Secure 9-1-1 and Protecting Our First Responders

Presented at RVAsec 2019, May 22, 2019, 2 p.m. (50 minutes)

In the past  9-1-1 networks were mostly closed networks with no access to the outside world, there has been a lack of need to think about information security because why should you? With technology advancing software vendors are now utilizing cloud services and there are outside public safety applications that now need to communicate to 9-1-1. This has led to many centers in last decade to opening up their networks.  The next several years will also be a large change for 9-1-1, as they will be switching from the analog Enhanced 911 (E911) to the digital NextGen 911 (NG 911) system. For large metropolitan PSAPs, this will be a blip on the radar as they have the resources and personnel to handle the changeover but smaller and rural PSAPs will have the same information security concerns but they will not have the resources or personnel available to them to address these concerns. There are a large list of security concerns for 9-1-1 centers to acknowledge and start addressing before the switchover to NG-911.  I will go over telephony denial of service attacks on both the analog E911, the VoIP NG-911, and the non-emergency lines, prank/hoax calls to 9-1-1 (what I universally call “swatting”) and  in what ways that can be accomplished using technology past and present, various attack vectors to the Computer Aided Dispatch, or CAD, network why that data needs to be protected both currently and in the future with NG-911, and physical/internal threats to the 9-1-1 center for both the data and the security of the dispatchers. This is just an informational talk about these concerns to help bring awareness to what we face in the public safety industry and how we handle it with the limited resources we have available to us.


  • Christine Giglio - Bedford County Department of E-911 Communications
    I am the CAD Administrator for Bedford County, VA department of E-911 communications. Prior to this position, I was the Public Safety LAN Administrator for Bedford County, VA Sheriff’s Office, Fire & Rescue, and E-911 communications for 10 years. Bedford County is a rural joint E-911 center supporting both the Town of Bedford and the County of Bedford with a service area of approximately 762 square miles with a population of 84,000 people.


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