Doug Bedell — April 11, 2022, 11:05 am

• ‘Food Prices Soaring’ Because of Ukrainian War

The war in Ukraine is teaching us something about global food supplies, and, unsurprisingly, it’s not good, the Associated Press reports.

“Prices for food commodities like grains and vegetable oils reached their highest levels ever last month largely because of Russia’s war in Ukraine and the ‘massive supply disruptions’ it is causing, threatening millions of people in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere with hunger and malnourishment, the United Nations said Friday.

“The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said its Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in international prices for a basket of commodities, averaged 159.3 points last month, up 12.6% from February. As it is, the February index was the highest level since its inception in 1990.”

“Poor weather conditions in the United States and China also were blamed for crop concerns.” But war on the scale occurring in Ukraine is clearly a world security concern.

Doug Bedell — April 8, 2022, 10:50 am

Out and About Again – Vehicle Security Risks Rise

With vehicle traffic picking up after the peak of the pandemic, it’s worth considering the risks of being out among crowds again. Larry Anderson on “Sooner or later, crowded events will surge, as will the danger of injury or death from vehicle attacks.

“The threats of vehicular violence,” Anderson adds, “are still present even though collisions have become less frequent and traffic, in general, is at a significant low. Preparing for such instances remains a high priority, and institutions are seeking to take a preemptive stance to prevent major incidents before they happen.

“Even amid the pandemic, manufacturers of vehicle barriers have not seen a major impact on their sales. ‘Half of the battle against aggressors perpetrating a vehicle attack is pre-planning, says Greg Hamm,’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Delta Scientific. He says Delta is fortunate to have long-standing trust relationships with many agencies, built over the last 46 years.

“’We’re happy to see that demand for vehicle security barriers has not changed much – customers are preparing for the future when crowds will be present again, and probably larger than ever,’ adds Stuart Glen, National Sales Manager of Jackson’s Fencing. ‘Lots of councils are using the downtime to install or upgrade security around town and city centers, which is promising.’ Physical structures such as bollards, barriers, and barricades can stop a vehicle from entering a high-foot-traffic area. Temporary venues can deploy portable barriers.”

Anderson continues with reflections on the types of security protection well worth considering.

Doug Bedell — April 6, 2022, 8:11 am

A Casual Approach to Cybersecurity Won’t Work

Employee training and high priority advisories – especially for remote workers – are important in avoiding computer cyberattacks, Ian Barker writes on betanews.

“A new survey by Egress of 600 IT security leaders also shows that 77 percent of respondents have seen an increase in security compromises since going remote twp years ago, and there’s a continued significant risk to organizations.

“Human activated risk is introduced by human behaviors or actions, through coercion by bad actors, human error or malicious intent. The top attacks associated with human activated risk seen by IT leaders include accidental data loss via human error, employee spear phishing and business email compromise.”

Cybersecurity needs to be taken seriously.

Doug Bedell — April 4, 2022, 11:01 am

‘Truth Decay’ a Hazard Facing Us All

What Rand calls “truth decay” is a security threat to us all.

“Over the past two decades in the United States, it has contributed to political paralysis and eroded the civil discourse a healthy democracy needs to thrive. Addressing this threat will require a coordinated effort from research organizations, policymakers, tech companies, the media, and educators.

“In other words, Truth Decay is not a problem that any one person can fix.”

“Generally, individuals should make it a point to find experts on complex subjects. Don’t rely on friends, family, or the social media account with the most followers.”

We can all be mindful of the hazard in misunderstanding events and experiences.

Doug Bedell — April 1, 2022, 1:55 pm

‘Ghost Kitchens’ May Be Spooky Illegal

Richard Dahl on the FindLaw site advises that “ghost kitchens” have become “an established presence in the restaurant world”.

“Ghost kitchens are food preparation and cooking facilities, often shared by multiple operators, that produce delivery-only meals. When NBC New York pulled back the covers, they found various nefarious activities and cautioned diners that the delivery food they order might be prepared in “unregulated kitchens” lacking restaurant permits.

“These kitchens continued to operate in New York and elsewhere, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in March 2020 that they took widespread root. The risk of contracting or spreading a sometimes-deadly illness convinced diners to stay away from traditional restaurants (if they were even open) and order delivery. Since then, ghost kitchens have proliferated and now lay claim to a firm position in the food industry.

“So, are ghost kitchens legal? The answer is clearly yes, but there are other legal questions surrounding them”.

Read on to learn how ghost kitchens are regulated.

Doug Bedell — March 31, 2022, 3:54 pm

U.S. War Colleges Should Be Training Cyber Security Leaders

Cyber warfare is defined by the Rand Corp. as involving “the actions by a nation-state or international organization to attack and attempt to damage another nation’s computers or information networks through, for example, computer viruses or denial-of-service attacks.”

