INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION FORCULTURAL PROPERTY PROTECTION
Reposted from AP News
Hate crimes in the U.S. rose to the highest level in more than a decade as federal officials also recorded the highest number of hate-motivated killings since the FBI began collecting that data in the early 1990s, according to an FBI report released Monday.
There were 51 hate crime murders in 2019, which includes 22 people who were killed in a shooting that targeted Mexicans at a Walmart in the border city of El Paso, Texas, the report said. The suspect in that August 2019 shooting, which left two dozen other people injured, was charged with both state and federal crimes in what authorities said was an attempt to scare Hispanics into leaving the United States.
Some of the 2019 increases may be the result of better reporting by police departments, but law enforcement officials and advocacy groups don’t doubt that hate crimes are on the rise. The Justice Department has for years been specifically prioritizing hate crime prosecutions.
The data also shows there was a nearly 7% increase in religion-based hate crimes, with 953 reports of crimes targeting Jews and Jewish institutions last year, up from 835 the year before. The FBI said the number of hate crimes against African Americans dropped slightly to 1,930, from 1,943.
Anti-Hispanic hate crimes, however, rose to 527 in 2019, from 485 in 2018. And the total number of hate crimes based on a person’s sexual orientation stayed relatively stable, with one fewer crime reported last year, compared with the year before, though there were 20 more hate crimes against gay men reported.
As the data was made public on Monday, advocacy groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, called on Congress and law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to improve data collection and reporting of hate crimes. Critics have long warned that the data may be incomplete, in part because it is based on voluntary reporting by police agencies across the country.
Last year, only 2,172 law enforcement agencies out of about 15,000 participating agencies across the country reported hate crime data to the FBI, the bureau said. And while the number of agencies reporting hate crimes increased, the number of agencies participating in the program actually dropped from the year before. A large number of police agencies appeared not to submit any hate crime data, which has been a consistent struggle for Justice Department officials.
“The total severity of the impact and damage caused by hate crimes cannot be fully measured without complete participation in the FBI’s data collection process,” the Anti-Defamation League’s president, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement.
An Associated Press investigation in 2016 found that more than 2,700 city police and county sheriff’s departments across the country had not submitted a single hate crime report for the FBI’s annual crime tally during the previous six years.
Greenblatt also said America must “remove the barriers that too often prevent people in marginalized communities – the individuals most likely to suffer hate crimes – from reporting hate-based incidents,” a sentiment shared by other advocates.
“The FBI’s report is another reminder that we have much work to do to address hate in America,” said Margaret Huang, the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
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Reposted from Security Management Magazine
Much like the world we live in, the security business has changed, and the lessons gained serve as a powerful reminder that to be effective in our industry, we need to evolve as leaders to get the best out of our people. A developed and dedicated workforce is critical to our success, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when it is more important than ever to be resilient in our delivery of essential services. Building up a culture of professionalism, compassion, and connection is essential to ongoing success as a leader in this field.
As a U.S. Marine, I was a student of leadership—learning the ways and methods of how to lead men and women. This was a good starting point for the next 30 years of experience in law enforcement and being a security consultant for a global brand today. During my career, I oversaw recruitment and training program for more than 250 police officers, command of a SWAT team, and hiring and supervising of more than 500 security officers. My client base is diverse, consisting of entertainment, academics, hospitality, sports, and corporate. I credit the success of my team—then and now—to understanding the context of a situation, connecting with people who work for you, building relationships, and constantly evolving to position yourself for future successes.
Understanding the context is key. It is no secret that security officers are not highly paid. They often work shifts that people are not drawn to. They must work with clients and members of the public when they are most distressed. They are put in harm’s way. They are often treated as though they are invisible. All these factors present challenges when you are trying to recruit professional, smart, hard-working people.
This is why we have to be creative and active in attracting talent. Security services firms cannot expect excellent employees to find us. Even with all the technology and online hiring, personal care is still important. Wherever I go—a mall or a hotel—I’m always looking for my next hire. If I see a security officer looking and acting professional, I will talk to him or her and introduce myself. When I tell them about my company and how we are always looking for great people, they light up because they feel good that someone noticed them.
Money is important, but acknowledgment is fulfilling. I may not be able to offer them more money, but they become interested because they already feel appreciated. I encourage my employees to spread the word and help me with recruitment. This is empowering for them because they feel trusted to assist me in building our team.
When I interview candidates, I ask questions about them—not just the typical interview questions—because it allows me to better understand who they are, their potential, and any shortfalls. It’s about creating connection. It’s also a way to set expectations from the beginning and see how they react to what I expect. Candidates feel that you are interested in them and you want to set them up for success through clarity and communication.
Increasing the connection through understanding is a critical part of maintaining and growing a great workforce. Employers cannot get the best out of someone when they have no idea who the employee is. The time spent getting to know your employees and letting them get to know you forges a profound connection that pushes everyone to go the extra mile—not because they are doing it for your brand, but because they are doing it for you and their coworkers. Give someone a good reason, and he or she will rise to the occasion.
I didn’t always think this way. My military and paramilitary background set me up as a stern, no-nonsense, show-no-feeling kind of boss. I quickly realized when I got into the security business that I had to change. As a security consultant, I answer to clients, ensure peace of mind for their stakeholders, and always seek out new contracts. I could not accomplish any of these objectives by just telling people what to do; I had to convince them, which meant I had to adjust and customize my approach.
