Monthly Archives: March 2014

Thales secures connectivity of Highways Agency with five-year Public Services Network contract

Thales has been awarded a five-year contract to provide secure network connectivity services for the Highways Agency.

Let under the UK Government’s Public Services Network (PSN) connectivity framework, the contract will see Thales deliver a range of services to the Highways Agency including network connectivity, encryption security, Wide Area Networks, Local Area Networks and remote access services for employees.

The Thales solution will enable the Highways Agency to exploit modern, secure communications that conform to the Government’s PSN standards, improving cyber security while significantly reducing ICT costs and improving operational effectiveness.

The backbone of the Thales solution is a secure, accredited network service that will link 49 sites across the United Kingdom. That secure network will enable improved information sharing between Highways Agency sites while also supporting secure voice and improved data communications services.

Thales will manage transformation and migration of all users from their existing network to the new encrypted service. The company will also provide gateway services ensuring the data integrity and security of information while at the same time allowing Highways Agency staff to work more flexibly and efficiently.

Thales will also supply a high security Remote Access Solution (RAS) to enable users to connect securely to the Highways Agency networks from remote or home-based locations.

Reduced costs, improved security

“Thales is looking forward to working with the Highways Agency to deliver a network solution that will significantly reduce costs, improve security and enhance operational effectiveness,” explained Phil Naybour, vice-president of secure communications and information systems at Thales UK.

“Thales aims to be a leading provider of secure network and cyber security services for UK Government and Critical National Infrastructure. Securing this contract, which is one of the largest contracts awarded under PSN, helps to confirm Thales as one of the leading providers of PSN connectivity solutions where there’s a requirement for enhanced security.”

Thales will support the Highways Agency contract using project managers and engineers from its Network Operations Centre in Doncaster and its facility in Basingstoke, home to a new Cyber Security Operations Centre.

The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport and is responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network in England on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport.

Aim of the Public Services Network

The aim of the Public Services Network (PSN) is to create a single network based on industry standards and, in so doing, create a more open and competitive ICT marketplace at the heart of the UK public sector.

PSN will substantially reduce the cost of communication services across UK Government and enable new, joined-up and shared public services for the benefit of citizens.

The PSN programme uses two commercial frameworks: one for connectivity and one for services. Both the PSN connectivity and the services frameworks are now operational.

As one of the few companies to supply both PSN frameworks, Thales provides a full suite of secure network and cyber security assessment, audit and assurance capabilities.

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Trevor Turner appointed director of operations at Lodge Service

Trevor Turner is the new director of operations at Lodge Service. Turner boasts almost 35 years’ experience of working with both security technology and guarding services across the retail and distribution sectors as well as the financial services market.

Turner began his security career with Group 4 Total Security before becoming head of profit protection for Comet, where he remained for almost 15 years.

More recently, Turner has been working within the security guarding sector where he has held the positions of director of commercial and director of operations.

Trevor Turner: the new director of operations at Lodge Service

Trevor Turner: the new director of operations at Lodge Service

“Trevor joins the company at an exciting time,” explained Simon Chapman, the managing director at Lodge Service. “He’ll be responsible for strategically managing the operational businesses in order to position us for continued growth. His focus will be directly on customer service while at the same time seeking new and innovative ways of delivering an integrated security solution to our customers and prospects.”

Lodge Service is a third-generation family business that delivers data-enabled security services and personnel for the protection of people, property and business assets.

With a £20 million turnover and nearly 800 staff, Lodge Service operates from offices in nine countries – the UK, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain as well as South Africa.

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‘Over 60% of fraud is data driven identity crime’ warns CIFAS

CIFAS – the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service – has issued a warning that six out of every 10 frauds recorded to the CIFAS database in 2013 were dependent on the abuse of identity details.

As previously revealed in this year’s Fraudscape report, the use of fictitious identities or the abuse of identity details to obtain a product or service in the name of an innocent victim (Identity Fraud) accounted for 49% – well over 100,000 – of all confirmed frauds recorded in the UK during 2013.

Fraud in the cyber age

While identity fraud has long been a serious issue, there have now been over 100,000 confirmed cases recorded every year since 2009.

In addition, since 2008 the use by online crooks of data such as passwords and e-mails to hijack an existing account has also increased significantly, in turn demonstrating that recent patterns of online financial crime can now be considered the ‘norm’ in terms of fraud.

