Safer?

SAFER?

Dr. Ross L Riggs                                                                                                               January 2018

author of “Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat”

Not long ago, I was asked to put down in a few sentences how private, licensed security firms and the individuals working for them help make Ohio safer. If you follow my writing at all, you know that I am a strong proponent of the concept that the only person who can make you safer is you. Still, though, there are circumstances in which security personnel add to the safety equation for a business. By keeping businesses safer, the employees and customers are safer. Logic would argue that safer businesses, employees and customers results in an overall positive effect for the state. I’ll very briefly examine three components of professional security which result in a safer community. The three are: Trained, Equipped, and Observant.

We begin with the expectation that every individual employed by a professional security company in the State of Ohio is vetted. A requirement of the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Department of Homeland Security is every person who holds the company license and every individual employed under that license undergo a thorough background check which includes an automated fingerprint check through the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and  Identification (BCI&I). BCI data check

Likewise, any individual to receive on their license an endorsement to allow him or her to carry on-duty must also have a fingerprint record check through the FBI.

First, then, in our list of items that professional security employers provide are agents who are: trained. We will begin with firearms. If a person is to receive an endorsement on their registration as a ‘firearm bearer’ they must first also show completion of either a 140 hour ‘civilian’ firearms qualification program credentialed by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA). The course must be supervised by an OPOTA certified instructor. The only other way in which a person working for a security company is to be a current holder of an OPOTA Certification as a Peace Officer in Ohio and records indicated a firearms qualification within the last 12 months. All firearms bearers must requalify annually.

OPOTA

I have purposely not used the term security guards because of the injustice done to those who work as guards by Hollywood and media in general. The old days of a retired, older gentleman with a large ring of keys in on hand a thermos of coffee in the other strolling from one station to the next where he would insert a key that showed he had ‘checked’ that area and he’d amble on through the night, often afraid of his own shadow or just looking for a place to nap are long gone. As certain as I am that there were those who fit that description to a ‘t’; today they are working their way toward a high degree of professionalism because of the new threats that corporate America is facing in our ever-changing foreign political landscape and home-grown corporate espionage agents both in physical and in cyber security. Many companies use the term ‘officer’ and some such as my own company, use the term ‘agent’ to eliminate any confusion with local law enforcement officers.

Training on the job is an important part of any company’s program for agents. The Ohio Department of Public Safety/Homeland Security makes available for all registered agents on-line training covering a wide-range of topics all of which are relevant to security challenges in today’s corporate climate. In relation to that, ODPS requires very specific insurance that also meets the challenges of today’s world.

ODPS

Equipping of law enforcement officers over the last decade has taken major strides in officer protection and in providing devices for recording interactions between citizens and the officer. Much of the same equipment is required for security work. Depending on the assignment and the location, a security agent may be wearing a uniform distinctively marked, a bullet-resistant vest, firearm, taser, and body-cam. Covert equipment has also taken huge steps in the last two decades. Constantly changing electronics and digital information recorders, covert recording devices, tracking devices and a multitude of tools have make it safer for investigations to progress. Agents must continually stay abreast of ever changing laws that may impact their work.

The third area that I chose to help explain the concept that better vetted and trained security personnel with the best available equipment will help make the regions in which they work safer for all citizens is observant. The term we use at SCI and have stressed in all our citizen safety training publications and articles is situationally aware. Agents receive training in professional organizations on being always aware of their surroundings. We do not preach paranoia but awareness and readiness to act whatever the threat might be. SCI seeks to show everyone we train, whether as an agent or in a community based training, that being aware of your situation is the best way to stay safe and keep others safe as well.Sam Spade

A great deal has changed in private security and investigations since Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade hunted the Maltese Falcon. The world is at our doorstep and its time we prepare ourselves to open the door. I believe that Ohio and other states are safer because of the well-trained security companies that are working together to meet the threats that are facing our private sector world. I encourage them all to stay the course.

