INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION FORCULTURAL PROPERTY PROTECTION
Reposted from CNN Business
The shooter was a man: bald, wearing pants and a button-down shirt, standing in front of me in an office break room, firing a gun.
Shots rang in my ears. A heartbeat thump-thumped around me. A high-pitched noise made it hard for me to think. Seconds later, I heard rapid breathing sounds.
I had to find a way out. I made my way to a tall glass window and decided to smash it. Then I yanked off my virtual-reality headset and took a deep breath.
It was a virtual experience — not even that high-tech, as far as VR goes, and only about 15 minutes long — but it felt distressingly real.
Created by two Seattle-based companies — VR video platform and training startup Pixvana along with tactical training company Alexo — the experience was announced this month with the goal of helping companies prepare their employees for an active-shooter scenario.
According to Pixvana, the first company to try it out was Vulcan, the investment firm of deceased Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen. Vulcan, which is based in Seattle, declined to comment about the training. Pixvana is currently talking to a hospital system that wants it to build specific hospital scenes for its active-shooter training.
If this VR experience sounds jarring enough that it could leave a lasting dent in your memory, that's kind of the point.
"What we're trying to do is a long-term memory effect they can call upon should they find themselves in a violent situation," Alexo founder Drew Hancock, who's also a Seattle police officer and SWAT leader, told CNN Business. But he believes the experience stops short of being traumatic. Instead, Hancock said it is trying to create "somewhat of a stimulus" among viewers, without featuring anything graphic.
The active shooter response training experience is the latest example of companies using VR to train workers for all kinds of on-the-job situations — a hot application for technology that has otherwise seen slow adoption. Walmart (WMT) is using it to prep its employees for Black Friday. Numerous sports teams, especially in the NFL, use VR for realistic off-the-field training. And Seabourn, a cruise line, uses Pixvana to train new waiters on table locations in their restaurant.
Yet while using VR could help people feel more prepared for a violent encounter, some experts who study shootings cautioned that increasingly realistic scenarios may trigger certain people.
"You've got to realize when you reach out to the public that they're all across the board in what they're prepared to deal with," said Pete Blair, a criminal justice professor at Texas State University and executive director of the school's Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center.
While the solution may be a matter of some debate, the problem is strikingly clear. There were 337 mass shootings — defined as at least four people shot or killed on the same occasion, excluding the shooter — in the US in 2018, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. That number has already topped 300 this year, as of late September.
Many experts in tactical training, including the FBI, believe training for shootings in particular can be helpful. An FBI study of active shooters from 2000 to 2013 noted that even when police were able to get to the scene of the crime in minutes, "civilians often had to make life and death decisions, and, therefore, should be engaged in training and discussions on decisions they may face."
Training for such situations in VR does force people to pay more attention than they would to, say, a lecture and a PowerPoint presentation, if only because you can't check your phone while you've got a headset on your face. And Pixvana isn't the only one suggesting VR training for dealing with gun violence. The US Department of Homeland Security offers a free, video-game-like program called the Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (also known as EDGE) for training first responders and school staffers.
By using 360-degree video, Pixvana's approach is more realistic looking. It starts with Hancock instructing you, in VR, on how to deal with a shooter and then drops you into violent scenarios. To make you feel somewhat like you're in the midst of a real active-shooter scenario, the training uses sounds and scenes such as the office and an outdoor plaza.
To tone it down a bit, the lone male shooter is a static figure, rendered in red with a white outline. Brightly colored indicators peppered around the office help give you ideas about what items might work as weapons (a toaster or a bottle, for instance), and what may be your best paths for escape.
"You don't want people so scared that they're not remembering what they're learning," said Rachel Lanham, Pixvana's chief operating officer. "That's not the point."
Pixvana is tapping into what Jillian Peterson, a psychologist and an assistant professor at Hamline University who studies the psychology of criminology, estimates is about a $3 billion industry at the moment. Companies are now coming up with all kinds of technologies and techniques to train people to respond to shootings.
