organisation

BSIA expands business awards with three new categories

Industry news The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has launched three new awards, expanding its existing awards programme, opening it up to contributions from across its membership. The Security Business Awards will be presented at the BSIA s annual luncheon, in Covent Garden s Grand Connaught Rooms in July 2017, before an audience of security business leaders as well as representatives from police forces and government. There are three awards categories.

The International Partnership Award underscores the capability of the UK security industry in embodying the BSIA s export brand values of world class security through innovation and experience. The award will be given to a BSIA member company that has overcome challenges to deliver a project outside the UK either for an overseas customer or partner organisation. The Environmental Award recognises the commitment of a security company, or its employees, to improve sustainability within the organisation, or to improve their local community s wider environment. The Innovative Security Project of the Year Award recognises projects that mark a first for either the industry, a particular market, or a new application of an existing security solution. The BSIA s head of marketing and communications, Amanda Caton, says: Our established awards scheme is already successful in enabling us to recognise and reward the outstanding contributions made by security personnel, but we wanted to ensure that we re also recognising companies wider commitments to promoting the worldwide reputation of the industry, improving corporate social responsibility and applying existing solutions in new and innovative ways. Nomination forms are available to download from the BSIA s website. The BSIA is a longstanding and valued partner of, and exhibitor at, IFSEC International, Europe s biggest fire and security trade show taking place 20-22 June 2017, London ExCeL. Get your free badge now. Visit Europe s leading security event in June 2017 Visit IFSEC International for exclusive access to every security product on the market, live product demonstrations and networking with thousands of security professionals.

From access control and video surveillance to smart buildings, cyber, border control and so much more. It is the perfect way to keep up to date, protect your business and enhance your career in the security industry. Click here to register your place now to join us at London Excel on 20 22 June 2017.

More than half of UK business owners unaware of incoming data protection law

GDPR Some 84% of small business owners and 43% of senior executives of large companies in the UK are unaware of the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to a study by Shred-it. From May 2018 the GDPR will replace existing European data protection laws. The purpose of the law is to bring greater strength and consistency to the data protection given to individuals within the EU.

Shred-it s Security Tracker survey, conducted by Ipsos, also found that only 14% of small business owners and 31% of senior executives knew the fine associated with the new regulation, which is up to ‘ 20 million or 4% of global turnover, even despite 95% of senior executives and 87% of small business owners claiming to have some understanding of their industry s legal requirements. If businesses breach the forthcoming legislation and fail to grasp its implications they not only risk severe financial penalties, but also any reputational damage. Research shows that 64% of executives agree that their organisation s privacy and data protection practices contribute to reputation and brand image. Only 40% of senior executives, claiming to be aware of the law, have begun to prepare for the GDPR. This is in spite of 60% agreeing that the change in legislation would put pressure on their organisation to change information security policies. Robert Guice, senior vice president Shred-it EMEAA, says: From implementing stricter internal data protection procedures such as staff training, internal processing audits and reviews of HR policies, to ensuring greater transparency around the use of personal information, businesses must be aware of how the legislation will affect their company to ensure they are fully compliant. According to Guice, governmental bodies such as the Information Commissioner s Office (ICO), must take a leading role in supporting businesses to get GDPR ready, by helping them to understand the preparation needed. We recently reported on how the Minister for Digital and Culture offered reassurances over the impact of a data protection law coming into force next year on the use of facial recognition technology for crime-fighting purposes. Check out the findings of the Shred-It survey in infographic form below Attend IFSEC International 2017 to stay protected As systems and software become increasingly connected, the consequences of a cyber-attack become greater every day, with the average breach costing businesses up to $3.8 million, do not leave it until tomorrow to act.

Visit and see the latest product developments from leading suppliers, live hacking demonstrations, and education from the best in the industry, Cyber & IT Security at IFSEC is an area you can t afford to miss.

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Breaking: NHS IT chaos as systems are infected by malware

Malware called Wanna Decryptor is being blamed by NHS Digital. At this stage we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed, the organisation said in a statement. We will continue to work with affected organisations to confirm this.