While identity fraud has long been a serious issue, there have now been over 100,000 confirmed cases recorded every year since 2009

While identity fraud has long been a serious issue, there have now been over 100,000 confirmed cases recorded every year since 2009

CIFAS communications manager Richard Hurley commented: “2007 is often known in the IT security world as 1BC (One Year Before Cyber). Since 2008, figures collected from organisations that share data through CIFAS undoubtedly confirm that we are now in the age of cyber fraud. Since then, we have seen identity fraud break the 100,000 confirmed victims barrier every year for five straight years, and have seen the two types of identity crime, combined, hover around or exceed the ‘60% of all fraud’ level for the past three years.”

Hurley added: “While it’s true that, without the Internet, organised criminals would still find a way to commit such frauds, these figures prove more than ever before that fraud is now a cyber industry.”

Can the online fraudsters be countered?

In an age when many increasingly rely upon online services and retailers, the need to counter the fraud risks becomes greater.

While we can all do more as individuals to keep ourselves safe when online (such as only using secure Internet connections, using complex passwords and keeping our systems fully updated in terms of security), and while organisations must also do more to protect the information that they collect from customers, it’s worth considering whether other changes might be necessary.

This is at the heart of the latest poll on the homepage of the CIFAS website.

Richard Hurley noted: “We all want the online world to be a safe and easy place to do business. However, the simplicity that we rely upon – such as using only a few pieces of information to identify or verify oneself – plays into the hands of hackers and online criminals. Whereas, traditionally, the concept of a person’s identity is akin to a tapestry of details such as passport, voters’ roll and bank statement, in the digital era do we now need to include additional information in order to prove that we are who we say we are?”

In an age when we increasingly rely upon online services and retailers, the need to counter the fraud risks becomes greater

In an age when we increasingly rely upon online services and retailers, the need to counter the fraud risks becomes greater

Continuing this theme, Hurley stated: “While, on the one hand, this might seem like a solution, it raises the spectre of organisations knowing more and more about individuals. This is something that, naturally, presses some uncomfortable buttons. It also risks putting more personal data injeopardy by giving it to other organisations.”

In conclusion, Hurley said: “Nonetheless, society at large will increasingly need to accept that the convenience of current methods might need to be reviewed in order to bolster personal security: whether it’s through using different data in a smarter way, software to recognise the devices that we use or biometrics.”

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UK Government’s plans to professionalise information security “too rigid” for industry

UK Government plans designed to establish an ‘approved standard’ and potentially underwrite ‘Chartered’ status for UK cyber security professionals have been called “worrying” by John Colley, managing director for (ISC)2 EMEA.

Following last week’s release of the policy paper: ‘Cyber Security Skills: Business Perspectives and Government’s Next Steps‘ by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in advance of the UK budget announcement, Colley highlighted an over-reliance on the CESG Certified Professional (CCP) as a foundation for all skills development in the UK.

The paper details the Government’s support for cyber skills development and specific initiatives to be funded in 2014-2015. Among some very welcome commitments to work with industry on skills and work experience initiatives, the report outlined the intent to mandate compliance with the GCHQ-led CESG Certified Professional (CCP) scheme as a foundation to accredit private sector training.

The scheme would also form the basis for the development of university curricula, funding incentive schemes through the Higher Education Authority and to provide guidance for business of all sizes. Further, only ‘relevant’ courses accredited under the CCP scheme would be eligible to be showcased on the Government-recognised Sector Skills Council site: e-Skills UK Cyber Academy Learning Pathways.

Meeting the commercial sector’s needs

“This is worrying,” said Colley. “I fear the CCP scheme will not meet the needs of the commercial sector. This scheme goes into fine detail to define roles, several levels of competency specific to those roles and locks everyone into a rigid, expensive and over-complicated process for maintaining something that’s never going to be fit for purpose.”

John Colley: managing director for (ISC)<sup>2</sup> EMEA

John Colley: managing director for (ISC)2 EMEA

(ISC)2 EMEA managing director John Colley is encouraging a review of the UK Government’s plans, which were published last week.

Colley points out that the CCP scheme, originally launched for Government in October 2012, has been developed based on the IISP skills framework published in 2007, and that there has been no communication around how the CCP scheme is to be kept up-to-date.

