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  • August 14, 2019 11:31 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from The New York Times

    Law enforcement officials have sounded the alarm for months: Homegrown terrorism, including by white supremacists, is now as big a threat as terrorism from abroad. But the mass shooting in El Paso last weekend, the largest domestic terrorist attack against Hispanics in modern history, has made it glaringly clear how poorly prepared the country is to fight it.

    The United States spent nearly 20 years intensely focused on threats from Islamic extremists. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, rerouted the machinery of government to fight against threats of violence from the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But those attacks have waned in recent years, replaced by violence from white supremacists — an increasingly internet-driven phenomenon of lone wolves, not groups, that will prove immensely difficult to combat.

    On Monday, President Trump pledged to give federal law enforcement authorities “whatever they need” to combat domestic terrorism. The motive for the second attack of the weekend, in Dayton, Ohio, remains unknown. But even before the shootings, which left at least 31 people dead, officials said that preventing attacks from white supremacists and nationalists would require adopting the same type of broad and aggressive approach used to battle international extremism.

    “We need to catch them and incarcerate them before they act on their plans,” Rod Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general, said in an email interview. “We need to be proactive by identifying and disrupting potential terrorists before they strike, and we can accomplish that by monitoring terrorist propaganda and communications.”

    Under current federal law, that is difficult. Federal officials have broad powers to disrupt foreign terrorist plots, given to them as part of the Patriot Act passed after the 2001 attacks. They can take preventive action, for example, by wiretapping or using an undercover online persona to talk to people anonymously in chat rooms to search for jihadis.

    But domestically, federal officials have far fewer options. A federal statute defines domestic terrorism but carries no penalties. The First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech, makes stopping terrorist acts committed by Americans before they happen more challenging. No government agency is responsible for designating domestic terrorism organizations. And individuals who are considered domestic terrorists are charged under laws governing hate crimes, guns and conspiracy, not terrorism.

    “It’s a big blank spot,” said Mary McCord, a former top national security prosecutor who has drafted a proposed statute to criminalize domestic terrorism not covered by existing laws. This would include criminalizing the stockpiling of weapons intended to be used in a domestic terrorist attack.

    The issue is urgent. Right-wing extremists killed more people in 2018 than in any year since 1995, the year of Timothy McVeigh’s bomb attack on the Oklahoma City federal building, according to the Anti-Defamation League. And the attack in El Paso and an April shooting in a synagogue in Poway, Calif., alone have claimed as many lives as all extremist homicides “of any stripe” in 2018, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

    The F.B.I. field office in Phoenix recently issued a report that said conspiracy theories — often with racial overtones and fueled by dissemination online — had become a growing national security threat. The existence of the F.B.I. document was first reported by Yahoo News.

    Mr. Rosenstein said that law enforcement needs to model its domestic terrorism response after the international counterterrorism efforts undertaken in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

    “In the same way that honorable members of mosques report people who express violent designs, so, too, should people report violent white nationalists to the police,” he said.

    The First Amendment’s protection of citizens’ rights to engage in hateful speech makes it difficult to track down attacks before they happen.

    “From the perspective of the courts, white supremacy is a hateful but protected form of speech,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University. “What courts resist are efforts to classify whole movements as violent as a result of the actions of some of its members.”

    The problem touches every aspect of American life — politics, civil liberties and business — and involves complicated new questions around the issue of technology. How much will technology and communications companies, including the big social media platforms, be willing to share information about domestic customers with law enforcement agencies? On the internet, white nationalists can align with other radicals, become inspired and find the resources they need to act alone — a process that has also helped foreign extremists become terrorists.

    Perhaps most important, a new focus on white-supremacist violence would test whether Americans are as accepting of aggressive law enforcement tactics when the targets aren’t Muslims, but white Americans.

    “If they did the same thing that they did with the Muslims, they’d say every white guy is a potential terrorist,” said Martin R. Stolar, a New York civil rights lawyer. “You can’t do that with white people. The blowback would be outrageous.”

    The rise in the white supremacist threat has paralleled an increasing racialization and divisiveness in the nation’s immigration debate. Mr. Trump has used ethnonationalist language that his opponents argue is arousing political extremists. Even in past years, some political leaders have been slow to recognize the existence of domestic terrorism: After the Oklahoma City bombing, Newt Gingrich, at the time the speaker of the House, refused to hold hearings on white nationalist terrorism.

    In the years since, the nature of white supremacism has changed. It used to be that white supremacists, for the most part, operated in groups, often living in the same area, said Brian H. Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. The chapters had some control over the timing and choice of targets. He cited as examples Aryan Nations, the Ku Klux Klan and local Nazi skinhead groups.

    “The top-down hierarchies of the past have been increasingly supplanted by a more democratized and a geographically dispersed set of erratic do-it-yourselfers,” he said. “Now, so-called lone wolves are turbocharged by a fragmented and hate-filled dark web which has become a modern-day, virtual neo-Nazi boot camp available 24-7 anywhere in the world with an internet connection.”

    Examples of these kinds of actors are the attackers in the Poway synagogue shooting, the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last fall and now, according to the authorities, El Paso.

    While these men often act alone, the F.B.I. says that technology has allowed American terrorists to plug into a global community of terrorists who espouse similarly hateful ideologies. Domestic terrorists are increasingly citing terrorists overseas in their killings. In his manifesto, the suspected El Paso gunman said that he agreed with the gunman who attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The suspect in New Zealand said in the manifesto he is believed to have written that he had been inspired by Dylann Roof, who murdered nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

    Ali Soufan, a former F.B.I. special agent and the author of “Anatomy of Terror,” said he had been struck by how much white supremacists resemble the jihadis he spent so many years fighting.

    “There is a striking resemblance between jihadists and white supremacists, and it goes way beyond just utilizing social media in order to spread ideology,” he said.

    Both use violence to reshape society in their own image. Both use recruitment videos that emphasize a lifestyle of “purity,” militancy and physical fitness. Jihadis share beheading videos, while right-wing extremists share the live stream of the attack in New Zealand. He said Ukraine was now a global gathering place for white supremacists, much as Afghanistan was for jihadis in the 1980s.

    “This is becoming a global network in so many different ways, just like we’ve seen with the jihadis before them,” he said.

    Federal investigators have also found white supremacist elements flourishing in prisons. In March, federal prosecutors in Alaska announced that an investigation had resulted in charges against 18 members and associates of a white supremacist gang known as the 1488s. In May, a federal grand jury indicted members of an Aryan Knights prison gang that had operated in Idaho.

    The indictment in the Alaska case described the 1488s as a gang with dozens of members operating in Alaska and elsewhere.

    David Neiwert, who has long reported on extremism in the Northwest and has worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said he sees the threat of the Northwest’s racist groups returning to levels of the 1980s, when neo-Nazi elements around the country had moved into the Northwest in a bid to create a white ethnostate. In the 1990s and 2000s, those groups lost much of their power and subsided.

    Mr. Neiwert said people with extremist sympathies were now organizing online and attaching themselves to groups that aren’t as explicit about white supremacist notions.