I had to modify how I communicated and conducted myself to be more effective. I needed to understand the client’s needs so I can hire the right people and develop the right solutions, which would lead to more contracts.
I encourage clients to talk to my officers so there is a connection. I let my employees know that they are not just standing post; they are doing an important job keeping people and properties safe. Feeling valued and purposeful is something most of us desire. Giving security personnel a chance to be understood and helping them see the larger picture makes them more capable at their job. It’s difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Empathy takes a very conscious effort. It involves asking questions without jumping to conclusions and listening without judgment.
For example, when quickly hiring several officers to fill a contract, I couldn’t believe how applicants showed up to the interview—ungroomed and unprofessionally dressed. Many of us in the security industry can relate to this situation and the frustration when you are trying to hire the right people on a moment’s notice.
Over the years, I realized that many applicants did not have adult figures in their lives who taught them how to prepare for an interview. They get hired because companies need bodies to fill posts at low wages. I do not believe in lowering expectations or settling on issues of quality, so I had to mentor them and explain the importance of looking and acting professional. Some of them have gone on to be successful security directors.
Shortly after hiring the officers, I was doing a spot check over the weekend when I saw one of the officers asleep. I was upset and immediately corrected him. But I also talked with him to see why he would be so irresponsible. My old self would have just fired him without question. I found out that his mom was in the hospital and he had stayed up all night with her before his day watch shift, but he still showed up for work. So, I gave him a chance and continued to counsel him about how to better balance his personal life with his work. Treating this officer with dignity and compassion while firmly explaining the expectations made him feel that he was a valued member of his team and—most importantly—that I cared.
A week passed, and we noticed him showing up for work 30 minutes early, taking the initiative on some procedures, and immaculately cleaning the command center. His demeanor and attitude changed. He got a haircut and was offering ideas on how to make the post run more efficiently. He told me that he felt valued, respected, and while he had worked for many security companies in the past, this was the first time someone sat down and talked to him and asked him if he was okay or if he needed anything and to just talk. He felt at ease and comfortable, and he enjoyed coming into work. He felt that we cared and wanted him to succeed.
No matter how long you have been in the security contract business, people are still people—treat them right, give them a voice, listen, and help if you can.
To be clear, just as much as I advocate understanding and working with your employees, it is critical to hold everyone accountable. Without accountability, there is no consistency and clarity of what is expected of your people. I have disciplined and terminated many people in my career. Deep down, hard-working people want to be a part of a high-performance team. You coach and mentor them, as long as you see progress and willingness on their end to improve. Recognizing good work and addressing deficiency builds trust—resulting in a work environment where there is a sense of pride.
To remain effective and relevant, we all have to evolve as people. To evolve, we need self-awareness. It is a very valuable trait that not everyone has, but self-aware people often make excellent leaders. Putting ego aside and recognizing your vulnerabilities, flaws, and tendencies are all part of the journey to a better you.
I often hear people complaining about the younger generation—how they lack work ethic, have a sense of entitlement, and demand instant gratification. I thought that way at times, so I decided to check myself. In talking with younger employees, I realized that it is not that they lack work ethic, it’s that they work differently. Instead of a sense of entitlement, they are confident because their parents, like me, told them they can be anything they want to be. They expect immediacy because with technology and modernization of communication, it’s the norm. Taking a hard look at myself, facing my own biases, and forcing myself to think differently wasn’t easy, but I am glad I did. I have employees of all backgrounds, beliefs, preferences, and ages. I have learned a lot about them and about myself in working with them. Changing with the times has made me more effective at my job.
A dedicated, engaged workforce is critical to the success of any organization. Our value is defined by our employees and how well they meet the client’s needs in providing a sense of safety and confidence. Our employees’ performance and attitude are direct reflections of our leadership. Cultivating a strong workforce requires understanding, commitment, and accountability by those who are in leadership positions. As times change, we need to evolve and remain relevant, effective, and adaptive. This is what allows our business to grow and succeed.
After all, we’re not just in the security business, we’re in the people business. Nothing works without people, and if you can build a culture of excellence based on trust, you will see success that you’ve never imagined.
For example, one of my officers didn’t get paid on a Friday because of a system failure. He was counting on that check to pay for his daughter’s birthday party that weekend. So, his fellow officers and I pooled our money and gave it to him. The next Monday, he and his family came to thank all of us. In that moment, our team became stronger. These relationships continue long after people move on to different jobs.
Many of us feel disconnected during these difficult times, so it’s more important than ever to foster and value these relationships—both inside and outside your current team. I always believe that when your employees feel you care, they care.
Consider the maxim from Remember the Titans: “Attitude reflects leadership.” Rather than complaining about how we are not getting what we want from our workforce, we might want to consider a moment of self-reflection to see what we can do better as leaders.
Reposted from AAM
To provide an expansive, reliable, and in-depth knowledge resource to US cultural institutions as they navigate the unprecedented circumstances stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, cultural and digital strategy and marketing firm LaPlaca Cohen teamed with audience research experts Slover Linett to conduct one of the largest and most ambitious audience research studies ever.
