24/09/21

Critical Infrastructure Daily Brief

Statewide Terrorism & Intelligence Center

Critical Infrastructure Daily Brief

September 24, 2021

 

**UNCLASSIFIED **

(U) STIC is providing this information to our partner agencies for situational awareness. This document contains information obtained from open source information. While STIC has gone to great lengths to verify the information found in open source documents on the internet, this information may not be accurate.

 

Situational Awareness

A gunman opened fire inside a Tennessee grocery store on Thursday, killing one and injuring 12 others, authorities said. The gunman was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, they said. Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane confirmed Thursday evening that one victim is in the intensive care unit and another is in surgery. The extent of the others' injuries is not clear. Police responded to reports of an active shooter around 1:30 p.m. local time at the Kroger in Collierville, a suburb located about 30 miles east of Memphis. Lane said officers searched every aisle and room inside the supermarket, helping the injured and bringing out several employees who were still hiding. "This scene is horrific, I've been involved in this for 34 years and never seen anything like it," Lane said. There were no additional threats to the community, he said, and an additional press conference was scheduled for Friday morning. Investigators are working to determine whether workplace violence was a factor in the Kroger shooting, two law enforcement sources told CBS News. The investigators are looking into whether the deceased shooter may have been a disgruntled employee, the sources said. The situation is fluid and changing, the sources said, and there does not appear to be a connection to terrorism.

 

The coroner of LaSalle County, Illinois, on Thursday identified a body found earlier this month as missing graduate student Jelani Day. The LaSalle County Coroner confirmed Day's identity through forensic dental identification and DNA testing and comparison, the office said in a news release shared by the Bloomington Police Department. The cause of death remains unknown, the release said, pending further investigation.

Day, a 25-year-old graduate student at Illinois State University whose mother said he aspired to become a speech pathologist, was reported missing on August 25 in Bloomington, Illinois.

 

Did you know there's a $50 billion global scaffolding industry? Nearly all of it is put up manually. That makes scaffolding, the exterior structure used during building and maintenance, a prime target for automation. A company called Kewazo is finding success with a materials handling robot aimed at scaffolding installation called Liftbot. The company just closed $5 million in Series A funding and joins a growing pack of robotics developers taking aim at construction. "So many aspects of the construction industry stand to benefit immensely from robotic intelligence and RaaS offerings," said Puneet Agarwal, partner at True Ventures, which participated in the round. "The Kewazo team has a strong track record and proven solution that addresses a significant need in a critical part of the industry. We're excited to fund this team and help them expand to new verticals in construction and other markets." Construction is a hot area for robotics development because it's inefficient and hasn't had a technology makeover in decades. The sector has not kept pace with innovation or productivity. As a result, there are massive inefficiencies in the industry. According to KPMG's Global Construction Survey, just 25% of projects came within 10% of their original deadlines. When it comes to megaprojects, like large infrastructure projects, McKinsey found that 98% are delayed or over budget. 77% are more than 40% behind schedule. Robots, drones, and big data are considered key technology categories to address these inefficiencies. Companies like Rugged Robotics, which makes a line marking robot for the grid chalk lines used in every construction project, and Kewazo are keying in on this opportunity while wisely staying hyper focused on a particular need area. If automation in sectors like inspection and logistics serves as any guide, robots will find toeholds in the sector via extremely niche jobs that site managers see value in automating. Automation firms often stumble by developing robots for multiple use scenarios, which tends to increase price and complexity and raise the adoption threshold.

 

Cybersecurity

Apple has patched three actively exploited zero-day security vulnerabilities in updates to iOS and macOS, one of which can allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Apple released two updates on Thursday: iOS 12.5.5, which patches three zero-days that affect older versions of iPhone and iPod devices, and Security Update 2021-006 Catalina for macOS Catalina, which patches one of same vulnerabilities, CVE-2021-30869, that also affects macOS. The XNU kernel vulnerability — the discovery of which was attributed to Google researchers Erye Hernandez and Clemente Lecigne of Google Threat Analysis Group and Ian Beer of Google Project Zero — is a type-confusion issue that Apple addressed with “improved state handling,” according to its advisory. “A malicious application may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges,” the company said. “Apple is aware of reports that an exploit for this issue exists in the wild.” The flaw also affects the WebKit browser engine, which is likely why it caught the attention of the Google researchers. The issue affects macOS Catalina as well as iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, and iPod touch (6th generation).

 

Cisco has patched three critical vulnerabilities affecting components in its IOS XE internetworking operating system powering routers and wireless controllers, or products running with a specific configuration. The worst of the flaws received the highest severity rating, 10 out of 10; it affects the Cisco Catalyst 9000 Family Wireless Controllers that includes the enterprise-class Catalyst 9800-CL Wireless Controllers for Cloud.

 

Energy

An energy storage pilot project in Minneapolis will help test a vision for how homeowners might someday share solar power directly with neighbors. Each of the four batteries being installed at the Regional Apprenticeship Training Center in North Minneapolis will represent a household — two with solar panels and two without. The batteries will continuously buy and sell power from each other based on a predetermined set of rules. It’s one of the country’s first “virtual power plant” pilot projects, according to Jamez Staples, founder of solar developer Renewable Energy Partners and the green jobs training center that hosts the project. Today residential solar customers either consume the power they generate on site or sell the excess generation to their utilities through net metering programs. Staples’ research battery pilot will study how a market could develop where households or businesses share power without going through a utility. It will also provide backup to the training center. Staples sees batteries as the next evolution of clean energy, and one that will create jobs. “Battery storage will create further integration of the clean energy revolution that is taking place,” he said. “People are becoming more and more aware of these technologies. Solar is the first element, battery storage is the second, and electric vehicles are the third.” Renewable Energy Partners’ operations manager Nate Broadbridge said the pilot “will showcase how your neighbors can share their energy between each other that can actually be measured and tracked, and based on your household consumption, battery storage, the solar energy you have.” The pilot is one of three battery projects sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment and paid for by a $550,000 grant from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Red Lake Nation and the University of Minnesota Morris will also install battery storage systems using money from the trust fund.

 

…Nearly 900 people have been arrested during protests against the Line 3 oil pipeline, which is being built in northern Minnesota. Most were cited with misdemeanors. But many, like Stovall, have been charged with gross misdemeanors, and some face felony charges. The number of legal cases is straining resources in the northern Minnesota counties where most of the protests took place. In addition to waiting for months for a public defender, some defendants also argue that the charges they're facing are unfairly severe. "What we are seeing at Line 3 are definitely more significant charges or serious charges with the potential for more serious punishments,” said Lauren Regan, executive director and a senior attorney at the Civil Liberties Defense Center, which is helping represent pipeline activists. She said charges against Line 3 protesters have escalated since the protests began, even though she says their actions have been nonviolent and fairly run-of-the-mill acts of civil disobedience.


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