you can see the caller's location data as latitude and longitude. Incredibly important in urban or rural centers where you might not be at a physical location, you may be in an alley or in a place that is not with a physical address. Positioning system provides a level of confidence in a percentage and certainty in units of distance based on the mechanism it uses to determine location.
So to recap on wireless calls, you call 911 on the cell phone, your voice call is sent by wireless provider to the PSAP through the intermediaries that we talked about, specifically selective routers. All the while your location is being determined either by cell tower triangulation, just cell tower sector which would be in phase 1 or using your chip in your GPS chip in your phone. That all gets put into a database and sent to the PSAP who then has your voice, call stream and estimated locations so they can send folks your way.
>> The last thing we'll talk about as far as call flows goes is using voice over IP or VOIP. We all know about VoIP that reach the residential market like Magic Jack or Vonage. In these scenarios the VO IP service provider will maintain a database of information that links subscribers to the appropriate PSAP by location. This is information that they frequently compile and recompile based on the subscriber's billing address.
>> When VOIP caller places a 911, their VOIP service provider passes that call to an emergency services gateway which passes the callback number or subscriber information on to the VSP database and obtains the appropriate PSAP and emergency services query key, just like an PANI just called something different, just that token. From there the call flows very similar to what we discussed. The call is forwarded on to the selective routers into the appropriate PSAP who get's caller's location. Based on the temporary record the VSP has created with the subscriber's location and callback number.
>> If that all wasn't enough, this is not where this process ends. So in any of the possible scenarios we talked about, whether it be wired, wireless or VoIP you still have to get the information from the caller to the dispatcher and the dispatcher has to initiate appropriate response from the strike package from the ALI data and then they must actually call contact those units and get them dispatched. Plans, fire engines and patrol cars will arrive on scene, render help and if necessary transport. When an ambulance is used to transport a person in need to a hospital, there is another communication line that occurs most often cellular in which they will call that receiving center, communicate a few pertinent details and then get acceptance or refusal from this receiving center on whether or not they can take the patient.
>> All right. So we have given you a pretty good overview. How we'll talk about ways to take advantage of the system. Before we do that we thought it might be a good idea to lay out objectives a malicious individual might have. These are three objectives we came up with for someone who wants to hack 911.
First objective is to initiate emergency response when one is not required or appropriate. This may be an individual who wants to disrupt business operations at a competitor, play a prank on their friend or redirect emergency services to some end. Think about calling the cops in to respond to a major incident on the west side of town while you rob a jeweler on the east side of town?
>> The second goal you might have is to interfere with the necessary appropriate 911 response. Here I may want to prevent someone from obtaining medical attention, delay response to their call or prevent an individual or institution from using 911 services altogether. To this end perhaps I'm interested in denying access to PSAPs themselves or the emergency responders.
>> Finally there is possible value in the surveillance of emergency responders. So maybe you're an ambulance chaser or just want to know when alarm response times will be highest and then plan your mayhem accordingly.
>> Let's jump in and talk about possible weaknesses in the system.
>> Talking about end office control. In this scenario, either control of end office or PBX linked to an end office that lets you set your ANI information arbitrarily you can place a 911 call with a falseified or invalid ANI field. As a result PSAP can't determine your location with any certainty and they will have to rely on the information provided verbally by the caller. It's important to note this type of attack can basically be accomplished using any mechanism that strips off the ANI data. If you get the call forwarded to 911, the ANI information will be incorrect or stripped. Also TTY services can take advantage of this and as they may or may not include ANI data.
>> All of the location determination mechanisms we have looked at here today rely on the ALI database. If they were to alter or own this you could change the ALI record for a phone number to your target address and then call in an emergency response.
>> If you access this, you are able to force the PSAP to rely on location information they are given over the phone. We will talk about how that may or may not be reliable. So here it's just really important how we highlight how the entire infrastructure relies very heavily on this type of mechanism.
>> Have you ever powered on an old cell phone to look up someone's number or contact information and noticed that even though you are not paying for service on that device, the emergency call feature looks like it's enabled? That's on purpose! The 911 infrastructure was required to support these non-service initialized or NSI cell phones.
