Daily Archives: 25/11/2013

Tavcom enjoys continued success in UAE

Tavcom Training has begun an extensive programme of CCTV training for students at the International Centre for Security and Safety in Dubai.

Tavcom’s tutors are conducting Foundation and Advanced CCTV courses in partnership with the International Centre for Security and Safety (ICSS) to enhance the skills of local engineers. This is to enable the Department of Protective Systems of the Dubai Police Service to issue licences to those wishing to install and maintain electronic security systems in accordance with international Codes of Practice.

Based at the Dubai Police Academy, the ICSS plays a significant role in the strengthening of the skills of Dubai nationals, as well as local and contracted personnel of various nationalities working in the region. As such, it provides a range of vocational training programmes for individuals involved in the electronic security industry.

During the next 12 months it’s estimated that approximately 1,000 engineers will benefit from the specialist training provided by Tavcom’s expert team of tutors carried out at a purpose-built Training Centre.

In a separate initiative, Tavcom has developed an online training analysis tool on behalf of the Dubai Police Service which is designed to establish a person’s current level of knowledge on a wide range of CCTV technical issues and to analyse what further training is required in order for their licence to be renewed.

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Tavcom presentation at EmSEC 2103

Responding to an invitation from the Department of Protective Systems, Tavcom’s CEO Mike Tennent flew to Dubai to carry out a presentation at EmSEC 2013.

This took place at Al Bustan Rotana Hotel on 28 and 29 October and brought together law enforcement and security agencies with elite companies and organisations working in the same field.

Now in its second year, EmSEC – organised by the Department of Protective Systems in partnership with the UK Home Office – Aerospace, Defence, Security & Space organisation – is regarded as the premier platform for showcasing law enforcement and public security solutions in the UAE.

“Understandably, I’m delighted that Tavcom has been given the opportunity in a number of different ways to contribute to increasing knowledge and the raising of standards in respect of CCTV in the UAE,” said Mike Tennent.

“I was particularly pleased to be invited to carry out a presentation at such a prestigious event as EmSEC 2013.”

In his presentation, Tennent highlighted important aspects of the system design process that need to be taken into consideration in order to ensure that specified cameras are fit for purpose.

He also provided some practical tips on how video management software can assist with the display, recording, storage, transmission and retrieval of video evidence and, when necessary, how the use of technology behind the software can be used to enhance poor quality images.

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Xtralis Everywhere portfolio of converged safety and security solutions launched to market

Dignitaries from the City of London Fire Brigade, the US Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Directorate and the Bank of England presented their thoughts at a gala launch event held in central London.

Xtralis has announced its next generation Xtralis Everywhere (Xtralis-E) portfolio of converged safety and security solutions. This innovative portfolio provides early, reliable detection and remote visual verification of smoke, gas and perimeter threats for businesses, Governments and critical infrastructures.

Among the next generation solutions released are VESDA-E and VESDA Laser Quantum (VLQ) aspirating smoke detectors (ASD) and the ADPRO FastTrace 2E Remotely Managed Multi-Service Gateway (RMG) security platform.

The new safety and security platforms can be enhanced with seamless hardware expansion modules and innovative, remotely downloadable software analytics known as Xapps.

Using Xtralis Xchange (an online licensing portal with a downloadable PC application), Xapps can be quickly deployed to remotely manage, configure and exchange licenses to Xtralis platforms.

In addition, Xtralis has revealed its comprehensive safety and security convergence strategy using these platforms to achieve 100% detection with 0% false alarm rates – a bold goal previously thought to be unattainable.

VESDA-E: 15 times greater sensitivity to smoke

VESDA-E is the next generation of the VESDA ASD system. While the current generation VESDA was considered the benchmark for such systems, VESDA-E surpasses VESDA with 15 times greater sensitivity to smoke and double the longevity while maintaining sensitivity over its lifetime, all with 4% less power consumption.

Xtralis will continue to offer VESDA as a Best in Class ASD for a wide variety of applications while initially focusing VESDA-E on the retail, healthcare, education and office building segments which comprise a large cross-section of the fire prevention market.

VESDA-E is the next generation of the VESDA ASD system

VESDA-E is the next generation of the VESDA ASD system

VESDA-E also delivers a first in aspirating smoke detection: pinpoint ASD addressability at up to 120 holes. This unprecedented capability brings the early, reliable detection of VESDA to mainstream applications with a lower total cost of ownership advantage.

VESDA-E can quickly add monitoring, servicing and detection capabilities with the addition of bolt-on hardware modules called VESDA Stax, including a version of its award-winning ECO gas detection solution. The Stax do not require re-engineering of the smoke detection pipe network.

VESDA-E brings “superior set-up, configuration, monitoring and connectivity options” and features “unique, innovative and downloadable Xapp software applications” which enable new, on-demand monitoring services.

