Doug Bedell — November 23, 2015, 9:31 am

U.S. Security Officials Explain Vetting of Syrian Refugees

Obama Administration officials are trying hard to allay security concerns about Syrian refugees being admitted to the U.S. Government Security News advises that “Senior administration officials spoke by phone today (Sunday, Nov. 22) with state and local law enforcement representatives from across the country to provide information on the U.S.’s stringent refugee admissions policies and security screening measures.”

With all the concern about admitting displaced Syrians to the U.S., it’s worth remembering that refugees have contributed much to our country’s development. Macworld notes, for instance, that Steve Jobs’ biological father, still living, “was a political migrant from the Syrian city of Homs…” And the Apple that Steve Jobs founded is now the world’s largest corporation by market capitalization, $710 billion or so.

Doug Bedell — November 20, 2015, 11:06 am

Cyber Security Requires Continuing Alertness

Businesses of any size are at risk of cyber attacks but, advises, “smaller businesses have become bigger targets for cybercriminals because the bad guys know that they have fewer defense resources than large enterprises.” If you’re smaller scale, what to do?

The Stay Safe Online site has a column’s worth of advice and suggestions on the left-hand side here. They’re worth checking out, but also important, is to have a cyber-aware computer security consultant with whom to check from time-to-time for guidance and reassurance.

Doug Bedell — November 18, 2015, 11:58 am

U.S. Relatively Safer from Terrorism Than Europe, But There’s Always a ‘But’

Here’s what seems to be a reassuring reality: The U.S., notes In Homeland Security, is separated from Europe and its “porous” borders by an ocean, making America relatively safer from the kind of marauding terrorist violence that hit Paris. Moreover, the FBI has been keeping track of Americans (about 250) “who have traveled to Iraq and Syria – or at least attempted to –” and FBI officials “have privately expressed confidence that they have those U.S. individuals contained and that the remaining Americans in Syria won’t be returning to this country unless they’re in handcuffs.”

Fair enough. Yet we’re not invulnerable. Preparedness and vigilance remain the order of our threatened times.

Doug Bedell — November 16, 2015, 10:59 am

Not a Melting Pot? How About a ‘Salad Bowl’ Metaphor?

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, Nick Catrantzos on Homeland Security Watch provides a thoughtful, hence appreciated, discussion of how the “melting pot” metaphor for an inclusive society ought, perhaps, to be replaced by the “salad bowl”.

“Instead (of the melting pot), to the extent any kind of nod to assimilation is even considered,” Nick writes, “the preferred metaphor is the salad bowl. This allows theoretical mixing without loss of identity. Instead of blending in a melting pot, people are supposed to remain distinct ‘chunks’ that tumble in the bowl, coated by some light but not too sticky vinaigrette, such as the shared watching of situation comedies and reality TV shows, instead of shared traditions or, heaven forbid, open profession of allegiance to country or national traditions. Mix together minimally but remain distinct. That’s the mantra. It preserves whatever one wants held inviolate in one’s particular ‘chunk’. And this distinctness also proves handy in clutching resentments.”

Doug Bedell — November 13, 2015, 10:42 am

Belgians Thwart a Terrorist Attack Through a Perimeter Fence

Here’s an actual incident from the Daily Mail in which a gunman drove a car through a perimeter fence at a Belgian army barracks with, obviously, presumed hostile intent. There are lots of pictures to familiarize oneself with the scene. The fence doesn’t seem that rugged, but who would expect to be attacked? That’s, indeed, the point about terrorist intrusions.

One lesson here is that perimeter security is only as good as the weakest link (in this case the fence). When PRO Barrier installs its vehicle barriers we know our customers are getting the best protection possible for their entrance and exit roads, but we don’t stop there. We encourage our customers to make sure there are no hidden weak links in their perimeter security system and offer our expertise to help them achieve that goal.

Doug Bedell — November 11, 2015, 11:12 am

Cyberattacks Creating a Boom Market for Security Techs

Wow! Bruce Schneier leads us to an IT World post by Melanie Pinola on how “Jobs and salaries in cybersecurity are booming. Demand for information security professionals is growing exponentially.”

This is largely because of all the computer intrusion incidents we’ve been hearing about, and trying to ward off ourselves. “With the rise in cyberattacks and more sophisticated hackers, we need more people who can stop and prevent them,” Ms. Pinola advises. “This might be the most in-demand job in IT,” she adds.

Doug Bedell — November 9, 2015, 11:36 am

European Refugees: Vibes Aren’t Great for Security

Robert Liscouski, President Implant Sciences Corp
Well down into a Government Security News interview with Robert Liscouski, a veteran security professional, is this warning about the flood of refugees arriving in Europe from the Middle East: “Most want a better life. Some are committed to ISIS, Al Qaeda and other radical organizations. It’s virtually impossible to determine which is which. In fact, it’s virtually impossible to know anything about each and every one of them. Economies and authorities are being overwhelmed. I think we’ll eventually experience more terror, not less.”

Pessimistic? Undoubtedly so. Realistic? Probably, so. Keep alert.

Doug Bedell — November 5, 2015, 10:11 pm

Homegrown ISIS-Linked Terror Threats On the Rise

Following up on the alarming October Terror Threat Snapshot, November’s, also released by the House Homeland Security Committee, “paints an increasingly alarming picture” of terror activity against the West.

“ISIS-related homegrown terror threats are increasing at an unprecedented rate with a majority of the 900+ homegrown extremist investigations linked to ISIS,” along with “ISIS continues to wreak havoc around the world – including against Western targets, with 18 inside the United States.” And there’s still more…

Doug Bedell — November 4, 2015, 11:57 am

Drones Being Used to Monitor Railroad Trackage

For sites with lengthy perimeters, consider some form of drone flights for checking on the security of fence or boundary lines. This renewed awareness arises from a Government Security News post on how BNSF Railway is using unmanned aircraft to monitor its trackage.

In the first day of operations on October 25, the ScanEagle system “provided real-time video covering 64 miles of the 132-mile stretch of track BNSF has designated for the exercise. ScanEagle is capable of flying for up to 24 hours at speeds of up to 80 knots.”

(BNSF, incidentally, is a combination of 11 U.S. railroads including the Great Northern, Santa Fe, and the Burlington Route. Remember them?)

Doug Bedell — November 2, 2015, 12:02 pm

Add Earthquake Awareness To Your Security List

Quake cottage_edited-1
Especially if you’re on the West Coast, knowledge of earthquake preparedness and response is an advisable security measure. In that regard Government Security News provides notice of two “Earthquake Business Preparedness Summits” this week in Dublin and San Francisco.

Experts, one of whom will be U.S. Geological Survey Seismologist David Schwartz, “will discuss the response implications of a large-scale disaster, as well as specific, actionable steps businesses can take to improve preparedness and avoid business interruption.”