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Pandemic Preparation - Swine Flu

Published: 2009-04-26
Last Updated: 2009-04-29 22:46:24 UTC
by Johannes Ullrich (Version: 3)
3 comment(s)

The current WHO phase of pandemic alert is 5/6 ( 2200 UTC 29/04/2009)

Lots of news about the Swine Flu outbreak in Mexico. Right now, cases are reported in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Spain. We have covered pendemic preparedness before, so let me just list a few pointers and a couple highlights:

- don't count on locking up your NOC staff in the NOC. They want to be home with family. Be ready to operate in "lights out" mode remotely with minimal or no staff.

- everybody will try to do the same thing. Cell phone data connectivity and broadband internet connections may be overloaded at times. Panic breeds inefficiency.

- don't panic. Try to find news reports and don't fall for the hype some news media will spread to attract viewers. Stick to reputable sources (www.cdc.gov and such comes to mind).

So far, about 80 people died from it. The best number I could find for people infected stated that "more then 1000 had symptoms". Most of the infections in the US happened to children in high school and all of them appear to be fine so far.

Stephen Northcut maintains a nice page with links to news reports and such: http://www.sans.edu/resources/leadershiplab/pandemic_watch2009.php

 Quick update with some reader input:

- travel to / from Mexico is still unrestricted, but discouraged. Many airlines will waive rebooking fees.
- Texas announced that it may put restrictions for travel out of Texas in place if more cases are found in Texas.

Travel restrictions are probably the most likely impact in the short term. Make sure to double check any travel plans.

Another update:  several readers have suggested to be on the lookout for phishing domains being established in anticipation of an outbreak.  We'll do the same and will publish a future diary "naming names" if we need to.

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Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.
SANS Technology Institute     follow johullrich on twitter

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