The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's 911 system crashed earlier this month for about six hours.
What caused it? Can it happen again?
The lifeline we all depend on went dead February 2. LVMPD said a "broadcast storm" caused it. They describes it as a continuous loop of data that overwhelms the system.
As we first reported last week, our sources say whatever overwhelmed the system came from someone plugging in an outside device through a USB port.
They can't narrow it down because too much information was erased when the system was restored. We do know LVMPD's 911 call center was vulnerable with about 130 system access points throughout the building.
"We have enough information to better prepare against any future failure of the system," said Deputy Chief Charles Hank. "Simply put, today our system is stronger as a result of a thorough look into this matter."
On Tuesday, LVMPD tried to answer questions and restore public trust detailing multiple lines of defense to make sure a disruption doesn't happen again.
Server rooms and network areas will be restricted and locks will be installed on equipment cabinets.
There will be strict rules for vendors working in the communications building.
Employees have been reminded about the protocol that prohibits anyone connecting PDA's, thumb drives or outside devices to our computers.
LVMPD will also add a back-up telephone line and another call center to support the main site. That's expected to be up and running within 60 days.
LVMPD issued an additional Press Release later Tuesday afternoon:
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officials have instituted several new components to its 911 system to provide multiple lines of defense, including an additional call center to safeguard against a future disruption in service like the one that occurred on February 2.
LVMPD and its partner Airbus worked to determine the cause of the disruption, which was most likely a broadcast storm--a term defined as a continuous feedback loop of data that overwhelms the system. There is no definitive determination as to what caused the broadcast storm since restoration of the system erased any information that would have provided useful analysis.
LVMPD is now instituting several changes that will create more layers of protection, which include:
· Upgrading hardware to increase the speed of how quickly calls can be sent to alternative call centers;
· Adding a back-up telephone line located in the main communications center should the first set of telephone lines fail;
· Setting up a satellite emergency phone center that may be used as a temporary call center; and
· Creating an additional call center.
LVMPD also analyzed best practices and changed protocols within the call center to include:
· Enhanced monitoring of the system by Airbus;
· Restricted access to the server room and network;
· Installation of locks on all equipment cabinets;
· Strict protocols from vendors entering and working inside the center; and · Prohibiting employees from connecting outside devices to computers.
All of the protocols are currently in place, with the exception of the additional call center, which is expected to be up and running within 60 days.