NHS Digital is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations and to recommend appropriate mitigations. This attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS and is affecting organisations from across a range of sectors. The National Cyber Security Centre, which was only opened in February, is assisting NHS Digital. That East and North Hertfordshire has had to suspend all of their non-urgent activity and shut down A&E is a testament to how much they rely on their data to operate. Jason Allaway, VP UK and Ireland for RES Jason Allaway, VP UK and Ireland for RES, a specialist in digital workspace security, said: It s becoming more common an occurrence to see ransomware attacks against healthcare organisations; after all, they are a prime target for attackers due to the nature of the data they hold. It s not just a monetary loss when it comes to medical facilities: it s far more important. The fact that East and North Hertfordshire has had to suspend all of their non-urgent activity and shut down A&E is a testament to how much they rely on their data to operate. Education, vigilance and proven technology such as context-aware access controls, comprehensive blacklisting and whitelisting, read-only access, automated deprovisioning and adequate back-up need to be put in place by healthcare organisations to both prevent and combat this problem as efficiently as possible. Today s events are clear evidence that many healthcare organisations still need to invest in this integrated approach to security.

Wake-up call Dr Jamie Graves, CEO of ZoneFox, which specialises in combating insider threats, said: The large-scale cyber-attack on our NHS today is a huge wake-up call. The effects of this data breach include hospitals having to divert emergency patients, with doctors reporting messages from hackers demanding money, a clear signal of ransomware activity. It also highlights the ever-increasing importance of having a 360-degree visibility of activities and behaviour around business-critical data particularly for large organisations like hospitals. Because the NHS holds some of the most sensitive data of all individuals health records it s a goldmine for criminals. While we are still waiting to find out the scale of this attack, it could possibly have severe impacts on critical medical procedures not just a case of reputational damage and financial loss.

Fundamentally, the government needs to pool cyber security specialists together to tackle this growing threat to ensure this does not happen again.

CES 2017: Airthings Wave detects deadly radon gas that causes more deaths than house fires and C02 poisoning combined

CES 2017: Airthings Wave Detects Deadly Radon Gas That Causes More Deaths Than House Fires And C02 Poisoning Combined

IoT innovation Airthings has unveiled a device for the smart home that detects the presence of radon. Airthings Wave, which is this week being showcased for the first time at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, alerts householders to the presence of a gas which is believed to be the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Tens of thousands of deaths globally are attributed to radon, including 21,000 Americans more than six times the number of deaths attributed annually to house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning combined.

Until now tests for radon usually involve charcoal canisters, which take a snapshot of radon levels and only provide results after samples have been sent for analysis in a lab. The constant, real-time monitoring offered by Airthings Wave represents a meaningful advance given that radon levels fluctuate depending on climate, ventilation levels and time of year, among other factors. The rise of the internet of things has emboldened Airthings to believe that radon monitoring could and should become as affordable and commonplace as smoke detection. The device alerts householders to dangerous levels of radon in the environment with a red warning light, while amber signals cause for concern and green means levels are safe. An audio alert is also emitted when radon levels are high, as well as when the battery is low. The Airthings Wave app, which connects via Bluetooth, can segment radon levels into daily, weekly, monthly or yearly periods to help users spot and understand trends in radon levels. Airthings Wave also includes temperature and humidity sensors, which can help give early warning of incipient mould formation. based on Based on data accumulated customised tips are given to help users improve air quality. When dangerously high radon levels persist for a period exceeding national guidelines (48 hours in the US, for example), the user will be notified and receive recommendations on how to reduce radon in their home.

Airthings Wave is wireless and fully battery-powered, with the manufacturer claiming that two AA batteries will be adequate for two years use. Every home should have a radon detector, and it s our mission at Airthings to make that happen, said Oyvind Birkenes, Airthings CEO, in a statement. We re seeing increased attention to radon exposure, thanks to initiatives from the EPA and legislation at the state level. These are encouraging developments and pave the way for Wave s progressive technology to provide consumers with invaluable information and peace of mind that their homes are healthy for themselves and their families. The Airthings Wave smart radon gas detector will cost $200 ( 160) when it launches in the US in early March. Free download covering legal requirements for responsible persons under the FSO, courtesy of the IOSH, BIFM and USHA approved UK provider of health, safety and environmental information. Key features: A full breakdown of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 The key actions when dealing with fire precautions & protection A complete guide to maintaining procedures and requirements within your organisation.