Wave One of Culture and Community in a Time of Crisis: A Special Edition of Culture Track was fielded in late April through mid-May of this year. More than 650 cultural organizations of different sizes, in a range of localities and with a variety of audience types, shared their audience lists, resulting in more than 122,000 completed online surveys. These surveys were combined with those from thousands of people from NORC’s AmeriSpeak panel to represent the broad demographic diversity of the general US population.
The project was created as a free and open resource and service to the field, funded by a collaborative group of dedicated foundations and philanthropists, led by The Wallace Foundation and the Barr Foundation and supported by Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art. FocusVision, Microsoft, the Advisory Board for the Arts, and Wilkening Consulting provided additional support and advisory services. In addition, an advisory committee comprised of a diverse group of leading practitioners and experts in the cultural world and the social sciences reviewed and helped refine the study. The result is a robust data set and unique insights into the “hearts and minds” of US cultural audiences and a baseline for a continued research process in Wave Two of the study, which is currently underway.
The following are responses to questions museum leaders had about the survey.
Based on the data, how can museums remain relevant or essential to their communities during the pandemic and post-pandemic?
The audiences we surveyed cited very specific emotional, social, and functional needs from cultural organizations during the pandemic. Foremost among these was the desire to “laugh and relax”—a positive and uplifting alternative to the anxiety and uncertainty pervading their everyday lives. This sentiment also appears in their desire for organizations to offer “distraction and escape.” In addition, the theme of feeling disconnected surfaced in many responses, with audiences looking to cultural institutions to help them “stay connected.” Respondents also sought a practical benefit in this period: that cultural organizations “help educate children” while schools are closed.
What prompted audiences to connect with museums and other cultural organizations during the pandemic that they didn’t visit pre-pandemic?
This is a particularly interesting finding that we continue to probe. We learned that many respondents accessed online offerings from cultural organizations they did not physically visit in at least the past year. For example, 40 percent of those who accessed cultural content online from art museums had not physically visited such museums in the past 12 or so months. A working hypothesis is that digital might remove the “threshold” from “threshold fear”—that is, digital content overcomes perceptual and other barriers that have kept people from physically crossing the threshold of the museum. This could be because they do not feel invited or included, or they do not see other people like themselves participating. That feeling seemingly dissipates online, where the user chooses the content and determines the terms of engagement. There are also some early indications that audiences accessing cultural content online are more diverse than physical visitors, which suggest some intriguing possibilities for using digital as a channel for future audience development and diversification initiatives.
What one audience should cultural organizations focus on in the next six months and why?
This is a layered and complex question to which I can only respond with my subjective opinion, as it’s not an issue that research can effectively address. I believe that audiences of color must be prioritized with greater focus and intentionality as we move into a “new normal” period, as these groups have been uniquely and negatively affected by both the health crisis and the ongoing crisis of racial injustice in this country. While this may seem obvious to some, others at this moment are advising to first focus on “core audiences” in order to rebuild. To me, this would seem to risk reactivating the very strategies that have resulted in exclusionary practices and museum audience profiles that do not match the demographics of the communities museums serve.
While our Wave One study was fielded before the horrific killing of George Floyd, we nonetheless were able to confirm adverse social and health-related impacts on these communities. We also quantified a “representation gap” in the lists of audiences and visitors provided by hundreds of cultural organizations that showed how underrepresented audiences of color are on these lists compared to US census data. There is much work to be done here; the moment for the cultural world to address this underrepresentation is clearly upon us.
What potential activity topics or programming examples might be most appealing to audiences based on their expressed needs?
The experiences people seek most from culture vary according to art form. At art museums, for example, people are seeking to be emotionally moved and transported. They told us they were looking for art museums to provide experiences that are beautiful, challenging or thought-provoking, and emotionally powerful. Science or natural history museum audiences are also seeking experiences that are challenging or thought-provoking, in addition to adventurous, fun and lighthearted, and active and participatory. I’m also struck by the recurring theme of connection and the power of the social, especially coming off of a period of limited social contact. Programming can play a role here, provided it is delivered in a way that is sensitive to concerns about health and hygiene that will be with us for the foreseeable future.
Does the survey data suggest that virtual programming has become an expectation rather than a temporary response to the pandemic? If so, which areas of digital engagement are most likely to have “legs” in the future?
Taken in aggregate, the appeal of cultural content among the audiences we surveyed was profound and, I believe, is unlikely to diminish. This, coupled with what some observers in the tech world have characterized as the “fast-forwarding” of digital behavior among all consumers—borne of the necessity of quarantining, school and office closures, and other limitations on shared social activity—suggests that we are moving into a new realm where digital and analog will co-exist as unique but parallel experiences, as opposed to the existing model (at least in the cultural world) where digital has been in service of and usually subordinate to the physical experience. This is classic “disruption” in which previous, long-established standards of behavior are being reinvented—in this case by the audience, whose online preferences and behaviors may well exceed the understanding and expertise of the cultural organizations seeking to connect with them. In our Wave One study, cultural audiences most often cited online activities for kids, online classes or workshops, and livestream performances as the digital content they currently value most.
As only 13 percent of the survey respondents indicated they are paying for digital content, what are some potential revenue-generating strategies for digital?