But while there may be a large market for such services, Peterson is concerned that they're not just helping innocent bystanders learn how to cope with a shooting at work or at school: they're also training the very people who could be perpetrators. She said research indicates that about 90% of school or workplace shootings are committed by former students or employees.
It also makes Peterson nervous to put people through simulations in virtual reality in case it triggers a fascination or interest in shootings that wasn't there previously. "If you're suicidal, and you're in crisis, and you have a trauma background, and you have access to weapons, this sort of rehearsal could be problematic," she said.
Pixvana didn't consult with mental health professionals such as psychologists before creating the training, Lanham said.
Hancock does think that if someone previously had a traumatic life experience it could trigger them. He also feels the training should be voluntary and limited to adults, though he can envision it being used by high schoolers.
See Original Post
Reposted from ABCNews
The Department of Homeland Security has announced a "compelling and urgent" framework to combat violent white supremacy.
DHS said the agency hopes to provide an annual state of the Homeland Threat Assessment, which "evaluates the strategic threat environment within the Homeland related to terrorism and targeted violence," according to the report.
The department is looking for a "balanced" approach to combating domestic and foreign actors, and McAleenan said, according to the report, the agency will be deploying some of the same tactics against both groups.
The report specifically outlines domestic terrorism, which DHS defines as "a phrase typically used to denote terrorists who are not directed or inspired by" foreign terror organizations. Domestic terrorists, at least recently, have killed more Americans than foreign terrorists.
The report also noted that, similar to radical Islamists, violent white supremacist extremists "connect with like-minded individuals online."
John Cohen, a former DHS undersecretary and an ABC News contributor, said the department's strategy understands that many violent attacks in the U.S. "are being conducted primarily by native-born individuals."
But Cohen also said the administration needs to acknowledge its own role in the problem, including the fact that words "used by the president and the administration are the same words used by white supremacist thought leaders."
"Law enforcement officers believe his words incite violent acts by white supremacists," said Cohen, referring to President Donald Trump.
Vice President Joe Biden said while on the campaign trail that the President has "fanned the flames" of white supremacy. Trump disagrees.
In a speech just after the El Paso,Texas, shooting that left 22 dead, the president condemned white supremacists and defended himself against such accusations.
"In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy," Trump said. "These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America."
Reposted from ZDNet
Nearly all successful email-based cyberattacks require the target to open files, click on links, or carry out some other action.
While a tiny fraction of attacks rely on exploit kits and known software vulnerabilities to compromise systems, the vast majority of campaigns, 99%, require some level of human input to execute. These interactions can also enable macros, so malicious code can be run.
The finding comes from Proofpoint's Annual Human Factor Report, a paper based on 18 months of data collected from the cybersecurity company's customers.
Sometimes it seems easy to blame users for falling victim to phishing attacks, but campaigns are becoming increasingly sophisticated. It's often difficult to distinguish a malicious email from a regular one because attackers will tailor attacks to look as if they come from a trusted source, such as cloud service providers like Microsoft or Google, colleagues, or even the boss.
This social engineering is the key element in conducting campaigns: the report even states that attackers are mimicking the routines of businesses to ensure the best chance of success.
Phishing is one of the cheapest, easiest cyberattacks for criminals to deploy – but the reason it remains a cornerstone of hacking campaigns is because, put simply, phishing works.
"Cybercriminals are aggressively targeting people because sending fraudulent emails, stealing credentials, and uploading malicious attachments to cloud applications is easier and far more profitable than creating an expensive, time-consuming exploit that has a high probability of failure," said Kevin Epstein, vice president of threat operations for Proofpoint.
"More than 99 percent of cyberattacks rely on human interaction to work—making individual users the last line of defense. To significantly reduce risk, organizations need a holistic people-centric cybersecurity approach that includes effective security awareness training and layered defenses that provide visibility into their most attacked users," he added.