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Five bad online security habits to give up in 2017

Five Bad Online Security Habits To Give Up In 2017

Security tips The issue of cyber security is more in the media now than ever before. A series of hacks on large national and global companies has highlighted two factors: cyber criminals are becoming more effective and companies need to constantly update their cyber security policy. Yet security in your workplace doesn t have to be complicated.

There are steps all your employees can take on a daily basis to minimise the risk of security breaches and cyber attacks. So if you want to make improving security your company s new year s resolution, here are five bad security habits your company needs to stop doing in 2017 . Stop using weak passwords Passwords cause one of the biggest security headaches in every organisation, large or small. If your company doesn t have a password policy, now is the time to get it. Avoid easy to remember passwords like password , your name and birthday or your favourite football team. Cyber criminals will work these out in seconds and compromise your network security. Aim for passwords of a 16-digit length, that include capital letters and special characters. A good tip is to use a phrase or song lyric as a password. However, the most effective way to ensure your security is to use a random password generator or software that secretly stores your passwords for all your applications.

Stop neglecting mobile devices Looking after your security on your computer network is great but what about external devices. Any tablet or mobile that can connect to your network is a security risk and should be taken just as seriously as any other connected computer. Ensure you have a separate security policy for all eternal devices that connect to your network. Enforce end-to-end encryption across all the devices that you provide and that can access your network. Stop forgetting your security settings Having firewalls and intricate security software across your network is great, so use it effectively. Allow time for regular updates, you can even schedule them overnight and keep an eye on your firewalls and what sites you are allowing your employees to access. Make sure security features can only be disabled by you or your security team and avoid granting user privileges to multiple users. Remember, the smaller the amount of people who have privileged access rights, the easier it will be to manage your security overall. Stop opening every email This is a case for common sense.

If an email looks suspicious, out of the ordinary or from someone you don t know, they don t open it, simple! Check the context of emails and google the sender to see if it s a legitimate business. Encourage all your employees to report any suspicious emails or pop-ups to yourself or your security team. Stop leaving yourself on display Ever heard of a clear desk policy? Maybe it s time to enforce one. If your company is tightening up security on your network, encrypting all your devices and updating your firewalls and other security applications, then don t forget the basics. How many of your employees are writing passwords down on post it notes? Printing sensitive information and leaving it on the desk for all to see? Trivial as it may seem, these small habits could.

cause big security problems for your business. Make sure employees lock sensitive information away, avoid writing passwords down at all and keep computers locked when not in use. Start stepping up security in 2017 Security should be a top priority for every business this year. While no amount of security steps, on or offline, can safeguard you against cyber crime, there are at least some simple steps you and your employees can take to help reduce the risk. While much of it is common sense, start by updating your security policy and regularly educating your employees on what you expect of them. Ensuring the security of your organisation is a team effort. Download: The Video Surveillance Report 2016 This exclusive report covers the security needs of surveillance systems as shaped by the physical environment including: What do security professionals think about plug-and-play systems Challenges like low-light conditions or large spaces and the threats posed in various sectors Which cutting-edge features such as mobile access, PTZ smart controls or 4K resolution are most important to security professionals What are the most important factors driving upgrades and would end users consider an upgrade to HD analogue Download the full report here.

CES 2017 sneak preview: Oven that prevents fires and false alarms set to be unveiled by GE Appliances

CES 2017 Sneak Preview: Oven That Prevents Fires And False Alarms Set To Be Unveiled By GE Appliances

Smart home CES 2017 will feature an oven that turns itself off when smoke or fire is detected. Developed by GE Appliances the appliance has been integrated with Google s Nest Protect, a smart smoke alarm for the home. The detector, which also detects carbon monoxide, sounds an alarm and sends notifications to the user s smartphone when the oven has been deactivated.