>> And here there is no callback number, as the phone isn't subscribing to any service so what is the exact CVN that's provided? Well in this situation it's the number 911 plus the last seven digits of the electronic serial number or international mobile equipment identity number which is specific to the phone itself. Like the phone's MAC address, but these calls are still subject to location determination in either phase 1 or 2 depending on where you actually are at the time when you place that call.
>> Just to kind of review remember with the wireless phase 2 environment you are relying on location data from the mobile handset in addition to tower triangulation so it's definitely possible to inject an arbitrary latitude or longitude through GPS spoofing or getting the phone to think it is where it is now by modifying the firmware. So this call will still be routed to the appropriate PSAP but once the call reaches PSAP you can make the PSAP think the call is coming from an arbitrary location. This is a little bit more believable when your arbitrary location is still in the same area serviced by the PSAP and not like crazy like you are calling from North Korea.
>> Again, taking a look at the critical data storage along those fault loads, VoIP service provider databases which maintain that mapping between the subscriber and their actual location, that would also be an interesting target. Changing to that database or denial of service to that aspect of the provider's infrastructure would have the same impact as modifying or denying access to the ALI database, but with potentially a different security posture than the ALI database.
>> So we even after we get through the call flow and into the latter part of response we see some large areas for disrupting or altering the call. We have to keep in mind PSAP itself is a physical location. One of the people we talked to said when I interviewed to work at the 911 center I expected high levels of security, guards with guns, high fences and heavy locked doors. What I saw was a normal building, poor visible security and the smiling faces of people waited to be socially engineered.
>>Traditionally PSAPs were segmented or air gaped such that phone systems and CAD systems and general work stations for e-mail and web browsing were all separated or broken out. PSAPs we talked to noted segmentation barriers have gradually broken down overtime to increase integration and decrease administration overhead. So penetrating these systems would not only be desirable if you wanted to see service but could be very valuable for establishing surveillance. Some of the folks we interviewed denied having any incident response plans or basic security practices such as anti-virus in these dispatch centers.
>> The second potential for attack after the PSAP itself would be to attack the responding units. Almost all fire and ambulance engines either have their own locally broadcasted cell wireless -- for transmitting things like EKGs or vital patient data from the field to receiving hospital. These units rely on cellular connectivity. One of the individuals we interviewed talked about how on dozens of their ambulances these wireless hot spots themselves were only encrypted with 64-bit WIP encryption and they are using that to transmit vitally important data that may or may not save this patient's life.
So we talked through some weaknesses in the system. Let's talk about actual attacks scenarios.
As mentioned earlier one of the goals an attacker might have would be to initiate a police, fire, or medical response to location that is not in need of one. Most notable is example known as swatting. During swatting an attacker initiates a 911 call and falsely reports to dispatcher that some crime like a hostage situation or active shooter is currently happening at a particular location. In more sophisticated attacks, attacker will impersonate the target they are trying to actually get a SWAT response to, implement various obfuscation techniques or try to hide their identities to target a particular PSAP which can be difficult. To make their call more believable so that when you call that in it will be more likely to produce a SWAT response. Now what is are about to hear is a call from an actual SWATTER. Really messed up. Pay attention to the call flow because there's a couple things we want to highlight here.
First the SWATTER is unable to target the specific PSAP that is services his target so he has to get transferred, then also perk up when that transfer happens because there are tones that will be used during the transfer call. We'll talk about that later on.
>> 991 how can I help you
I am at ** Main Street Colorado
Not sure if a good address Can you verify that for me?
It's *** Main Street
Not sure that's an valid address
What do you want the phone number?
Give that for me
Yes it is
No what's going on there?
Listen here I got 2 people held hostage
You know what happens here right? It's not like on the movies understand that?
One of the people here is named Danielle and her father. The reason why I am doing this is because her father raped my sister
And I am armed okay, I have a pistol and I swear to god I will kill these people. If any cops come in this house with any gun I will shoot them.
Are you in Security?