 

SCI logo small ovalBook cover 

Click to go to Barnes & Noble to order Stretching the Thin Blue Line

 

 

If You Only Have One Shot You Better Make It A Good One

Golden Boy

Dr. Ross L. Riggs, author of “Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat” 2017

America, it seems, is always facing a new challenge. It is, perhaps, our destiny. From the earliest days of the frontier and the War for Independence, across the centuries, at every turn America and Americans had their work cut out for them. The numbers of Americans who recall first-hand the Great Depression and World War II are quickly diminishing. Those from what has been called, “America’s Greatest Generation” will soon be all past.

As another very dangerous and difficult challenge is facing America, I propose two things for your, consideration. It is at this first point that you will either lay this article down and say to yourself, ‘This guy has no clue to the real world!’ or you’ll keep reading and maybe even come away inspired by America again.

Two points, then, as I make my case. You get to be the judge. It is my hope, by the time my current book signing tour is completed, there will be a new enthusiasm for American exceptionalism. It won’t be because of me, my book or the tour; but, by a growing acceptance for that which I propose here.

The first point concerns the deadly challenge that America is facing. Cyber-terrorists pose a serious threat, but they can be beaten. Cyber-terrorists threaten to reduce American society to a ruined economy with an information infrastructure unable to ever regain its effectiveness. We have the capability to stop them in their tracks. The same terrorists who threaten to eliminate America’s presence in the cyber-technology global economy may watch as their own cyber-capability is obliterated. I believe that Security Consulting Investigations, LLC (SCI) has created the beginning of the end for cyber-terrorists. That is a bold claim. I realize others have come before me and made grand promises. The difference is our solution. However, in some ways, that simplicity may be its own Achille’s heel. The simple solution is dependent upon end-users following the guidelines we put before them. The auto-dealers can make the safest cars in the world; but, because people choose to get behind the wheel and drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol, people will die in those safe cars.

Mare's Leg

Shown here is my personal Henry Arm’s Company, Mare’s Leg in the .45 caliber. It is the prize of my collection, thus far. I say thus far only because I haven’t gotten the other Henry Repeating Arms yet! The Golden Boy, also in a 45 caliber (you might guess what caliber I prefer in long guns and pistols), pictured in the title of this article is on that wish list. In over forty-years of law enforcement and military assignments, personal shooting and hunting I’ve had the opportunity to fire and own some fine pieces. Henry Arms Repeating rifles carry a long tradition of highest quality, attention to detail and a commitment to as near perfection as can be had this side of Glory. Since Benjamin Tyler Henry patented the first truly dependable lever-action repeating rifle in 1860, Henry has been synonymous with the highest quality firearms available. If I am facing a threat and my sole defense is going to depend on a firearm, I want a firearm that carries with it the reputation that a Henry does.

Because of the pain-staking work and the continuing success of SCI’s cyber-technology team, we have a product on which, I believe, Benjamin Tyler Henry would have been willing to inscribe his name. I don’t make that claim lightly and I’m not saying that the Henry family has endorsed SCI’s work. What I am saying is that we, at SCI, are reaching for the bar that Benjamin Henry set almost one-hundred and sixty-years ago. We are asking multi-billion-dollar businesses to look at this small start-up company and say that, in their arsenal against cyber-terrorists, they want the SCI technology. How can I, in good conscience ask companies who have worked so hard to be where they are to trust us unless I so truly believe in what we are doing? I must believe that we have the technology that those companies can use effectively to protect what they have earned.

That brings me to my second point. I will not argue, even for a moment, that the generation of my parents was not incredibly great. They endured, struggled and found their way out of the Great Depression and then marched off to bring victory and freedom to an entire world, particularly to a Europe that was gasping for its last shallow breaths of life. I will argue that we cannot yet know if that generation is America’s greatest because America is not yet finished. The very next generation may be greater than all those who have come before us.

America’s final chapter could be a long way from being written or we could be only one generation away from closing the book. It is God, alone, who makes nations rise and fall. However, how God deals with our nation is a matter of our choices. Just as I have made it clear that SCI has a solution to stopping cyber-terrorists; it depends a great deal on the willingness of every business or individual that chooses to trust us with their information security to follow the protocols that we set forth. It cannot just be a memo from the CEO out to every computer user in the company; it requires the commitment of every single end-user to maintain that security. It is a choice. A company can enjoy victory over the cyber-terrorists, including rogue governments that promote cyber-terrorists to operate under their auspices or they can face severe risk, their company brought to the precipice of destruction by hackers. It matters little whether the hackers are driven by an anarchist mantra or just in it for the Bitcoins.