We must first acknowledge that we are in the early stages of monetization of digital content in the nonprofit cultural world, so that 13 percent figure is probably reflective of a point in time and will evolve as cultural organizations become more adroit in creating digital content that connects with their audiences. That said, we looked at the same figure for a few organizational subsets in our study and found much higher levels—in the 30–40 percent range in some cases—for organizations that can be characterized as “category leaders” with high levels of brand recognition. Perhaps this relates to the way for-profit providers of cultural content have become most successful at monetization: by becoming the “go-to” source for that type of content. A museum seeking to achieve this status needs to begin by addressing the fundamental issue of who it is online: What is its unique voice and value in a crowded digital landscape that will encourage users to seek it out and, ultimately, pay for its content because they admire it, trust it, and believe they can’t get that same digital experience anywhere else?
What are some potential messaging and marketing strategies for museums based on this research?
Building on the recurring focus on interpersonal connection and connectedness that emerged in our study, as well as the desire for uplifting and powerful emotional experiences that offer an escape from the worries and anxieties of the moment, I could envision reopening marketing strategies that emphasize the positive, social, and experiential qualities of returning to physical cultural spaces. There is a real opportunity to demonstrate empathy; audiences are likely to value knowing that their museums are “here for you”: ready to welcome them, easy to enjoy, and there to provide opportunities to reconnect and relax. Of course different people will want different versions of reconnection (e.g., some will seek solitary encounters with favorite works in collections, while others will find comfort in shared moments of experience). Yet perhaps now more than ever, the social and emotional are likely to be among the most compelling messaging themes.
Audiences also had some specific “wish list” desires about how they would like cultural organizations to change and evolve—and almost all of them (96 percent) expressed an interest in seeing some sort of change. Among the opportunities for evolution in message, content, and experience are: increased focus on inclusivity and community—such as “being friendlier to all kinds of people,” being “more fun” and “less formal,” increasing “support for local artists,” and being more relevant and relatable by “sharing stories or content that connect to my life.”
What new museum leadership models do the data support?
First, let’s acknowledge that the impact of the current health crisis is unprecedented in its immediacy, and it is being viscerally experienced by all. For example, we found that almost one in eight of the people we surveyed has been directly physically impacted by the COVID-19 crisis (i.e., they, a family member, or a close friend had been ill due to COVID-19). Further, four in ten reported a reduction in income directly attributable to the crisis. The numbers were even more dire for communities of color. Add to this the ongoing uncertainty about recovery and its related anxieties, and this provides a snapshot of how deeply the audience is hurting. So I would say the first leadership model for this moment is one based on empathy; how can the museum be a place to help, to understand, and to just make people feel better?
Second, like all good research, I hope these findings ultimately support the essential and intuitive notion that the opportunities for growth and evolution—not just in leadership, but fundamentally in redefining and reactivating the museum’s essential purpose in society—occur when we look at ourselves through the eyes of our audiences. To do this, we must recognize that the convergence of a health crisis and a social justice crisis is a lived experience that must be reckoned with on an ongoing basis. As the wise and insightful social impacts advisor and nonprofit consulting colleague Lisa Yancey notes, “It’s not a moment. It’s a movement.”
For a museum leader, then, this means a constant focus on outside-in assessment, enhancing organizational expertise by infusing it with the concerns, needs, hopes, and dreams of those the museum serves. In the past, the idea of “collaborative leadership” has focused on collaboration between director and staff, and perhaps with the board. Now and in the future, I believe, “collaboration” will be defined in a more porous and expansive way that engages many voices in a truly equitable manner and creates new models of cultural exchange and experience where people can find not just beauty and inspiration, but also meaning and relevance.
The Wave Two phase of the study is currently underway. To access Culture and Community in a Time of Crisis: A Special Edition of Culture Track and related data, visit culturetrack.com.
Reposted from The Guardian
Ancient intellects are now being guarded by artificial intelligence following moves to protect one of the most extraordinary collections of historical manuscripts and documents in the world from cyber-attacks.
The Vatican Apostolic Library, which holds 80,000 documents of immense importance and immeasurable value, including the oldest surviving copy of the Bible and drawings and writings from Michelangelo and Galileo, has partnered with a cyber-security firm to defend its ambitious digitisation project against criminals.
The library has faced an average of 100 threats a month since it started digitising its collection of historical treasures in 2012, according to Manlio Miceli, its chief information officer.
“We cannot ignore that our digital infrastructure is of interest to hackers. A successful attack could see the collection stolen, manipulated or deleted altogether,” Miceli told the Observer.
Cyber attacks were increasing, not slowing down, he added. “Hackers will always try to get into organisations to steal information, to make money or to wreak havoc.”
The library, founded in 1451 by Pope Nicholas V, is one of the world’s most important research institutions, containing one of the finest collections of manuscripts, books, images, coins and medals in the world. The digitisation of 41 million pages is intended to “preserve the content of historical treasures without causing damage to the fragile originals”, said Miceli.
But he added: “This project is about a lot more than just physical preservation. Swaths of history, previously explored only by white-gloved historians, are now made available to anyone with a internet connection. This is a huge step for educational equality.”
So far, about 25% of the library’s documents have been digitised. The project started with “unique, most famous and fragile pieces”, said Miceli. They include one of the world’s oldest manuscripts, an illustrated fragment of Virgil’s Aeneidthat dates back 1,600 years. The collection also contains Sandro Botticelli’s 1450 illustration of the Divine Comedy; poems, technical notes and sketches by Michelangelo; ancient manuscripts of the Inca people; and historical treaties and letters.
