Tag: criminals

Source: IOL

Giant South African retail chain Shoprite Group have tightened the screws on criminals targeting its stores.

The supermarket chain said that its efforts to prevent crime and the protect its customers and employees by employing a team of security experts comprising of ex-police officers and using technology has resulted in a 16% year-on-year decline in violent and serious crime, including armed robberies and burglaries, from July 2020 to May 2021.

The in-house team – operating from a centralised command centre – is involved in the entire process from identifying suspects to their arrest, being in court to oppose bail, working with police to ensure they have a complete and accurate docket, working with the National Prosecuting Authority and providing evidence in court, to do everything it can to ensure criminals are prosecuted.

Shoprite said crime and high risk situations are picked up through store and fleet monitoring, live information feeds and the group’s intelligence network, and security devices are immediately triggered.

When robberies do take place, the team is proving highly effective in securing arrests and prosecution, and the Group is becoming known for its capability to identify, trace and arrest suspects.

Head of Group Security & Loss Prevention, Oswald Meiring, believes Shoprite is a retail industry leader with its initiatives which are centred around a team of in-house investigators, which include former police members and detectives, with a unique mix of skills and extensive experience in commercial crime, fraud, serious and violent crime.

The team’s network includes informants, third parties working exclusively for it and an expert criminal lawyer.

The command centre team makes extensive use of technology and software systems including electronic dockets, suspect photo albums and evidence files.

A team of data and crime analysts do predictive analysis, identify suspects, and link suspects to each other and to the crime scene.

This technology, including video footage and a chain of evidence, has been critical in court proceedings.

The net result is that the investigation team made 752 court appearances, including postponements, bail, testifying and sentencing, in the 11 months from July 2020 to May 2021.

It secured 64% more guilty findings and/or convictions than the previous 12 months, amounting to 303 years and six months of prison sentences and 46 years and six months of suspended sentences.

The team has been instrumental in 200 arrests in the first 11 months of this financial year. The majority (54%) of crimes currently in court are for armed robbery, 26% are for theft and the rest include crimes such as arson, assault, looting, burglary and fraud.

As some cases were postponed in the last year due to lockdown restrictions, the team is currently in court every day.

Meiring says the Group focuses on fighting crime because it is the right thing to do as a concerned and responsible corporate citizen. “We also believe that securing arrests and sentences for crimes acts as a deterrent and ultimately reduces crime. We believe this is an important element of our contribution to make South Africa a safer environment for everyone.”

The Shoprite Group encountered specific lockdown-related challenges and benefits. Increased unemployment led to more opportunistic crimes, and mask-wearing made it more difficult to identify suspects. However, suspects couldn’t move around freely, resulting in increased arrests, while curfew hours also assisted in detecting criminal activity quicker and easier.

The Group appeals to members of the public to report any suspicious or criminal behaviour immediately and anonymously by calling its toll-free number 0800 11 88 79 or by sending an email to service@asesa.co.za.

 

Hackers could shut down satellites

By William Akoto for The Conversation

Last month, SpaceX became the operator of the world’s largest active satellite constellation. As of the end of January, the company had 242 satellites orbiting the planet with plans to launch 42,000 over the next decade. This is part of its ambitious project to provide internet access across the globe. The race to put satellites in space is on, with Amazon, U.K.-based OneWeb and other companies chomping at the bit to place thousands of satellites in orbit in the coming months.

These new satellites have the potential to revolutionise many aspects of everyday life – from bringing internet access to remote corners of the globe to monitoring the environment and improving global navigation systems. Amid all the fanfare, a critical danger has flown under the radar: the lack of cybersecurity standards and regulations for commercial satellites, in the U.S. and internationally. As a scholar who studies cyber conflict, I’m keenly aware that this, coupled with satellites’ complex supply chains and layers of stakeholders, leaves them highly vulnerable to cyberattacks.