If you only have one shot… I know first-hand of a police officer who, on an incredibly cold, dark night, in a wind-driven snow faced two career criminals who had just robbed a store at gunpoint. Now, they were backed into a corner, their get-away car disabled, the police officer within yards of them, their stolen money blowing in the wind as the bag had fallen in their haste to get out of the car. They begin shooting at the cop. Carrying just a six-shot revolver, the officer was down to his last shot. With it lined up in the chamber, one robber had surrendered and was standing just a few feet from the officer. The other offender desperately fled on foot, now a serious threat to any local citizen he might meet. He turned once again, fired a shot trying to kill the officer. Now several yards away on this cold dark night, the officer raised his gun and took his last shot. Against all odds, the bullet found its mark and the violent assailant was dead when he hit the snow.

Businesses and industries across the United States have more options for the next new and improved security firewall than spammers have uncles in palaces that need to move their inheritance monies to U.S. banks. Software that seemed to do the job a few years ago is now not worth the time it takes to uninstall them. There are those companies that had a name people trusted but now, those companies are failing in large part due to the poor foundation upon which they were built. Their striving for exceptional excellence and their passion for protecting the client was superseded by their drive for the dollar.

When Benjamin Tyler Henry created his first repeating rifles, America was at its greatest time of crisis. The America he loved was being torn literally in two. His dream was to develop a firearm that soldiers could use that left the old-style single-shot ball and black powder rifle far behind his new technology. Henry knew what he had would revolutionize the world and he knew America needed it to be everything he dreamt it could be. At Security Consulting Investigations, we understand the crisis America is facing. We refuse to subjugate our commitment to exceptional excellence and our passion for protecting our clients to dollars, rubles, won, or yen. The faith-based core of our company values is the keystone by which our clients can place their faith in us. I do not expect any individual or company to trust me because I say so; though my word is my bond. I challenge you to put us to the test for thirty days and if by then you are not satisfied, then review our contract that is specifically designed to protect our clients. If we fail you, we want to make certain that you are covered and don’t lose a Bitcoin because of it.

knight

In the Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade, the knight who guarded the chalice of Christ warned those who sought it to choose wisely. You, as a business owner, may think that with all the solutions offered, you can shop for protection cafeteria style. All you need to do is just go along hoping you find something that works. The truth is you only have one bullet. What you choose today may be the only choice you make before a hacker takes you out and all you worked for is gone. You only have one bullet. Choose your firearm wisely, find yourself a Henry. Then, make your shot count.

Dr. Riggs can be reached at: Security Consulting Investigations, LLC

1.888.719.5636 or director@security-consulting.us

www.security-consulting.us  

book cover article

Dr. Riggs’ book can also be purchased through www.security-consulting.us

 

2017, Pres. Trump, and Full Moats

If the first three weeks since the election are any barometer, the next four-year term of President-elect Trump will be filled with drama. Quality intelligence evaluation and contingency planning are not about drama but, as Sgt. Joe Friday, was known to say: Just the facts.

joe-friday

That is a simple enough statement about intel gathering and dissemination of information that may forestall the next major attempted attack on U.S. interests either at home or abroad. However, it belies the subtle art that is involved in not only reading the intelligence as it is gathered; but, in reading into its context. The message is often more than the sum of the translation. It includes a telltale hint of the motivation behind the dissemination of such information. That motivation will direct the seasoned analyst to dig beyond the face page and into the mind of the author of the text.

Recently, good intel was received that ISIS related malefactors had plans to rent U-Haul type trucks to obliterate crowds at Thanksgiving Day parades and festivities. SCI alerted local and the national offices to the intel. Later, a threat came against the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. As anyone who watched the parade could attest, whatever might have been attempted was thwarted at some level by those prepared to take on the task.

