Skip to content

Illustration by Security Management

Hospital Issues Panic Buttons; Guidance for Hardening VPNs; Vaccine Mandates Impact; and More

Here’s a quick look at some of the security-related news since yesterday (and remember to check out the biggest news in security: Wednesday’s GSX Daily.)

Increased Violence During Pandemic Leads Hospital to Issue Staff Panic Buttons

Assaults at Cox Medical Center in Branson, Missouri, tripled and employee injuries quadrupled in 2020 compared to 2019, leading the hospital to add panic buttons to ID badges worn by 400 employees at the facility.

“Pushing the button will immediately alert hospital security, launching a tracking system that will send help to the endangered worker,” the Associated Press reported. “The hospital hopes to have the system operational by the end of the year.”

CoxHealth deployed a similar system at its Springfield, Missouri, hospital. CoxHealth used grant funding to pay for the security enhancements.

U.S. Security Agencies Issue Guidance on Selecting and Hardening VPN Solutions

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) jointly released an information sheet: Selecting and Hardening Remote Access VPN Solutions.

VPNs, or virtual private networks, are entry points into protected networks, which makes the servers that power them attrative targets for bad actors. The information sheet describes vendor selection criteria, credential best practices, encryption technology, and other important VPN security topics.

Vaccine Mandates Convert Some, Though Many Continue to Holdout

While most companies with more than 100 employees wait for the Biden Administration to issue the rules for enforcing vaccine madates, many companies have already issued their own requirements.

An Associated Press report said “businesses that have announced vaccine mandates say some workers who had been on the fence have since gotten inoculated against COVID-19. But many holdouts remain—a likely sign of what is to come once a federal mandate goes into effect.”

United Airlines said on Tuesday that it would begin this week the termination of 593 employees who have refused vaccination.

Spain, Europol Lead Massive Effort Targeting Illegal Immigration, Drug Trafficking, Illegal Firearms

The massive effort focused on southeast Europe and involved 11,000 officers, coordination from 27 countries, and led to 330 arrests and 37 new investigations.

“The Western Balkans region is a key hub for the trafficking of firearms into the EU,” a release from Europol said. “Multinational criminal groups source the weapons predominantly from countries from the Western Balkans, where human resources with expertise in firearms are widely available. The firearms are then trafficked to the EU, mainly to Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, and The Netherlands. The illegal trade in weapons is closely connected to the trafficking of drugs, specifically to cocaine trafficking. In some cases, criminal networks exchange weapons for drugs. They also use the weapons to gain and maintain control over the lucrative drugs markets.”

Capital Gazette Shooter Sentenced for 2018 Attack

In 2018 Jarrod Ramos barricaded exits in the Capital Gazette’s Annapolis, Maryland newsroom and began shooting, killing five people. On Tuesday, he received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.