Available immediately are WireTrace Xapp (designed to isolate threats from overheating cables and electrical wires), DieselTrace Xapp (for monitoring diesel smoke trends to enable on-demand ventilation systems) and the DustTrace Xapp (for monitoring dust conditions and enabling corrective response to take place with ventilation).

Monitoring of the VESDA-E detector is available on popular tablets using an iVESDA application.

ADPRO FastTrace 2E: video recording

The ADPRO FastTrace 2E is a four-to-20-channel next generation version of the award-winning FastTrace 2, a Remotely Managed Multi-Service Gateway platform for video recording, bi-directional audio for deterrence, transmission over any network and remotely downloadable software analytics to eliminate threats to a facility through automatic visual detection and verification.

The FastTrace 2E provides “superior detection capabilities” and is up to 86% lower in total cost of ownership than solutions combining discrete recording, transmission (for remote access over any network) and analytics capabilities.

The ADPRO FastTrace 2E is a four-to-20-channel next generation version of the award-winning FastTrace 2

The ADPRO FastTrace 2E is a four-to-20-channel next generation version of the award-winning FastTrace 2

The ADPRO FastTrace 2E is packed with pay-as-you-grow features that can easily be upgraded ‘in-the-field’ with minimum effort, and provides significant installation and operational cost savings versus more traditional deployment methods.

ADPRO FastTrace 2E allows end users to add video channels or migrate between analogue and IP on-site with an upgrade package. End users are able to remotely download applications such as IntrusionTrace (an intrusion detection analytic that is i-LIDS® approved as a primary detection system for operational alert use in sterile zone monitoring applications), LoiterTrace ( a detection analytic for unauthorised loitering in indoor and outdoor applications) and SmokeTrace, which allows monitoring sites to visually verify fire threats before calling the fire brigade, in turn reducing false alarms and significantly lowering the large cost of responding to false fire alarms.

VESDA Laser Quantum (VLQ) brings VESDA-quality value and very early warning (VEW) to compact areas where VEW was previously unaffordable

VESDA Laser Quantum (VLQ) brings VESDA-quality value and very early warning (VEW) to compact areas where VEW was previously unaffordable

VESDA Laser Quantum (VLQ) brings VESDA-quality value and very early warning (VEW) to compact areas where VEW was previously unaffordable. VLQ offers 4 Class-A VEW holes and quick and easy installation and commissioning, covering 1,002 metres (1,000 sq ft).

Target applications include remote telecom exchanges, base stations, portable data centres and other compact critical infrastructure applications.

Converged safety and security solution

Xtralis also unveiled its first converged safety and security solution. Designated SmokeTrace, it’s a FastTrace 2E video analytic to provide remote visual verification of smoke threats and eliminate false alarms while providing real-time situational awareness to improve first responder efficiency and effectiveness.

SmokeTrace PLUS uses the Xtralis OSID smoke detector to alarm on real smoke threats in existing installations where video cameras and traditional smoke detectors are already installed, providing certain visual verification and real-time situational awareness of a smoke threat.

When used with VESDA-E, SmokeTrace allows real-time situational awareness to complement VESDA-E’s addressable pinpoint location identification.

More information on these solutions is available at: http://www.xtralis.com/xtralis-e

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Reliance High-Tech launches 720˚ Security

A suite of networked services that leverage the power of IP to increase security, efficiency and business intelligence has been introduced to the market by Reliance High-Tech

The 720˚ Security suite of IP services capitalises on the company’s highly accredited monitoring capabilities not to mention the continued growth in networked systems.

Reliance High-Tech 720˚ Security

Reliance High-Tech 720˚Security

Reliance 720˚ has uniquely combined specialist monitoring technologies and IT support capabilities to successfully provide customers with intelligent IP services that have complemented traditional security activities and increase security, efficiency and business intelligence. These include:

• System Health and Usage Monitoring: Live usage and performance monitoring across networked access and CCTV systems to reduce cost and improve resilience through a pro-active and condition-based maintenance regime

• Environmental Condition Monitoring: Monitors critical environments for changes and trends in temperature, moisture, power supply and air quality, in turn ensuring the continued safe operation of facilities and key system components

• Hosted Access Control: A solution that eliminates the day-to-day cost and risk associated with managing an access control system. This includes a safe and simple online card bureau service to manage identities across disparate estates through to complex hosting and storage services

Commenting on the launch, Terry Sallas (managing director of Reliance High-Tech) said: “We have long embraced advances in technology and the growth in networked systems, and we’re now providing innovative services that deliver real value and improved intelligence.”

