Major incidents of terrorism regularly cause widespread false bomb alerts and threats - as Islamic State have carried out successful attacks in the United Kingdom, so too has the risk of evacuation and police cordon risen significantly. But what does the data say about disruption to companies across the country?
We have analysed bomb threats and precautions in the UK over the past year – this has been conducted with our insurance partners at the Arthur J. Gallagher terrorism and political violence team.
There have been 218 bomb threats since 4 September 2016. The majority of these have been suspect packages, but interesting and significant trends were identified. There have been:
✓ A high number of phone-in bomb threats against hospitals and schools.
✓ Very few events targeting government buildings, with the vast majority affecting commercial assets.
✓ Significantly higher number of incidents and cordons at train stations and airports due to higher state of readiness.
✓ A disproportionately high number of events affecting Northern Ireland
✓ A statistical increase in bomb alerts after large terror attacks such as Manchester and London Bridge for a period of 2-3 weeks each time
Explore the map below showing locations and tweets to get a better understanding of bomb threat locations across the UK.
As Islamic State begins to lose territory in the Middle East, they have already stated that their tactics will change: particularly targeting high net worth individuals and businesses. But what does this actually mean to families and organisations, and is it credible?
Click 'Full screen' on the PDF below to read our latest thought piece by Laura Hawkes.
We were recently pleased to be invited to speak at Meetings Voice in London - a forum for events professionals and planners to share experiences and best practices. We've published our guidance for events professionals below, providing an overview of the activities that need to be performed to protect staff, delegates and contractors - wherever in the world you may be thinking of hosting an event. It covers understanding security threats, choosing a secure venue, creating security and emergency plans, identifying external security providers and security advisers, and carrying out emergency response.
It took just six minutes for tickets to sell out for “One Love,” Ariana Grande's all-star benefit concert for victims.
That there is such demand for the “One Love” concert shows that the suicide bomber, who killed 22 people and injured 116 in last month’s attack on Manchester Arena at an Ariana Grande concert, failed to dampen the spirits and enthusiasm of concertgoers or deter crowds from attending high-profile events in confined spaces.
Yet fans looking forward to attending tonight gig would be superhuman not to feel a twinge of anxiety that the venue might once again prove a target for terrorists, especially in view of the terrorist atrocities in London Saturday night.
Parents will no doubt reassure themselves that lightning rarely strikes twice. However, the truth is that the dreadful events of May 22 will have a significant impact on security at music gigs and will affect all those who attend them. Armed police; long queues for airport style security checks; and new restrictions on what can be brought into arenas are all likely to become the norm.
All fans entering the Old Trafford cricket ground for tonight’s concert will be searched. Authorities have asked people not to bring bags and there will be additional security checks taking place in the general area.
Event Commander chief superintendent Stuart Ellison has said, “We have dedicated resources, with a significant number of officers from the Greater Manchester Police and colleagues from other forces, some of which will be armed.”
Manchester is not alone in ramping up its concert and event security. The worldwide reaction to the suicide bombing by British Muslim Salman Ramadan Albedi has been to tighten security. Some 1,200 security officials were patrolling the Rock Am Ring concert in Germany this weekend, which was evacuated due to “concrete leads” of a possible terror threat.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Americans may experience increased security at public events. In Singapore, organizers of Britney Spears’ June concerts said new measures were being implemented, and Hong Kong has gone a step further for Ariana Grande’s September concert by introducing airport-style metal detectors.
Arenas will resemble rings of steel with numerous layers of armed police officers and private security details causing long queues for the public.
Since 2001, international terrorists, dominated by Al Q’aeda and ISIS, have repeatedly targeted vulnerable civilian locations across the world. For security experts, it’s a game of cat and mouse to foil further attacks.. After 9/11 and Richard Reid’s attempted ‘shoe bomb,’ airport security now combines advanced intelligence procedures for background checks, high-tech scanning systems, behavioral analysis software and, of course, removing your shoes to pass reach the departure gates.
With terrorist methods evolving from 9/11 to ISIS marauding gunmen in shopping centers and hotel resorts, security services worldwide have been stretched to the limit. More recently we have seen ‘lone wolf’ acts from individuals self-radicalized online, using everyday items such as kitchen knives and vehicles as instruments of terror.
As methods have evolved so has the way in which attacks are planned. Use of encrypted messaging apps have made detection of plots by intelligence agencies increasingly difficult.