    “Local agencies in particular should be better equipped,” Mr. Neiwert said. “On the other hand, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department could probably do a better job of equipping local law enforcement.”

    As the international terrorism threat evolved to include more lone actors, radicalized online rather than in terrorist cells abroad, the F.B.I. sought to enlist technology companies in its efforts to combat the threat. But companies have been slow to respond — and have been shielded, in part, by the First Amendment.

    “It’s been a very long few years of getting platform companies to understand the role that digital media plays in spreading hate speech, harassment and incitement to violence,” said Joan Donovan, director of the Technology and Social Change project at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center. “Generally, a piece of content is only reviewed if someone else has flagged it first.”

    Under intense criticism for their delayed reaction to disinformation and hateful content after the 2016 presidential election, technology companies have started to take a more proactive approach to disinformation and hate speech. In most cases, spokeswomen for Google and Facebook said the companies report white supremacist content only when it poses an imminent threat to life, or when they are complying with valid legal requests.

    In May, Facebook evicted seven of its most controversial users, including Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars, and Laura Loomer, a far-right activist.

    But critics say that is not enough. “White supremacy, at least at Facebook, was seen as a political ideology that one could hold,” said Jessie Daniels, a sociology professor at the City University of New York and the author of a forthcoming book on white supremacy. “It’s only recently that they’ve said they recognize white supremacy as an ideology of violence.”

    Ms. Daniels said there was an important lesson in what happened to Milo Yiannopoulos, the right-wing provocateur, after he was banned from using Twitter and Facebook.

    “Milo has ceded from view since that happened. I really think that’s an argument in favor of this strategy,” she said. “He lost a book deal. He’s bankrupt. It showed ‘deplatforming’ is a useful tool and we need to find more ways to adopt it in the U.S.”

    Ms. Daniels and others say the companies’ own algorithms for deciding what constitutes far-right extremist content are insufficient in tackling the threat. Often they rely on users, and in many cases names and content that percolate in the media, to decide what content and accounts should be taken down.

    “We’ve reached this position where these companies have scaled beyond their capacity for safety. We don’t know what the next steps should be,” Ms. Daniels said. “We’re in a pretty significant bind now that we have a very large tech industry we all depend on, and we don’t feel we can trust them to keep us safe.”

    See Original Post

  • August 14, 2019 11:26 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Securitas Security Services, USA, Inc.

    Situational awareness is a human experience defined as knowing and understanding what is happening around you, predicting how it will change with time, and being unified with the dynamics of your environment. We practice situational awareness every day—when crossing the street, driving our cars, and making dinner in our kitchens. Situational awareness is knowing what is going on around you and staying vigilant to any changes or threats. By becoming more aware and observant in the workplace, all employees can help maintain a safe environment and improve the safety of everyone around them.

    Establish a Situational Baseline

    The first step to situational awareness is to establish a situational baseline. Make it a daily habit to look around and actively process your surroundings. Ongoing monitoring of daily activities can help establish what is “normal” for your workplace. Observe what the typical state of the workplace is. Who are the people you usually see? What do they look like? What are they doing? What are the sounds you often hear? Note any changes and decide what action to take. Identifying your situational baseline requires ongoing maintenance and consideration. This is something all employees should practice every day. Remember, baselines not only change with a change in environment, they can also change with time of day or even the weather.

    Be Aware of Those Around You

    Become familiar with the people in your workplace. If you see someone out of place or acting suspiciously, take the time to assess the situation and decide what action to take. Certain kinds of activities in the workplace can indicate suspicious activity, especially when they occur at or near high-profile places where large numbers of people gather.

    Trust Your Instincts

    If something “feels” wrong, or out of place, don’t dismiss it. “Gut feelings” can be a very useful to help alert you to a threat. Part of situational awareness involves being mindful of your subconscious and conscious environments. Take the time to assess the situation and decide on an action. If you are unsure, contact your supervisor or other personnel to help you.

    Staying Aware

    Awareness is a choice. One has to choose to pay attention. Routine tasks often become just that: routine. Maintaining operative situational awareness requires real effort. Take time to focus on your responsibilities and your surroundings, even those that are most familiar. Additionally, try to avoid things that lock your focus, such as your cellphone. Things that lock your focus prevent you from maintaining active awareness. By making situational awareness part of your workday, you can reduce risks and help improve the safety of your work environment.

    Be Prepared

    Education is key. Learn what to do in the event of an emergency before there is one. Maintaining your sense of situational awareness can improve your decision-making under pressure and you will be better prepared to respond. Make sure you understand the plans of action for different circumstances in your workplace for yourself and others. Lack of knowledge is not an excuse for poor job performance. All employees should educate themselves about any potential hazards that their environment or actions can pose to themselves or others. Ensure that you are up-to-date with the systems, processes, and procedures of your work environment, and that you feel confident about what to do in any situation.

    All employees are encouraged to practice situational awareness, by being alert to their surroundings at all times, and to use their experience, training, and skills to assess their workplace environment on an on-going basis. Situational awareness adds value to the workplace by cultivating enhanced preparedness, essential new knowledge, and enhanced response safety.

    AN INFORMATIONAL GUIDE FOR SECURITY CLIENTS

    Suspicious Behaviors
    Watch for behavior that doesn’t fit. Suspicious behavior can include:

    • unauthorized monitoring or surveillance of the workplace
    • unusual items or improper acquisition of supplies (like access or ID cards)
    • persons who do not appear to belong in or near the workplace
    • suspicious questioning about your workplace or personnel
    • behavior that indicates a dry run of suspicious activity
    • unauthorized attempts to test security procedures

    USE THE SLAM TECHNIQUE

    Stop
    Observe your surroundings and become aware of what is going on around you.

    Look
    Pay attention to what you see and notice whether anything appears out of the ordinary or out of place. Take note and report anything that looks unsafe or unusual to your supervisors.

    Assess
    If you think you have identified a potential threat, decide what action to take. Report anything that looks unsafe or unusual to your supervisors.

    Manage
    If you feel unsafe at any time, stop. Tell your coworkers and immediately report to your supervisor. If you have solutions that would help improve the safety of yourself and others in your workplace, alert your supervisor.

    For more information on this and other security related topics, visit the Securitas Safety Awareness Knowledge Center at:
    http://www.securitasinc.com/en/knowledge-center/security-and-safety-awareness-tips


  • August 14, 2019 11:20 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the Evening Standard

    The six-year-old boy who was allegedly thrown from a viewing platform at Tate Modern has suffered brain injuries, broken arms and legs, and a fractured spine, a court heard today. 

    The youngster, a French national who was visiting London with his family, plunged around 100ft in the horror fall on Sunday afternoon while visiting the world-famous gallery with his parents. 

    Prosecutor Sian Morgan told the court the boy survived the fall after landing on a fifth floor roof, but has suffered a “deep bleed to the brain”. 

    “He suffered very serious injuries and is currently in hospital”, she said. “He has injuries to his brain, and fractures to his spine, legs and arms”. 