For details on 720˚ Security go to http://www.720security.co.uk or e-mail info@rht.co.uk for more information

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CSARN Blog: ‘CryptoLocker ransomware demonstrates criminal innovation’

City Security and Resilience Networks has produced an excellent commentary on CryptoLocker, the latest sophisticated strain of ransomware.

This period has seen the widespread emergence of a sophisticated strain of ransomware called CryptoLocker.

Having infected a computer, invariably via a phishing vector, the malware connects to a command and control server to generate a 2,048 bit RSA cryptographic key (sufficiently complex to deter any attempt to crack it) to encrypt the victim’s files.

The program then demands a ransom of $300 USD via Green Dot MoneyPak pre-paid credit cards or 2 Bitcoins (currently worth around $1,000 US) to decrypt the files. If payment by these anonymised means is not made before the expiration of a 96-hour countdown timer, the victim’s files are permanently encrypted.

In more recent versions of the malware, victims can instead choose to extend this deadline, albeit at vastly inflated prices.

Encryption can also spread to flash drives through private networks, and onto cloud-based storage providers.

CryptoLocker ransomware demonstrates criminal innovation

CryptoLocker ransomware demonstrates criminal innovation

Focus on small businesses

The malware operates on all versions of Windows and appears to be focused on small businesses, presumably on the basis of the combination of data dependence and comparatively weak security practices.

Infections have been most prevalent in the US, with a Massachusetts Police Department reportedly among victims opting to pay the ransom.

In the UK, the newly-formed National Crime Agency has warned that “tens of millions” of malicious e-mails containing the ransomware have been distributed to PC users, though there is currently no evidence of infection on this scale.

Considering current propagation methods, the simplest means of preventing infection is enhanced vigilance to phishing e-mails which feature attachments containing the malware. To date, popular variants have included a document circulated within companies claiming to be a payroll report, designed to pique an employee’s interest, and a document claiming to be parcel tracking information from UPS or FedEx (an approach with particular current appeal due to the upsurge in home deliveries associated with increased online shopping in the run-up to Christmas).

Less common vectors include the exploitation of a vulnerability in Java, and the automatic infection of computers that are part of the Zeus banking Trojan botnet.

Besides user awareness, popular free anti-virus programs such as Avast and MalwareBytes may assist in the detection of such attacks, while CryptoPrevent is specifically designed to prevent infections from this form malware.

Mitigating the worst effects

Though prevention an initial infection is the only guaranteed means of avoiding encryption, some other techniques can help users mitigate the worst effects of the ransomware.

The Windows feature ShadowExplorer allows victims to access previous versions of files. Despite claims to the contrary from the creators, adjusting the time on a PC’s BIOS (Basic Input/Output System, the program used by the operating system to communicate with the hardware on start-up) can buy victims more time.

However, such techniques may be rendered ineffective by future modifications to the ransomware. The creator’s continued financial interest in the ‘integrity’ of the transaction invariably means that payment remains the surest method of regaining access to encrypted files, although there have also been reports of some users’ files corrupting in the decryption process.

While the perpetrators’ sophisticated command and control and payment techniques have helped to maintain their anonymity, evidence that multiple groups are running the ransomware, combined with the program’s use of broken English (“most cheap option” and “nobody and never will be able to restore files”) suggest the possible involvement of Russian criminal gangs, which remain among the world’s leaders in this field.

The ability to constantly adapt has been a significant factor in the success of CryptoLocker. The creators appear to have been monitoring computer security forums for victim ‘feedback’ in order to increase their revenues. This has led to modifications such as the addition of a desktop item to ‘reinstall’ the malware if a victim’s anti-virus software removes their ability to pay after encryption has occurred.

Although current estimates suggest only 3% of the victims opt to pay the ransom, further adjustments and reinvestment of this revenue may increase the attractiveness of this option in the coming period. Accordingly, the authors may increasingly seek to employ alternative methods of infection, such as spear-phishing (highly tailored) attacks with higher ransoms or watering hole attacks, which involve the infection of a trusted third-party website.

This latest strain of ransomware also represents the continuing evolution of the form of malware from relatively unsophisticated ‘Ransomlock’ Trojans which act simply to freeze a user’s interface pending a ransom payment. The increasing success of such tactics despite the currently simplistic means of infection reinforce the need for effective basic security measures.

In addition to the steps above, readers are advised to ensure valuable documents are backed up in secure locations on a regular basis to minimise the impact in the event of such a breach.

Access the CSARN website

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SMBs need help to better understand cyber attack threats

Research by The Ponemon Institute reveals that over half of SMBs globally do not see cyber attacks as a significant risk.

Many small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) are potentially putting their organisations at risk because of uncertainty about the state of their security and threats faced from cyber attacks.

According to the ‘Risk of an Uncertain Security Strategy’ study conducted by The Ponemon Institute, senior management is failing to prioritise cyber security which, in turn, is preventing them from establishing a strong IT security posture.