GE announced the Nest integration in the build-up to CES 2017, which kicks off today in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cooking should be an enjoyable experience, but we know that sometimes there are mishaps in the kitchen, said Paul Surowiec, vice president for cooking products at GE Appliances. Our integration with Nest Protect helps us ensure that our connected oven owners are safer when cooking, especially when the oven is left unattended. Nest Protect features a split-spectrum sensor that uses two wavelengths of light to distinguish between fast- and slow-burning fires. Residents can remotely silence an alarm using the app silence function, even when not at home. From their smartphone they can also conduct safety checkups on sensors, Wi-Fi connection, horn and speaker. Last year we spoke to Nest Labs general manager for Europe Lionel Paillet about how the Nest Protect smoke and carbon-monoxide alarm tests itself 400 times a day and speaks to smart-home lighting during an emergency. The Nest Protect alarm redefines what people should expect from their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, he said. Paillet spoke at FIREX 2016 about how to combat False alarms in the smart home.

The Nest Protect smoke and CO2 alarm Nest Labs was founded in 2011 by former Apple employees Tony Fadell and Matt Rodgers, who sold the company to Google for $3.2bn ( 1.8 billion) in 2014. Other Nest products include the Nest Learning Thermostat and indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras. Free download covering legal requirements for responsible persons under the FSO, courtesy of the IOSH, BIFM and USHA approved UK provider of health, safety and environmental information.

Key features: A full breakdown of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 The key actions when dealing with fire precautions & protection A complete guide to maintaining procedures and requirements within your organisation.

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Win daily prizes for you and your family this Christmas with the IFSEC advent calendar

Installer vs vendor: Paxton takes questions on the plug-and-play net10 building automation system In this video a security installer quizzes Paxton CEO Adam Stroud about the access control specialist’s building automation system, net10. Read More Access control trends in the leisure industry: integrator Q&A We spoke to Stephen Goodridge, product manager at Banbury-based integration firm All Right Now, about a recent installation at Bristol Museum, the opportunities and challenges posed to installers and integrators in the leisure sector and the direction of travel for deployments in this vertical. Read More 4th International Conference on Tall Building Fire Safety returns to London s FIREX International Recognised by the Institution of Fire Engineers, the conference is delivered by subject experts and themes covered include: tall building fire case studies, fire risk management, tall building firefighting.

Read More Putting smart sprinklers to the test FM Global recently tested a new breed of smart sprinklers to ascertain their effectiveness, including in combination with different technologies. Read More Protect yourself against ransomware: back up, educate, patch, contain Some simple recommendations on steps to follow to safeguard yourself and your organisation against a growing threat that can literally destroy businesses. Read More Will fire doors soon have CE markings? The EN 16034:2014 standard, which covers fire doors, shutters, curtains, gates and openable fire windows, was made a European and Swedish standard in 2014. Read More Sony launches eight high sensitivity network cameras with Exmor R CMOS sensors Sony has unveiled eight new cameras with minimum illumination of 0.006 lux and Exmor R CMOS sensors. Read More Deathtrap: The Oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 fire news roundup A fire that broke out in a warehouse in Oakland, California has now killed at least 36 people, with search teams now on their third day of sifting debris. Read More 5 Christmas security tips for retailers To help you keep your stock, staff and consumers safe, here are five Christmas security tips for retailers.

Read More Honeywell launches TouchCenter Plus, a touchscreen interface for Galaxy Dimension and Galaxy Flex intrusion panels TouchCenter Plus is intended too simplify daily security operation with clear graphics and a menu that provides a snapshot of the entire system.

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Putting smart sprinklers to the test

The debate around when and where sprinklers should be installed and if this should be mandated more widely is one of the most contentious in the fire industry. Approved Document B, which outlines the building regulations in force, only recommends that sprinklers are installed in warehouses larger than 20, 000 square metres. Earlier in the year James Dalton, director of general insurance at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), called for mandatory sprinklers in schools and care homes too.