In the past two years, we have seen attacks in public events ranging from sporting events like the Boston Marathon and a Stade de France soccer match to nightclubs and concerts such as the Bataclan in Paris and Pulse nightclub in Orlando to Christmas festivals in Berlin.
The response has been to dramatically increase layers of security at all these types of venue, resulting in longer queues and more public searches for the public.
The Manchester attack represents a depressing new low: a deliberate assault on innocent young people and children enjoying music. It also represents an act of desperation by Islamic terrorists. They have been hit hard in Syria, Iraq and Libya, losing funds and recruits. Many have predicted a blowback of terrorism across Europe as ISIS loses further territory. Meanwhile Al Q’aeda has become resurgent in Yemen.
Western security services have actually improved, foiling numerous plots. But Manchester and London will not be the last attacks and it’s now natural to question both which public event or venue will be targeted next and whether it is safe to go out anymore. This is exactly the type of fear and anxiety that Islamic extremists are seeking to sow as they attack Western values.
What is likely to happen next? After any attack, a government must be seen to act by introducing new security measures. First it was airports, then sports stadiums and now many of these measures will now be rolled out to concerts and festivals.
The reality is that the greatest act of defiance against terrorism is for the public to keep calm and carry on attending sports matches, concerts and festivals.
The One Love concert is exactly the right response since it shows terrorists they will never prevail.
A prerequisite of holistic family safety is mitigating online threats - so a level of understanding of how information can be retrieved from the internet is essential. We often focus on protecting online data and individual devices: as the ‘internet of things’ grows it will be the unforseen devices that we forget about – which are naturally insecure – which will cause the most significant and intimate data breaches.
Platforms such as Shodan search out these forgotten devices and index them, essentially becoming a ‘Google’ for identifying easily hackable devices – including everything from baby monitors to home CCTV.
Search engines and social media provide specific personal details that can be easily gathered by advertising firms. A recent example of this was in February 2017, when electronics company Vizio was caught ‘spying’ on customers by tracking their viewing habits and selling that information to marketing firms and data brokers. Even more sinister - open source surveillance conducted by hostile actors, from terrorists to organised criminal networks, can equip them with the necessary details of anything from names and personal information about family members, to favourite restaurants and personal assets. This information can then be used by criminal networks to launch targeted attacks on individuals and their properties.
There are several simple steps you can take to establish some control and privacy over your cyber activities. First is blocking tracker cookies in your web browser, which has two benefits. It protects digital assets by ceasing to share your browsing history with other websites, which has positive implications on your personal security, secondly it benefits your wallet- through algorithms these cookies provide retailers with information to change pricing based on your previous web browsing.
Secondly, where many fall short is their failure to encrypt traffic to prevent others intercepting it. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) should be used on desktop and mobile devices allowing you to not only bypass geo-blocks but also ensure the data that you are transmitting and receiving remains private.
A third step would be to install a private server, or Tor network, to anonymize your network. In this case, in order to understand cyber criminals, it is important to think like one. According to stats published by the Office of National Statistics, in the UK alone, almost two million cybercrime incidents were recorded from Sept 2015 to Sept 2016. They, more often than not, use an anonymous server to direct internet traffic through a global network consisting of over seven thousand relays, which operate to conceal your browsing history and location. However, it is easy for the police or intelligence agencies to find out that you have a Tor network; which begs the question, if you have one what are you hiding?
However, if downloading multiple platforms and software onto your devices seems daunting, then buying an off-the-shelf super-secure phone is an effective option. Although these come with a rather hefty price tag, the latest security-led phone by DarkMatter offers ultra-secure end-to-end encryption. Known as ‘Katim’, the device also offers two-factor authentication, and over a dozen additional security measures specifically made to deter even the most sophisticated hackers. Other, slightly older yet noticeably cheaper, phones exist on the market also, such as Sikur’s GranitePhone, which promises their usual secure messaging technology and OS encryption.
At AnotherDay we believe that in order to comprehensively navigate your way through the complicated and time consuming world of cyber defence it is advisable to enlist the help of a security company with relevant expertise in intelligence. As such, a tailored review and assessment of your specific cyber vulnerability and threats you and your family face is of paramount importance.
