Hurricane Sandy Update

Published: 2012-10-30
Last Updated: 2012-10-30 12:46:19 UTC
by Johannes Ullrich (Version: 1)
9 comment(s)

Last nights storm cut power to millions of households across much of the north east of the US and parts of Canada. The outages affect major population centers, including New York City.

At this point, the damage to infrastructure appears to be substantial and recovery may take days to weeks.

We have not heard of any outages of east coast services like amazon's cloud or google web services hosted in the area. We will try to keep you updated as we hear about any larger outages, but right now, there are only some individual web sites affected. This may change if power outages persist.

If you reside in the effected area, you are probably best off staying at home. Many roads are blocked by debris and in some cases by downed power lines.

Here are some of the typical issues we see after an event like this:

- outages of communications networks as batteries and generator fuel supplies run out.
- malware using the disaster as a ruse to get people to install the malicious software ("watch this video of the flooding")
- various scams trying to take advantage of disaster victims. 

A couple ways how the internet can help in a disaster like this:

- many power companies offer web pages to report and monitor outages.
- FEMA offers updates on it's "" and "" web sites.
- local governments offer mobile applications to keep residents informed.

Twitter can provide very fast and localized updates, but beware that twitter is also used to spread misinformation.

A lot has been made of tweets that suggest organized looting. The posts I have seen appear to be meant as a joke if read with other tweets by the same person. In some cases the person doesn't live in the area, or the account is very new. Remember it is hard to detect irony in 140 characters.

We hope everybody in the effected area will stay save. The storm is still on going and internet outages are probably the least significant issue right now.

Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.
SANS Technology Institute

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