    A 17-year-old, who cannot be named due to his age, appeared at Bromley Youth Court accused of attempted murder this morning. 

    He was sporting a bruised right eye as he stood in the dock in a grey tracksuit to confirm his name, age, address, and British nationality. 

    “This is an incident which took place on August 4, the complainant is a six-year-old boy who was visiting the Tate Modern gallery with his parents”, said Ms Morgan. 

    “They were on the tenth floor viewing platform, looking over the side, and enjoying the view.

    “The six-year-old started to walk a couple of feet away from his parents.”

    She said the teenager is accused of picking up the boy and throwing him over the edge of the viewing platform “extremely swiftly and in one movement”. 

    The boy was airlifted to hospital as staff locked down the gallery, and police arrived to detain the suspect. 

    Olga Malehevska, who was on the viewing platform with her four-year-old son when the incident took place, described it  as “absolutely terrifying”.

    Appealing for witnesses, Detective Chief Inspector John Massey said: “It would have been incredibly distressing to watch, and it may be that you left Tate Modern very quickly after. If you have not yet spoken to us about what you saw, please contact us without delay.”

    Witnesses reported in the aftermath seeing the boy’s distraught mother calling out “my son, my son” and desperately trying to climb over the barrier after him, before being restrained. 

    Scotland Yard said there was nothing to suggest the victim and the teenager accused of carrying out the attack were known to each other. 

    The youth from northwest London, has not yet entered a plea to the charge of attempted murder. A formal plea hearing has been scheduled for August 22. 

    He was remanded into a youth detention by magistrates David Armitage and Esther Amanang, until a hearing at the Old Bailey on Thursday to consider bail. 

    See Original Post

  • August 14, 2019 11:15 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Yahoo!

    The FBI for the first time has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat, according to a previously unpublicized document obtained by Yahoo News.

    The FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office, dated May 30, 2019, describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing threat, and notes that it is the first such report to do so. It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.

    The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).

    “The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. It also goes on to say the FBI believes conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.

    The FBI said another factor driving the intensity of this threat is “the uncovering of real conspiracies or cover-ups involving illegal, harmful, or unconstitutional activities by government officials or leading political figures.” The FBI does not specify which political leaders or which cover-ups it was referring to.

    President Trump is mentioned by name briefly in the latest FBI document, which notes that the origins of QAnon is the conspiratorial belief that “Q,” allegedly a government official, “posts classified information online to reveal a covert effort, led by President Trump, to dismantle a conspiracy involving ‘deep state’ actors and global elites allegedly engaged in an international child sex trafficking ring.”

    This recent intelligence bulletin comes as the FBI is facing pressure to explain who it considers an extremist, and how the government prosecutes domestic terrorists. In recent weeks the FBI director has addressed domestic terrorism multiple times but did not publicly mention this new conspiracy theorist threat.

    The FBI is already under fire for its approach to domestic extremism. In a contentious hearing last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray faced criticism from Democrats who said the bureau was not focusing enough on white supremacist violence. “The term ‘white supremacist,’ ‘white nationalist’ is not included in your statement to the committee when you talk about threats to America,” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said. “There is a reference to racism, which I think probably was meant to include that, but nothing more specific.”

    Wray told lawmakers the FBI had done away with separate categories for black identity extremists and white supremacists, and said the bureau was instead now focusing on “racially motivated” violence. But he added, “I will say that a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we've investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”

    The FBI had faced mounting criticism for the term “black identity extremists,” after its use was revealed by Foreign Policy magazine in 2017. Critics pointed out that the term was an FBI invention based solely on race, since no group or even any specific individuals actually identify as black identity extremists.

    In May, Michael C. McGarrity, the FBI’s assistant director of the counterterrorism division, told Congress the bureau now “classifies domestic terrorism threats into four main categories: racially motivated violent extremism, anti-government/anti-authority extremism, animal rights/environmental extremism, and abortion extremism,” a term the bureau uses to classify both pro-choice and anti-abortion extremists.

    The new focus on conspiracy theorists appears to fall under the broader category of anti-government extremism. “This is the first FBI product examining the threat from conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists and provides a baseline for future intelligence products,” the document states.

    The new category is different in that it focuses not on racial motivations, but on violence based specifically on beliefs that, in the words of the FBI document, “attempt to explain events or circumstances as the result of a group of actors working in secret to benefit themselves at the expense of others” and are “usually at odds with official or prevailing explanations of events.”

    The FBI acknowledges conspiracy theory-driven violence is not new, but says it’s gotten worse with advances in technology combined with an increasingly partisan political landscape in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election. “The advent of the Internet and social media has enabled promoters of conspiracy theories to produce and share greater volumes of material via online platforms that larger audiences of consumers can quickly and easily access,” the document says.

    The bulletin says it is intended to provide guidance and “inform discussions within law enforcement as they relate to potentially harmful conspiracy theories and domestic extremism.”

    The FBI Phoenix field office referred Yahoo News to the bureau’s national press office, which provided a written statement.

    “While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, the FBI routinely shares information with our law enforcement partners in order to assist in protecting the communities they serve,” the FBI said.

    In its statement, the FBI also said it can “never initiate an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity. As with all of our investigations, the FBI can never monitor a website or a social media platform without probable cause.”

    The Department of Homeland Security, which has also been involved in monitoring domestic extremism, did not return or acknowledge emails and phone requests for comment.

    While not all conspiracy theories are deadly, those identified in the FBI’s 15-page report led to either attempted or successfully carried-out violent attacks. For example, the Pizzagate conspiracy led a 28-year-old man to invade a Washington, D.C., restaurant to rescue the children he believed were being kept there, and fire an assault-style weapon inside.

    The FBI document also cites an unnamed California man who was arrested on Dec. 19, 2018, after being found with what appeared to be bomb-making materials in his car. The man allegedly was planning “blow up a satanic temple monument” in the Capitol rotunda in Springfield, Ill., to “make Americans aware of Pizzagate and the New World Order, who were dismantling society,” the document says.

    Historian David Garrow, the author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Martin Luther King Jr. who has worked extensively with FBI archives, raised doubts to Yahoo News about the memo. He says the FBI’s default assumption is that violence is motivated by ideological beliefs rather than mental illness. “The guy who shot up the pizza place in D.C.: Do we think of him as a right-wing activist, or insane?” Garrow asked.

    Garrow was similarly critical of the FBI’s use of the term “black identity extremists” and related attempts to ascribe incidents like the 2016 shooting of six police officers in Baton Rouge, La., to black radicalism. He said the shooter, Gavin Long, had a history of mental health problems. “The bureau’s presumption — the mindset — is to see ideological motives where most of the rest of us see individual nuttiness,” he said.

    Identifying conspiracy theories as a threat could be a political lightning rod, since President Trump has been accused of promulgating some of them, with his frequent references to a deep state and his praise in 2015 for Alex Jones, who runs the conspiracy site InfoWars. While the FBI intelligence bulletin does not mention Jones or InfoWars by name, it does mention some of the conspiracy theories frequently associated with the far-right radio host, in particular the concept of the New World Order.

