Doug Bedell — March 27, 2020, 3:06 pm

Because of the Virus, REAL ID Deadline Pushed Back a Year

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the Department of Homeland Security’s priorities in terms of the deadline for REAL ID drivers’ licenses. The deadline had been October 1st of this year – it’s now October 1, 2021, a year later.

As Homeland Security explains it, “The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.”

It’s the last item, boarding commercial aircraft, that has the greatest impact on the public at large. Without a REAL ID – confirmation of identity, usually via a driver’s license – would-be passengers aren’t permitted to board commercial airliners. That’s intended to keep illicit “travelers” off the planes.

Doug Bedell — March 25, 2020, 3:26 pm

How COVID-19 Got Launched on the World

Here, from In Homeland Security, is what led up to the COVID-19 pandemic, the better to understand where we are in today’s setting. “With practically the whole world facing an economic free-fall from the COVID-19 pandemic,” writes William Tucker, “it’s natural to inquire as to how all of this came to be.

“Pinning down the precise date or single source of the first infection is difficult. The two leading theories suggest that the virus originated in bats, jumped to an intermediary source, then made its way to humans. The other possibility is that the ‘virus was largely non-pathogenic before making the transition to humans, and only evolved into it’s [sic] current deadly form within the human population…

“Because we don’t fully understand how the virus came to infect humans, we also don’t know when the initial infection occurred. What we do know is that sometime last December, Chinese healthcare workers discovered the infection and its associated virus, and they reported it. But the Chinese government arrested the whistleblowers, destroyed blood samples and then began a campaign to cover it all up…”

Read on to become more fully informed on the origins of this scourge of our times.

Doug Bedell — March 23, 2020, 3:51 pm

What Security Pros Need to Know About COVID-19

Security Magazine passes along from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) these guidelines for law enforcement and security officers on protection against
COVID-19, the life-threatening virus

• Recognize the signs and symptoms of COVID 19.
• Protect yourself from exposure.
• Maintain personal protection equipment at the ready.
• If close contact is made with a suspected source of COVID-19, clean and disinfect your protection gear promptly. And follow standard procedures for containing and laundering clothes.

And, “Remember, be aware of who you are coming in contact with and watch for signs of exposure. Keep your distance. Follow common sense hygiene protocols. And document any possible exposure.”

Doug Bedell — March 20, 2020, 5:53 pm

Security Promptings During ‘Virus-Time’

Maintaining cybersecurity is likely to be challenging in the next few months, with so many Covid-19 pressures working against our normal routines, advises.

So here are some suggestions:

• Take stock of your current activities and focus on defending you key assets as best you can. That’s why you’ve been building a resilient organization, right?

• Respect the challenges staff members can face in working from home.

• Keep decision-making channels open and as clear as possible.

Tim Rawlins, the director of NCC Group in England, has furnished these welcome promptings via Infowatch.

Doug Bedell — March 18, 2020, 12:04 pm

Drones: A Big Role in Security’s Future

The more we learn about drones, the more we become impressed by their versatility as security guards. SecurityInfowatch is the latest source of information on their capability.

Where we may be headed: “Will drones have an impact on the contract security personnel market? It’s probably not as unlikely as you may think.”

“A key to all security events is the timely, efficient understanding of pertinent details and the communication and assignment of actions in response to the event. In these situations, drones” advises Infowatch, “have an unfair advantage; details of the event and assigned actions are uploaded directly via software to the drone for immediate deployment. In the case of an intrusion, a geospatially-enabled video management system (VMS) can automatically inform the drone of the type of event (e.g. human intrusion) and the exact location of the event via GPS coordinates. The drone can immediately dispatch and fly to the exact event location using pre-defined flight routes or computer vision assisted free flight.”


Doug Bedell — March 16, 2020, 1:42 pm

A Perverse Security Moment: Coronavirus Sets Us Apart

With coronavirus, we’re at a moment now – may it be a short one – when security means separation. In Homeland Security muses on that theme: “The threat of coronavirus is actually creating physical and emotional distance. It’s caused people to stockpile food and stay home. It’s caused employers to close offices, schools to cancel class, cities to ban large gatherings and even churches to shut their doors. This social distancing is vital to stemming the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19, but runs contrary to the purpose of our infrastructural systems. Our infrastructure—including everything from mass transit systems and roads to buildings and structures to utilities and power grids to railways and waterways—is intended to connect people and enable the movement and accessibility of information, goods and services.”

True indeed. But in the face of a “biological disaster”, we’ve got to turn away from togetherness and retreat to a degree of wary separation. And that might last for a while.

(The In Homeland Security post explores these alternative realities. It was written by Remington Tonar and Ellis Talton from Forbes “and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.”)

Doug Bedell — March 13, 2020, 12:37 pm

SIA Provides a Virus-Response Post of Special Value

The Security Industry Association blog provides “a selection of public informational resources that anyone can access to prepare for this public health emergency (COVID-19 virus)”.

You can find guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Society for Human Resource Management, this one on Creating a Telework Program. The post is a real virus-time service. Check it out.

Doug Bedell — March 11, 2020, 3:50 pm

Apple iPhones Soon to be Opening Doors

Open a presumably locked door with your smart phone? explains how Apple will soon be making that possible via the upcoming release of a new iPhone 11.

“It has been nearly a decade since HID Global launched a pilot program to validate how mobile access control using Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled smartphones can enable employees to open doors using a mobile device without compromising an enterprise’s physical security.

“But progress – as it often is in the security industry – creeped along at a decidedly measured pace among manufacturers, mainly because only one major smartphone providers truly supported NFC in the first place.

“More than eight years after HID’s first pilot programs were completed, the pace of innovation is poised to be turbo-charged, as Apple has announced it will finally support NFC natively with the release of the new iPhone 11.”

Oh, the security magic of our times!

Doug Bedell — March 9, 2020, 11:53 am

A Ranking Admiral at Sea on Cybersecurity

Admiral James Stavridis, the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, provides perspective on cybersecurity on the DarkReading website:

“In cyber, we see the greatest mismatch between level of threat and level of preparations. In the physical world, we had a lot of threats. You know, Russia, Afghanistan, Libya, the Balkans, piracy — lots of threats, but we were pretty well-prepared to deal with most of them. Unfortunately, in cyber, there was a real gap and I think there continues to be a real gap. I see a lot of concern in the geopolitical space. And I see a lot of concern in the national electoral space. Those are my two areas of real concern and focus right now…”

In short, cybersecurity remains a prime area of security concern. This is a riveting interview.

Doug Bedell — March 6, 2020, 9:54 am

Protecting Web Browsers from Security Abuse

Brian Krebs of KrebsOnSecurity provides information on why it’s a good idea to limit the number of extensions added to a web browser – they can increase the possibility of intrusion by hackers.

“Last week, KrebsOnSecurity reported to health insurance provider Blue Shield of California that its web site was flagged by multiple security products as serving malicious content. Blue Shield quickly removed the unauthorized code. An investigation determined it was injected by a browser extension installed on the computer of a Blue Shield employee who’d edited the web site in the past month.

“The incident is a reminder that browser extensions — however useful or fun they may seem when you install them — typically have a great deal of power and can effectively read and/or write all data in your browsing sessions. And as we’ll see, it’s not uncommon for extension makers to sell or lease their user base to shady advertising firms, or in some cases abandon them to outright cybercriminals.”

A web browser is like your own personal library. Keep it as secure as possible.