But, said Miceli, digitisation means “we have to protect our online collection so that readers can trust the records are accurate, unaltered history”. He added: “While physical damage is often clear and immediate, an attack of this kind wouldn’t have the same physical visibility, and so has the potential to cause enduring and potentially irreparable harm, not only to the archive but to the world’s historical memory. In the era of fake news, these collections play an important role in the fight against misinformation and so defending them against ‘trust attacks’ is critical.
“Less Hollywood, but still concerning, is a ransomware attack on the library – a well-known attack that infiltrates companies unseen and then locks down files incredibly quickly until you pay a hefty sum. Ransomware today moves at machine-speed, outstripping humans’ ability to spot and stop the attack before it escalates.
“These attacks have the potential to impact the Vatican library’s reputation – one it has maintained for hundreds of years – and have significant financial ramifications that could impact our ability to digitise the remaining manuscripts.”
The library has partnered with Darktrace, a company founded by Cambridge University mathematicians, which claims to be the first to develop an AI system for cybersecurity. Miceli said: “You cannot throw people at this problem – you need to augment human beings with technology that understands the shades of grey within very complex systems and fights back at machine speed.”
AI “never sleeps, doesn’t take breaks and can spot and investigate more threats than any human team could. It makes decisions in seconds about what is strange but benign and strange but threatening.” But, he added, there was no 100% guarantee against attack. “The only way to make an organisation completely secure is to cut it off from the internet. Our mission is to bring the Vatican Library into the 21st century – so we won’t be doing that any time soon.”
Dave Palmer, director of technology at Darktrace, said cyber-attackers were constantly looking for ways “to make a quick buck or to cause embarrassment on the global stage”.
He added: “Many organisations like the Vatican library have accepted this reality. With AI, they are discovering the subtle, unusual activity that precedes a full-blown attack, and, crucially, trusting AI to fight back on humans’ behalf before it’s too late.”
Reposted from BBC News
The move means security chiefs believe that an attack is highly likely but there is no specific intelligence of an imminent incident.
The move follows Monday night's shooting in Vienna in which four people died.
Last week, three others died in a knife attack in Nice, France, and a teacher was murdered in Paris last month.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the British people should be "alert but not alarmed".
"This is a precautionary measure following the horrific events of the last week in France and last night in Austria and is not based on a specific threat."
She added that significant steps had already been taken to amend powers and strengthen the tools for dealing with developing terrorist threats.
"As I've said before, we face a real and serious threat in the UK from terrorism.
"I would ask the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police," she said.
Assessments of threat levels are taken by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), part of MI5, which makes its recommendations independently from the government.
The five levels of threat set by the JTAC are:
The decision to raise the threat level back to "severe" has a certain sense of inevitability about it.
While the threat level may feel vague to the public, what lies behind it is an assessment of available intelligence on known suspects targeting the UK and a wider analysis of how international events will play into their intentions.
Whenever there is an attack that leads to loss of life, there are plotters who will regard that as a success to emulate.
They will be encouraged to go further themselves. That is why a string of events elsewhere - such as France and Austria at the moment - carry weight in the UK's planning and preparedness.
In public, there are likely to be subtle changes to visible policing - particularly around public locations thought to be at risk of attack.
Additional advice may be given confidentially to some organisations that could be vulnerable.
And behind the scenes it will mean that counter-terrorism investigators will be taking a very close look at some of their highest current priorities and asking whether these individuals have been emboldened to turn talk into violence.
Head of UK counter-terrorism policing Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu echoed the home secretary's comments, saying there was no intelligence to link any of the attacks in France or Austria to the UK but said his officers were working with international partners, and providing assistance.
He urged communities to "stand together and reject those who seek to sow division and hatred between us".
"We need communities and families to bring to our attention anyone they perceive may be vulnerable, a danger or escalating towards terrorism," he said.
He said the public could expect to see additional police officers deployed to certain places and locations over the coming days.
Police would also work closely with local businesses, faith groups and community groups to provide reassurance and seek their support, he added.
Labour's shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the decision to change the threat level should not cause "undue alarm" but showed the importance of people continuing to be vigilant.
The UK's terrorism threat level was raised to the highest rating, "critical", in the days following the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017.
It last reached that level again briefly in September that year, after a bomb partially exploded on a Tube train at Parsons Green.
The threat level remained at the second highest rating, "severe", until last November when it was downgraded to "substantial", where it has stayed until now.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said given events in Austria and France, it would have been "remiss" of the government not to raise the threat level.
He said the JTAC, which brings together analysts from across transport, health, intelligence and the military, were constantly analysing the ongoing threat to UK citizens anywhere in the world, and will have looked at what has happened in Vienna and at all the postings from al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, encouraging people to carry out attacks.
"There's a lot of anger at the moment in many parts of Muslim communities over the cartoons [of the Prophet Muhammad] and that's being exploited by extremists who are encouraging people to carry out attacks, hence the raising to severe."
Reposted from Security Magazine
The Universal Hip Hop Museum in New York is located at the Bronx Terminal Market. The [R]Evolution of Hip Hop’s newest experience celebrates Hip Hop's emergence from the park jams and the projects to nightclubs, national concert tours, TV and motion pictures circa 1980 to 1985. Its innovative music, art, dance and fashion reflects what first permeated the city streets in the Bronx, Harlem, Brooklyn and Queens in the 1970s before it made its way Downtown in the 1980s.