Might the emergence of so-called smart sprinklers strengthen the stance of those advocating mandatory sprinklers in schools and warehouses? The traditional sprinkler that most readers will recognise hasn t changed in any substantive way in appearance or function since Hiram Stevens Maxim (also, ironically, the inventor of something antithetical to life safety systems, the machine gun) pioneered the first automatic fire sprinkler system in the late 19th century. The greater efficiency of modern distribution models has had the undesired consequence of making fire spread more efficiently too. Boxes of often highly flammable materials are now stacked as high as 24 metres in a bid to wring every last bit of value from warehouse square footage. Tightly packed mountains of stock serve as tinderboxes when a fire is started, so many warehouse owners have turned to sprinklers to minimise losses. But conventional sprinklers are no panacea for the challenges posed by huge warehouses with tall ceilings, as FM Global reported recently. If a fire begins at or near the base of a paper stack, the temperature at the ceiling level may not reach a sufficient temperature to activate until the fire has grown substantially and perhaps extended far beyond its original location, said the mutual insurance company in the recent article. The combination of high storage and potential fire spread, dubbed highly challenging fires (HCFs), demands a response that goes beyond the protection recommendations involving traditional sprinklers, notes Christopher Wieczorek, assistant vice president, research group manager for fire and explosion protection at FM Global. Researchers from FM Global, which provides loss prevention services to large organisations, considered the fact that sprinklers s greatest weakness appeared to be inseparable from its greatest strength: the detection and actuation mechanisms are shared.

This has yielded remarkably reliable and predictable responses to fire, but it is insufficient when fires are potentially at a great distance from the sprinkler, the report continued. Moreover, the distance involved increases the possibility that sprinkler activation might still be insufficient to substantially reduce a conflagration. In the age of smart tech, this should apparently now be surmountable, if sprinklers are activated by sensors that are positioned remotely from them. Such early stage detection has been dubbed simultaneous Monitoring, Assessment and Response Technology or SMART. This is indeed smart in the internet of things sense ie, computer chips process inputs from sensors, interpret the data and respond accordingly through a system of discharge devices. FM Global Research has conducted experiments in their Small Burn Lab with a range of fire sizes and locations. Yibing Xin, senior lead research scientist at FM Global, found that in a test of a 13 metre-tall roll paper storage, a traditional sprinkler did not activate until flames were at least 15 metres above the floor. Our SMART system activated when the flames were only 14 feet (4 meters) tall, he said. FM Global found that using more than one detector technology ideally one that detects temperature changes and another, the presence of smoke was the best way of detecting accurately and responding quickly.

It also cut the risk of false alarms and could triangulate the precise location of the fire more accurately than a single sensor. Xin said the tests had opened up the possibility of using different kinds of sensors or a network of sensors, perhaps one day including infrared and video image-based detection. Click here to find out more about FM Global s findings. Free download covering legal requirements for responsible persons under the FSO, courtesy of the IOSH, BIFM and USHA approved UK provider of health, safety and environmental information. Key features: A full breakdown of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 The key actions when dealing with fire precautions & protection A complete guide to maintaining procedures and requirements within your organisation.

Download now

Protect yourself against ransomware: back up, educate, patch, contain

Protect Yourself Against Ransomware: Back Up, Educate, Patch, Contain

Ransomware operations are so rewarding in terms of hard cash that infosec specialists point out that regular cyber criminals are abandoning old methods of earning money like credit card fraud and stealing bank account info. Lawmakers are correspondingly focusing more on these cyber extortionists. I m afraid, however, that we shouldn t really rely on the authorities to protect us.

Any one of us is still basically alone in combating ransomware strikes, whereby hackers encrypt our computers or valuable files in the hope we pay a ransom to get our data back. You may choose to pay out, as many victims do. The FBI has said that people who informed the Bureau of ransomware episodes added about $24m to cyber criminals coffers in 2015. Yet even if you ve copied all your data to the offline backup in secure storage and decide not to send pay hackers, your damages will still include the price of cleaning devices and systems and recovering backup data. The latter may take several days or even weeks, varying with the size of the network. Nevertheless, you aren t entirely vulnerable to the whims of hackers. Below are some simple recommendations on steps to follow to safeguard yourself and your organisation. Any business or organisation that relies on constant use of crucial data and literally can t survive if it loses access to that data even for the shortest period of time needed to react to the breach should be most worried about the ransomware threat First things first, what kind of organisations tend to be targeted for ransomware attacks? Any business or organisation that relies on constant use of crucial data and literally can t survive if it loses access to that data even for the shortest period of time needed to react to the breach should be most worried.

