Europe’s cities have had to get used to the fact that, of late, the terror threat they face has increased both in size and complexity. The atrocities in Barcelona and Cambrils1 are the latest examples of this. The continent’s police and security agencies have long known that the demise of the so-called Islamic State would signal an increase in the tempo of attacks, and definitely not an end to the threat of Islamist extremists. Three attacks in the UK in as many months were the first indication of the nightmare scenario they feared; that the leaders of this rapidly disintegrating so-called caliphate would compel their footsoldiers to launch attacks across the West. After all, the model for this kind of scenario played out more than a decade ago, when the most feared terror group at that time, al Qaeda, felt the full wrath of coalition airstrikes and ground operations.
Al Qaeda’s leaders urged their followers to strike back – and they duly did, launching attacks in London in 2005 and here in Spain in the capital, Madrid, a year earlier. For the security services, the complicating factor this time around is not just that IS has fully trained killing machines who have trodden the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. The terror group has an even larger army of “sleeper” extremists in towns and cities across the European continent and beyond. Most of these radicalised individuals – 3,500 in the UK alone – have never even been to the Middle East . They learned their deadly craft online. And increasingly they have turned to a less sophisticated, but just as deadly, mode of attack. What do we mean by less sophisticated ?
Vehicles and knives . Essentially everyday items that were never meant to murder or maim. Security sources have told me that they face a two-pronged threat. Alongside those battle-hardened jihadis are the violent wannabe jihadis who lack the skills, but are just as determined to inflict their brand of misery – often on their own communities. Authorities here in Spain and elsewhere in Europe have noticed an alarming increase in the number of those who seem to choose the path of violence.
Most of these plots get disrupted before they have a chance to kill and injure innocent civilians, but sadly some slip through the net.
The unfortunate truth here, is that a net increase in plots will result in a net increase in successful attacks.
On 11 August 2017, at Bristol Magistrates Court, we prosecuted Zakir Mohammed Zillul for attempting to claim 1673 in compensation for alleged lost travel documents. In August 2016, Zillul submitted an application to the SIA for a Door Supervision Licence. In support of this application, and to verify his identity, he sent his passport to us. On Friday 16 September 2016, Zillul contacted us say that he was due to travel abroad on 21 September and needed his passport to be returned as soon as possible. We returned Zillul s passport via Royal Mail Special Delivery on 20 September to arrive by 1 pm the next day.
However, due to a delay by Royal Mail, the passport was not delivered on 21 September. Zillul claimed that as a result of the late return of his passport he could not travel as he had arranged. On 26 September 2016, Zillul contacted us to make a claim for 1673, which was the cost of his apparent flights. We agreed to consider a compensation or reimbursement claim if Zillul could produce evidence of the missed flights, including proof of payment. This would be reviewed alongside the circumstances of the return of Zillul s passport.
In October 2016, following a successful application, Zillul was issued with a Door Supervisor licence. Zillul emailed us in October 2016 with evidence of the cost of the travel, and a document purporting to be an itinerary/invoice from a travel agent showing the alleged cost of the flights. In addition, he provided evidence to us, showing cash withdrawals from his bank account which he claimed were made to pay for the holiday. We believed that the documentation provided was false, so an investigation was carried out by their Criminal Investigation Team. They discovered that Zillul had not made any such travel booking.
Instead he had asked a travel agent to produce an invoice and itinerary. He used the excuse that he needed to make a claim from his travel insurance company, but had lost the relevant paperwork. When interviewed, Zillul said that a cousin was responsible for making the claim for compensation in his name. He claimed that this cousin had access and online control of Zillul s bank account and email, and implied that his cousin was corresponding to us in his name. Zillul added that his cousin was involved in a relationship with the travel agent who had provided the alleged invoice.
The travel agent denied this, and stated that she did not know the person named as Zillul s cousin. She did, however, admit to knowing Zillul, and to falsely producing an invoice itinerary for what she thought was a claim against Zillul s travel insurance. The travel agent confirmed that no actual travel booking was made by Zillul. Despite numerous attempts made by our investigators to identify Zillul s cousin, he was not traced, nor did he make himself available for interview. Zillul pleaded guilty to attempted fraud by false representation, and to having in his possession an article for use in fraud (the email purporting to be from the travel agent to support his claim for compensation).
The Court sentenced Zillul to 210 hours of unpaid community service, to be completed within a 12 months. Zillul was also ordered to pay 2046.30 prosecution costs and an 85 victim surcharge. Nathan Salmon, SIA Criminal Investigation Manager, said;
Zillul fraudulently tried to obtain compensation of 1673.00 from the SIA, when he clearly had no right to do so, He devised an elaborate plan involving the production and presentation of false documentary evidence to support his claim, using the misguided assistance of another person to facilitate the crime. The SIA robustly regulates the security industry and will seek to prosecute those individuals who choose to commit criminal offences – either in their individual licence application, or when they are working as a licensed security operative .
- *The details of the role that Limited Risk played in relation to Quinton were pursued by the Insolvency Service.
- 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.
City’s Professor Muttukrishnan Rajarajan is part of a research collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur exploring the use of blockchain architecture within Internet of Things (IoT) security applications for healthcare data sharing.
A consortium of network security engineers from the UK and India drawn from academia and industry are exploiting the possibilities within blockchain architecture to provide security in Internet of Things (IoT) applications for healthcare data sharing. Professor of Network Engineering at City, University of London, Professor Muttukrishnan Rajarajan2, a UK-based member of the consortium said: Our consortium will be exploring the use of a privacy-preserving blockchain architecture for IoT applications in healthcare data sharing, using attribute-based (ABE) encryption to provide greater security for the devices .
Due to low voltage powering many devices drawn together by the IoT, the use of these devices are frequently compromised by their lack of sophisticated security measures.” The research comes against the backdrop of the recent WannaCry ransomeware attack of May 12th 2017, which severely crippled operations of the UK s National Health Service causing it to run some of its services on an emergency-only basis during the attack. Tamper-proof
The IoT refers to a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human and human-to-computer interaction. Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology (DTL), which keeps a permanent, tamper-proof listing of records . The blockchain maintains the records, or blocks of information, through a peer-to-peer network; there is no central control and everyone if the network shares control of the data.
Professor Rajarajan says the use of blockchain technology in the internet of things has three main security advantages:
- The sensor data generated by IoT devices will be rigorously verified by a number of data miners in the blockchain network for legitimacy before being accepted which will mitigate several security attacks including data manipulation;
- Once the data is accepted and appended to the blockchain the data will not be intercepted; There is no central authority or storage sever and therefore the trust of each node will be built by reputation:
- If there is a malicious node propagating false data it can be identified by data miners and the reputation of the node will be damaged.
Professor Sudip Misra of the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur is also a member of the collaborative research project.
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