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.

 

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Keeping Kids Safe This Summer

All of us here at Security Consulting Investigations, LLC and at True North Ministry want you to have a GREAT summer with you family. Here are some basic tips on how to help you and your families to help keep your children safe!

Safe Summer

God bless!

Doc Ross

The Coming Storm

All across America, there is a storm coming. The wind is just beginning to pick up ever so slightly. Some of the folks who have been around awhile, kind of like yours’ truly, are saying something like there’s a rain in the air, we can smell it; we can feel it in our bones… America, a storm is coming.

Have you watched a summer storm begin long before the sky gets dark? It begins with a smell in the air. Your grandma may have said something like “It smells like rain…” and then the slight breeze that doesn’t seem to be anywhere except in the trees begins to rustle the leaves. If you watch closely enough it is almost as if you can see the leaves turn themselves over so that their porous underside can soak up every drop of the coming rain.

Leaves anticipate the rain
Leaves anticipate the rain

Next the clouds begin to darken and the wind picks up a bit. If you are living on a farm you see the chickens and other small animals are anticipating the coming storm and they start to find some shelter. Some seem to not care and you understand where the phrase: ‘doesn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain’ originated. The larger animals seem to know when things are going to get really heavy. The cattle will group together and all of them put their backsides to the on-coming storm, huddled together for warmth and protection – there is a lot of common sense we could learn from animals.

Huddle up!
Huddle up!

Some of the larger animals that have a season or two on them are moving slowly toward the center of the field if the path to the barn isn’t open yet for feeding time… they begin to move toward each other, starting to form a protective huddle. That huddle can be good if the storm is going to come and then pass you by but if it is a real cyclone kind of storm burying your head in a huddle might keep your nose dry; but you’re sure enough risking another part of your anatomy that is best not left in the wind! It’s kind of hard to defend yourself from the onslaught of what is about to come your way when the only thing you can see is the other cow’s nostrils. Maybe, America, instead of being a bunch of befuddled bovine, we need to begin to act more like the wild mustangs who are defiant of the wind in their mane. They snort and flare their nostrils, raise back their head against the stinging rain and rare up on their back legs, striking out at the storm and the lightning flashes as if defying it to come and get them.

Stallion in the Storm courtesy www.chickensmoothie.com
Stallion in the Storm  

Certainly the animals that take shelter and huddle together, they know a storm is upon them are wise enough to recognize a storm before it hits. But unless they are completely resigned to just take whatever happens with a “just let me be and when its all over, if I’m still able to stand I will keep chewing my cud and hope the next storm isn’t as bad” attitude, they really have no hand in protecting themselves or the rest of the herd, including their little ones. The stallion, the defiant one stands against the storm as if to say, “Not on my watch! No storm is going to take my life, my freedom, or my off-spring from me!” America, a storm is coming… I can feel it in the wind. Are you ready?

Cowboy lantern

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!

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