    Jones claimed the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which 26 children were killed, was a hoax, a false flag operation intended as a pretext for the government to seize or outlaw firearms. The families of a number of victims have sued Jones for defamation, saying his conspiracy-mongering contributed to death threats and online abuse they have received.

    While Trump has never endorsed Sandy Hook denialism, he was almost up until the 2016 election the most high-profile promoter of the birther conspiracy that claimed former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He later dropped his claim, and deflected criticism by pointing the finger at Hillary Clinton. He said her campaign had given birth to the conspiracy, and Trump “finished it.”

    There is no evidence that Clinton started the birther conspiracy.

    Joe Uscinski, an associate professor of political science at the University of Miami, whose work on conspiracy theories is cited in the intelligence bulletin, said there’s no data suggesting conspiracy theories are any more widespread now than in the past. “There is absolutely no evidence that people are more conspiratorial now,” says Uscinski, after Yahoo News described the bulletin to him. “They may be, but there is not strong evidence showing this.”

    It’s not that people are becoming more conspiratorial, says Uscinski, but conspiracies are simply getting more media attention.

    “We are looking back at the past with very rosy hindsight to forget our beliefs, pre-internet, in JFK [assassination] conspiracy theories and Red scares. My gosh, we have conspiracy theories about the king [of England] written into the Declaration of Independence,” he said, referencing claims that the king was planning to establish tyranny over the American colonies.

    It’s not that conspiracy theorists are growing in number, Uscinski argues, but that media coverage of those conspiracies has grown. “For most of the last 50 years, 60 to 80 percent of the country believe in some form of JFK conspiracy theory,” he said. “They’re obviously not all extremist.”

    Conspiracy theories, including Russia’s role in creating and promoting them, attracted widespread attention during the 2016 presidential election when they crossed over from Internet chat groups to mainstream news coverage. Yahoo News’s "Conspiracyland" podcast recently revealed that Russia’s foreign intelligence service was the origin of a hoax report that tied the murder of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer, to Hillary Clinton.

    Washington police believe that Rich was killed in a botched robbery, and there is no proof that his murder had any political connections.

    Among the violent conspiracy theories cited in the May FBI document is one involving a man who thought Transportation Security Administration agents were part of a New World Order. Another focused on the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), a government-funded facility in Alaska that has been linked to everything from death beams to mind control. The two men arrested in connection with HAARP were “stockpiling weapons, ammunition and other tactical gear in preparation to attack” the facility, believing it was being used “to control the weather and prevent humans from talking to God.”

    Nate Snyder, who served as a Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism official during the Obama administration, said that the FBI appears to be applying the same radicalization analysis it employs against foreign terrorism, like the Islamic State group, which has recruited followers in the United States.

    “The domestic violent extremists cited in the bulletin are using the same playbook that groups like ISIS and al-Qaida have used to inspire, recruit and carry out attacks,” said Snyder, after reviewing a copy of the bulletin provided by Yahoo News. “You put out a bulletin and say this is the content they’re looking at — and it’s some guy saying he’s a religious cleric or philosopher — and then you look at the content, videos on YouTube, etc., that they are pushing and show how people in the U.S. might be radicalized by that content.”

    Though the FBI document focuses on ideological motivations, FBI Director Wray, in his testimony last week, asserted that the FBI is concerned only with violence, not people’s beliefs. The FBI doesn’t “investigate ideology, no matter how repugnant,” he told lawmakers. “We investigate violence. And any extremist ideology, when it turns to violence, we are all over it. ... In the first three quarters of this year, we've had more domestic terrorism arrests than the prior year, and it's about the same number of arrests as we have on the international terrorism side.”

    Yet the proliferation of the extremist categories concerns Michael German, a former FBI agent and now a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security program. “It’s part of the radicalization theory the FBI has promoted despite empirical studies that show it’s bogus,” he said.

    German says this new category is a continuing part of FBI overreach. “They like the radicalization theory because it justifies mass surveillance,” he said. “If we know everyone who will do harm is coming from this particular community, mass surveillance is important. We keep broadening the number of communities we include in extremist categories.”

    For Garrow, the historian, the FBI’s expansive definition has its roots in bureau paranoia that dates back decades. “I think it’s their starting point,” he said. “This goes all the way back to the Hoover era without question. They see ideology as a central motivating factor in human life, and they don’t see mental health issues as a major factor.”

    Yet trying to label a specific belief system as prone to violence is problematic, he said.

    “I don’t think most of us would do a good job in predicting what sort of wacky information could lead someone to violence, or not lead anyone to violence,” Garrow said. “Pizzagate would be a great example of that.”

    While Trump may not be supportive of labeling a group like QAnon, which sees him as a hero, as extremist, he’s in favor of broadening the number of organizations that are labeled as violent extremists, at least on the left. On Saturday, President Trump tweeted that Antifa, a far-left movement opposed to what it considers fascism, should be labeled a terrorist organization.

    Snyder, the former Homeland Security official, agrees that conspiracy theories may in fact inspire violence and be a threat, but questions what the government is going to do about it.

    He notes that at the Department of Homeland Security, “nearly all, if not all, the intelligence analysts focusing on domestic extremist groups” were eliminated under the Trump administration. “There is no one there doing this,” he said.

    See Original Post

  • August 14, 2019 11:10 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Security Management

    ​It is one thing to expect the unexpected. It is quite another to accept the unexpected. Denial is a powerful thing, and even the best of us can be convinced that our plans are comprehensive and our preparedness complete. 

    The key ways to overcome this sort of complacency are to link crisis management and business continuity meaningfully, and to incorporate Adaptive Business Continuity principles that enable an organization to react quickly to the unexpected.

    Consider that the past few years alone have seen increasingly active Atlantic hurricane seasons, major cyberattacks against global corporations, and secondary losses of key infrastructure following major disasters. Organizations in the public and private sectors are asking their teams to do more with less while also performing to higher standards. The need to recover quickly from losses is as important as ever, while in many cases the resources are thinner than they used to be. These realities require new and innovative approaches.

    In addition, as our society grows increasingly interconnected, businesses, organizations, and governments will depend upon one another’s services to tighter and tighter tolerances. Utility and communications regulators, for example, are demanding that companies meet stricter reliability standards. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

    Meanwhile, the costs and consequences of large-scale incidents will grow. Disaster events claimed more than 11,000 victims globally in 2018. The estimated losses from natural and manmade disasters in 2018 are estimated to be $155 billion, with global insured losses estimated to be around $79 billion, according to data from the Swiss Re Group. 

    These conditions paint a frightening picture, but therein lies the opportunity. A well-crafted business continuity program, clearly linked to crisis management activities, can be a source of value for an organization—not only in response to disaster, but on “blue sky days” too. The business continuity (BC) program and its practitioners can become meaningful business partners with the organization.

    A Tall Order?

    Great organizations confronted with crisis can choose to accept the unexpected, adopt a new normal, and bring out the best in themselves and their people. In doing so, they take a position of strength that recognizes crisis as a form of change and redefines it for a better future. 