In Dr. Riggs’ upcoming book, Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat there is a call to arms for local citizens to first strengthen their homes, their castles – to make sure that the moat is full and the drawbridge is up. That doesn’t mean that the knights stay inside and await the attack. Rather, they have taken every measure to make certain their family is on a firm foundation in their faith, in their love for one another and in their physical and mental preparedness to meet the enemy at the gate. Once they have made certain their homes are secure, they prepare themselves to meet the enemy ahead of the enemy’s schedule and to help the local law enforcement authorities to do whatever it takes to keep their piece of America safe for themselves and for their posterity.bodiamcastle_cam2_021b

A quote from the book goes like this: “The enemy is on our doorstep. You can hunker down in the house, run out the back door to try to escape, or you can open that front door and send the enemy to meet the Judge. It is time to stop being afraid.”

This book is a call to arms and a call to re-kindle the faith of our fathers who forged the United States of America on the fires of battle against an enemy that was within their land as they held to their faith in God to bring about a peace with honor when the enemy was vanquished and not before. Watch for the book in early 2017 through Motivational Press.

Don’t Get Caught in a Scam, Sam!

IF you get caught in a SCAM – Do not be embarrassed! It is a BIG CLUB! Tell the police and your relatives what has happened.

-Don’t Get Caught in a SCAM, Sam! by Dr. Ross L. Riggs, Director SCI; Retired Chief of Police LPD and author of the Ministry Minute!

THERE ARE WAYS YOU CAN GET ON THE OFFENSE AND AVOID TROUBLE!

People who are seeking a way to get your personal information or force you into giving them money are watching for certain clues that they believe will make it easier for them to get what they want from YOU!

BECOME A HARD TARGET! Criminals are lazy! They want to take on the easy targets. burglar-comic

While I was travelling in Israel, persons in my phone contacts started receiving messages supposedly from me that I was stranded at Heathrow Airport in London and that I needed cash wired right away to be able to travel home. For those friends who knew I was somewhere overseas but not sure where, this was a real issue for them. Others, who knew my exact location notified me of the scam being perpetrated on my friends and helped put a stop to it. Thankfully, no one sent any money. Of course, most of my friends haven’t any money and those who do would never send it to me to get me back from overseas!  If you get such a message supposedly from a friend in need, TALK DIRECTLY to your friend BEFORE any money goes anywhere!

How many of us have received word that we have won a lottery overseas or some person has left us untold fortunes but it is in a foreign country? The people contacting us JUST NEED OUR BANK INFO to send us the cash! WOW! What a deal! Remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true… It is.”bags-of-money

If ANYONE calls you and tells you they are LAW ENFORCEMENT and you are required to pay for an outstanding ticket or if you were enticed to buy prescription drugs by phone to get them cheaper and then the someone claiming to be the police CALL you…Well, let’s put it this way; I was a cop for a very long time and I NEVER CALLED anyone I was about to arrest! HANG UP on these people and call YOUR LOCAL POLICE. They will help you set it straight.

CALLERS who claim to be government or utility companies, MEDICAID or the IRS are NEVER who they say they are! HANG UP – Call your local police if these callers are trying to get you to give out information or pay them money!  dirty-dozen-irs-scam-1-780x439

IF you get caught in a SCAM – Do not be embarrassed! It is a BIG CLUB! Tell the police and your relatives what has happened.

If you are caring for a senior relative and they tell you that they have been scammed, PLEASE, remember it could happen EVEN to YOU! Don’t berate or belittle them. They feel bad enough already! Take care of them with love and grace.scam-call

It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green

The initial video training is just enough information to be dangerous, at least in this author’s opinion.

kermit-3 In about 1972, Jim Raposo wrote a song made popular by Jim Henson singing as Kermit the Frog, ‘It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green’ and such words were never more true than in the world today for some who consult with international organizations and are painting whole countries green! Kermit, apparently has begun to understand the dangerous times in which we live. It is a shame that some of these consultants are not as kermit-2well aware. When I say it’s a shame, I mean shame in the most Asian culture seriousness of the word. Perhaps an allusion to another time in our country when being green was a euphemism for being a novice, inexperienced and in capable of functioning on their own, particularly in dangerous situations, is the best way to understand the color.  

