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Spate of Highland thefts prompts security warning from police

Police have been investigating a spate of thefts across the north

Police have issued a warning to householders to secure their properties after a spate of thefts and break-ins across the north. A number of incidents were reported in the Inverness, Kirkhill and North Kessock areas in the last weekend alone. Officers have also dealt with a growing number of possible crimes of dishonesty in the last few weeks across the Highlands.

Incidents have included break-ins and attempted break-ins to houses as well as thefts of equipment from within vehicles. Senior police figures have now issued a warning and advice to people to make sure they are on the front foot to help prevent them becoming a victim of crime. Chief Inspector Ian Graham, area commander for Inverness, said steps that could be taken are as simple as making sure all windows and doors are securely locked.

He said: Across the Highlands we are fortunate in having a relatively low reported rate of vehicle thefts and associated crimes; however, this does not leave room for complacency for police or drivers.

Unfortunately there s been a number of reports of break-ins to vehicles and homes across the area recently so it is important communities remain vigilant to suspicious activity and take steps to secure their vehicles and belongings.

Often vehicles are left unlocked, handing the ideal opportunity to a would-be thief.

In addition to thoroughly investigating all crimes reported, we are committed to keeping communities safe by advising how best we can all secure our vehicles and property, reducing the risk of becoming a victim of crime.

If you discover that your car has been broken into our advice would be to contact the police to report it straight away before you touch or drive the vehicle.

This will increase the chances of recovering forensic evidence from the vehicle itself. Ch Insp Graham said thefts from houses and vehicles are often linked to serious crimes such as the trade of illegal drugs. He added: Community intelligence is vital to our inquiries so we are thankful for ongoing assistance from the public in reporting potentially suspicious activity.

It s important not to present as an easy target by considering improvements to security around your home and outbuildings and letting police know about any suspicious persons or vehicles, regardless of how insignificant you think it may be .

Any information provided by the public is greatly appreciated and may lead to the final piece of a jigsaw that allows for a successful prosecution.

ACI’s Jankovec says Europe faces tough security situation

ACI's Jankovec Says Europe Faces Tough Security Situation Europe is facing an unprecedented security situation, with the terrorism threat shaped by a toxic mix of geopolitical instability, marginalised communities & social discontent as well as social media being used as a powerful propaganda machine.

So says ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec (top right), according to last Wednesday s address at the two-day Brussels special Security & Crisis Management Summit which was jointly organised by ACI Europe and ACI Asia Pacific. The summit covering the evolving security challenge faced by the aviation sector attracted more than 300 top aviation security experts and policy makers, including Belgium s Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Interior Mr Jan Jambon, plus the European Commission, the European Council, Europol, Eurocontrol and the US Transport Security Administration (TSA). Significantly, it was also hosted by Brussels Airport just eight months after the deadly terrorist attacks that struck the airport and downtown, killing 32 people.

ACI's Jankovec Says Europe Faces Tough Security Situation

ACI's Jankovec Says Europe Faces Tough Security Situation

(Top) Passengers evacuate the Brussels Airport terminal building after terrorists attacked passengers on 22 March. (Immediately above) Mourners show their respect for the airport and Metro victims at a ceremony in central Brussels (Photo credit: City of Brussels)

TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE REQUIRED IN SECURITY STRATEGY

Never one to flinch from difficult subjects, ACI s Jankovec said: All this means that the terrorism threat is at least partially home-grown, very unstable, widely dispersed and in a state of constant flux.

In this context, while aviation continues to be a target, as evidenced by the attacks of 22 March at Brussels Airport and 28 June at Istanbul-Atat rk Airport, terrorists have also been targeting at a wider range of venues and locations acting seemingly randomly and potentially exposing any public and social space. He added that this therefore calls for an urgent and transformative change in Europe s security strategy: We all know we need to move from conventional and mostly defensive measures to a more proactive and integrated approach with intelligence and data at its core.

Security measures at airports are needed but they can only be our last line of defence . The key is to identify and stop terrorists before they ever reach an airport, or a train station, or a concert hall . Because once they are there, it means we have already lost.

ACI's Jankovec Says Europe Faces Tough Security Situation

Everyday airport security is just a small part of the airport challenge today. (Above: Gatwick Airport).

