Monday, October 26, 2009
CSAT FAQ Update 10-23-09
Last week DHS updated a fairly large number of their responses to Frequently Asked Questions on the CSAT FAQ page. The questions addressed include: 103: I am a member of a media organization seeking information about CSAT. Who should I contact? 453: Relating to Mission Critical Chemicals, what is the National Emergency Production Rate? 459: How can I print the completed Top-Screen, SVA, or SSP? How can I print the completed Top-Screen, SVA, or SSP? 1392: How do I transfer my account or reassign my user role? 1405: How will I know the agricultural extension has been lifted and what to do next? 1508: Where can I find more thorough descriptions of the attack scenarios? 1517: I completed my CVI training. Why does it take me back to CVI training when I log into my Top Screen or SVA? 1608: What is the format for entering my CVI authorization number when I am prompted for it, for example,during CVI training? 1609: I need assistance navigating through the CSAT application. However, I am not a registered CSAT user. 1617: Why does CSAT log me off prior to the 20 minute timeout period? 1618: How do I access and acknowledge CSAT letters (for example, my facility's tiering letter)? 1644: What should be done with my CVI Authorization User Number? 1645: Do I need to report chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) as Chlorine on the CSAT Top-Screen? A number of these, according to my records, are new entries on the CSAT FAQ page. As such they should probably be read by all CSAT users just to make sure that they understand current CFATS policy. These new questions are: 405, 459, 1517, 1608, 1617, 1618, 1609, 1644, and 1645. Of these nine new questions four of them are particularly interesting. Agriculture Extension The answer to question 1405 about the change in status of the Agriculture extension is important, in and of itself, but it also provides some valuable advice for tracking any changes in the CFATS regulations. First it provides the link to the source page for CFATS on the DHS web site, http://www.dhs.gov/chemicalsecurity, where one can sign up for email notification of changes to that web site. Second it provides a link to the www.regulations.gov web site where you can sign up to be notified of changes to specific dockets; in this case docket number DHS-2006-0073. This will provide email notification of official changes to the CFATS program. CVI Authorization Number Question 1608 provides a good description of the format for the CVI Authorization Number that everyone receives upon completion of the online CVI training. The number comes in two distinct parts; first the date the training was completed and the second part is the sequential number assigned to each authorized user. Both portions are required to be entered in separate boxes when a user is required to provide authentication of authorization to use CSAT applications. Question 1644 addresses a non-procedural question about the protection of CVI numbers. DHS ISCD recommends that authorized users need to protect their CVI number the same way that they would protect their driver’s license number or credit card numbers; sharing the number only with trusted organizations and people. IP Addresses Question 1617 deals with something that is normally transparent to most internet users; your computer’s IP Address. It seems that many corporate IT programs use multiple ‘proxy servers’ to provide protection of individual computers from malicious attacks. Switching IP addresses during extended stays on the internet is one way of using these proxy servers to protect corporate computers. Unfortunately, changing the IP address during a session on one of the CSAT applications causes the DHS computer to shut down access, to protect the DHS computer from attack. The answer to question 1617 provides a detailed discussion of how to deal with this problem. You would suspect this is the reason you are being kicked off CSAT when you receive a "504 Proxy Server Error" notification. Interesting Response Revisions Most of the revised questions have relatively minor changes to the previously provided response to the FAQ. There are two questions that the changes made to the responses are worth discussing. Question 453 provides a much more detailed description of what to consider when a facility determines its National Emergency Production Rate for their Top Screen submission. This answer is well worth reading before a facility re-submits or submits their first Top Screen. One change I’m not really sure was productive was removing the link provided to the Census page referenced in the explanation. In the old response that link, http://www.census.gov/cir/www/mqc1pag2.html, was provided. Question 1508 addresses the issue of access to the details of the SVA attack scenarios. The new change keeps the explanation that this information is only available to authorized users working on an active SVA. It removes the instruction to contact the Help Desk for assistance in finding the document. The only assistance provided for locating the document is noting that it is “available in the CVI Document Vault”.