While many phishing attacks are designed to look highly legitimate, there are ways to identify what could potentially be a malicious attack.
For example, unexpected emails that are based around a sense of urgency could be viewed as suspicious. If a user is in doubt, they could contact the supposed sender of the message to see if it is a legitimate message.
It's also worth noting that cloud service providers like Microsoft and Google won't ask users to click through unexpected links to enter login credentials and other information. If a user is suspicious of a supposed login URL, they can bypass the link by going direct to the provider itself and entering their details there.
Organisations should also ensure that software updates and security patches are regularly applied, so in the case of someone accidentally clicking a link, malware that relies on known vulnerabilities can't operate.
Reposted from NewsHub
If a disease like the Spanish flu emerged today it could kill 80 million people, experts say.
A report from the World Health Organization's (WHO) new Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) puts the blame on governments that "quickly forget", climate change and "misinformation" spread by social media - such as hysteria over vaccines - eroding trust in medical professionals and scientists.
"The world is not prepared for a fast-moving, virulent respiratory pathogen pandemic," the report, published this week, reads.
In 1918, Spanish flu infected a third of the world's population and killed about 50 million people - and that was before people were able to fly anywhere on the planet in under 36 hours.
The report's authors looked at how authorities responded to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, and concluded that despite improvements in treatment since 1918, a similar outbreak now could kill even more, the report says.
"While disease has always been part of the human experience, a combination of global trends, including insecurity and extreme weather, has heightened the risk," said GPMB co-chairs Gro Harlem Brundtland (former WHO director-general) and Elhadj As Sy, the secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
"Disease thrives in disorder and has taken advantage - outbreaks have been on the rise for the past several decades and the spectre of a global health emergency looms large."
A Spanish flu-style outbreak would also have the potential to knock 5 percent off the global economy, but the damage won't be spread out - instead concentrated on poorer countries.
"Disease amplifiers, including population growth and resulting strains on the environment, climate change, dense urbanisation, exponential increases in international travel and migration, both forced and voluntary, increase the risk for everyone, everywhere."
A virus would be even deadlier if it was deliberately released, the report says. Anthrax bio-terrorism is noted as a "deliberately emerging" risk in the US.
"In addition to the need to decide how to counter the pathogen, security measures would come into play limiting information-sharing and fomenting social divisions."
Measles outbreaks have increased in recent years, and the WHO recently declared anti-vaxxers - people opposed to vaccines for unscientific or fraudulent reasons - as one of the top 10 threats to global health.
"Trust in institutions is eroding," the report says. "Governments, scientists, the media, public health, health systems and health workers in many countries are facing a breakdown in public trust that is threatening their ability to function effectively. The situation is exacerbated by misinformation that can hinder disease control communicated quickly and widely via social media."
New Zealand is noted in the report as being unlikely to suffer too much economically in the event of an outbreak, along with the US, Canada, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Japan, Chile and Uruguay.
The Spanish flu was so deadly because it turned the body's immune system against its host. This resulted in massive death tolls among young adults - those with the strongest immune systems - unlike most diseases, which typically hit children and the elderly hardest.
No one knows where it originated - it got the name 'Spanish flu' because reports of its spread across most of Europe and the US were censored to keep wartime morale up. Papers were free to report on its spread in neutral Spain, however.
The closest example given in the new report of a newly emerging disease in our part of the world is Australia's Hendra virus, which mainly infects fruit bats and horses, but can make the leap to humans.
"For too long, we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there is a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides," said Dr Brundtland and Sy.
Reposted from Campus Security & Life Safety
A series of new measures to make students feel safer at night are being implemented by Syracuse University.
One of those measures include the hiring of five trained and licensed guards to escort students from 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. from Thursday to Saturday, according to a SU News release.
Students who are walking alone can call to get an escort to walk with them at night. When they are not escorting students, they will be stationed along Euclid Avenue, Marshall Street and Walnut Park.