JANKOVEC ADVOCATES SECURITY UNION

He told the audience that ACI remains firmly committed to this transformative agenda, while working closely with the EU institutions and ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference) while providing expertise and advice through its Security Committee . He added that ACI Europe s Aviation Security Committee remains a unique forum bringing together more than 100 airport security experts from varied but relevant backgrounds, including intelligence services, police and counter-terrorism services and the military.

As part of these efforts, ACI Europe also released its Best Practices Guidelines on Airport Landside Security a few days before this Summit . These are designed to offer practical advice and guidance to the airport community and security regulators on how to secure airport public spaces . They will also be used by ECAC for its own guidance material which is currently being prepared. Jankovec added: Moving away from one-size-fits-all systematic and conventional detection towards an intelligence driven system with more deterrence and unpredictability is the only way forward if we want to deliver effective security, he said.

This implies a security culture with collaboration and data exchange at its core . It is crystal clear that the only way to get there will be through more Europe not less of it .

The EU has risen to the challenge in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and it needs to do the same with the new threat environment we are now facing .

More than ever, a Security Union is what we need.

The ‘internet of things’ is a security nightmare, but Google and others have a plan to fix it

The 'internet Of Things' Is A Security Nightmare, But Google And Others Have A Plan To Fix It “Get your premium internet-connected toasters here!” Kamyar Adl/Flickr (CC)1

In October, a massive denial-of-service cyberattack on internet infrastructure Dyn knocked huge swathes of the web offline for millions of Americans and Europeans, from Netflix to Twitter . It was the largest attack of its kind in history2 and it was powered by an army of hacked webcams and smart devices with shoddy or non-existent security.

In short: The “internet of things” is a nightmare a fundamental threat to the security and safety of the web.

But Google and other tech giants now have a plan to fix it.

On Tuesday, the Broadband Technical Advisory Group (BITAG) published a report on the security and privacy of the IoT, including recommendations on how to improve it . If you haven’t heard of BITAG, its a tech industry body formed back in 2010, which includes Google, Cisco, AT&T, T-Mobile, Comcast, Mozilla, and others. (We first saw its report on Engadget3.)

While IoT device hijacking for use in DoS attacks is disturbing, it’s not the only way the tech is being abused.”Several recent incidents have demonstrated that some devices do not abide by rudimentary privacy and security best practices,” BITAG’s report says4.

“In some cases, devices have been compromised and allowed unauthorized users to perform Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, perform surveillance and monitoring, gain unauthorized access or control, induce device or system failures, and disturb or harass authorized users or device owners.”

Problems with devices range from leaking Wi-Fi passwords to not being update-able, from having hardcoded default passwords to outdated and vulnerable firmware.

So that fancy internet-connected kettle you just bought might be spying on you, or leaking your home Wi-Fi password, or attacking computer networks thousands of miles away .

Not ideal.

To try and solve this, BITAG has laid out a number of recommendations that it wants IoT manufacturers to abide by . Some of these are pretty basic (pointing to the scale of the problem), including shipping devices with “reasonably” current software without known vulnerabilities, and that manufacturers should follow best practices for encryption.

The group also wants to ensure that devices continue to work even without cloud or internet support, that privacy policies should be easily understandable, that there should be clear mechanisms for reporting bugs and vulnerabilities, and that devices should be resettable. (You can read BITAG’s full report below.)

BITAG’s not a regulatory body, so it doesn’t have any power to force manufacturers to make changes . But there’s a growing chorus of voices calling for government action, and it may add extra weight to these efforts.

“I’m really divided on what I think about regulation, but if it’s needed somewhere, this might be it,” F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen said in October5. “We’re regulating things on appliances anyway . They should not be able to give you an electric shock, they should not catch fire, they should not leak your Wi-Fi password either I think that would be a good thing.”

However, many of the hijacked devices used in recent attacks were made by a Chinese electronics company6 raising the possibility that even if American manufacturers upped their game, some overseas companies looking to cut costs might not bother.

But this discussion is nonetheless long overdue, and may also help to raise awareness of the issues among consumers . Because right now, any attempt to change the status quo7 is very welcome.

References

  1. ^ Kamyar Adl/Flickr (CC) (www.flickr.com)
  2. ^ the largest attack of its kind in history (www.theguardian.com)
  3. ^ We first saw its report on Engadget (www.engadget.com)
  4. ^ BITAG’s report says (www.bitag.org)
  5. ^ F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen said in October (uk.businessinsider.com)
  6. ^ were made by a Chinese electronics company (krebsonsecurity.com)
  7. ^ the status quo (krebsonsecurity.com)