We use various state-of-the-art technologies and intelligence platforms to provide bespoke privacy guides, similar to those used by journalists or political activists to purposely avoid national and transnational surveillance. We place operational security, encryption, tracking blockers and platform advisory at the heart of our consultancy for our most important clients: you and your family.
Fraud, malfeasance, corruption and theft can feel like it’s increasing – but the only way to truly understand it is through the lens of an arms race. The incidence of such crime is difficult to measure, but there can be little doubt that increasingly complex tools and techniques – much of it digital – is significantly increasing the damage each incident does to an organisation as well as the losses incurred. As the adversary fields more advanced weaponry, so must we.
Prevention is the best cure; however, there will always be bad apples, no matter how you organise the cart.
This could be through various guises – both blatant and underhand theft, corruption, voluntarily assisting organised crime, and fraud. Perpetrators conduct themselves safe in the knowledge that the company processes are unlikely to identify their actions until it is too late, the police do not have the capacity to investigate many of these crimes, and furthermore obtaining definitive proof can be difficult, costly and time consuming.
From years of experience in dealing with organised criminality, we know that a comprehensive overt investigation, with a tailored covert response, is the most likely solution to identify perpetrators, obtain the evidence to prove their wrongdoing, and ultimately either dismiss or convict those responsible.
Overt investigation is crucial; but must be done in a way that bears scrutiny at court or an employment tribunal. Through the interviewing of witnesses, the examination of relevant documentation and data, and analysis of open source media and big data, AnotherDay can establish the core facts around a breach of security and trust.
However, this can often lead to more of a challenge. Who actually used the computer where the breach took place? Who actually took the items? Who was meeting the rival company and passing on the sensitive data?
This is where an intelligent, customised covert approach will provide a complete package to plug the evidential gaps. This is an integral part to a professional investigation to fully identify all those involved in a breach of trust, and provide overwhelming evidence to support any decisions you make. Nowhere was this more seen than the Flying Squad Hatton Garden heist investigation – fully conversant with conventional police investigations, the suspects left very few evidential leads. However, following extensive surveillance, technical methodology and with expert investigators, overwhelming evidence was obtained leading to convictions of all those involved in the conspiracy, and a huge amount of stolen property recovered.
AnotherDay gives you that elite skill set, tailored to your needs. We will help you in obtaining evidence and intelligence to help make key decisions on your future security, safe in the knowledge that all the available facts are at your fingertips, and work with you to ensure these problems don’t arise again.
Too often, security is regarded as a physical measure such as having a bodyguard, improved door locks, installing a CCTV, or traveling in an armored car. However, genuine security starts with building an intelligence picture about the real time threats that you could face before implementing counter-measures. For most of us, these security threats are relatively low and basic measures can improve our security and peace of mind.
Small steps such as turning off geo-tagging on social media, properly vetting people that have access to our personal lives and conducting research before visiting a foreign country are simple acts to improve your safety.
High net-worth individuals and celebrities whose lives expose them to regular world travel and interaction with large numbers of people need to approach their security with the detail of a government intelligence agency because they are targets for organized crime.
While having a muscular man-mountain next to them might be image appropriate and provide some peace of mind when clubbing in New York, they are no match for sophisticated international crime networks as was proven in the case of Aparecida Schunk, Bernie Ecclestone’s Mother in Law who was kidnapped in Brazil.
It turned out to be her helicopter pilot that provided the vital information to a local OCN. The only way to counter sophisticated crime networks is to get into the mindset of how they operate and then understand your own weaknesses. A full life security review by an intelligence based security company is essential. Staff must be vetted, physical and cyber security penetration conducted on properties and social media, and diligent close protection staff with international security experience hired and allowed to closely integrate intelligent security measures into their lifestyle.
A gulf has emerged in the security market between security companies established by former professionals from national government security services who understand the techniques needed to counter terrorist and serious organized crime networks, and the celebrity bodyguard and nightclub bouncer who offer immediate physical protection from doting fans and the occasional oddball, but little in the way of genuine security.
In many celebrities’ circumstances, it is common sense that would provide the greatest cloak of safety. But their lives can become so sheltered from everyday realities that common sense is the least common part of their lives–or in Kardashian’s case, in the lives of her bodyguards.
In the modern world it’s normal for organised crime and other security threats to be transnational and multi-factor issues which impact societies, economies and global politics. Crimes such as child trafficking child sexual exploitation (CSE) or human trafficking have no borders, and organised crime groups have found these to be extremely profitable and low risk, being able to ‘sell’ or ‘rent’ a victim countless times, unlike other ‘products’.