What do you mean
Are you in the town Security? It is out of my area
So you are in security?
So I need to transfer you to the sherrif's office there
Can I ask you a question?
I am going to need you to stay on the line cuz I am not talking to these people anymore.
I've had enough of this shit. Remember I am armed and I will shoot
What kind of gun?
Yes it is
2 people there?
An 18 year old and her father
Stay with me
They are duct tapped in together in the next room
Let them know I am transferring over and wanted me to stay on the phone
This is Jennifer can I help you?
This is Crystal with the city I am transferring a call over to you it's a hostage situation at *** Main Street in Security, let me transfer him over to you. He wants me to stay on the line. John you still there
Yes I am still here
I got the county on the line here
John? Tell me what is going on
>> So yeah that's pretty messed up to call and initiate a threat like that. We don't know why people want to do this, motives vary but targets at very least humiliate them and there have been many reports of victims dangerously coming close to the accidental use of lethal force so it's not a benign practice.
>> All right. Several we'll known celebrities have been targets including Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher. Recently, in Arizona, a 15-year-old boy was a target after he talked some smack on XBox party chat. Last year the disturbingly we saw some journalists targeted for publishing in cyber criminal identities so it's an increasing tact.
>> As we showed you earlier the ability for a 911 system to identify who is calling and where that caller is is pretty extensive. How do attackers avoid identification? So believe it or not the person who swatted Ashton Kutcher and Justin Beiber was a 12-year-old boy and he utilized a popular telephone service for the deaf called TTY or text telephone. This is an example of an old-ass one right here. Many deaf nowadays don't carry this stuff around as they can use online services or various apps. And traditionally these services allow a person to call a relay service with this machine. Phone number they wish to call is communicate and the relay operators calls the number on a separate line. When that person answers they talk to the operator who communicates her role, that the person is using TTY. Then the deaf person can type the desired messages to the relay operator who will read them to the answering person and that person can speak to the operator who types back to the deaf person.
Now if an attacker dials the relay service and conveys there is an emergency, operator will then call 911 and report that whatever exactly the TTY person is typing. The thought here is that the TTY service strips some of the potentially identifying information of the call such as recording of their voice or in some circumstances the actual ANI/ALI data attached to a normal 911 call.
>> Contrary to popular belief caller ID spoofing is a method that almost never works with regard to masking your identity because most service providers won't care what you claim your ANI information to be. It will just insert whatever ANI is supposed to be there and passes that to the ALI database as well as PSAP. In rare circumstances, where a few VoIP providers we researched that will pass on proclaimed ANI without altering or mending, but those are far and few between, furthermore many anti-spoofing service providers, like the one seen here, treat 911 differently and will not connect without altering the ANI back to record. However there is one example.
>> One attack that can actually benefit is circumventing automatic routing in an effort to target a specific PSAP. PSAPs have a 10 digit direct number. Calls to this number are treated as emergency phone calls. This number is most often used to transfer between PSAPs in case you end up with the wrong PSAP or the municipality dispatches fire and police from separate centers. If an attacker uses a VoIP provider that will push that spoofed ANI the way through an attacker can initiate a seemingly innocent-looking call from that spoofed number to the 10-digit PSAP using the appropriate dial number and place an emergency call. The general problem with this is that these numbers are secret. They are impossible to discover, right. Everyone out there, impossible to discover, secret things! Well, we were successful in enumerating several of these by listening to the 911 call that are recordings readily available on the Internet and then listening for the DTMF tones, remember I told to you perk up.
Those are DTMF tones, those aren't widely utilized there are some other actual schemas you can use to transfer calls but if they use DTMF, you can then record them, run them through a tone extractor and enumerate the 10-digit PSAP number. Thus an attacker could better target a specific PSAP and could avoid the automatic routing done upstream by the carrier once a call has been dialed. You may have noticed in our swatting call that the dispatcher had to transfer the caller to another center. This would be a prime example of how difficult it can be to target a particular PSAP. If you could be successful in targeting a particular PSAP that is local to your target you may improve your believability of your swatting call and then be more likely to actually have a swatting response.