The Universal Hip Hop Museum has been planning to safely reopen its doors to the public this month. In alignment with New York City reopening guidelines, the safety and wellbeing of all visitors are top priority for the facility.
To help aid in COVID-19 response, Soter Technologies donated one of its SymptomSense rapid walk-through scanners to the museum. The system determines an individual’s blood oxygen level, body temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate. These vital signs are the same as those immediately taken at emergency rooms and can help identify if a person has symptoms that correlate with those of COVID-19 or other illnesses. The human vital sign scanner system has been installed at the [R]Evolution of Hip Hop exhibit at the museum.
The scanners look similar to metal detectors used at security checkpoints at airports, professional sporting events and government buildings. Additional measures will also be taken at the museum to further safeguard the staff and guests, including practicing social distancing and facial mask requirements.
“Our community has been hit hard over the past few months and it is our responsibility to do all we can to reopen safely and allow our visitors to be safe and comfortable learning about and enjoying the richness that is Hip Hop culture through this interactive experience," said Rocky Bucano, Executive Director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. “The installation of SymptomSense gives our patrons and staff a level of comfort knowing that they will be better protected from risks related to exposure to anyone who may have an illness or symptoms related to COVID-19.”
Reposted from Search Security
Cybercriminals love disasters --- which provide them with business opportunities to prey on concerned citizens surfing the internet for information. COVID-19 is no exception. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Internet Crime Complaint Center, cyberattacks have roughly quadrupled since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The sudden, unanticipated shift to remote working has increased the number of possible failure points in a security system and created a large distracted workforce that is vulnerable to socially engineered cyberattacks.
Other work-from-home habits -- like password reuse and letting family members access corporate devices -- are putting critical business systems and sensitive data at risk. A recent survey by CyberArk says that 77% of remote employees use unmanaged, insecure BYOD devices to access corporate systems, while 37% save passwords in browsers on their corporate devices.
The massive overnight remote working shift put enterprises at the mercy of employee cyber hygiene. A study by cybersecurity firm Promon found that two in three workers haven't received any form of cybersecurity training in the past 12 months. Enterprises need to address the weakest link in the chain -- the remote employee.
Businesses must establish a culture of robust cyber hygiene, by providing necessary resources to the workforce and managing access and monitoring activity on critical assets. This is critical since current remote access systems were never built to carry such a level of secure data. In the rush to onboard new applications and services that enable remote work, combined with insecure connections and dangerous security practices of employees, the attack surface has significantly widened. The perimeter is now the device at home.
Several new cyber-risks have come into play due to remote working. Employees with access to sensitive information or access to USB with local administrator privileges which could be misused for data leakage is the most common threat. Employees making use of their home workspace without adequate physical segregation or with insecure personal endpoints used to connect to the organization network add vulnerabilities. Other dangers organizations need to consider include negligible security in home networks along with weak connectivity models to organization networks.
In this new reality, securing the network that includes a worker's home needs to be a shared responsibility -- part of a more holistic approach to security. Cybersecurity can no longer be restricted to being just part of the IT function; it must be part of a strategic approach driven from the top. While the IT department cannot be responsible for the home Wi-Fi of the user, it will be responsible for the security of the device (laptop or mobile), the user (identity) and secure access to data and applications (VPN, Zero Trust Network Access).
Learnings from the initial phases of remote work should shape future cybersecurity strategies, prompting another look at the security of processes and architectures. Cybersecurity leaders should prioritize, adopt and accelerate the execution of critical projects like zero trust, software-defined security, secure access service edge and identity and access management as well as automation to improve the security of remote users, devices and data. This paradigm shift will necessarily occur under tightening budgets and scarce resources, changing risk management and driving innovation in the field.
Organizations ought to focus on a multipronged approach such as, but not limited to:
With remote working being the new normal, organizations must relook at their on-premises and remote work models post-COVID 19. To achieve and sustain a level of cybersecurity culture, organizations may take up several initiatives such as regular dissemination of mailers to employees including those from senior leadership on cybersecurity awareness supplemented by periodic and mandatory security awareness courses. Holding talks and sharing cybersecurity blogs authored by leaders in the organizations, establishing secure coding practices for the software developer community and running internal phishing campaigns are some other practices that organizations can follow.
Humans are the weakest link in an organization's cybersecurity fabric because despite millions spent on cybersecurity posture enhancement, if an employee is compromised due to social engineering or phishing, the environment stands to be exploited by malicious users with a risk of the business losing its reputation and possible statutory penalties. Security culture management within an organization hence becomes imperative to bolster cyberdefenses.
Cybersecurity technologies and approaches are just one aspect of this highly complex revolution. Many leaders are taking a long-term view and asking themselves what's next for remote work within their organization. Hybrid models are bound to arise that split employees' time between home, office, on-site locations or even an extreme work-from-anywhere option -- all of which have different cybersecurity risk profiles. Taking the lead from tech companies, more and more offices may be used for hot desking and not permanent workstations. Other technology-driven innovations like hoteling, identity aware network and virtual offshore development centers will also find their place in the workplace of the future.