This is a new kind of battling, not necessarily declared, but one that needs defensive protection anyway. Alfredo Rodriguez writes on War On the Rocks that “With the White House warning of Russian cyber attacks, senior U.S. cyber leaders could soon be forced to make critical and unprecedented decisions in this battlespace. Now more than ever, the Department of Defense needs specifically trained senior officers who have both the technical and strategic education to confront this challenge. The department is currently focused on developing technically skilled people in the junior uniformed and civilian ranks. This, however, is insufficient.

“In order to prepare a new generation of senior cyber leaders, the service war colleges should begin by implementing a ‘Cyberspace Strategic Studies’ track. Although their student bodies vary, these colleges share similar goals: improving the professional education of the highest levels of military leadership and applying the lessons learned during war. This makes the war colleges ideally suited to prepare our future cyber generals and senior civilian leaders.”

This is a dimension of schooling we haven’t heard much about but that’s called for in these digital times.

Doug Bedell — March 30, 2022, 3:30 pm

Internet Crime a Continuing Danger, the FBI Advises

Internet crime is clearly a problem, the FBI’s 2021 Internet Crime Report confirms in the Homeland Security Digital Library.

“The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has released its annual report for 2021. Their 2021 Internet Crime Report outlines information related to the 847,376 complaints of suspected cybercrime, with reported losses at $6.9 billion, that they received throughout the year.

“According to IC3 data, phishing scams, non-payment/non-delivery scams, and personal data breach were the top 3 reported crimes in 2021, and victims lost the most money to business email compromise scams, investment fraud, and romance and confidence schemes. People in the 60+ age group were hit the hardest, as well those residing in California. A more in-depth look at data regarding cybercrime in individual states can be found in the IC3’s accompanying 2021 State Reports.”

We’ve urged this before, but, for security reasons, be careful on the Internet.

Doug Bedell — March 25, 2022, 2:29 pm

Had It With Passwords? We Need Them Anyway

Hampered by passwords, so many to use and remember? Kate O’Flaherty on The Guardian introduces us to password managers. We’re not selling them, so give it a read and decide if you’re interested in trying one.

“In a competitive field,” Kate begins, “passwords are one of the worst things about the internet. Long and complex passwords are more secure but difficult to remember, leaving many people using weak and easy-to-guess credentials. One study by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) revealed how millions are using their pet’s name, football team names, ‘password’ and “123456” to access online services.”

Passwords are essential to secure use of computers. Give this comprehensive piece a read.

Doug Bedell — March 23, 2022, 11:15 am

Cherish It: Cybersecurity Talent’s In Demand

We’ve likely noted this before, but Esther Shein on TechRepublic advises that cybersecurity talent is in high demand. “From an employment perspective,” she writes, “it’s never been a better time to be a cybersecurity professional. Organizations are struggling more than ever with hiring and retaining qualified cybersecurity professionals and managing skills gaps. ISACA’s newly released report, State of Cybersecurity 2022: Global Update on Workforce Efforts, Resources and Cyberoperations, finds that 60% of respondents said they’d experienced difficulties retaining qualified cybersecurity professionals, up seven percentage points from 2021.

“The top reasons cybersecurity professionals cited for leaving their jobs include:
• Recruited by other companies (59%)
• Poor financial incentives in terms of salary or bonus (48%)
• Limited promotion and development opportunities (47%)
• High work stress levels (45%)
• Lack of management support (34%)”

Competence and confidence are the most pertinent attributes in today’s cyber-charged world.

Doug Bedell — March 21, 2022, 12:35 pm

As Ukrainian Refugees Look to the Future…

Krishna B. Kumar on the Rand blog discusses how Ukrainian refugees can begin to look toward their futures.

“Over three million Ukrainians have fled their country following the Russian invasion. This is the biggest displacement of people in Europe since World War II. Poland has accepted more than 2 million refugees.”

While many of the refugees are children and older people, “attention will invariably turn to options for younger refugees to learn, and of working-age refugees to earn a livelihood, become self-sufficient, and begin contributing to their host countries.

“On the issue of livelihoods, in 2018 the nonprofit RAND Corporation published a large study on the labor market for Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. While the context and locations are different, a few of the findings could be relevant to the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, and might help Poland —and other host countries— prepare for future needs.

“The European Union’s announcement that Ukrainian citizens can live, work, and get educational and medical benefits in member countries for up to three years without applying for asylum finds support in the RAND study, which found that most surveyed refugees were willing to work and were perceived as hardworking by host country firms.”

May brighter times be ahead for Ukrainians displaced from their homeland.