    To do this, the organization needs to be poised in its response—not just when a crisis or business interruption occurs, but ahead of it. Done skillfully, a business continuity program can not only enable a better response, but also foster continuous improvement and identify areas of operational improvement along the way.

    Security managers are in a key position to influence their organizations if they adopt practical notions in their BC approach. And, in some cases, it is the security manager who is tasked with creating a new BC program where none existed, or worse—with reviving one that has languished.

    How does one proceed? By connecting BC to the delivery of continuous improvement and operational value and by linking crisis management and BC in a meaningful way.

    To achieve the best outcome, business continuity depends on the planning and preparation effort that comes along with response and recovery. This is where the true blocking and tackling of BC work takes place. 

    Some industries and regulators are decidedly prescriptive about the required activities of BC programs under their purview. They mandate activities such as assessing risk, completing a business impact analysis, obtaining buy-in from senior leadership, training, validation, testing and exercising, documentation, and communication. This is especially true in the financial sector and in the healthcare industry.

    Good Practice Guidelines from the Business Continuity Institute and the standard ISO 22301 are good starting points where such accredited certification is needed or preferred. However, such traditional practices are not the only route to a meaningful BC program. 

    ​Pitfalls of Tradition 

    In some cases, the activities and approaches traditionally associated with continuity planning can pose an obstacle to implementing a program. While these may have their appropriate place within many BC contexts, they can also present challenges. 

    This is especially true in cases where an organization may have greater latitude in designing a new program or revising an existing one, or in organizations with a culture that favors iterative, agile processes over linear, sequential ones. In these cases, it may be preferable to place the primary focus on quickly delivering value.

    For example, a core concept of much BC planning activity is the focus on recovery time objectives (RTOs). The use of RTOs is intended to help quantify recovery needs, prioritize response activity, and drive planning activity. 

    However, employing time as a target, instead of simply a restriction, can be problematic. In practice, many times RTOs and recovery point objectives (RPOs) are subjective or even arbitrary. They are best applied where truly static, precise, and predetermined time restrictions exist, such as regulatory time limits, violations, or specific matters of health and safety. Otherwise, the effort undertaken to arrive at and assure an RTO may not return value. In other words, if it is clear that failing to meet a six-hour time frame for service restoration will result in a regulatory fine of a specific dollar amount, the decision making process becomes quite straightforward because investment in meeting the RTO can be clearly weighed against the risk of penalties.

    Another cornerstone of the BC world is the business impact analysis (BIA). While the BIA can be an invaluable tool for the BC practitioner, it can also be a subject fraught with confusion. 

    In actuality, the proper sequence of service restoration will always depend on the exact nature of the post-disaster situation. As such, responses need to be flexible and adaptive. This is especially true in today’s environment where the cause of a service outage might not be immediately obvious—as in the case of a deliberate cyberattack.

    As a consequence of all this activity, an overwhelming amount of documentation can be generated which needs to be guarded, maintained, and updated. But rarely is it used in actual response activities. In some cases, BC and response plans are so voluminous that they could not possibly serve a practical purpose in a real emergency. They become the proverbial shelfware.

    Lastly, traditional methods emphasize obtaining exclusive senior-level executive support and doing so at the outset. While important, it can be more meaningful to engage at many levels in the organization. 

    The real danger here is slipping into a trap where the organization is carrying out extensive business continuity activity for business continuity’s sake, which only delivers value on an arbitrary or periodic basis and could create a false sense of preparedness in departments where little actually exists. The goal, instead, should be to explicitly link to the organization’s objectives and to deliver value incrementally and continuously. 

    A Practical Approach

    Consider some of the following practical approaches in connecting BC to the delivery of continuous improvement and operational value. These are notions borrowed directly from the approach called Adaptive Business Continuity. Five of Adaptive BC’s core principles, outlined here, are essential for better partnership between crisis management and business continuity. 

    Exercise first. In the strictly sequential approach often favored by traditional BC practitioners, testing and exercising come during later stages of the cycle, after plans and assessments have been completed. 

    But discussion-based tabletop exercises are the single most powerful tool an organization can use to identify gaps in planning and address assumptions in both crisis management response and BC. Dollar-for-dollar, there is no better value. So why not start there? By walking through a scenario as a group, a team can quickly and easily spot gaps and identify solutions. 

    Such exercises can be lightweight and even informal. The key is to have a direct, focused approach driven by one or two clearly defined objectives. 

    For example, the objective of this exercise might be to assess the initial size up and response to an unplanned event; to evaluate the escalation protocol defined in the planning documents; or to review the organization’s ability to activate the crisis management plan.

    By driving toward the objective, a planning team can steer away from overly complex exercise scenarios. Inevitably, the discussion will uncover lowhanging fruit of an operational nature; the exercise players will establish closer personal connections; and the collective team will identify gaps around the predetermined objectives. 

    Consequently, the results are both of immediate value and can be used to drive action planning over the medium and longer term. And, in doing so, the team has also established clear connections between BC and crisis management capabilities.

    Simplify documentation. Elaborate crisis management and BC plans that are hundreds of pages long are a detriment in three critical ways. First, they require extensive—often labor intensive—maintenance and continuous updates. Second, they are not practical in an actual crisis. Lastly, these are not value-generating activities. BC activity and documentation for its own sake is a common pitfall. 

    Simplify plans so they can be internalized and recalled easily by the people that need to know them. Where appropriate, checklists are an excellent tool.

    The exceptions, of course, are cases where such plans are mandated or regulatory requirements, such as in the finance and healthcare industries. Absent any compliance or other compelling need, voluminous documentation should be replaced by slim, user-oriented playbooks. 

    A practical example of this is an organization with a 75-page corporate incident response policy. Key leaders in the organization had acknowledged that because of the policy's length, it was universally ignored—posing a critical risk. The solution was to reduce the most significant end user elements of the policy—what the responder truly needed to know first—into a one-page infographic. 

    The infographic was introduced to the working teams through a series of short, focused tabletop exercises. Teams were asked to use—and break—key aspects of processes contained in the infographic. 

    In the course of the exercises the teams also uncovered critical communications gaps and assumptions and were able to address them. They formulated the catchphrase “Don’t Hesitate to Escalate” to drive home their solution to the communications problem. In doing so, they delivered immediate value to the organization, improved operational efficiency, and established a basis for continuous improvement of their BC and crisis management capabilities. 

    Continually improve. The most compelling case a BC professional can make to a client or constituent is that the cost and effort required of proposed BC-related activities will offer some immediate payoff, as well as continuous, iterative improvement throughout the process. 

    Free from documentation for its own sake and a strictly sequential BC cycle, the BC professional discovers the opportunity to take more of a role as a partner in the business. Where performance measures like RTOs are needed, along with taking an inventory of key business processes, discussion around these topics should not focus on an arbitrary target. 

    Rather, an opportunity exists to engage stakeholders about their goals for the organization and to rationalize the findings of their assessments—challenge them to apply their own intuition to the targets and see if they pass the test of common sense. And by asking why the target is there, call into question how it may be reached on a “blue sky day” more efficiently. 

