A call to 911 is a call for help. Emergency response systems like NG9-1-1 must offer the highest levels of reliability and security to be effective, especially when integrated into emergency communications networks.
The need for Next Generation 911 infrastructure security is vital. This is because public safety professionals rely on the cloud and other Internet Protocol (IP) platforms that allow for interconnectivity across a range of public and private networks. It is this NG911 infrastructure that allows PSAPs and ECCs to receive real-time videos, photos, text, and voice messages from individuals in need.
In this blog, our Next Generation 911 providers at NGA will discuss:
What the NG911 Infrastructure is
Emergency Systems Risks
What is The Next Generation 911 Infrastructure?
As defined by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the NG9-1-1 infrastructure is an IP-based, three-tiered system.
The system makes receiving, exchanging, and processing vital information possible for 911 professionals through:
As the need for faster, more accurate emergency response increases, so does the demand for emergency systems that can deliver. As such, public safety organizations are replacing traditional 911 systems with NG911 IP and cloud-based infrastructures.
What Are The Advantages of The NG911 Infrastructure?
Quicker, resilient, more expansive, and more connected, Next Generation 911 IP infrastructure provides advantages for the public safety community and all who rely on 911 in an emergency.
The benefits include but are not limited to:
Interfaces that combine calling and messaging services for emergencies
Processing of multimedia including real-time photos, videos, text messages, and voice messages
Integrated 911 call routing and handling of emergency call data
911 messages, calls, and information delivered to the right PSAP or ECC
Better coordinated emergency response and 911 call management for delivering data and communication needs
Faster and more reliable broadband for all first responders
Emergency Systems Security: Understanding The Risks
Security is a concern for any technology-based infrastructure, but even more so when it involves the sensitive information shared with emergency response systems. A security breach in such systems could result in disrupted police investigations, interrupted 911 calls, loss of available resources, and more.
Emergency Devices And Equipment Risks
Malware: A user downloads risky or harmful software.
Spear-Phishing: Targeted social engineering attacks that exploit public safety users and give hackers access to sensitive information.
Data Breaches: Stored information is accessed, stolen, manipulated, or corrupted.
Risks to Emergency Response Infrastructures And Connections
Denial-of-Service: Cell towers and other essential network resources can be overwhelmed by a hacker security attack. This can result in hackers overloading systems and damaging or destroying certain infrastructures and straining network resiliency.
Unauthorized Access: When authentication methods aren’t secure, attackers can gain access to emergency networks using stolen credentials.
Man-in-the-Middle: Vulnerable wireless connections between cell towers and users can be attacked when hackers monitor communications and steal information.
Emergency Data, Apps, And Services Risks
Insider Threats: Authorized users abuse access to steal, corrupt, and destroy 911 data.
Malicious Apps: Security threat actors develop applications that appear safe but allow them to hack data, identify emergency response locations, and listen to conversations.
Unauthorized Access: Attackers can access sensitive information from health records, law enforcement, and other public safety organizations by breaching databases.
NG911 Standards: Keeping Emergency Response Systems More Secure
NENA has defined three building blocks of NG911 system standards, which are also known as the i3 architecture. These standards help to ensure security and stability across emergency entities by preventing disruptions during an emergency situation.
These three Next Generation 911 building blocks are:
Emergency Services IP Networks (ESInets) – ESInets are the heart of the Next Generation 911 system. Not only do these IP and cloud networks allow multimedia to be delivered to telecommunicators and first responders, they also provide a more capable and more resilient system.
Applications and Database – A combination of external and internal databases that support NG911 services. These solutions include everything from routing data and recording 911 call details, to storing government, healthcare, and law enforcement data.
Standards and Security – NG911 security and standards include the involvement of public safety organizations such as The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
The above building blocks provide specific functions and features that make up the i3 architecture. When adapted, PSAPs and ECCs can better serve emergency callers across the nation. This architecture also allows 911 professionals to protect the public while keeping their vital information more secure.
One of the greatest advantages of NG9-1-1 is that it is a system built for innovation. As a leading provider of Next Generation 911, NGA believes in providing NG911 solutions that provide impeccable security.
We utilize private cloud and IP internet connections, firewalls, and more. This helps make the secure transition of life-saving information from individuals to first responders possible.
Looking to learn more about Next Generation 911 security? Our experts are here to help!