Amercian Homeland Security discussion

The first cyber-attack that I found for this week’s forum occurred in Palisades Park, New Jersey. Basically what happened in this case is that hackers were able to fraudulently transfer $460,000 in wire transfers from accounts of the Mariner’s Bank (Cattafi, 2019). While the article does not discuss some of the reasons that this bank’s system was vulnerable, the Secret Service is working with the local office to further investigate this breach. To speculate on some of the vulnerabilities could be due to lack of correct firewalls, lack of updated virus protection software, and even possibly using common or low security passwords.

The second cyber-attack that I decided to research was the data breach that occurred with Target in 2013. During this time, the Point of Sale systems were infected with malware that allowed hackers to steal about 40 million debit and credit card numbers. (Vijayan, 2014). In the article, it described Target as believing that the attack was unavoidable. But further investigation goes to show that Target really was responsible for the issue. The company allowed a third party access to their network to be able to control heating, ventilation, and air conditions remotely. So with this, it brought forth a couple different problems. The first is that while the login/password that was hacked was not directly under Target, it did allow the hackers to build a program that could be used to steal information from the company. Secondly, if third party users are allowed access on to a network, then there should be safeguards that limit the access that these third party users possess. In the case of Target, there was no separation or “network segmentation” that was in place to protect the information of the customers.

As we know, all life forms are dependent on water to stay alive. This is why water supply systems and sources serve to be a critical infrastructure for the United States. Clark and Deininger identify near 30 viruses, bacteria, and biotoxins that could be used to contaminate water systems to be used as a weapon against the population. One vulnerability of water supply systems is that many times the collection areas are not secured, this means that a potential terrorist could easily introduce an agent in the water that could cause widespread death or sickness based on which agent was used. The two major countermeasures that the authors describe that could be used to prevent were physical countermeasures and chemical countermeasures (Clark and Deininger, 2000). Honestly, these are the best practices that we can use to prevent our water sources from an attack. Physically securing our water is not a financially viable method due to the amount of water sources that would need to be guarded. However, the use of chlorine and correct processing of the water will serve to be a better countermeasure to prevent the spread of these agents. While a terrorist attack by contaminating the water supply would be a scary event, it would be very difficult to be widespread across the nation. But this does not mean that it would not cause sickness or a large amount of deaths if used against a large American city.


Cattafi, K. (2019, February 28). Palisades Park recovers $200,000 after cyber attack. Retrieved from

Clark, R. & Deininger, R. (2000). Protecting the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure: The Vulnerability of U.S. Water Supply Systems. Journal of Contingencies & Crisis Management. June 2000, Vol 8 (2). P. 73-81.

Vijayan, J. (2014, February 6) Target Breach Happened Because of a Basic Network Segmentation Error. Retrieved from

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