That is why hospitals, banks, police departments, airlines and other institutions need to be the most alert to possible threats. Any big company or public institution is also in danger, as well as critical infrastructure, to some degree. For example, ransomware might damage the Windows systems that water and power plants employ to keep track of their operations. Home computer users are also vulnerable to ransomware. If you prefer to backup to on-site storage or servers rather than cloud storage, they must be offline and not linked to desktop computers Back up The ideal protection against ransomware would be to outsmart hackers by not becoming susceptible to their threats. What this means is backing up valuable data files each and every day so that even if your PCs or servers get encrypted, you won t be compelled to pay to get your files or systems back. Many ransomware authors look for backup drives and devices to encrypt them too by initially obtaining access to desktop computers then travelling through your environment to reach the backup servers. So if you prefer to backup to on-site storage or servers rather than cloud storage, they must be offline and not linked to desktop computers. With clear, correct instructions and regular training it s possible to drastically reduce the incidence or risk of online breaches Many people keep files on network shares, unaware that network shares are as exposed as your desktop computer during a ransomware incident.

In case the backup is achieved offline, and that place is not accessible from the computer that is initially compromised, then you re alright. The same principle applies if you carry out your personal PC backups with a secondary physical drive. Those disc drives need only be in touch with your computer when conducting backups and turned off immediately after that. In the event your backup disc is linked to the computer during the period the ransomware operates, then it might get encrypted too. Backups won t automatically make a ransomware incident pain-free, as it can take days or weeks to recover data, potentially disrupting business processes. Some healthcare institutions decide to pay the ransom simply because patients lives are at risk and even short downtime is considered unacceptable. User awareness training Phishing is a popular form of bait when it comes to infecting computers. The hackers spam you with messages with infected attachments and lure you to click on a web link that leads you to a hacked website from which ransomware can infect your computer with the help of an exploit kit. Malvertising is another highly effective infection vector.

This means hacking into an ad network and embedding a virus in advertisements that get served via websites you respect and know very well. Ad blockers, which are browser plugins, can help block those harmful ads. Patching web browsers is an important step to keeping malware at bay too. Imitation ransomware attacks have seen the number of workers clicking on phishing links plummet from 16% to 1% in some organisations Cyber security professionals generally recommend that organisations provide training to their employees on how to recognise phishing emails and scan email attachments for viruses prior to opening them. With clear, correct instructions and regular training it s possible to drastically reduce the incidence or risk of online breaches. You could even bombard your workers with fake, harmless phishing attacks to test their vigilance and turn it into a game. Why not make it a routine element of corporate life? Imitation ransomware attacks have seen the number of workers clicking on phishing links plummet from 16% to 1% in some organisations. Patch Employees should not be regarded as the final defence line.

Your users may still periodically click on attachments or visit compromised websites. When that occurs, you need to be sure that your security software safeguards you. There are numerous end-point security solutions built to defend computer systems from the latest virus attacks. To detect viruses, these solutions use behavioral analyses to identify unusual moves and connections within your environment. However, no security product or service is perfect, so businesses might take additional security steps to stay safe. These steps include: software patching, updating operating systems some of these security measures: During an online attack, cyber crooks take advantage of security holes in third-party plug-ins like Flash and Java , so it s crucial to keep those updated. Whitelisting computer software operating on devices is also an effective method for preventing breaches because the lists won t allow your PC to run any software or code that s not previously authorised. IT personnel initially examine a computer to list the trustworthy software programs, after which they configure it to stop executables from launching and installing. System admins can implement techniques that restrict system permissions and user privileges with an admin s password.

You might also want to segment use of valuable data with supplementary servers . Instead of allowing a large number of workers to reach files on just one server, you can divide staff members into small sets, so if one server becomes encrypted by ransomware, it won t impact all employees and all data. This strategy means hackers have to work harder to cause substantial damages, because they must discover and encrypt several systems and servers instead of one. Contain When Washington-based healthcare giant MedStar Health was attacked by ransomware in March 2016, their admins instantly turned off most of the organisation s operations and networks to stop the virus from distributing. Not only should you disconnect and shut down affected devices, but you must also deactivate all Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on the rest of computers to restrict the virus from dispersing to other devices. Following that, you should identify what strain of ransomware infected you. In case it s a known type, antivirus firms might have decryptors to assist you in freeing up important data files without spending money. But if you haven t backed up your data and can t find a solution to break the encryption, the only way to retrieve your files is to pay hackers the ransom. Bottom line Old-fashioned hacks were much less painful for users.