    The BC process can be a source of continuous improvement by providing a venue for these conversations among stakeholders. People are eager to share personal experiences of working through crises—with outcomes that were positive or negative for the organization—especially in a setting where that experience can add value.

    For example, one organization recognized that its list of key business processes was extensively detailed and complicated. A very candid, common sense discussion reduced this list from dozens of items to six, only one of which was considered critical. Consequently, the BC management process was simplified, and the crisis management response framework was easier to internalize.

    Plan for effects. The causes of catastrophe are innumerable. We cannot plan for every eventuality, and even if we could, our best laid plans often get overtaken by the events. Instead, we should focus on effects. 

    Generations of military leaders have understood that  “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” The notion is familiar and often repeated in more contemporary contexts, but perhaps best by Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

    Consider the extreme weather phenomena experienced by the U.S. Northeast in 2011 and 2012. In the fall of 2011, the area experienced a nor’easter and Hurricane Irene in rapid succession. The following fall in 2012, it experienced yet another nor’easter and Superstorm Sandy.

    All four events can easily be described as storms, natural disasters, or extreme weather. The acute causes of the localized emergency were highly specific, however. Each storm had its own unique character: inland flooding, coastal flooding, a snow event, or a tree event. Some would argue that this calls for four unique types of plans—or that each cause needs a corresponding plan. 

    On the contrary, the effects of these catastrophes are much fewer. The effects will only be the unexpected unavailability of people (staff), places (facilities), or things (resources and critical suppliers). 

    Focusing on effects makes for much simpler, more meaningful and manageable planning. 

    Know the business. Above all, the people responsible for carrying out any BC or crisis management activity need to know the business. BC practitioners should align closely with operational teams at every level of the organization—not just at the senior leadership level. Having executive support is beneficial to driving outcomes, but the discovery of ground truth comes from frontline teams. The best BC professionals don’t just drive an arbitrary BC cycle. They understand the people, places, and things that make the business unit tick—and why. 

    If we consider crisis management an unexpected opportunity to change, then BC should serve as the practical, sense-making corollary. In other words, the lessons learned in acute responses to crises can be sharpened into operational improvements and ultimately greater resilience when incorporated by the BC process.

    The BC professional’s biggest client in any organization is operations. Delivering value during crisis means having close integration between business continuity, crisis management, and the real needs of the business.

    If we accept that organizations will continue to be challenged in unexpected ways by the external environment—and that this will result in losses—we have to look at how our BC efforts match with the demands placed upon them. 

    The organization that is in a position of strength is one that has truthfully inventoried itself, assessed its own assumptions, and made use of what it learns along the way—not just in the moment of crisis or business interruption. 

    The path to this outcome can follow a traditional, prescriptive route as defined in the ISO and the Good Practice Guidelines—but it can also take more innovative and ongoing forms by linking BC and crisis management to the goals and orientation of the organization. A more practical, agile, and lean approach like the one outlined by Adaptive Business Continuity is likely to provide more value—and at a faster pace—than traditional practices we currently have in place.  

    See Original Post

  • August 14, 2019 11:03 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from The Business Journal Daily

    In the wake of mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso, the safety and security of those at local institutions across many sectors, from education to entertainment, is being revisited.

    A multilayered approach to active shooter scenarios is in place at Youngstown State University. Ron Cole, public information officer, said the YSU police department consists of almost 30 full-time officers and 100 part-time commissioned officers who go through regular training relating to situations that may occur on campus.

    “Most recently, we’ve updated a lot of our emergency operation plans across campus,” he said. “Every building has an emergency operation plan, which outlines what should be done in the event of a variety of situations on campus.” 

    All classroom doors received new locks that automatically lock when the door is closed and the recently expanded PenguinAlert system ensures the safety of all students with emergency text alerts, he said. Students can sign up for PenguinAlert at YSU.edu/PenguinAlert. Additional communication will be going out before the academic year starts to outline safety precautions, including a video that will show how to respond to an active shooter scenario.

    “We have a good crisis communication plan that puts into place a variety of actions we would take in the event of an emergency in terms of how to communicate to students, to faculty, to the community, the media,” Cole said.

    On campus and as well as in the city, police officers at the Youngstown Police Department participate in two cycles of annual training to ensure the safety of the community.

    “During those in-services, we have done responses to active shooter training a number of times so the officers are familiar with it,” said Chief Robin Lees. “Our community police officers are trained in the new alert training, which is a response to an active shooter typically in a workplace environment.”

    The training is available to local businesses in the Youngstown area as well, and would serve employees and management well if they find themselves in an active shooter situation, Lees said.

    “You want to evacuate or take cover, and these are assessments you have to make on your own,” he said. “You need to be practicing good crime prevention to begin with. Know your surroundings and understand who and what is around you. If you feel somebody is suspicious or see something that looks unusual, don’t keep that to yourself.”

    Active shooter safety education programs have been put into place at the Ohio National Safety Council in Youngstown, including running, hiding and fighting defenses others can take advantage of should they find themselves in an active shooter scenario.

    “I think that as they describe them as soft targets, it makes all of us a little more aware of those places that we go everyday,” said Larry Kingston, executive director of the local National Safety Council chapter. “We need to check out things like exits. Anything that sounds like a gunshot, even though you might think it’s a firecracker, you need to react to it and get away from it.”

    Addressing cultural things such as the younger generation being involved with social media and the dark web will further impact the safety of others, Kingston said.

    “If we hear somebody say something that is very harmful, they want to kill people, they want to eliminate people of a certain culture, a certain color, we need to notify the police and let the police sort it out before it gets to the extreme,” Kingston said.

    Safety precautions are taken daily at the Eastwood Mall Complex in Niles. People have to be aware of soft targets, said Joe Bell, spokesman for the Cafaro Company.

    “That could be your church, that could be your daycare center, any place of businesses,” he said. “We have to get into the mind frame of thinking about where you are at any given time of the day and how you would defend yourself or save your life.”

    Fourteen years ago, safety precautions were upgraded within the mall complex in light of the Sept. 11 attacks and continued to be updated, Bell said. With shopping malls being crowded with people, it’s an easy target for an active shooter.

    “We have run a variety of scenarios and training programs since that time with our own internal security, with our tenants, our employees and local law enforcement so they can drill on these types of scenarios,” Bell said. “It’s been very helpful. People have learned a lot about how to operate in an environment like an enclosed shopping mall.”

    Training exercises are done as often as possible, which entails real life scenarios people undergo during an emergency. Last week at the Cafaro corporate headquarters, employees were engaged in active shooter training to understand the basis for attacks like this and the best ways to defend themselves, Bell said.

    “We’ll bring in local police chiefs, other first responders and have them in on the planning, and very often, local volunteers will act as victims or shoppers,” Bell said. “It’s very realistic with guns firing blanks. Police officers will be doing everything they would do should shots start being fired in a mall.”