I enjoy allusions to cinema and when those illustrations also include John Wayne, so much the better! In El Dorado, John Wayne plays Cole Thornton, a gun hand who refuses to go against his old friend who is the sheriff in the middle of a range war. Instead, he comes to his aid. The sheriff, J.P. Harrah, gets very irritated at a new friend of Wayne’s character, named Mississippi (James Caan) and turns toward him, gun drawn. Thornton (Wayne) says, “Now wait a minute J.P., he’s a little green…” el-dorado-1

Like an unripe fruit, he was not ready. In this case, he was not ready to be on his own in a dangerous situation.    

What does this have to do with this consultant advising this international agency on security and using the color green? The plan, apparently, was to review the security needs of every country in the international organization’s wheel house. They would then color code them as to the level of security training necessary. There were four categories, red being the highest risk and requiring the most training, orange, yellow and then green. Thirty-four out of sixty-five areas of responsibility worldwide, 52.3% were rated as GREEN and were considered LOW RISK. The most heinous part is that the LOW RISK countries required NO TRAINING. Some extremely basic 3 hour introductory videos are shown to everyone but beyond that – No Training!

Low risk countries included all of Europe; including Germany, France, and Spain and we all know how safe those places are today. Ukraine, recently invaded by Russia with war still prevalent in the eastern cities only rates a YELLOW – two days of training!

Although Eastern and Western Mindanao were considered separately, the Philippines was listed as GREEN, no training needed. Western Mindanao is RED and Eastern Mindanao is only YELLOW – requiring just 2 days of training! I could continue; but, you can imagine that if over 50 percent of an organization’s countries, or areas of responsibility, require no supplemental training at all, what is the level of situational awareness of the people working in those countries?

Let’s take a further look at Mindanao. The company divides it into Western and Eastern as we described earlier. Those were the names used before the emancipation. The correct name for Western Mindanao is the Zamboanga Peninsula. Remember, it is shown as RED and the remainder of Mindanao or what was labeled as Eastern is YELLOW – requiring only two  days of training so near to one of the most hateful bunch of Al Qaeda factions out there. Now, realize that all of Mindanao is only 37, 654 square miles. That is less than the State of Ohio which is 44, 825 and can be traversed easily in a few hours. The Zamboanga Peninsula is only 572.74 square miles, which is comparable in size to New York CITY which is 468.90 without its suburbs! So, here I am in Ohio saying that in NE Ohio I’m okay, only a yellow; but, if I travel a few hours to near Cincinnati, bang- I’m in red territory.

Let’s jump off the island of Mindanao and consider the rest of the Philippines which is GREEN – no additional training needed. Manila, the capital city is about as far away from Mindanao as you can get and still be on the archipelago.  By air it is only 561 miles to Manila from Mindanao and 1040 miles by land and boat. Forty two hours travel in the latter and only 59 minutes in the former. Plus, the airfare currently is only $91 one way. Employees of this company living in Manila are GREEN and require no additional training while they are only $91 and 59 minutes from some of the worst Al Qaeda terrorists in the world.

The United States is listed as GREEN yet shootings, stabbings, kidnappings are on the news almost every night. Should not every American have some understanding of how to be situationally aware enough to protect themselves? Apparently the employees of this organization do not require it. The initial video training is just enough information to be dangerous, at least in this author’s opinion.

No doubt, those involved in this organization went about their task in good faith and put a great deal of stock into what they were being told. I would really like to know what kind of a grid was used to determine the levels of risk.  I would also like to know how, any group responsible for the lives of their employees, and, due to their diverse spread across the world, their employees’ spouses and their children, can consider any of them to not require any real training.

Sadly, if I were to hazard a guess… a deciding factor was cost. To the organization’s credit, they weren’t specifically trying to save themselves money because the brunt of the cost of the training would be born by the employees themselves. That is the way this company is structured. You could say, that a company that was bearing its responsibility correctly, (or  I believe the argument could be made to carry their responsibility morally), should be providing the training at no cost to the employee; but that is not the way it is currently for most of these contract-type employees. 

Over fifty percent of this organization’s area (and probably an even much higher percentage of their actual employees and families) are living in GREEN areas. Very seldom in writing is there an opportunity to use this word, so here goes, I am flabbergasted!

If you could see me right now you might think you were intoxicated or had a head injury because you might just see two of me… because I am simply beside myself on this one!

