Critical Infrastructure Daily Brief

Statewide Terrorism & Intelligence Center

Critical Infrastructure Daily Brief 


(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

Texas- One person was killed and several others were injured Sunday when someone opened fire on a crowd that had gathered at a celebration of life, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. It happened in the 1400 block of N. Market Loop in Baytown. Gonzalez said a crowd of about 50 people gathered just before 7 p.m. to honor a recent murder victim. He said someone in a vehicle started shooting into the crowd as they started releasing balloons. One person was pronounced dead at an area hospital and Gonzalez said at least 13 others were injured. The victim who died was later identified by deputies as 25-year-old Disha Allen, of Humble. Three of the shooting victims were flown to area hospitals in critical condition and the others, according to Gonzalez, sustained non-fatal injuries. Gonzalez said some of the victims could be children and the bounce house at the scene was full of kids when the shots were fired. Gonzalez said a disturbance broke out at a nearby clinic or hospital when victims arrived for treatment.


The recent rise in flash mob retail thefts and violent crime has hit home on North Michigan Avenue and at other iconic Chicago destinations, deterring holiday shopping and tourism as the city tries to emerge from nearly two years of pandemic stasis. From retailers and restaurants to hotels, businesses are beefing up security and seeking help from law enforcement as visitors stay away in droves, alarmed by the confluence of organized crime and seemingly random assaults plaguing even once “safe” locales like the Magnificent Mile. “People are paying attention to this,” said Kimberly Bares, president and CEO of the Magnificent Mile Association, a private membership organization focused on promoting the shopping district along North Michigan Avenue. “If there is an incident or concern about an incident, people are choosing not to come downtown.” Chicago has long grappled with both the reality and perception of violence, from the days of Al Capone to the city’s more recent image as a center of gun violence. But that picture was always painted as a split-screen, with the city’s gleaming downtown, lakefront and shopping meccas such as North Michigan Avenue seen as somehow insulated from criminal activity. Some of those imaginary lines have been crossed during the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of smash-and-grab retail thefts have taken place along Michigan Avenue this holiday season, shattering windows and a sense of security at Nieman Marcus, Canada Goose, North Face and Burberry, among other locations. CTA bus drivers planned a protest march Saturday after a driver was assaulted while stopped on North Michigan Avenue last weekend. Chicago police also planned to increase patrols and enforce curfews in the wake of broader downtown violence, while a private security firm monitors the safety of CTA bus drivers. Organized retail theft is on the rise nationwide, costing retailers an average of $700,000 per $1 billion in sales, according to the National Retail Federation, with Chicago ranked third behind Los Angeles and San Francisco in reported thefts. The Chicago Police Department reported 11,865 thefts this year through Dec. 5, up 19% over last year. Thefts during the holiday shopping season are up 36% over last year, according to police data. The increase in thefts, particularly the coordinated flash mobs that have descended on shopping destinations from Michigan Avenue to Northbrook, have landed like a one-two punch for retailers still struggling to recover from the ongoing pandemic.


A state program aiming to take a “comprehensive approach to ending Illinois' firearm violence epidemic” will be expanded under a law signed Friday by Gov. JB Pritzker. The Reimagine Public Safety Act became law in June, but the expansion signed Friday clarifies guidelines in the original bill and gives the Illinois Department of Human Services and a newly created Office of Firearm Violence Prevention greater grant making flexibility. The crux of the RPSA is that it creates the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention to coordinate violence prevention efforts and give grants to on-the-ground community organizations that know how and where intervention is needed in the state’s most violent communities.


At least six people were killed when a tornado smashed through a massive Amazon warehouse in Illinois, one in series of twisters blamed for scores of deaths in five states. Edwardsville Fire Chief James Whiteford said late Saturday that another injured Amazon worker was airlifted to a hospital and searchers were carefully picking through the rubble for additional victims. At least 45 people survived the carnage wrought Friday when the tornado struck the building, about 30 miles northeast of St. Louis at about 8:30 p.m. local time. Because the devastation came during a shift change, authorities struggled to determine how many people were actually in the building or otherwise unaccounted for. Whiteford said the building's walls collapsed and the roof caved in. A section of the building longer than a football field was destroyed. Police officers worked alongside Amazon employees, extricating trapped people from the rubble, he said. “These walls are made out of 11-inch thick concrete, and they’re about 40 feet tall, so a lot of weight from that came down,” Whiteford said. The warehouse, which opened in July 2020, employs almost 200 people and sprawls across more than 1 million square feet. Completing the search through the rubble could take several days, Whiteford said.



The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will host a call with critical infrastructure stakeholders Monday afternoon about a critical vulnerability affecting products with the Log4j software library, according to a statement. CISA sent out an alert Friday that the agency had added the flaw to its list of exploited vulnerabilities, and urged federal and civilian organizations to patch and take steps to mitigate harm immediately. Log4j is a widely-used open-source logging tool popular in numerous cloud and enterprise apps including Minecraft, Apple Cloud, Cloudflare and Twitter, making the extent of the zero-day’s potential damage likely wide-reaching. “CISA is working closely with our public and private sector partners to proactively address a critical vulnerability affecting products containing the log4j software library,” CISA director Jen Easterly said in a statement. “This vulnerability, which is being widely exploited by a growing set of threat actors, presents an urgent challenge to network defenders given its broad use.” Cybersecurity researchers noted over the weekend that cybercriminals were racing to take advantage of the newly announced vulnerability.


The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Americans reported losing $148 million to gift card scams during the first nine months of 2021, following a significant increase compared to last year. Almost 40,000 consumers reported falling victim to scams where gift cards were the chosen form of payment throughout the year. The $148 million lost to scammers until the end of September 2021 amounts to more than the total losses reported in 2020. This type of scam payments has increased every year during the last three years, now reaching staggering numbers both in the number of reports and the total amount of losses. "Since 2018, both the numbers of consumers filing reports in which gift cards were the form of payment to scammers and the amount they have reported lost have increased steadily," the FTC said. "The FTC has resources for consumers, including information on how to contact gift card companies to try to stop payments to scammers at ftc.gov/giftcards."

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