The Daily Orange reported after an assault on students of color late one night in February, students came together to propose safety measures the university could implement.
The attack occurred off campus on Ackerman Avenue.
Additionally, the university will now offer two additional shuttle vans for students on or near campus during the hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The vans are free of charge if students have a university ID.
The vans do not coincide with the Centro buses’ hours of operations.
The university announced Wednesday it is also working to add new security cameras in places that are near campus. At this time, the locations have not been announced, according to The Daily Orange.
Reposted from ICE.gov
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York, with the assistance of HSI’s attaché office in London and London’s Metropolitan Police Service, kicked off the first meeting of the Virtual Global Cultural Property Task Force (VGCPTF). This taskforce is composed of arts and antiquities investigators from more than a dozen nations, with a nexus to HSI New York’s area of responsibility, who will meet regularly, both virtually and in person, to conduct joint training exercises to develop and enhance antiquities investigations. The VGCPTF initiative will also promote and support cross-training programs to expose foreign law enforcement to U.S. investigative and prosecutorial procedures and vice versa, increasing detection, seizures and repatriations of looted and trafficked antiquities to their rightful owners. HSI New York will work closely in this effort with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the airports and seaports, and through CBP’s National Targeting Center in Washington D.C.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is extremely proud to play an important role in the Virtual Global Cultural Property Task Force (VGCPTF),” said Troy Miller, director of New York field operations. “CBP will work with Homeland Security Investigations and our international partners to demonstrate its law-enforcement resolve in addressing the illegal trafficking of stolen artifacts.”
“The Metropolitan Police’s Art and Antiques Unit is committed to tackling cultural heritage crime in London - Europe’s largest market - and values the opportunity to strengthen ties with international law enforcement agencies. Investigating and repatriating stolen and trafficked antiquities to their rightful owners is a complex matter and can only be achieved successfully through close collaboration with partners across the globe,” said Detective Chief Inspector Tim Wright, Metropolitan Police’s Central Specialist Crime Command.
With the task force, HSI New York’s Cultural Property, Arts and Antiquities Unit, dedicated to cultural property investigations in the New York area, is now able to establish real-time information sharing on global, multi-jurisdictional criminal investigations and build upon existing relationships with domestic and international partners. Through these efforts the VGCPTF will be able to develop evidence in each respective nation to identify and prosecute the network of looters/thieves, brokers, shippers, dealers, and end purchasers of illicit art and antiquities. The enhanced operational abilities of this initiative will support the efforts of HSI’s Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities (CPAA) program, a member of the congressionally mandated Cultural Antiquities Task Force. HSI CPAA takes an expanded approach to collaborating with cultural property professionals in local governments, museums, and auction houses; to protect, recover, and restore cultural antiquities and worldwide sites as part of a whole-of-government approach to combatting cultural property trafficking.
HSI is the investigative arm for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and plays a leading role in criminal investigations that involve the illicit distribution of cultural property, as well as the illegal trafficking of artwork, specializing in recovering works that have been reported lost or stolen. HSI’s International Operations, through its 77 offices in 51 countries, works closely with foreign governments to conduct joint investigations.
Despite increasingly aggressive enforcement efforts to prevent the theft of cultural heritage and other antiquities, the illicit movement of such items across international borders continues to challenge global law enforcement efforts to reduce the trafficking of such property. Trafficking in antiquities is estimated to be a multi-billion dollar transnational criminal enterprise.
HSI is committed to pursuing a strategy to combat transnational organized crime related to the illicit trafficking of cultural artifacts by targeting high priority organizations and strengthening international law enforcement partnerships. Future meetings and implementing steps identified at the London meeting will include law enforcement in the broader cultural property community.
The public, government and private institutions often aid HSI in identifying, investigating and prosecuting illicitly trafficked cultural property. If you have information about the illicit trade of cultural property or art, call the HSI Tip Line, 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or report tips online. For information specific to the New York area, email HSINYTRADE@ice.dhs.gov.