I truly believe that the organization involved here is attempting to do their very best; but, internally they have almost no expertise by which to filter what they are being told by outside consultants. I have no idea the credentialing of these consultants. Maybe, in many areas they are considered experts. However, it is this one person’s seasoned opinion that they are very wrong in the way they are directing this organization.  I urge any group that decides to depend solely on the opinions of someone or some group from outside their own agency on how best to protect their own people to use the very utmost of caution.

One last movie analogy, in the Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade, the malefactor must decide which chalice he believes to be the cup of Christ. If he picks the right one, he receives immortality, the wrong one brings death. As the Nazis villain decays into a pile of dust, the ancient crusader left to guard the cup says very simply, “He chose poorly.”crusader

 

 

BOMBING at BUDAPEST BANK BEGS ANSWERS

Here at SCI we do not work by way of body counts but we focus on areas where our teammates and clients may be working or their families shopping and enjoying life – unaware of the Damoclean threat hanging over them.

MID-DAY Monday 13 January 2014 – Downtown Budapest, Hungary

An unlikely ‘random’ bomb was apparently thrown in front of a Magyar National Bank (CIB) by a rider on a motorcycle who fled the scene at a high speed. No initial reports of injuries. Questions remain.

This report will examine the implications of the following scenarios for the investigation: the intricate web of Hungarian national government control of banking; Hungary versus the EU in banking regulation conflicts; national banks competing with foreign banks for dominance in Magyar markets and the possibility of a random bomber attempting simply to create mayhem in the city center with the complicated bank issues and investigations as a carefully chosen ruse.

For nationals and those living or visiting Budapest in the short-term, this report offers a new reality based on the introduction of a threat requires personal vigilance and mental preparation.

Should bombings continue – Avoid high risk areas as future events identify those locations.

1.    Maintain a watchful eye whenever in a public place

2.    Particularly watch for the M.O. of a person on a motorcycle carrying a satchel ready to throw

3.    Watch your children and be ready to seek cover if needed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE INVESTIGATION

Why? And why CIB? Two primary questions that require context. It follows:

The recent violence in downtown Budapest is so much an anomaly that it would be easy to bypass the mention of it. International media outlets, if they carried the bombing at all, had just a very short blurb between the sports scores and the weather. The major intelligence sources noted it, but in a simple chronology of ‘what’s happening around the world.’ Unfortunately, the news of terrorist attacks in the world has become common place. The media assigns priority to stories based on body counts and when violence, as in Budapest, comes away with no one dead, it goes to the bottom of the news headlines list. Here at SCI we do not work by way of body counts but we focus on areas where our teammates and clients may be working or their families shopping and enjoying life – unaware of the Damoclean threat hanging over them. Such was the case Monday when a suspect, seen fleeing the scene on a motorcycle drove past the CIB bank building in downtown Budapest. SCI sources are working on providing more details on the location of the branch office. (See map)

Map of CIB sites in Budapest
Map of CIB sites in Budapest

 

 

As recently as February 2012, Hungarian Central Bank was involved in complex political maneuvering regarding the inter-connectedness between the national government and the operation of the bank. The prime minister held the power to dismiss the head of the Data Protection Agency, Judges and to vacate laws that made CIB an ex-officio part of the national government. Government officials wanted, at that time, to require that bank officers take oaths of office and acquiesce to salary caps determined by the government. The appearance of impropriety and the allegations of corruption for some time has led Hungarians to be concerned about the CIB interconnectedness with the national government.

The 2012 political drama was followed by intercession from European officials who saw the Hungarian government’s controlling power over the CIB as a major hurdle for the nation to receive full membership in the EU. In April of 2012, European officials were notified that the Hungarian Economy Ministry had drafted legislation that amended previous laws which the EU believed limited the independence of the CIB to operate within the EU trade markets. Two immediate changes were to eliminate the requirement for a member of the national government to be present for meetings of the bank’s business. The law also eliminated the requirement that minutes of all meetings be copied to a member of the national government. Perhaps the most extensive and politically challenging issue was that the agency was pressed to drop its move for a constitutional amendment that would have permanently  merge the bank with the country’s financial regulator, making the bank an official arm of the national government. These changes were submitted to the European Commission and are under review to determine to what degree these changes will enhance the country’s bid for full membership in the EU.