If hackers were to take control of these satellites, the consequences could be dire. On the mundane end of scale, hackers could simply shut satellites down, denying access to their services. Hackers could also jam or spoof the signals from satellites, creating havoc for critical infrastructure. This includes electric grids, water networks and transportation systems.

Some of these new satellites have thrusters that allow them to speed up, slow down and change direction in space. If hackers took control of these steerable satellites, the consequences could be catastrophic. Hackers could alter the satellites’ orbits and crash them into other satellites or even the International Space Station.

Commodity parts open a door
Makers of these satellites, particularly small CubeSats, use off-the-shelf technology to keep costs low. The wide availability of these components means hackers can analyse them for vulnerabilities. In addition, many of the components draw on open-source technology. The danger here is that hackers could insert back doors and other vulnerabilities into satellites’ software.

The highly technical nature of these satellites also means multiple manufacturers are involved in building the various components. The process of getting these satellites into space is also complicated, involving multiple companies. Even once they are in space, the organisations that own the satellites often outsource their day-to-day management to other companies. With each additional vendor, the vulnerabilities increase as hackers have multiple opportunities to infiltrate the system.

Hacking some of these CubeSats may be as simple as waiting for one of them to pass overhead and then sending malicious commands using specialised ground antennas. Hacking more sophisticated satellites might not be that hard either.

Satellites are typically controlled from ground stations. These stations run computers with software vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. If hackers were to infiltrate these computers, they could send malicious commands to the satellites.

A history of hacks
This scenario played out in 1998 when hackers took control of the U.S.-German ROSAT X-Ray satellite. They did it by hacking into computers at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The hackers then instructed the satellite to aim its solar panels directly at the sun. This effectively fried its batteries and rendered the satellite useless. The defunct satellite eventually crashed back to Earth in 2011. Hackers could also hold satellites for ransom, as happened in 1999 when hackers took control of the U.K.‘s SkyNet satellites.

Over the years, the threat of cyberattacks on satellites has gotten more dire. In 2008, hackers, possibly from China, reportedly took full control of two NASA satellites, one for about two minutes and the other for about nine minutes. In 2018, another group of Chinese state-backed hackers reportedly launched a sophisticated hacking campaign aimed at satellite operators and defence contractors. Iranian hacking groups have also attempted similar attacks.

Although the U.S. Department of Defence and National Security Agency have made some efforts to address space cybersecurity, the pace has been slow. There are currently no cybersecurity standards for satellites and no governing body to regulate and ensure their cybersecurity. Even if common standards could be developed, there are no mechanisms in place to enforce them. This means responsibility for satellite cybersecurity falls to the individual companies that build and operate them.

Market forces work against space cybersecurity
SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, Calif., plans to launch 42,000 satellites over the next decade. Bruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuño/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY
As they compete to be the dominant satellite operator, SpaceX and rival companies are under increasing pressure to cut costs. There is also pressure to speed up development and production. This makes it tempting for the companies to cut corners in areas like cybersecurity that are secondary to actually getting these satellites in space.

Even for companies that make a high priority of cybersecurity, the costs associated with guaranteeing the security of each component could be prohibitive. This problem is even more acute for low-cost space missions, where the cost of ensuring cybersecurity could exceed the cost of the satellite itself.

To compound matters, the complex supply chain of these satellites and the multiple parties involved in their management means it’s often not clear who bears responsibility and liability for cyber breaches. This lack of clarity has bred complacency and hindered efforts to secure these important systems.

Regulation is required
Some analysts have begun to advocate for strong government involvement in the development and regulation of cybersecurity standards for satellites and other space assets. Congress could work to adopt a comprehensive regulatory framework for the commercial space sector. For instance, they could pass legislation that requires satellites manufacturers to develop a common cybersecurity architecture.