GCHQ, the Government’s intelligence and security agency, was funded to develop the CCP scheme and worked to define six roles for Government in October 2012. A seventh role was added to the scheme last week, and there are plans to define several more.

Cyber training and education programmes

“GCHQ brings a lot to the table,” continued Colley, “but it’s not the only perspective that’s relevant here. It’s important to see strong endorsement from Government for cyber training and education programmes, but one with such a narrow focus is limiting. By the time everything is documented and published, there’s a huge risk that requirements will have changed.”

Colley, who has 16 years’ experience as a hiring manager for cyber security within the financial sector, points out that the priority is to develop people with a good level of all-round security knowledge rather than to develop different areas of focused, specialist skills.

The Government’s intent to address university curricula at all levels and to encourage greater collaboration between industry and academia are particularly welcomed.

“We need to cultivate volumes of people with solid foundations to develop and adapt in what is a very dynamic field of practice,” outlined Colley.

“People following the CCP scheme will be locked into a focused career path and struggle to move laterally. The latter is exactly how people develop that all-round knowledge and experience that allows them to advance in the commercial sector today. I would like to see a broader, more inclusive approach that allows market-influenced development to continue to respond to the very fluid requirements of the profession.”

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Banknote Watch seminar programme and exhibition draws impressive police attendance

Police officers from across the country were given the chance to get close to the latest technology used in fighting Cash-in-Transit crime at a new event organised by crime reduction partnership Banknote Watch.

Attracting over 180 delegates from across 11 police forces, the seminar and exhibition brought police together with manufacturers of the unique taggant technology used to trace stolen banknotes back to the scene of a crime. A series of presentations gave police officers up-to-the-minute information about the applications of this technology and the procedures they can follow to identify and trace stolen cash.

Banknote Watch is a crime reduction partnership aimed at raising awareness among police and the general public that ‘a stained note is probably a stolen note’. Its supporters work closely with the police, financial institutions and the private security industry to ensure that criminals are less and less likely to profit from Cash-in-Transit crime.

Hosting the event alongside West Midlands Police and ACPO Secured by Design, Banknote Watch invited several exhibitors along to enable delegates from police forces to learn of the unique taggant technology used to trace stolen notes back to the scene of a crime.

Vital supporting evidence

Hilaire O’Shea is the national co-ordinator for Banknote Watch.

“When the police find stained banknotes,” explained O’Shea, “unique taggant technology can help them quickly and easily trace such notes back to the scene of a specific crime, which can in turn help them track down vital supporting evidence to help secure a conviction.”

O’Shea continued: “Each taggant has its own unique chemical code which shows up under ultraviolet light. This can attach itself to a criminal’s clothes or skin, or the inside of a car or home in which the stolen notes are stored. These solutions can remain traceable for years.”

On that basis, O’Shea and her colleagues at Banknote Watch wanted police officers to leave this event able to recognise the various solutions and understand the procedure they can follow to secure the evidence they need.

“Banknote Watch plays an important role in bringing police together with the manufacturers of these solutions,” added O’Shea, “as well as monitoring the positive impact this technology has on crime trends and reducing the risks faced by Cash-in-Transit couriers and financial institutions. We’re delighted that the event was so well-attended, and hope to follow up with similar events across the country and so help spread the word about unique taggants as far and wide as we can.”

Commitment, dedication and support from the security sector

Welcoming delegates to the event, ACC Gareth Cann of West Midlands Police said: “I have been hugely impressed with the commitment, dedication, support and effort from the [security] industry generally. Joint working and joint effort has been to everyone’s benefit.”

Meanwhile, Sergeant Andy Gregory of West Midlands Police Force’s Crime Reduction Unit, which hosted the event at its Tally Ho Training Centre in Birmingham, commented that the day had provided an “opportunity to share information with 11 police forces from around the country and across the region.”

Geoff Knupfer of exhibiting company Smartwater Technology (and current chairman of the Asset and Property Marking Section of the British Security Industry Association) added: “It has been a great conference. We’re absolutely delighted at the turnout and the interest being shown in some of the technology that’s available for countering and combating ATM attacks and cash attacks generally.”

