On Friday 9 June 2017 at Chester Crown Court, we successfully defended an appeal by Extreme Security Solutions Limited against a decision to refuse the company’s application for Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) status.
The company appealed to the Crown Court after their initial appeal was dismissed by South Cheshire Magistrates Court on 21 February 2017. The company, based in Macclesfield, applied for the ACS in November 2015 after a similarly-named ACS company, Extreme Security Limited, went into liquidation with significant debts and owing tens of thousands of pounds to HM Revenue & Customs. Mark Longden, of Chapel-en-le-Frith, was a director of both companies. There was another compliance issue as one of the previous directors of Extreme Security Solutions Ltd, Mark Longden s wife Amie Longden, had been unlicensed for several months prior to obtaining an SIA licence in March 2016.
After an investigation,we also discovered that the company had been supplying an unlicensed security guard to a local college over an extended period. The guard, when interviewed by ourinvestigators, admitted that he had been unlicensed since 2009 and had problems with alcoholism and debt. The company’s application for ACS was refused in September 2016. Their initial appeal against the decision was dismissed by South Cheshire Magistrates Court in February this year. New evidence produced at the Crown Court appeal also showed that the company, on its website, was incorrectly claiming to already hold ACS status.
Dismissing the company s further appeal at Chester Crown Court, Recorder Harry Narayan stated that the deployment of an unlicensed guard to a college was a serious lapse by the company, given that the licensable status of the guard was easily checkable . He also noted that the failings took place over a lengthy time and at a place where persons were entitled to be protected and where those in authority should be properly checked . The fact that the company s website claimed that it already held ACS status demonstrated that the company is not being run as it should be . Extreme Security Solutions Limited were ordered to pay our legal costs of 2976, in addition to the 4067 costs ordered previously by South Cheshire Magistrates Court.
Lisa Targowska, our Legal Deputy Director, said:
“We are grateful the Court agreed with us that this company is simply not fit and proper to be awarded ACS status. We will continue do our utmost to protect the integrity of the ACS and keep unsuitable businesses out of the scheme.”
- The Approved Contractor Scheme is voluntary and exists to raise performance standards. To be an Approved Contractor a business needs to meet a sector-specific approval based on a relevant set of qualifying criteria that is independently assessed.
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.
The SIA’s main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk.
Police and security services have found bomb-making materials which could be primed for imminent attacks in the extensive raids following the Manchester suicide bombing, The Independent has learned. One suspect device was blown up in a controlled explosion and security sources say that there is a real possibility that there are other materials yet to be found . The law agencies are convinced that a terrorist network had been established to carry out a sustained assault and further arrests are likely in and outside Manchester. Meanwhile family members of the Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi have been arrested in Libya and the UK . The bomber s father, Ramadan Abedi, was taken away in Tripoli by masked gunmen from a government militia as he was giving a television interview declaring that his dead son was innocent .
Another son living in the city with him, Hashem, was detained soon afterwards, with Libyan officials officials stating that he had links with Isis . Salman Abedi s mother, Samia Tabbal, and another son, Ismail, have been arrested in Manchester. Three arrests were made on Tuesday night, and a further three arrests followed on Wednesday of a man in Wigan, a man in Nuneaton and a woman in Blackley, north Manchester. The focus is now very much on the Libyan connection . Abedi s father was a fighter with an Islamist group banned by the UN s Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee after the 9/11 attacks in New York. The Independent has learned he once worked for the Gaddafi regime s security apparatus before turning towards hardline Islam: one of his associates once ran a group called the Islamic Martyrs Movement.
The Abedi elder, also known as Abu Ismail al-Obaidi, was a long-term member of the Libyan Islamist Fighting Group (LIFG), which had forged links with al-Qaeda during the war against the Russians in Afghanistan . He left Manchester to take part in the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and currently works with a militia, the Nawasi Brigade, in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Abedi had joined LIFG when it was run by Abdelhakim Belhaj who now heads a political party, Al Watan, in Libya and is taking legal action against the British government for the “rendition”of him and his wife to the Libyan regime in which MI6 played a part . This was at a time when Muammar Gaddafi was being presented by the UK as a valued ally and feted by prime minister Tony Blair.
Abedi claimed today his son had nothing to do with the murders of 22 people at the Ariana Grande concert. “We don t believe in killing innocents . This is not us,” he insisted . His son, he claimed, was preparing to go to Saudi Arabia before spending the month of Ramadan with the rest of the family in Libya. The police and security agencies had managed to establish Abedi s identity quickly after finding his bank card at the scene of the attack . It has also emerged that a member of the family, as yet unnamed, had contacted the police after being alarmed by Abedi s increasingly aggressive Islamist statements.
The developments came on a day when authorities scrambled to piece together the events that led to Monday night’s atrocity in Manchester:
– Police arrested six people in the UK in connection with Monday night’s attack after discovering evidence of a wider terrorist cell functioning in the city
– Crime scene photos of shrapnel, a battery pack and the detonator used in the attack were published by The New York Times in a suspected intelligence leak, condemned by UK officials
– 1,000 armed soldiers were deployed to key sites across the country, including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament
– Police confirmed they had identified the 22 who died, including a serving off-duty police officer from Cheshire Constabulary
Abedi had been to Libya several times . His last visit, according to his father, was six weeks ago . The French foreign minister, Gerard Collomb, claimed today that the British security agencies believe he went on to Syria from Libya . But a senior security source said: “We think he got a few things garbled there, we know that Abedi had gone to Libya, whether he went to Syria or not remains a line of inquiry.”