They could also mandate the reporting of all cyber breaches involving satellites. There also needs to be clarity on which space-based assets are deemed critical in order to prioritize cybersecurity efforts. Clear legal guidance on who bears responsibility for cyberattacks on satellites will also go a long way to ensuring that the responsible parties take the necessary measures to secure these systems.

Given the traditionally slow pace of congressional action, a multi-stakeholder approach involving public-private cooperation may be warranted to ensure cybersecurity standards. Whatever steps government and industry take, it is imperative to act now. It would be a profound mistake to wait for hackers to gain control of a commercial satellite and use it to threaten life, limb and property – here on Earth or in space – before addressing this issue.

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Criminals will likely target the influx of shoppers bustling to get their festive season shopping done over the next few weeks, says Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager at Fidelity ADT.

Hattingh said that shoppers should particularly cautious of follow-home attacks.

“We are urging all shoppers to be vigilant at malls and shopping centres and to be aware that we generally see a spike in follow-home incidents at this time of year,” she said.

In most cases shoppers are followed home from the malls and hijacked in their driveways.

“Criminals are aware these shoppers have a car full of newly-purchased items and are generally easy, distracted targets.”

“If you suspect you are being followed drive immediately to your nearest police station or security provider guardhouse,” Hattingh said.

Fidelity ADT said drivers should also remember general hijacking safety tips such as waiting in the road for the gate to open before driving in, and making sure the gate is closed properly behind the vehicle before getting out.

Safety tips at malls

“When in the mall or centre carry as little as possible in your handbag or pockets and rather leave unnecessary bank or store cards and large amounts of cash at home,” said Hattingh.

“A packed clothing store or supermarket is the prime hunting-ground for a pick-pocket or bag-snatcher. And, never leave a handbag, purse or wallet in a trolley.

“If you don’t use a bag or do not take one along, keep your wallet or purse in the front pocket of your jacket or trousers. Criminals are also targeting phones so make sure your phone is out of sight either in a zipped-up bag or in a front pocket.”

“If you are drawing large amounts of cash, take someone along to keep watch while you are at the ATM and to keep a lookout for any suspicious individuals or vehicles on the way home. If you can avoid drawing large sums of cash, do so. Electronic payments are the safer route,” she said.

Your safety outside the mall is just as important as it is inside, Fidelity ADT said.

“Before you exit the mall, have your keys ready so that no time is wasted to get your purchases and yourself into the car. This also means that you’ll be able to hold onto your handbag as you walk. If someone does try to snatch your handbag, let it go. Do not resist or fight back,” Hattingh said.

Lastly, she suggested avoiding shopping late at night.

“While the idea of a quieter shopping mall may seem appealing, you are more vulnerable in the car parks, mall bathrooms and the likes. If you have no other choice, be vigilant and report any suspicious individuals to the mall security.”

IT managers inundated with cyberattacks

A recent Sophos survey has found that IT managers are struggling to cope with the volume and magnitude of cyberattacks.

The following key findings relate to South Africa:

  • Cybercriminal tactics have evolved into using multiple attack methods and often multiple payloads to maximize profits
  • Software exploits were the initial cause of 17percent of incidents and used in 23 percent of cyberattacks, demonstrating how exploits are used at multiple stages of the attack chain
  • Phishing emails impacted 47 percent of those hit by a cyberattack
  • Ransomware impacted 38percent of attack victims
  • 39 percent of attack victims suffered a data breach
  • Only 16 percent consider supply chain a top security risk, exposing an additional weak spot
  • Nation state adversaries have proven how successful supply chain attacks are, which means common cybercriminals are likely to adopt the attack method
  • Supply chain attacks are a launch pad to emerging automated, active-adversary attacks
  • IT teams spend 27 percent of their time managing security, yet still struggle with a lack of expertise, budget and up to date technology
  • 74 percent said recruiting people with the cybersecurity skills they need is challenge
  • 65 percent said their organization’s cybersecurity budget is below what it needs to be
  • 73 percent believe that staying up to date with cybersecurity technology is a challenge

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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