    Over the last 12 years, the security of customers, employees and artists has increased at the Covelli Centre. Metal detectors have been added at entrances at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre and the Covelli Centre, and security has doubled over the last five years, said Ken Bigley, vice president of the JAC Management Group.

    “We don’t open the doors to any event without an armed, uniformed police officer on-site,” Bigley said. “We’ve created a relationship with [U.S. Department of] Homeland Security to stay on the forefront of any alerts or messaging that’s going out from Homeland Security.”

    Active shooter training courses have also been implemented for the security and event staff at the Covelli Centre and the amphitheater. Safety is always taken seriously with the event calendar filled with family and children related shows, said Phoebe Breckenridge, marketing and sales coordinator.

    “We never want anyone to feel unsafe when they come here,” she said. “We aim to be a safe, fun place for people to come to for entertainment.” 

    See Original Post

  • August 14, 2019 10:59 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Irish Legal News

    A man who suffered an injury to his knee requiring surgery after he slipped on the stone staircase at the National Museum of Ireland has been awarded €67,000 in the High Court.

    Criticising the Museum for its failure to provide the court with CCTV evidence of the fall, or present witnesses who had viewed the footage, Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon found that the accident was caused by the Museum’s negligence in failing to provide a hand rail for people to hold onto the entire way down the staircase.

    Background

    The plaintiff, Warren Baldwin, is a 70-year-old man from Sydney, Australia, who came to Ireland on holidays in June 2016. On 5 June 2016, Mr Baldwin was visiting the National Museum of Ireland when he lost his footing while descending the main balcony stairway, and suffered severe personal injuries loss and damage as a result.

    After the accident, Mr Baldwin was brought by ambulance to St James’ Hospital where he spent over 15 hours on a trolley waiting to see an orthopaedic surgeon. Mr Baldwin was diagnosed with a quadriceps rupture, and a retraction of the rectus ligamentous muscle (consistent with a partial tear of the quadriceps tendon). Mr Baldwin was administered painkilling medication which he continued to take until he was seen by his own GP in Sydney. Upon his return to Australia, an MRI confirmed that Mr Baldwin had suffered a full thickness tear of more than 50 per cent of the quadriceps tendon, requiring surgical repair.

    Before the accident, Mr Baldwin was described as being very active and a keen golfer. In her evidence to the court, Mr Baldwin’s wife said the accident slowed him down by about 50 per cent and that walking became painful for him after a while. A consultant in emergency medicine who examined Mr Baldwin also believed that the injuries seriously curtailed him playing golf, walking, and gardening, and that psychologically he was much slower.

    Omnia praesumuntur contra spoliatorem

    Mr Baldwin’s claim was based on the Museum’s alleged negligence, breach of duty, including breach of statutory duty, nuisance and/or misfeasance in the design, construction, upkeep, maintenance, management, care, supervision and inspection and control of the premises – particularly the main balcony stairway.

    The Museum argued that Mr Baldwin’s fall was entirely his own fault, and relied heavily on an accident report form which recorded that Mr Baldwin had missed the last step and fell (which was inconsistent with Mr Baldwin’s description of his fall). An orthopaedic surgeon who gave evidence on the Museum’s behalf said that Mr Baldwin’s ongoing difficulties were age-related. He also said that Mr Baldwin would have had a better chance of repair had his operation been sooner – i.e. the following day, rather than a number of weeks after the accident.

    Ms Justice O’Hanlon found Mr Baldwin to be “a very credible witness who came to court in good faith and travelled from Australia to bring his case to trial. He … gave his evidence in a very candid normal way without embellishing matters in any shape or form”. She said the court “had no doubt but that he was doing his best to give a true and fair recollection of matters as he perceived them”.

    Considering the inconsistency between the accident report form and Mr Baldwin’s description, Ms Justice O’Hanlon was highly critical of the fact that the CCTV evidence of the fall was not made available to the court, nor were employees of the Museum who viewed the CCTV called as witnesses. She said Mr Baldwin was entitled to rely on the maxim omnia praesumuntur contra spoliatorem where all things are presumed against the party that has destroyed evidence. 

    Negligence

    Ms Justice O’Hanlon said that on the balance of probabilities, Mr Baldwin lost his footing on the third last step and fell into the landing below. She said that the stone steps in question were “shiny and slippy”, and that if there been an adequate and safe handrail system, Mr Baldwin would not have suffered the injury he did. Ms Justice O’Hanlon also accepted the evidence from Mr Baldwin’s engineer that because of how the railings ended prematurely before the bottom step, there was a tendency for this to cause people towards the centre in descending the stairway. She said she was entitled to draw an adverse inference from the Museum’s failure to call evidence to assess the stairway or address the handrail issue.

    Finding that it was reasonably foreseeable that a person could suffer such a fall, even though it was a rare occurrence, Ms Justice O’Hanlon said the accident was caused by the negligence of the Museum in failing to provide a safe system – in particular a railing for a person such as Mr Baldwin to hold onto the entire way down the staircase.

    Ms Justice O’Hanlon awarded €65,000 in general damages, together with agreed special damages in the sum of €1,989.59, giving a total award of €66,989.59.

    See Original Post

  • July 31, 2019 2:33 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Securitas Security Services, USA, Inc.

    Extreme heat can be hazardous for those who work or spend extended time outdoors. While the heat itself can be threatening, the addition of what weather forecasters refer to as the “heat index” can exacerbate conditions. The heat index is the combination of high temperatures, humidity and direct sun exposure that contributes to heat stress. Those who work or play outside on a hot day should take basic precautions to protect themselves from the heat, sun exposure and other hazards.

    Excessive Heat Events

    U.S. summers commonly produce heat waves—several consecutive days of excessively high temperatures in a given geographic area of the country. Because of the health hazards posed by excessive heat, the National Weather Service (NWS) developed the following heat-related alerts:

    An excessive HEAT WATCH is issued when a severe heat event is likely to occur in the next 24 to 72 hours. A watch provides sufficient notice to prepare for a potential extreme heat event.

    An excessive HEAT WARNING or HEAT ADVISORY means an excessive heat event is in progress, imminent or expected. Either of these is issued within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions. A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property. An advisory is issued for less serious conditions that cause significant discomfort or inconvenience, which, if caution is not taken, could pose a threat to life or property.

    Stay Hydrated

     When working outdoors in elevated temperatures, experts recommend drinking about five to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes to stay sufficiently hydrated and maintain a safe core body temperature. Studies show that after only one hour in extreme heat conditions, a person’s alertness and endurance are compromised.

    After two hours, the effects of heat stress—including cramps, fatigue, decreased strength and reduced coordination—may set in. Maintain proper hydration by drinking before, during and after exercise to replace body fluids. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Water is best for hydration, but sports drinks, which contain electrolytes lost in perspiration, are an alternative.

    Cool water is absorbed more quickly by the body than warm or very cold fluids. Avoid coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages, all of which act to dehydrate the body.