Abedi s behaviour changed after he returned from his last Libyan visit, according to neighbours and friends with espousal of hardline Islam . It is at this time, it is believed, that one of the calls to the police was made by a member of the extended family. His father’s path to militancy began when he fell out with Gaddafi regime. The Independent has learned that in 1991 he left Libya for Saudi Arabia where he began to attend sermons by Salafist preachers .
It was a time when Saudi Arabia was funding, with the US and UK, the mujaheddin war against the Russians in Afghanistan and at a time when LIFG built connections with al-Qaeda . There is no evidence that Abedi had fought in Afghanistan or had links with al-Qaeda. Abedi left Saudi Arabia for Britain in 1992 with his wife . They lived in London before joining the Libyan community in Manchester, the largest in the UK where they started their family . He returned to Libya in 2008 under a reconciliation programme started by the Gaddafi regime . This involved him, and others taking part, to renounce extremism and violence.
Three years later Abedi was back in Libya in the uprising against Col Gaddafi . The regime fell after months of Nato bombing instigated by Britain and France . In the chaotic aftermath which followed extremist groups, including Isis, moved in . Conditions became ripe for exporting jihad to the UK.
Getty Images / UniversalImagesGroup / Contributor Update 13.05.2017: The NHS cyberattack appears to be slowing down after a security researcher says he “accidentally” hit the kill switch on the ransomware . Writing on the blog @malwaretechblog, the unnamed malware expert registered a domain name used by Wanna Decryptor, or WannaCrypt, and inadvertently killed it . The National
Cyber Security Centre then repurposed the blog1 to spread the message.
Original story The NHS cyberattack that hit hospitals across the UK is said to have been part of the biggest ransomware outbreak in history, according to Mikko Hypponen from F-Secure. Viruses, trojans, malware, worms – what’s the difference?2
Viruses, trojans, malware, worms – what’s the difference?
Commenting on the news, Hypponen said the Wanna Decryptor attack was unprecedented, while cyber security expert Varun Badwhar said it gave a glimpse of what a “cyber-apocalypse” would look like.
“We’ve never seen something spread this quickly in a 24-hour period across this many countries and continents,” explained Badwhar. “So it’s definitely one of those things we’ve always heard about that could happen and now we’re seeing it play out.”
The NHS hack is said to be creeping across the UK with reports of the ransomware attack hitting a range of other organisations in as many as 99 countries . In a statement, NHS Digital3 confirmed a number of NHS organisations had been affected by a ransomware attack . The investigation is at an early stage but we believe the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor4, a spokesperson said.
At this stage, we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed . We will continue to work with affected organisations to confirm this. Hackers use ransomware6 to infect a computer or system before holding files hostage until a ransom is paid . It can infect a computer via a trojan, virus or worm. Wanna Decryptor encrypts users files using AES and RSA encryption ciphers meaning the hackers can directly decrypt system files using a unique decryption key . Victims may be sent ransom notes with instructions in the form of !Please Read Me!.txt files, linking to ways of contacting the cybercriminals .
Wanna Decryptor changes the computer’s wallpaper with messages (as seen in tweets from affected NHS sites) asking the victim to download a decryptor from Dropbox . This decryptor demands hundreds in bitcoin7 to work. Affected machines are said to have six hours to pay, and every few hours the ransom goes up. “Most folks that have paid up appear to have paid the initial $300 in the first few hours,” said Kurt Baumgartner, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. They added that the attack was not specifically targeted at the NHS because it is affecting “organisations from across a range of sectors” and NHS Digital is working with the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department of Health and NHS England to support affected organisations. The NHS incident appears to be part of a global cybersecurity incident with malware spreading to multiple organisations around the world . Security firm Check Point and Avast have said there have been 75,000 attacks in 99 countries . Telefonica in Spain has been the biggest confirmed incident outside of the UK but it also reports issues in Russia, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, and Germany.
A spokesman for the National Cyber Security Centre8 and National Crime Agency said they were responding to an “ongoing international cyber incident” and confirmed there was no indication medical data or personal information has been compromised.” The specialist cyber crime officers from the NCA and police forces are now working with hospitals to respond to the attack preserve evidence . Read their advice on protecting yourself from ransomware9. A live map10 tracking the malware has plotted thousands of incidents around the world . Although, it is not confirmed these are all the latest version of the malware . This map tracks incidents of wcrypt and reveals how many of the botnets are online, and offline, in real-time . A Unique IP chart below the map reveals the number of new botnets coming online, and the total . As of 7.17pm BST, there were 189 new, and 1,821 total botnets (up from nine just an hour earlier.) It is said that 24 NHS organisations have been hit .
The full list is below:
- Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group
- Wingate Medical Centre
- NHS Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust
- East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust
- George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Nuneaton, Warwickshire
- Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- St Barts Health NHS Trust
- Derbyshire Community Health Services
- East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group
- East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
- Sherwood Forest NHS Trust
- Nottinghamshire Healthcare
- Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
- Colchester General Hospital
- Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust
- North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust
- Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- Morecombe Bay NHS Trust
- University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust
- NHS Hampshire Hospitals
- Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust
- ^ blog (www.ncsc.gov.uk)
- ^ Viruses, trojans, malware, worms – what’s the difference? (www.wired.co.uk)
- ^ NHS Digital (digital.nhs.uk)
- ^ Wanna Decryptor (www.wired.co.uk)
- ^ Subscribe to WIRED (www.wired.co.uk)
- ^ ransomware (wired.uk)
- ^ bitcoin (www.wired.co.uk)
- ^ National Cyber Security Centre (www.wired.co.uk)
- ^ protecting yourself from ransomware (www.ncsc.gov.uk)
- ^ live map (intel.malwaretech.com)