Monthly Archives: October 2020

Jodie Stevens joins Venture Security in compliance manager’s role

Hampshire-based security solutions provider Venture Security has bolstered its senior team with the appointment of Jodie Stevens as compliance manager. In her new role, Stevens will be responsible for overseeing all regulatory, privacy and compliance matters within the organisation and ensuring that the necessary British Standards are applied.

That process and procedure includes managing Venture Security’s many accreditations, such as its National Security Inspectorate Gold status, CHAS and ACS Pacesetters memberships and the business’ continued registration on the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) Approved Contractor Scheme.

Prior to joining Venture Security, Stevens spent 11 years working at Heathrow Airport within airfield operations, safety and transformation. As such, she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the airfield, maintaining safety processes and dealing with any accidents and incidents as required, more recently being focused on improving the efficiency of ground operations. This followed on from an 18-month spell in a similar role at Southampton Airport.

Commenting on her new appointment, Stevens said: “I’ve known the team at Venture Security for many years now. I actually hold an SIA licence myself and, in my spare time, have supported the team with guarding operations at Stonehenge, Salisbury Racecourse and for other regional events so I already have a lot of knowledge about the company and how it operates.”

Stevens continued: “Being furloughed due to COVID-19 and a recent restructure led me to reflect on my role at Heathrow Airport and it just seemed the perfect time to make the move to join Venture Security. It’s a great fit for my skills and experience and I look forward to the opportunity of making a tangible difference at what is an ambitious and growing company.”

Jodie Stevens

Upholding standards

Paul Howe, managing director at Venture Security, responded: “Jodie is exceptional at what she does and will be a valuable member of the team. As a company, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality of service possible and that comes down to employing the best people, organising the best training and investing in industry-leading systems and processes. We’re currently undergoing significant growth as a business and upholding standards throughout will be central to our success.”

Based in Andover, Venture Security is ranked within the top 1% of security providers in the UK. The award-winning company was founded in 2006 and works with both corporate and residential clients, providing services including security guarding, mobile patrols, locking and unlocking for premises, key holding and alarm response.

As well as working with businesses, the team manages security for a number of high-profile regional venues and events, also working with councils and BIDs to tackle anti-social behaviour in public spaces.

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Pharmas urged to review anti-counterfeiting plans ahead of no-deal Brexit

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are being urged to review their anti-counterfeiting plans ahead of the possible failure by the UK Government to agree on a Brexit deal with the EU.

Global trade body the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) has warned that the UK could see a flood of counterfeit medicines after the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) ceases to apply at the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January 2021.

In place since early 2019, the FMD uses mandatory safety features and an EU-wide database to help stem the distribution tide of fake or counterfeit medicines which could endanger lives.

The FMD will cease to apply if there’s no deal, leaving the UK with no access to the EU database except in Northern Ireland, where the FMD will continue to apply.

Interpol, Europol and national medicines agencies seize many falsified medicines and close hundreds of illegal websites selling them every year. Indeed, a report published by Europol’s Intellectual Property Office in 2019 estimates that counterfeit medicines cost the EU pharmaceutical sector more than ten billion Euros annually in lost revenue.

Fuelling the problem

The IHMA has stated that the COVID-19 crisis is also fuelling the counterfeit problem. Criminals are taking advantage of the pandemic to market and distribute fake pharmaceuticals, spurred on by increased demand and a shortage of basic drugs and medicines.

Illicit goods, or those with a vague provenance, can threaten people’s lives as well as damage corporate reputations and investment in companies and their products.

The IHMA has echoed calls by the National Pharmacy Association that, in the interests of patient safety, there should be ‘…the continuation of an anti-counterfeit system. However, not [one] necessarily governed by the rules of the FMD’.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has also voiced its concern over the issue, pressing Government to put “robust plans” in place in a bid to ensure that counterfeit medicines don’t enter the supply chain.

Infiltrating supply chains

Dr Paul Dunn, chair of the IHMA, said: “Failure to secure a Brexit deal could leave the door wide open to crafty criminals who are infiltrating global supply channels, deploying scams and counterfeiting measures to trick consumers and damage manufacturers. Furthermore, items such as falsified medicines and drugs bought online pose a terrible threat and can endanger lives.”

Dunn continued: “Whether or not the Government introduces new measures, the latest track-and-trace holographic systems remain a fast and effective front line security device in the battle to protect against any post-Brexit threats and keep medicines, and people, as safe as possible.”

He added: “Holograms can be effective in the front line fight against counterfeiters and fraudsters, protecting brands and profits alike. Those involved in the supply chain are reassured by holograms’ presence on products, recognising the security and financial benefits that are provided.”