Reposted from Security Management
It was not an ideal scenario. Over the course of 12 days in March, cyber actors launched an attack against the City of Atlanta and succeeded in infecting its systems with ransomware.
Iranians Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammed Mehdi Shah Mansouri allegedly coordinated to carry out a SamSam ransomware campaign on the city. Their efforts caused roughly 3,789 computers to be infected with ransomware—encrypting the data they stored, disrupting systems they operated, and demanding payment to have the data and services returned to normal.
The malicious actors also gave Atlanta options to decrypt their data—0.8 Bitcoin per computer or 6 Bitcoin to decrypt all affected computers, roughly $50,000.
“The ransom note directed the City of Atlanta to a particular Bitcoin address to pay the ransom and supplied a Web domain that was only accessible using a TOR browser; the note suggested that the City of Atlanta could download the decryption key from that website,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). “In the days following the attack, the webpage that purportedly contained the decryption key became inaccessible, and the City of Atlanta did not pay the ransom.”
Instead, the city worked with local law enforcement, the FBI, and the U.S. Secret Service to respond to the incident and restore its systems—an effort that cost roughly $2.6 million, according to a WIRED analysis.
“The bulk of the expenditures relate to incident response and digital forensics, extra staffing, and Microsoft Cloud infrastructure expertise, presumably all related to clawing back the systems that the hackers had frozen,” WIRED found through the Atlanta Department of Procurement.
The DOJ later charged Savandi and Mansouri with intentional damage to protected computers, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers, two substantive counts of intentional damage to a protected computer, and two substantive counts of transmitting a demand in relation to damaging a protected computer. They remain at large and their motive remains unclear.
Just over a year later, on 7 May 2019, the City of Baltimore was also hit with a ransomware attack that crippled the city’s roughly 7,000 users. The ransomware, known as “Robbinhood,” demanded 13 Bitcoin—approximately $100,000—to decrypt the data it held hostage.
Baltimore, like Atlanta, did not pay the ransom. In a fact sheet, the city explained that the FBI and Secret Service had advised it against paying the ransom. The city also added that, if it paid the ransom, there was no guarantee that it would get its data back, know for sure who the payment would go to, and uncover if there was other malware on its systems that could be used against Baltimore in the future.
Instead, under the direction of newly sworn-in Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Baltimore began the painstaking process of restoring its systems and working with law enforcement to investigate the attack. This effort has cost nearly $18.2 million so far, according to The Baltimore Sun.
“As part of our containment strategy, we deployed enhanced monitoring tools throughout our network to gain additional visibility,” Young said in a statement. “As you can imagine, with approximately 7,000 users, this takes time. Some of the restoration efforts also require that we rebuild certain systems to make sure that when we restore business functions, we are doing so in a secure manner.”
This is critical because municipalities seem to increasingly be targets for ransomware. Previously, malicious actors targeted healthcare institutions—which are particularly vulnerable to ransomware due to the value of the data they keep on record and the need to make that data readily available for life-saving measures.
For the second straight year, the 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon found that “70 percent of all malware outbreaks” in the healthcare vertical were ransomware incidents. U.S. regulatory requirements mandate that healthcare organizations must treat ransomware like a confirmed data breach, so they are required to disclose them.
Now that Atlanta, Baltimore, and, as of Security Management’s press time, three cities in Florida have been hit by ransomware, it appears that attackers are pivoting towards municipalities for payouts based on their success in targeting the healthcare industry.
In a column for The Washington Post, Tyler Moore, associate professor of cybersecurity at Tandy School of Computer Science at the University of Tulsa, wrote that “system downtime” for hospitals is expensive and can have catastrophic consequences.
“Municipal governments are also expected to provide reliable services without downtime,” he explained. “IT budgets in government, at all levels, are usually tight. Governments operate on procurement cycles that are often out of step with the pace of IT innovation. In the marketplace battle for talent, governments struggle to offer competitive pay for IT professionals. Consequently, municipal-government computer systems tend to be old, and basic cyber hygiene is often neglected.”