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Home Office: ‘Online advice service launched to thwart mobile phone thieves’

A new online advice service to help people protect their mobile phone handsets from thieves has gone live today. The advice has been published on with the support of major phone manufacturers Apple, Blackberry, LG, Samsung, Sony, Nokia and Windows Phones.

The service encourages members of the public to make more use of their phone’s security features, including innovations such as tracking, wiping data from or locking stolen handsets remotely using another Internet-enabled device.

The service also provides links to information on each manufacturer’s security features, including how to switch them on.

There are tips on avoiding mobile phone theft in the first place, such as taking extra care to keep handsets secure in busy locations and never leaving a mobile phone unattended.

Mobile phones are an attractive target for thieves. Handsets can be sold for hundreds of pounds overseas, where the newest models are not yet available

Mobile phones are an attractive target for thieves. Handsets can be sold for hundreds of pounds overseas, where the newest models are not yet available

Statistics on mobile phone theft

In 2012-2013 there were 742,000 victims of mobile phone theft in England and Wales. Sixteen to 24-year-olds are the most likely age group to be the target of ‘theft from the person’ offences.

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker has held a series of meetings with leaders in the mobile phone manufacturing industry to discuss what more can be done to tackle mobile phone theft.

“Crime is down more than 10% but theft from the person has gone up, bucking the overall trend,” explained Baker. “It’s clear much of this is generated by the theft of mobile phones, iPads and the like. I have challenged the industry to do more to make such thefts unattractive, for example by making it easier to immobilise stolen devices. I’m pleased to see that we are now making progress.”

Baker continued: “One part of this is the online advice service which is a vital new tool that will help people protect their handsets and make would-be thieves think twice. Mobile phone technology is changing all the time and we need innovative solutions to ensure we stay ahead of criminals.”

Leader in responding to mobile phone crime

The UK is a world leader in responding to mobile phone crime, with the industry and the police already working together to block stolen phones within 48 hours – stopping them being re-used in this country and making them less valuable.

Mobile phones are an attractive target for thieves. Handsets can be sold for hundreds of pounds overseas, where the newest models are not yet available.

Latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales showed 40% of thefts from the person involve a mobile phone.

The latest quarterly police recorded crime statistics were published in January, and cover the three months to the end of September 2013. They show ‘theft from the person offences’ are up by 7% and a rise in shoplifting offences of 4%.

The Government has started publishing street-level information on ‘theft from the person’ on crime maps so that Police and Crime Commissioners and the public can hold their local force to account.

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Europol and Ameripol strengthen co-operation in fight against organised crime

As part of the efforts to enhance law enforcement co-operation in the fight against international organised crime and terrorism, Europol’s director Rob Wainwright has hosted a visit by Juan José Andrade Morales, the president of Ameripol (the Police Community of the Americas).

Both Europol and Ameripol recognise the importance of co-operation and sharing to ensure a more effective approach to combating the common threats faced by the countries within Europe and the Americas.

The visit aimed to build on the existing relationship through focusing on:

• Capacity-building in the American countries to mitigate security threats to/originating from the region
• Fostering strengthened co-operation among the American countries as well as with European/Schengen countries in the area of internal security
• Co-operation resulting in a better understanding and more effective approach to combating the common threats posed by organised crime and terrorism
• Supporting capacity building for co-operation and information exchange among the law enforcement authorities of the Ameripol countries as well as within the wider European security area including EU and Schengen Member States based on European and international standards.

Wainwright and Morales also discussed common efforts to develop regional police bodies in the world as part of a coherent international police co-operation in which Interpol also plays a key role.

Europol's director Rob Wainwright

Europol’s director Rob Wainwright

Following fruitful discussions in The Hague, the Ameripol delegation then had the opportunity to explore Europol’s specialist operational facilities including the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).

Strengthening international police co-operation

“Europol is proud to be associated with one of its sister organisations in the world,” explained Rob Wainwright, “and welcomes the opportunity to play its part in strengthening international police co-operation.”

In 2010, Europol concluded an operational agreement with its first Latin American partner country, Colombia (also a member of Ameripol). This has been instrumental in developing a new level of co-operation for fighting organised crime such as currency counterfeiting and drug trafficking.

Colombia has therefore been designated by Ameripol as Europol’s point of contact.

During the meeting, President Morales presented Wainwright with a decoration of honour on behalf of Ameripol for his “distinguished services” to police co-operation.

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