That returns the discussion back to the two questions: Why? Why CIB? The second question is perhaps the easier of the two to answer. The CIB may have been singled out for the terrorist bombing simply because of its relationship to Hungary’s national government. No other bank in Hungary is entangled with the government as deeply as CIB. International banks and financial institutions of all kinds flocked to Hungary after the Cold War but now operate throughout the city center and beyond with ever-increasing difficulty and financial losses. Many of the international banks and financial institutions are looking for ways out of the financial messes they have encountered while in Hungary. (More on that to follow.)

MNB What does the Hungarian government say about their relationship with the Magyar Nemzeti Bank?  ‘The primary objective of the MNB shall be to achieve and maintain price stability. Without prejudice to its primary objective, the MNB shall support the economic policy of the Government using the monetary policy instruments at its disposal.’ (Stratfor)

“The Magyar Nemzeti Bank” is the Hungary National Bank which is also known as the CIB.

 CIB logo

According to the Act CXXXIX of 2013 on behalf of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB) which went into effect 1 October 2013: The Hungarian Financial Supervisory Authority and the MNB are integrated into one institution. Understanding that, the MNB reports that the European Supervisory and Market Authority has begun work on a reports on market abuse which may take into consideration the intra-relationship between the HFSA and the MNB (CIB).

Some background on the ESMA reveals that: ESMA is an independent EU Authority that was established on 1 January 2011 and works closely with the other European Supervisory Authorities responsible for banking (EBA), and insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA), and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). Its mission is to enhance the protection of investors and promote stable and well-functioning financial markets in the European Union (EU). As an independent institution, ESMA achieves this aim by building a single rule book for EU financial markets and ensuring its consistent application across the EU. In this current investigation for it s report on abuses, among other issues the ESMA is focused on:

• Indicators and signals of market manipulation;

    • Criteria to establish Accepted Market Practices;

    • Arrangement, systems and procedures to put in place for the purpose of suspicious  transactions and order reporting as well as its content and format;

     • Issues relating to public disclosure of inside information and the conditions for delay;

In a SITREP just issued today, intelligence sources in the United States report that Hungary is trying to gain more control over its banking sector. On Jan. 5, Hungarian media reported that Szechenyi Bank, which is partly controlled by the Hungarian government, has made a bid for the Hungarian branch of Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank. Unconfirmed rumors also suggest that another Austrian bank, Erste Bank AG, could receive a bid from the state. The rumors come as Gyorgy Matolcsy, the head of the Hungarian central bank announced that four major foreign banks could leave Hungary in the next year and a half.

In the coming months, Budapest will continue its efforts to put more foreign-operated banks in Hungarian hands. Rather than expropriating banks directly, the government is more likely to execute its strategy incrementally, pressuring banks to deleverage their assets so that Budapest and local companies can buy them out relatively cheaply. Mostly it will do so with the help of domestic businessmen closely tied to the government. This strategy is just one aspect of a broader evolution in Hungary’s foreign and domestic policies, which increasingly deviate from those of the European Union

Foreign banks account for roughly two-thirds of the Hungarian market, and with the exception of the country’s largest lender in terms of assets – OTP, most of the major banks are foreign-owned.


The European crisis changed this dynamic. From a purely financial perspective, the devaluation of the Hungarian forint created serious problems for foreign banks operating in Hungary. Most of these institutions used to offer loans — most notably, mortgages — denominated in euros or Swiss francs. As people became increasingly incapable of repaying their loans, the Hungarian government passed two series of measures (in 2011 and 2013) that converted some of those loans to forints at a lower exchange rate. Brussels criticized Hungary, but it did not actually punish the government for converting the loans.

Could there be a link between the European based ownership of the majority of Hungarian banks, the expected hostile appropriation of these banks by both the Hungarian government and business resources inside Hungary loyal to the government and the terrorist attack on 13 January 2014?

Is it possible that a non-aligned actor, driven by the mortgage crisis be responsible?

Could it be not financially motivated at all but rather simply a random act of violence which either used the bank/government political crisis as a ruse or it was simply a coincidence that it was in front of CIB?