When municipalities are hit with ransomware, they’re faced with a tough choice—pay the ransom or spend vast sums of resources to restore their systems. And if cities decide to pay the ransom, they could be funding future iterations of ransomware that are more damaging, says Craig Williams, Cisco’s director of Talos Outreach.
“Ransomware has been around since 1987 but did not see explosive growth until the invention of cryptocurrency and networks like TOR,” Williams explains. “These innovations made the ability to decrypt machines and accept payment relatively safe. Since that time, we have only continued to see things evolve like ransomware worms and wiper malware.”
In addition to funding future developments of ransomware, payments could also wind up in the hands of nation-states or terrorists—who could use them for malicious purposes.
“The source of the Baltimore attack isn’t known yet, but others’ perpetrators are known—for instance, U.S. intelligence agencies have identified North Korea as the source of some attacks,” Moore explained.
For example, the DOJ charged and sanctioned Park Jin Hyok, part of the North Korean Lazarus Group of hackers, for the WannaCry ransomware attack. Hyok was also charged for his alleged involvement in the 2014 cyberattack on Sony Corp.
Organizations also need to be cautious if they hire a data recovery firm in the wake of a ransomware attack. A recent ProPublica analysis found that two U.S. data recovery firms—Proven Data and MonsterCloud—paid ransoms to recover data and charged victims for it, without disclosing it to their clients. Other data recovery firms openly admitted that they paid ransoms to recover client data.
“The payments underscore the lack of other options for individuals and businesses devastated by ransomware, the failure of law enforcement to catch or deter the hackers, and the moral quandary of whether paying ransoms encourages extortion,” ProPublica wrote. “Since some victims are public agencies or receive government funding, taxpayer money may end up in the hands of cyber criminals in countries hostile to the U.S., such as Russia and Iran.”
To protect themselves from a similar situation, Williams says he recommends organizations consider data recovery firms with extensive experience recovering ransomed data for similar organizations.
But he cautions that “there is no one-size-fits-all solution for recovery from ransomware. Organizations must balance their priorities and make the best decision in their particular case.”
And because municipalities are likely to be targeted in the future, Williams says those that haven’t been hit yet should design their network defenses with multiple layers to protect their crown jewels.
“If you can’t patch, for example, make sure things are as segmented as possible,” he explains. “Make sure endpoint protection is deployed and active, and make sure best practices—like two-factor authentication—are being followed.”
Reposted from The Local France
An attacker wielding a utility knife has badly damaged a work by the celebrated French conceptual artist Daniel Buren at the Pompidou Centre in central Paris, the museum said on Friday.
The work, "Peinture [Manifestation 3]", suffered "serious deliberate damage" in Thursday afternoon's attack by the man, the museum said in a statement.
It said that a museum attendant alerted security, and video cameras allowed the rapid finding of the suspect. "He made no claim (over the attack) and was handed over to the police," it said.
An investigation has been opened by the judicial authorities after the museum filed a complaint to police.
The artist, 81, has been informed of the incident and the work itself transferred to the stores of the Pompidou Centre to estimate the damage and restoration needed.
It will be replaced on public display by another work from the artist.
The Pompidou Centre said it understood the suspect was no longer in detention and had been transferred to a psychiatric unit.
"Peinture [Manifestation 3]" was created by Buren in 1967 and shows red and white stripes. It was purchased for the museum's collection in 1986.
Buren is perhaps best known for the succession of black-and-white columns he inlaid into the inner courtyard of the Palais Royal complex in central Paris in a hugely controversial installation that opened in 1986.
The damage to the work comes just over a week after a stencilled work by the elusive British street artist Banksy was stolen from outside the Pompidou Centre.
The Pompidou, which houses Europe's biggest collection of contemporary art but does not own the Banksy work, filed a police complaint for destruction of property.