>> So remember that non-initialized phone call flow we talked about before, where you can basically call with a simless phone and the call back is diversion of the phone's MAC address. What's interesting about this is you have a level of abstraction between the caller and their identity that you can obtain old used cell phones of craigslist and buyer doesn't know who you are, you have just removed from your identity from the standard links between a 911 call and caller so you have all the mayhem with much smaller chance of attribution and entanglement with law enforcement.
>> I know many of you guys out there use VoIP. You can use it anywhere, it's superior to a lot of traditional services but you can call anywhere from cell phone, a SIP client, a laptop in a coffee shop. How does the VoIP provider allow you to change location? Is there any verification against your billing address? For kicks we actually tried a major VoIP provider here in the U.S. and observed the 911 location mapping functionality features that were available to us. Here you can see a thick client to update to the VSP database. Interestingly enough we were able to change our location to each other's address and other addresses without any notable verification.
How do you stop 911 from working the way it's supposed to? There's the old-fashioned cable cut as seen here. That will stop your target from calling from at least from land lines. Cell phone jamming is also a possibility if you want to conduct crime and prevent folks from calling 911. A cell phone jammer will provide you localized disruption in services. If you can edit that VSP or ALI record, we talked about earlier, for target you may be able to ensure even if they call 911 your response is directed to the wrong location. Think about that. That web request you just saw and think about some of the problems with web servers, would it be possible to use that to change an entry or record? Let's say you want to get your murder on. If you could alter the VSP or ALI record for intended target, mind you now it's premeditated, then you might be able to direct to emergency responders to the wrong location if you don't allow your victim enough time to state their true location to dispatchers before you off them.
>> Major weakness in many telephone systems obviously to include 911 is resource consumption. A PSAP only has so many dispatchers available and only so many trunk or phone lines for these calls. You can tie them all up and denied access to 911. Obviously there is a denial of service attack that must have been interesting is the F.B.I. published a white paper saying these types of attacks on PSAPs and Hospitals are actually increasing substantially. Interestingly enough there is a talk tomorrow, track 1 at 10:00 AM I believe that involves hacking cell phones to make it an automatic dialer. So you have a portable T-DOS.
>> I'd like to draw attention to one particular example of TDOS. We get this question all the time. Is anyone actually doing this? They are. A few years ago some jack ass TDOS'd off an entire bank of phones in a San Francisco hospital and not only were the lines in the emergency department that take calls from incoming ambulances, trauma, heart attracts and strokes disrupted but it inter-hospital communications was also disrupted so imagine the ICU teams trying to talk to the ICU doctors, and when smooth communication is disrupted, patients' lives are at risk. It is that important of a thing.
>> We already talked about the PSAP as being the location with inherent vulnerabilities but TDOS attacks highlight these are places staffed with people who use machines to do work. Therefore if you are either overwhelmed human ability to respond or take out systems they use to facilitate that response you can again rate negative impact. Unfortunately based on research many PSAPs are understaffed and continue to support legacy computer systems due to budgetary constraints. As noted earlier traditional segmentation barriers and those that support administrative functions are on the decline. These organizations have all the same challenges of small company with limited budgets, extremely high availability demands and customers who want rapid response. You have to imagine how challenging it can be to keep up this type of organization and keep it secure.
>> So what happens if you were successful in TDOSing a particular PSAP? Well that hasn't happened on a larger scale but what we did see is an accidental denial of service for six hours. In April, 4,500 calls over six hours to 911 were denied in Washington, Oregon, portions of California, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina. The ALI database had exhausted its call tracking tokens and no new calls could be routed so people would call 911 and they got a busy signal. During this time one woman was documented to have called 911 about 37 times and got the busy signal every single time while an attacker actively tried to break into her house. What about people during that time that had heart attacks and strokes? Did they suffer damage they can never get back or did they die as a result of that delayed 911 response?