 

As of this report, no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

 

Additional Information

percent of total assets

 

Hungarian Bank

(Note: Intelligence and analysis supplied in part by STRATFOR)

Safety on the WEB

spiderman Not every threat on the web will be obvious to you. Very few will look like this evil looking ‘Spidey’ knock-off. Most will be very much more like your sweet old uncle or a really amazing looking young, beautiful co-ed that for some reason thinks you are her only reason for living! A look at some recent data will be helpgrandfather-and-granddaughter-family-lifestyleful in understanding the nature of stalkers and other criminal ‘entrepreneurs.’ Beside the typical identity theft issues, persons like this young female may be attempting to use what is called legally as ‘undue influence’ where they step into a typically elderly person’s life who is lonely, less capable of decision making and they guide the decisions to their own benefit, often taking all the life savings and having the Last Will and Testament rewritten to their own advantage. SCI is going to review just a few one the issues currently hitting internet users which is called a new type of downloader.

The following report by Dr. Brett Stone-Gross and Russell Dickerson of the Dell Secure Works Threat Unit outlines a downloader threat that is currently loose within the cyber-world:

The Gameover ZeuS trojan, also known as Peer-to-Peer (P2P) ZeuS, is one of the largest and most sophisticated botnets involved in online banking fraud. The botnet operators are very well connected in the underground community, and they rely upon a variety of tools and services provided by other cybercriminals to run their operation. In particular, the group regularly uses the Cutwail spam botnet to lure new victims and the Pony Loader malware to steal credentials and download additional malware, including Gameover ZeuS. In August 2013, the Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) research team discovered that in addition to the Pony Loader, the group is using a new downloader known as Upatre to distribute its malware. The downloader has a small file size and is extremely simple, implementing its functionality entirely in a single function. It downloads and executes a file from a hard-coded URL over an encrypted Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection from a compromised web server and then exits. Figure 1 diagrams the malware distribution process.

The Gameover ZeuS botnet operators distribute both Pony Loader and the Upatre downloader through spam emails sent by the Cutwail botnet. Many lures have used social engineering techniques by impersonating financial institutions and government agencies to trick a victim into executing the malware. The spam emails have an embedded malware executable in a ZIP attachment, so user interaction is required to infect the system. Figure 2 shows an example spam email containing the Upatre downloader as an attachment.

Technical information can be found at: URL: http://www.secureworks.com/cyber-threat-intelligence/threats/analyzing-upatre-downloader/

SCI and the CTU research team advises organizations to remain vigilant and to deploy a defense-in-depth strategy that includes the following components:

  • Educate employees about the dangers of clicking on links and attachments in emails.
  • Filter email / scan email file attachment contents and consider blocking executable file types (including those found in ZIP attachments).
  • Deploy advanced malware protection devices in-line with incoming email streams containing malicious file attachments as well as subsequent file downloads.
  • Implement end-point controls on users’ computers to help limit opening of malicious file attachments and to catch malware installation / execution.
  • Apply post-infection controls such as firewall policies, web proxies, file downloads over HTTPS, and associated log monitoring to identify anomalies.
  • Keep antivirus, operating system, and browser software up to date.

This cyber-report is courtesy of Dell Secure Works at www.secureworks.com and is simply one of the threats that are currently out in the cyber-world preying on those who are browsing the web without the appropriate protecting software and without using some common sense in not opening emails with attachments that are suspicious.

Security Consulting Investigations, LLC is pleased to introduce SecCom 360 –  a video/audio communications system that is web based yet 100 per cent safe, not only protected by what we have dubbed ‘above military grade’ secure encryption but also with Cyber Agents that guard each com-meeting to prevent hackers and other cyber interlopers.

 

Watch for further information from SCI as Sec Com 360 is launched for 2014!

SCI – Building for Tomorrow – Today!

Follow SCI at www.security-consulting.us under NEWS for recent cyber-world updates and current threats. InSCIghts also on www.security-consulting.us provides current issues in law enforcement, security concerns, and cyber-world threats as well as comment on international terrorism.

You can also reach SCI at 330-956-9561 or at inquiry@security-consulting.us