    Protection from the Sun

    Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation that causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkles and skin cancer. The amount of damage from UV exposure depends on the strength of the light, the length of exposure and whether the skin is protected. Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays by covering up. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and tightly-woven clothing—preferably a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Gauge the protection offered by your clothing by trying to see your hand through the fabric. If you can, the garment offers minimal protection.

    Eye protection is important too. Wear UV-absorbent shades. Some studies have shown a greater incidence of cataracts among those who do not wear sunglasses in bright sunlight.

    Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, and limit your exposure. UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and are present even on cloudy days.

    A Useful App

    OSHA and NIOSH have developed an app available through the App Store or on Google Play. The Heat Safety Tool can be used for planning outdoor work activities based on how hot it feels throughout the day. Learn more about the app at https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ heatstress/heatapp.html

    Recognize and Respond

    Heat-related illnesses can be very serious. Be familiar with the risks and signs. If someone becomes ill from the heat, move the person to a cooler area and call for help. Do not leave the person alone.

    Headache, dizziness, or fainting; lethargy and clammy skin; irritability or confusion; and thirst, nausea or vomiting are all signs of heat exhaustion. Provide assistance to keep the situation from escalating.

    Confusion, passing out and seizures as well as an inability to sweat may indicate that a person has heat stroke. This is a serious condition. SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY.

    If a person is not alert or seems confused, he or she might have heat stroke. CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY. Administer first aid and apply ice as soon as possible.

    Additional Resources

    Several resources are available to help you learn more about staying safe in hot weather.

    For more information on this and other security related topics, visit the Securitas Safety Awareness Knowledge Center at:

    http://www.securitasinc.com/en/knowledge-center/security-and-safety-awareness-tips


  • July 31, 2019 2:29 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from NorthJersey.com

    The days of an open-door policy with employees and visitors allowed to move freely about work premises are over, security experts say.

    Today, office buildings are equipped with technology and personnel to carefully monitor who goes in and out of a workplace and spend more effort than ever before screening potential employees and looking for warning signs in current ones.

    “Two decades ago, roughly around the time we had our first major school shooting, I don’t think offices were doing anything at all,” said John Dony, director of the Campbell Institute at the nonprofit National Safety Council. “It was only in the past two or three years, when we’ve seen a much bigger spate of events at office workplaces as well as factory floors, has there been a turn in attention to that.”

    Workplace shootings take at least 300 lives a year, according to a 2018 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, nearly 400 people died from bullet wounds at work, an increase of 83 shootings since 2015.

    So companies have focused much of their attention on tightening access through technology such as electronic badges and video surveillance, rather than bolstering security with gun-carrying guards, Dony said.

    The most secure buildings prevent a familiar lunch vendor from entering a work area, said Robert McCrie, deputy chairman of the Department of Security, Fire and Emergency Management at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Some buildings have extended monitoring to the elevators, remotely controlling where a visitor can go.

    McCrie envisions that technology advancing further. Casinos use video analytics to identify people who are banned from the premises, and retailers and offices eventually will too, he said.

    For now, most offices use low-cost methods like discouraging employees from swiping in people without access badges, buying things that can be used as barricades in conference rooms and staging active-shooter drills to beef up security, Dony said.

    The most effective tool against gun violence is recognizing signs that it might occur, McCrie said.

    Research on mass workplace shootings — with three or more victims — has shown that shooters are often disgruntled employees who have been warned about their work performance or terminated from their job, have a poor relationship with co-workers, are prone to anger and have an affinity for guns, he said.

    “People who have shot others are described as loners, individuals who could flare up over seemingly nothing,” McCrie said.

    As the profile of a disgruntled, disengaged worker has become clearer, employers have adjusted their screening criteria accordingly, McCrie said. Social media has played an increasingly important role in weeding out problematic personalities.

    “That’s the first line of defense,” he said. “Employers need to take time to make sure the individual they hire is a good fit in all ways.”

    See Original Post

  • July 31, 2019 2:25 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Dark Reading

    Getting your company smartphone or laptop stolen from your car isn't just a hassle; it can have large regulatory ramifications, too. Visibility is the answer.

    From San Francisco to Denver to Washington, DC, a "smash-and-grab" car crime wave appears to be striking the nation. In the month of April alone, vehicle break-ins averaged 51 per day just in San Francisco, with mobile phones, laptops, and tablets on the list of most in-demand and easy-to-snatch items.

    In light of this, it's important to look at the IT security risks businesses are exposed to as a result of such crimes. The reality is that while mobile devices may be sitting in a parked car, they're likely connected to a corporate network. Add to that the fact that half of IT professionals surveyed reported a data breach resulting from a lost laptop, and the global average cost of a breach is more than $3 million, and it's not a good mix.

    Against this backdrop, there's an important facet to the smash-and-grab situation that must be addressed: breach notification laws. Many countries and states have laws requiring notification to authorities and affected parties in the event of a data breach. In California, for instance, the state's S.B. 1386 data breach notification law includes notification requirements for organizations in situations where data might have been exposed.

    Now, there's a chance that you do have a "get out of jail free" card, so to speak, if you can demonstrate that the data was encrypted. Unfortunately, without proof of encryption, you have no card to use. This means that it's critical not only to have encryption on the device but to be able to demonstrate that it was switched on in order to mitigate direct losses and to prevent the embarrassment of having to make a public mea culpa for it.

    When devices are "dark" or unmanageable and outside the control of IT, they pose a significant threat. When company employees cite "cars and transportation" as the No. 1 location where they've experienced IT theft, the security status of these devices can't be a question mark — especially not when sensitive, possibly regulated data subject to breach notification laws is involved.

    To prevent both economic and reputational loss, you need visibility. (Note: Absolute is a vendor of visibility technology, along with a number of other companies.) In fact, you need two types of it: ongoing visibility, which allows you to see that security controls are switched on and take the proper steps to secure sensitive data; and post hoc visibility, which allows you to prove it after a theft like a smash-and-grab when S.B. 1386 comes knocking. Without a clear line-of-sight, though, there is no way to know all resources — data, devices, users, and apps — are secure.

    Sadly, security investment strategy can easily miss the mark here when, as former 451 Research analyst Javvad Malik says: "An informal method that is often seen at companies that have lower security maturity is spending just the minimum amount required until the next breach or incident is reported. Conversely, other companies spend freely, though not necessarily wisely, until their budgets have been exhausted."

    Case in point: When a security leader approaches the CFO with a request to spend money on device safeguards because the organization recently experienced a stolen laptop, she or he will probably get budget approval. Down the line, in the likely event that the stolen laptop scenario repeats itself, if that security leader can't show that encryption was switched on, then the organization missed half of the value of the amount it spent. The technology may or may not have protected the company's data, but it certainly didn't protect the security leader's backside because the company doesn't have the visibility to know one way or the other.

    t's important to understand your environment, know what hardware you have, and then go beyond the devices themselves to include intelligence around the applications or software on them, looking at what applications are being used by an individual. All of this insight helps you assess risk. At the end of the day, it's about properly protecting your organization's data, deriving value from all of your security budget, and breathing a bit easier despite the frequency of device losses and theft.

    See Original Post

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