Reposted from Business Insurance
Active shooter incidents do not occur “out of the blue,” making it critical for employers to train their employees to identify and report suspicious behaviors and for employers to quickly respond to such reports and intervene, according to a safety expert for Pepsi-Cola.
Employers should ensure that they have – and that employees are familiar with – mechanisms for reporting such behaviors and that the employers have defined what they consider to be reportable behavior well before a potential incident, according to other safety experts.
An active shooter incident in the workplace is never “out of the blue,” Lev Pobirsky, Philadelphia-based senior director of safety and security for Pepsi-Cola and National Brand Beverages Ltd., said at a Monday afternoon session of the National Safety Council Congress and Expo in San Diego.
The first step is ensuring that violence or a “toxic work environment” is not permitted, and that employees and supervisors are able to identify potential threats and know how to report them, said Mr. Pobirsky, who also consults on workplace violence and active shooter mitigation.
“Pepsi says no threat is too small,” he said. “If you say something, write something, text something, tweet something” violent, the threat assessment team convenes to discuss the issue and determine next steps.
Maintaining mechanisms for voicing complaints or concerns is key, and employers should also create a work environment that promotes sincerity and open and timely lines of communications, said Jack Johnson, CEO of San Antonio, Texas-based Zion Safety and Security and senior consultant at SafeStart, a division of Electrolab Ltd., told attendees at a Tuesday morning session.
“Look for the signs of workplace violence,” he said.
Pre-defining what may be considered suspicious behavior to encourage peer reporting can also help prevent a violent event before it occurs, said Tom Miller, CEO of ClearForce Inc., a risk management and data analytics company based in Vienna, Virginia.
“People are afraid to report information they don’t think is significant or substantial,” he said during a phone interview.
Employers may encourage reporting by outlining 10 to 15 types of behaviors that could be relevant to warding off an incident, said Mr. Miller, such as a noticing a co-worker who appears to be suffering from extreme stress or acting out negatively at the workplace.
Anonymity in reporting is also key, so that employees are confident in reporting any information, he said.
A matter of life and death
With the steady rise in active shooter events affecting the workplace, preparing for the worst-case scenario and teaching employees survival techniques is crucial, according to workplace safety experts.
More than 2 million Americans reported that they have experienced some form of workplace violence in 2017, according to research from the AFL-CIO. The union also estimates that injuries and deaths relating to workplace violence cost employers $250 billion to $360 billion annually.
“In today’s society, threats of workplace violence can happen anywhere or at any time,” Mr. Johnson said.
While vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of work-related fatalities, homicides are the second leading cause of death, and an “active shooter probably poses the greatest and most impactful threat for us today,” said Mr. Johnson.
Planning before an attack occurs, being vigilant about planning and acknowledging that a threat exists is crucial, said Mr. Johnson.
“We win by having a practiced, prepared plan in place,” he said. “We don’t need to sit so complacent within our own little surroundings … and think that we’re secure. If you don’t currently have a plan for dealing with (an active shooter) incident … come up with a plan now.”
Employers need to go beyond the Run, Hide and Fight model from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said Mr. Pobirsky. “Our brains don’t work that way. Before you can either run or hide or fight, you freeze.”
Workplaces need to develop a clear plan or course of action for survival, Mr. Johnson said, noting that freezing in a situation is “the worst possible action” an individual can take in an active shooter situation.
“You have to have a practiced plan in place, and it will greatly reduce your risk of freezing during one of these kinds of events,” he said. “We fall to the level of our training. If there is not a predetermined plan in place,” it will affect an individual’s ability to think clearly.
Mr. Pobirsky suggests that employers help train their employees to conduct 10 to 15 second assessments that entail considering what they would do if an incident occurred, such as looking for exits, what they could use for cover, and where their car is parked.
“It trains your brain over and over and over again to respond a little bit better,” he said.
Practicing an evacuation and making exit plans available can also help, said Mr. Pobirsky.