Increasing evidence point to the involvement of organised crime networks in child sexual exploitation, estimating that a victim earns USD 250,000 per year for their abuser.
Technological advances have exponentially increased the incidence of CSE, and new recording equipment which is now available to practically anyone facilitates the creation of better quality material. The internet and dark web has enabled the creation of networks that facilitate and make 'safer' the production and distribution of such material and to exchange information on how to target minors and avoid being detected by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs).
The new technological environment in which CSE flourishes requires specialized techniques, expertise, tools and training, which require governments to increase their fund allocation significantly. Countries with more capabilities, equipment and better trained officials must undertake capability building and determine viable equal standards for forensic evidence. In order to make a real attempt to successfully combat these crimes, it is crucial to exchange information worldwide.
Policy makers must tread the line between freedom of speech, the right to privacy, censorship and combating criminal activity. International cooperation and information sharing networks that aim to make the investigations of these crimes more efficient, quicker and more effective are essential. Joint action from countries, the international community, businesses, NGOs and citizens is needed to effectively combat the issue. Protecting minors is a test for every country and a strong indicator of it’s ability to combat other forms of crime: it is a test that we must pass.
Recent events in Turkey have demonstrated three things: a split military which does not have enough control to take the country, a president that does not have enough control to prevent a coup, and a world which does not have enough control to understand and interpret the volumes of 'fact' and 'opinion' created by such a shock.
Our social media analytics and remote detection technologies allowed us to monitor these events so closely it almost made us uncomfortable - pushing this out to clients is the easy part. But what good does this do without the context of how our clients might use it?
Telling the difference between fact, fiction, and the vast data in between is not just a problem for us - a changed 'information landscape' in which expertise and objective truth is judged to be secondary has become a key trend in 2016, exemplified by the recent US presidential primaries and the debate over 'Brexit' in the UK. Recent events centred on Istanbul and Ankara have shown that this could be having an effect on traditional power structures - how can anyone have semblance of control without a firm understanding of what is really happening and what is not?
We think we will begin to see this more and more - events which are born through a misunderstanding of the overall political environment, a fate suffered by both Turkish loyalists and rebel factions, and most importantly events which are now shaped through a world which is contantly awake and watching events live through a microscope. The key question for us is how do we provide a valuable service in making sense of the noise.
Our recent assessments of events in Turkey are based on what we see in front of us - raw video and imagery that we can analyse and extrapolate to come up with an outcome. But what then? It has also showed us that the dynamic around 'threat intelligence' must change. Without a detailed understanding of our clients and their operations such generic information is worthless, and only by applying it to our clients' real world problems can it go from being useful information to actionable intelligence. Understanding the difference is key.
We're proud to say that our monitoring supported clients during this difficult period and had a tangible effect on decision-making - but as many around the world are realising, when it comes to the new information landscape, we will have to be committed in reframing the way we use and understand information. You should be too.
Governments invest huge amounts of money in security training and capacity building. But it’s our contention that a lot of that money is being spent inefficiently.
What’s required is a much more nuanced approach to training and development, led by a coherent strategy linked to specific outcomes.
There’s three reasons why we believe most government and security forces training programmes aren't up to scratch. Firstly, too many of the training products that are on the market are too generic. Secondly, too often entire swathes of personnel are being trained in aspects of security that are unnecessary for the specificity of the threats that the country is likely to encounter. And, thirdly, the training is conducted by companies who follow a Western security ethos, that, although proven to deliver results in the short term, often lacks the cultural understanding to make its effects live long in the future.
By investing in better analysis of the security outlook that the Government forces will likely to have to face in the future, at the beginning of a capacity build, we can deliver significant reductions in expenditure during the roll-out phase.
At AnotherDay we build-in an economical but enlightening consultation phase at the beginning of our capacity building projects. This gives our clients a much clearer picture of their training and development priorities. But as well as informing what’s needed, the addition of upfront strategy determines how best the training should be conducted. With the ability to tailor the training products we’ve created, we can then deploy the learning methodology in a way that uniquely pairs with the requirement and fits with the inherent culture of the organisation and the country it represents . The right skills, in the right format for the right outlook, that’s the capacity we’re building.