Of 2,000 respondents surveyed globally, 58% confirmed that management does not see cyber attacks as a significant risk to their business. Despite this, IT infrastructure and asset security incidences, as well as wider security-related disruptions, were found to have cost these SMBs a combined average of $1,608,111 over the past 12 months.

Sponsored by Sophos, the research has also identified that the more senior the position of the decision-maker in the business, the more uncertainty there was surrounding the seriousness of the potential threat.

SMBs need help to better understand cyber attack threats

SMBs need help to better understand cyber attack threats

Three main challenges to strong security

“The scale of cyber attack threats is growing every single day,“ said Gerhard Eschelbeck, CTO for Sophos, “yet this research shows that many SMBs are failing to appreciate the dangers and potential losses they face from not adopting a suitably robust IT security posture.”

According to the research, there are three main challenges preventing the adoption of a strong security posture: failure to prioritise security (44%), insufficient budget (42%) and a lack of in-house expertise (33%).

In many SMBs there’s also no clear owner responsible for cyber security, which often means it falls into the purview of the CIO.

“Today in SMBs, the CIO is often the ‘only information officer’ managing multiple and increasingly complex responsibilities within the business,” said Eschelbeck. “However, these ‘OIOs’ cannot do everything on their own. As employees are demanding access to critical apps, systems and documents from a diverse range of mobile devices, it would appear security is often taking a back seat.”

The study reveals uncertainty around whether Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and the use of the cloud are likely to contribute to the possibility of cyber attacks. Some 77% of respondents said the use of cloud applications and IT infrastructure services will increase or stay the same over the next year, yet a quarter of those surveyed indicated they did not know if this was likely to impact security.

Similarly, 69% said that mobile access to business critical applications would increase in the next year, despite the fact that half believe this will diminish security postures.

“Small and mid-size organisations simply cannot afford to disregard security,” said Larry Ponemon, president of The Ponemon Institute. “Without it there’s more chance that new technology will face cyber attacks, which is likely to cost the business substantial amounts. CIOs are under pressure to implement new technology that informs agile and efficient ways of working, but this should not take precedence over security. The industry needs to recognise the potential dangers of not taking cyber security seriously and create support systems to improve SMB security postures.”

Key findings of the research

The study targeted SMBs in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Asia-Pacific Region (Australia, India, China and Singapore) to better understand how such organisations are managing security risks and threats.

Key findings of the study include:

• 58% of respondents say management does not see cyber attacks as a significant risk

• One-third of respondents admit they are not certain if a cyber attack has occurred in the past 12 months. 42% of respondents said their organisation had experienced a cyber attack in the past 12 months

• Respondents in more senior positions have the most uncertainty about the threats to their organisations, indicating that the more removed the individual is from dealing on a daily basis with security threats, the less informed they are about the seriousness of the situation and the need to make it a priority

• CISOs and senior management are rarely involved in decisions regarding IT security priorities. While 32% say the CIO is responsible for setting priorities, 31% say no one function is responsible

• 44% of respondents report IT security is not a priority. As evidence, 42% say their budget is not adequate for achieving an effective security posture. Compounding the problem, only 26% of respondents say their IT staff has sufficient expertise

• Respondents estimate that the cost of disruption to normal operations is much higher than the cost of damages or theft of IT assets and infrastructure

• Mobile devices and BYOD are much more of a security concern than the use of cloud applications and IT infrastructure services. However, these concerns are not preventing extensive use and adoption of mobile devices, especially personal devices

• Uncertainty about their organisations’ security strategy and the threats they face varies by industry:
o Respondents in financial services have more confidence, which can probably be attributed to the numerous data protection regulations
o The technology sector is also more security aware, which is probably due to the IT expertise that exists in these organisations
o Retailing, education and research and entertainment and media have the highest level of uncertainty about their organisations’ security strategy and the threats they face

Recommendations emanating from the research findings

• Organisations need to concentrate resources on monitoring their security situation in order to make intelligent decisions. While assessing where they stand on the security continuum, organisations need to focus on monitoring, reporting and proactively detecting threats

• Establish mobile and BYOD security Best Practice. Carefully plan and implement a mobile strategy so that it doesn’t have an impact on the overall security posture

• Organisations should look for ways to bridge the gap created by a shortage of information security professionals. Consider ways to free-up time for in-house resources, including a move to cloud technologies, security consulting and easy-to-manage solutions

• Measure the cost of cyber attacks, including lost productivity caused by downtime. Work with senior management to make cyber security a priority and invest in solutions that restore normal business activity more quickly for a high return on investment

• Organisations in all sectors are regularly breached and regulations are often simply the beginning of properly securing a network. Consider consolidated security management to gain a more accurate picture of threats that will help focus on problem areas

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