The biggest cyber-risk will be data security risk. Access restriction, data access expirations, multistep (and multiperson) approval processes for any information sharing and limiting access to sensitive information to certain working hours must become de rigueur. Ultimately, cybersecurity is about culture, behavior and awareness. Developing programs to build a cyber- and data-secure culture must be on the priority list.
Over the next few years, complexity will intensify further, owing to the explosion in connected devices. The evolving IoT landscape will surpass the traditional network in use today, further exacerbating privacy and cybersecurity challenges. As work and our relationship to it continue to be redefined, humans will remain central to the evolving triad of cyber threats, technology and disruption.
Reposted from Artnet News
As England settles into its second national lockdown, the future of the nation’s museums has once again been thrust into uncertainty, and culture workers are still feeling the brunt of the burden.
Although the government has promised to extend its Job Retention Scheme, which subsidizes 80 percent of the wages of furloughed staff (up to a maximum of £2,500 a month), through March 2021, the announcement came too late for many workers who were already laid off in anticipation of the program ending in October, as was originally intended.
The chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has given permission for businesses to rehire and furlough staff to mitigate the problem, but institutions have been slow to take up the offer.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition asking the Southbank Centre in London to rehire and furlough the staff it let go this fall. A spokesperson from the institution tells Artnet News that the arts center, which has lost around £25 million of expected income (around half its annual budget), has recently laid off 322 employees, but that it was waiting for further guidance from the government before making any further decisions.
After the first lockdown, Tate anticipated a £50 million shortfall in self-generated income, and announced plans to cut more than 300 workers. A spokesperson for the museum said it is “too early” to say how the second closure will impact that number.
Elsewhere, at the Victoria & Albert Museum, institutional leaders announced in September that they were considering cutting 10 percent of the workforce, or around 100 employees, in an effort to reduce spending by at least £10 million annually.
Amid the financial ruin wrought by the first wave of forced closures, between March and July, the government’s department of digital, culture, media, and sport, launched a £1.57 billion ($1.9 billion) Culture Recovery Fund.
Since it was announced in July, it has awarded more than £427 million to cultural organizations around the UK through bodies including the Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Still, not every institution has been able to take full advantage of the resources. The Royal Academy is currently considering laying off around 100 staff members after its application to the Culture Recovery Fund failed.
“We will not be given any financial support from the fund,” a spokesperson told The Art Newspaper this week.
Although the government has held back £258 million to support the sector throughout the rest of the financial year, which ends in April 2021, a spokesperson for the department of digital, culture, media, and sport, did not comment on whether the government plans to offer a second bailout.
The security practitioner’s ultimate goal of identifying risk and mitigating it has long been held as the standard. But shifting that thinking in light of current world events is more imperative than ever. Often, the industry forgets that the cost for achieving the goal of safety and security can be prohibitive for organizations that traditionally view security as a cost center rather than a business asset.
Now is a good time to revisit this mind-set. Considering the global shift toward more service-based providers and platforms for physical security, it can be argued that the overall cost of protection is being reduced. The notion of Security-as-a-Service (SaaS) is quickly gaining popularity among practitioners to get the most out of their investments in security technology. To that end, managed service providers (MSPs) are finding new ways of positioning their offerings as a shift away from project-based security investments towards a more operational expenditure view that benefits both MSPs and end users.
Security departments today are tasked with far more than asset protection. The shift from facility protection to more health and safety is one we’ve been seeing over time. And this is even more true now during civil unrest and an ongoing pandemic. While the risks of vandalism, theft, or trespassing remain, the risk to on-site employees across a security operations center is another element of safety that must be considered—the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. There must be a plan in place to address this risk.
For instance, within an on-site security operations center (SOC), operators are often tasked with working long hours and sharing workspaces with multiple coworkers. In the event of a possible exposure to an infected person within the SOC, security leaders must find a way to continue security operations without disrupting the ability to respond to potential threats. In these cases, remote management for a GSOC may become a viable answer as a means to remain redundant and operational.
But COVID-19 exposure is not the only instance where this kind of ability makes sense. We have seen during the last few months how many facilities remain empty as employers continue allowing work-from-home operations to continue. Buildings that do not have tenants remain empty, yet they still require continuous security protection. Some of these security leaders may identify guarding services as a way to address these challenges; however, remote functionality can be leveraged in these cases to help mitigate threats while reducing the risk to on-site guards and security personnel.
Tightening budgets in some industries are leading many decision makers to lean into cost-saving measures—but the necessity of security means that cost-cutting must be done by considering the risk and mitigation efforts necessary. Remote SOCs, in many cases, can help bridge the gap between reducing security to meet the budgetary requirements and strengthening protection in light of it.
The cost of security equipment failure can be staggering. Take the cannabis market in California, for example. State regulations require all cannabis operations and dispensaries to implement and maintain effective video surveillance systems—and they must be up and running with no interruptions regardless of lighting or conditions. Interruptions or down-time can mean operations are shut down, which can result in a significant loss in revenue for the business.
The answer to this can be in a remote security operations center that is set up to monitor system health and alert operators to any potential issues, including video equipment failure, ongoing software updates, and more. What this does is shift the SOC from a cost center to a business asset, creating maximum up-time for incoming video data.