People cleaned their machines and just moved on. But ransomware can quickly ruin businesses. Home users can lose all their family photos. It s easy to see with so much at stake why so many victims pay out. Computer security experts tend to urge people not to pay the ransoms because it only motivates other hackers and feeds this crime economy. But when your own data is not at stake, it s hard to insist that someone should not pay out. Download: The Video Surveillance Report 2016 This exclusive report covers the security needs of surveillance systems as shaped by the physical environment including: What do security professionals think about plug-and-play systems Challenges like low-light conditions or large spaces and the threats posed in various sectors Which cutting-edge features such as mobile access, PTZ smart controls or 4K resolution are most important to security professionals What are the most important factors driving upgrades and would end users consider an upgrade to HD analogue Download the full report here.

5 Christmas security tips for retailers

5 Christmas Security Tips For Retailers

But as consumers flood the high-street in search of food, drink, decorations and presents, retailers can feel the strain: more people means more risk and, unfortunately, more crime. In 2013, the Centre for Retail Research estimated that losses from Christmas crime were as high as 978m with the most commonly stolen goods being alcohol, electronic devices, computer games, women s clothing and fashion accessories and children s toys. Although the organisation has not collected any statistics since, in 2016 it s unlikely that too much has changed.

To help you keep your stock, staff and consumers safe, here are five Christmas security tips for retailers.

1. Ensure fitting rooms are attended It s an old trick, but using fitting rooms to facilitate theft is still a popular technique amongst shoplifters. Fitting rooms afford thieves the time and space needed to remove security tags, switch price tickets and conceal garments on their person. For this reason, it s crucial that you have at least one member of staff manning your fitting rooms at all times throughout the festive season. And remember, shoplifters prefer to shop when staff numbers are low particularly during lunchtime, the early morning and just before closure so make sure that you pay close attention during these times.

2. Greet shoppers as they enter the store Sometimes the best defence is a good offense. To a would-be thief, a simple employee greeting can serve as an effective dissuader, since it demonstrates that your shop is well-staffed and that employees are diligent. So, position a member of staff (or, if possible, a security guard) at the entrance to your shop and give them instructions to welcome consumers as they enter. Not only will this deter criminals, it will make legitimate shoppers feel welcome and create an extra obstacle for any thieves attempting to make a hasty exit.

3. Double-up cashier staff Posing as inquisitive consumers, thieves will often attempt to distract cashier staff with excessive questions and enquiries. This is an effective way of preventing workers from spotting concealed items or switched price tags, and can even give particularly bold thieves an opportunity to grab a handful of notes from the till.

By placing an additional member of staff behind the till whose primary duty is to deal with customer questions, you will stymie these attempts and give legitimate customers a better in-store experience (especially since, as they re often shopping for others, they may have more questions than usual).

4. Respond to suspicious behaviour If your staff spot anything suspicious, instruct them to approach the person in question, ask them if everything is okay and reassure them that they will close-by should they need them. This approach will not be off-putting to honest consumers, but it may be enough to make a potential thief think twice about stealing from you. Things to look out for: possible concealment devices (rucksacks, large shopping bags, loose clothing, etc.), large groups of people (particularly younger people) who loiter in your store without making a purchase, people who appear outwardly nervous (especially when spoken to by a staff member) and people taking large quantities of clothing into fitting rooms.

5. Secure your assets adequately Large crowds make it more difficult for staff to keep tabs on everything that s going on in your store. This provides criminals with an opportunity to slip into your store room, or through the back entrance, and take whatever is available including staff belongings such as phones, jewellery and watches. So, make sure that staff lock the store room whenever they exit it, that your back entrance is secured with a gate and a substantial lock, and that, particularly when taking deliveries, you don t leave stock unattended.

Stay safe and, from all of us at Churchill Security, have a great Christmas!

Download: The Video Surveillance Report 2016 This exclusive report covers the security needs of surveillance systems as shaped by the physical environment including: What do security professionals think about plug-and-play systems Challenges like low-light conditions or large spaces and the threats posed in various sectors Which cutting-edge features such as mobile access, PTZ smart controls or 4K resolution are most important to security professionals What are the most important factors driving upgrades and would end users consider an upgrade to HD analogue Download the full report here.