Training should also include information on hiding or defending yourself if necessary, such as making sure that employees know to hide behind file cabinets or things that can stop a bullet, stay out of view, turn off lights, barricade doors and silence cellphones, said Mr. Johnson.
Any employer’s best course of action is to hope for the best, but plan for the worst,” he said. “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Reposted from Securitas Security Services, USA, Inc.
Office safety is everyone’s business. Burglary, theft, and vandalism can happen in the workplace. Because employees may spend more time at work than at home, they can be lulled into a false sense of security about the area around their desks. Following some simple guidelines can help minimize office theft.
Locking up is one of the best, but easily overlooked, theft prevention measures. Lock all offices, conference rooms, or storage rooms that are regularly unoccupied. If you are the last to leave at night, secure all computer systems, critical files, and copiers. Close and lock all doors and windows, and enable the building security alarm, if your workplace has one. Never put identifying tags on key rings. If possible, keep your office keys on a separate key ring. Don’t leave keys unattended on your desk, in an unlocked drawer, on an open hook, or in a hanging coat pocket where they can easily be “borrowed” and duplicated. Only lend your keys to people with a legitimate need and make sure they are returned promptly. Consider investing in a lock box for office keys that can be secured and only give that key to a trusted employee. Report any missing keys right away.
Prominently mark all office equipment and furniture as office property and keep an up-to-date, written inventory of furniture, computers, and equipment in a separate, secure location. Perform regular, documented inventory checks—especially for equipment not used on a daily basis. Consider attaching larger equipment like computers or printers to the desk or table with a locking device. Never store unused equipment on top of cabinets, under tables, or in other isolated areas. Secure unused equipment in a cabinet or locked storage area and ensure all items are identified.
Be Alert to Strangers and Visitors
Office personnel and building security should be alert and aware of people entering building at all times. Thieves often pose as repair, delivery, cleaning, or other service personnel. Be suspicious of unknown persons who open the wrong doors and pretend to be looking for a specific office or person. Escort roaming visitors to the right office/area and verify the individual is there. If the person is not there, escort the visitor back to the reception area to wait. If they act nervous or try to exit, remember their description and call security.
Always check the identification of strangers who come to your office to do repair or other service work. Make it a habit to visually inspect ID badges—a uniform alone is not enough. If you are unsure, call the repair company or ask for a signed work order specifying the location and who authorized the work. If possible, stay in the area while the work is being done. If you must leave for any reason, make sure personal items, equipment, and information are secured. Ensure no confidential information is left on the desk or on the computer screen. Do not allow office property to be removed without a written order or a receipt that includes the company’s name, address, and phone number, as well as the name of the authorizing person. Before equipment actually leaves the premises, verify the repair request with the authorizing person. Always check work requests carefully and verify with a supervisor and the repair company. Never allow unauthorized repairs to alarm systems or communications equipment. Report all suspicious individuals to the office management or security.
If working before or after business hours, always keep the facility entry doors locked. Notify security of your presence—in which area(s) and at what times you will be working.
Employees should secure their personal workspaces at all times. A thief only needs a few minutes alone to find valuables not safely stored. Store purses and other items of value in a secured area, not hidden under a desk or in a drawer. Do not leave laptops unattended in your office or at meetings. If your laptop is in your car, be sure the vehicle is locked and the laptop is hidden from view. Store handheld devices properly, and lock laptops to the desk if possible. Itemize serial numbers for any portable electronic devices. Mark personal property using initials or an identifying number or tag.
Finally, be discreet. Don’t advertise or post vacation plans or absences by you or your co-workers when a stranger is present in the office.
If you witness a burglary, theft or act of vandalism being committed:
For more information on this and other security related topics, visit the Securitas Safety Awareness Knowledge Center at:
ConferenceMembershipTraining & Certification
TRAINING & EVENTS
1305 Krameria, Unit H-129, Denver, CO 80220 Local: 303.322.9667
Copyright © 2015 - 2018 International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection. All Rights Reserved