Traditionally, in many companies that take time and resources in setting up a comprehensive security system, they are stuck in this break–fix model with their integrator partner or internal security team. A broken camera or system component may not be identified as an issue until an incident occurs and the video is not there to help with an investigation. The money invested into the system is essentially wasted. Extending the role of security operations for system health monitoring—even from an MSP—gives organizations the confidence that they need to operate knowing they will be able to address an outage before it becomes a true problem.
Alternatively, going back to the COVID-19 response and the security team’s role, there is an added benefit to outsourcing security operations amidst return-to-work initiatives: contact tracing. In the United States, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines are emerging to address how employers are required to handle potential exposures—with the health and safety of their employees top of mind. This can mean closures in the event of an outbreak, which is something that many businesses cannot afford to endure.
Outsourcing services like contact tracing becomes a crucial part in combatting the effects of exposure by creating an environment that puts the well-being of employees first, while remaining vigilant and operational. The role of the security team in this instance becomes crucial as a business asset.
As many businesses begin to shift their thinking away from looking at security operations as a cost center or on-site necessity, the industry will adjust to a new way of looking at the SOC as a managed service.
SaaS operational models can help an organization weather an unexpected budget cut due to the effects of a recession or provide redundancy in the event of an emergency shut-down as a result of potential COVID-19 exposure. The selection of the right software, in addition to the engagement of an MSP as a way to reduce operational expenditures, can increase your security program effectiveness. Either way, it’s essential to think about the organization’s SOC as a critical part of the overall business—no matter the industry.
The UK government has ordered museums, commercial galleries, and auction houses across England to close beginning November 5 as part of a sweeping new national lockdown. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the four-week shutdown, which will last until at least December 2, during a speech on October 31. The plan will go before the House of Commons for a formal vote on Wednesday before it takes effect; it is widely expected to pass.
The decision to place the country back into lockdown is a U-turn for the government, which had been trying to avoid another substantial hit to the economy by implementing different levels of restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on a local level. The more drastic measures were taken after scientists advised on Friday that the virus was spreading faster than had been projected in even the “reasonable worst-case” planning scenario.
The move puts commercial galleries and auction houses, which are officially classified as “non-essential retail,” on ice, as well as museums, which are considered “entertainment venues,” according to the government website.
The culture sector was hit hard financially during the first lockdown in the spring, and despite the government’s £1.57 billion ($2 billion) culture recovery package, a second prolonged closure is expected to put many businesses in an even more precarious situation.
A spokesperson for the British Museum tells Artnet News that it will close at 5 p.m. on November 4 and hopes to welcome visitors back in the beginning of December. But the government has not ruled out extending the lockdown should the number of cases remain higher than experts would like.
The shift will disrupt museums and galleries’ exhibition calendars, which were only just beginning to shake out after the interruptions in the spring. Tate Britain was due to open an exhibition of work by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye on November 18, while the National Gallery’s much-anticipated survey of the 17th-century protofeminist painter Artemisia Gentileschi, which had been booked solid through the end of November, must close its doors again.
Arts workers may be relieved to learn that the chancellor for the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has extended the UK’s Job Retention Scheme for the month, in which the government subsidizes 80 percent of furloughed staff members’ salaries.
The director of the Museums Association, Sharon Heal, calls the new measures a “blow” to museums that were just getting back onto their feet after the first lockdown. In a statement, she adds that while extending the furlough scheme is a positive step, it will be “cold comfort” to the more than 3,000 people in the sector who have been made redundant in the weeks since the first scheme ended.
“The sector has benefitted from emergency funding in recent weeks, but that was to deal with the impact of the first lockdown,” she says. “Many museums are still in a very difficult financial situation and more may be required to keep some organizations afloat.” She urged the Arts Council England to distribute what remains of the rescue fund in a flexible way that allows organizations to use it in the next financial year as well.
The latest lockdown also comes as a blow to galleries. The dealer Thaddaeus Ropac, who has spaces in France and Austria, where the second wave of the virus has also introduced new lockdowns, tells Artnet News that he will be closing the London space beginning Thursday. It is still unclear whether galleries will be permitted to remain open by appointment only.
“I had expected the whole of this year to be significantly financially impacted by COVID, so while this second lockdown will make it worse in many ways, the damage was already done,” Ropac says. “I’m more optimistic about things improving next year. It will still be difficult, but better than this year.”
Auction houses will also close, but since many employees have been working remotely since the first lockdown, it is unclear to what extent their day-to-day operations will be affected.
Phillips’s chief executive Edward Dolman tells Artnet News that his business is prepared to make any necessary adjustments. “The circumstances we find ourselves in have shed a light on new ways to interact with our clients, conduct our sales, and generally manage our business,” Dolman says, stressing the leaps and bounds the auction house has made in its digital offerings this year.
Phillips now has a custom-built studio in New York as well as in London, which means it can hold its London sales in one location or the other depending on the status of the regulations. The next big London sale is its design auction on November 12.
A spokeswoman for Sotheby’s says that the auction house will transfer a number of planned live auctions online and conduct live “studio” sales in a closed room with bids being accepted in real time from telephone and online bidders.
In the rest of the UK, museums in Wales have been closed under a “firebreak” lockdown since October 24, while Scottish museums and galleries are still permitted to remain open. Museums in Northern Ireland are closed to the public until at least November 13, and until December 1 in the Republic of Ireland.
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