>> So swatting Justin Beiber is great but what about when you mess with the 911 system when people actually need it but can't depend on it? So What is the true impact of a 911 hack and how do you measure the cost to Betty White with a heart wttack who can't get help because someone changed their address in a ALI database. So let's kind of talk about that, how much do even minute-long delays end up costing victims?
>> Hard to say without being able to see the future. Most serious medical problems, mere minutes mean the difference. Take cardiac arrest for example, in our state the average time from when you pick up the phone and call 911 to when someone arrives at the house is about six minutes, all of you are thinking that's really long. That's really an amazing response time for the United States. When someone has a cardiac arrest, you can see their survivability decreases greatly without intervention, at two minutes without oxygen heart must also begin to die, at the six-minute mark they have less than a 50% chance of survival.
>> So CPR can extend but our hypothetical victim is still looking at significant increases in mortality with every minute hat pases, it's not unrealistic to say even a delay of 5 to 15 minutes can end up killing people.
>> This is a similar pattern with other things. From penetrating trauma to strokes to breathing problems. Taking a step back and thinking on a more global scale these systems are heavily relied upon by individuals in dire situations. Consider the benefits to a foreign state or non-state threat agent to exploit or deny access to emergency response systems. Furthermore note it would be possible to target any country or locality's emergency response infrastructure, not just the United States. Imagine the loss of competence, panic, of loss of life which could occur if different structures were targeted to get accomplish state or non-state objectives. We talked a lot about potential problems but want to talk about potential solutions for the issues we noted. One of our objectives was not just to poke holes in something we all really appreciate. I have not needed to use 911 yet but after this talk is over I intend to drink my way into an ambulance ride. Before I get there, let's talk about a few of these solutions we have come up with to address the issues so far.
In the current global payment environment it's possible for each transaction to be assessed for potential fraud indicators. This can occur when the delivery address doesn't match the billing address or payer's name doesn't match the recipient. These are simple examples but the fraud catches available for payment environment are pretty robust, with thresholds configurable on merchants and payment networks.
>> So quickly we'll hit some of these. What if a 911 system had call-grabbing red flags to allocate risk ratings based on indicators seen and maybe these red flags don't result in priority or queuing changes but rather result in indicators or alert on the CAD system? What we're saying is we don't want dispatchers to focus on things that don't matter. We want them to deliver care in a timely fashion, but maybe there's a way to assign competent values or validity values as they come in to assign them to each call.
>> So for denial of service why don't we use some of the solutions we have seen in application and networking areas like in order to mitigate PSAP resource consumption by TDOSing, insert some sort of proof of worker intelligence system kind of like a captcha
>> This doesn't have to be nearly as robust. Let's use common things we have seen in other services like press 2 for English and para Espanol a prima quatrro, that might be 3 for English, and ocho for Espanol. We don't want to cut into response times here but simple scenarios might be used to mitigate TDOS attacks. On a more nationally we want to highlight these organizations which have done a phenomenal job helping folks day in and day out have done so with limited security standards to guide them on what they can do to protect this infrastructure. The national emergency number association, or NENA, published a security standard for next generation 911 systems; however, there is no express penalty for noncompliance. Experts in the field, that we spoke to, estimate under half of the organizations actually comply citing disparate and often constrained budgets. By recognizing the importance of the service and the need to secure it, we may help get resources and motivation to the organizations that need them to protect life and limb.
So we're running pretty low on time. We didn't do a good job on time management. Let's pop to the end, It's difficult to condense this all into 45 minutes. We have a lot more to that we'd like talk about as far as solutions and further contributing to make the system a little bit better. So if you have any experience at all with 911 or would like to collaborate or any further questions, find us around, we'll get your e-mails and get in touch with you because we would love to talk to you. Sorry we ran a little bit late at the end.
>> We really want to emphasize how much respect we have for the hard work everyone does on a daily basis from the folks at the phone companies to the local, municipal, state, and federal officials, to dispatchers to first responders, every stakeholder in this process goes to work every day hoping and working to support a system that saves lives and we really want to thank them for those efforts but still highlight that there are aspects of this system that could be secured better.
>> All right. Well, let's thank them, all the responders and we thank you for showing up to our talk.