The use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated by ISO 1293, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from fake products coming from counterfeiting ‘hot spots’ in Asia and eastern Europe. Even those that carry a ‘fake’ authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.

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Hackers impersonate Marks and Spencer CEO Steve Rowe in £35 ‘free’ gift voucher scam

Cyber criminals have launched an audacious online scam designed to trick Marks and Spencer (M&S) customers into handing over confidential data by attempting to impersonate the famous High Street retailer’s CEO Steve Rowe.

The fraudulent adverts, uncovered by the Parliament Street Think Tank’s cyber research team, were launched via social networking site Facebook from an unverified page entitled ‘Marks and Spencer Store’.

Users have been bombarded with adverts showing a man (who’s not Steve Rowe) holding M&S-branded bags accompanied by the message: “Hello everyone. My name is Steve Rowe and I’m the CEO of Marks and Spencer. I’ve an announcement to make. To celebrate our 135th Anniversary, we’re giving EVERYONE who shares and then comments by 11.59 pm tonight one of these mystery bags containing a £35 M&S voucher plus goodies! Make sure you enter here [URL].”

The fake URL takes unsuspecting users to an M&S-branded portal where they’re asked for their name, address, mobile phone number and bank details including sort code and account number in order to ‘enter’ the prize draw.

Around 150 members of the public had identified and reported the scam, which was flagged to consumer groups and raised as an issue on social media.

In a statement, Marks and Spencer commented: “We have been made aware of this advert and it isn’t genuine. Our colleagues are investigating further.”

Expert observations

Cyber security expert Andy Heather, vice-president of Centrify, observed: “With more people than ever committed to online retail shopping due to COVID-19, it’s likely that we’ll see a surge of ‘exclusive’ or ‘one-time only’ deals pop up on social media, via e-mail and through SMS messages over the course of the next few months up until Christmas. Unfortunately, many of these sales and deals, much like this M&S one, will be a scam designed to steal confidential data, such as payment details or log-in credentials.”

Heather continued: “If people may have already fallen victim to a scam of this nature, it’s essential that they take proactive measures to stop these scammers in their tracks. This requires individuals to report these scams to the impersonated brand, freeze bank accounts and change log-in details. It’s very common for attackers to hold on to stolen log-in credentials for months after an attack, waiting for the victim to drop their guard before re-breaking in to other accounts protected by the same password.”

Tim Sadler, CEO at Tessian, explained: “Phishing scams don’t just reside in your Inbox. Hackers are increasingly using social media as another hunting ground for their victims. With the lure of a prize giveaway, cyber criminals are hoping that people will click the URL link to ‘enter’ the competition. Those that do click are led to a malicious website that prompts them to enter valuable personal information and credit card details.”

Sadler concluded: “As we head into the busy pre-Christmas shopping season, we can only expect to see more of these types of ‘sale’ scams emerge online. Treat these posts just like you would any phishing e-mail. Ask yourself if this deal seems legitimate and verify the identity of the person requesting you to take action before clicking on any links. In this instance, the scammers have used a picture of someone who isn’t the CEO of M&S. If you’re still unsure, visit the retailer’s website and official social media channels to cross-check that the deal has been mentioned elsewhere.”

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Company boss found guilty of supplying unlicensed security staff to school

In a prosecution brought by the Security Industry Authority (SIA), a Lancashire security company director who provided unlicensed security staff to a school has had his case referred to a higher court for sentencing.

Martin Coe, the former director of Evolution Security Services NW, was found guilty following a two-day trial held at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 October.

SIA investigators discovered that unlicensed security officers had worked for Coe on numerous occasions at Baines School in Poulton, the Wyre Light pub in Fleetwood and at the Poulton Industrial Estate.

The District Judge presiding over the trial found Coe guilty of the supply of the two unlicensed security operatives. During the trial, the SIA had called three witnesses, whom the District Judge referenced as being “professional and credible”. By contrast, the District Judge noted in her summing up that Coe’s evidence was “not credible”.

The matter was adjourned to Preston Crown Court for sentencing and to start the process of recovering assets from Coe under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Coe had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to failing to provide information to the SIA despite being legally required to do so.

Serious matter

Nathan Salmon of the SIA’s criminal investigations team said: “Martin Coe refused to co-operate with an SIA investigation and has wasted court time by denying the charges against him. Providing unlicensed security staff to a school is a very serious matter. This is reflected in the fact that the District Judge in this trial has referred Coe’s case to a Crown Court for sentencing.”

Salmon continued: “The public rightly expects the very highest standards from those who protect them. There is reassurance that Coe will now be banned from working in the security sector. In addition, we will be pursuing the recovery of any profit he has made from his crimes.”

Neil Reddington and Gavin Macaskill had originally been found working at the Wyre Light in May 2019 by a licensing officer from Lancashire Constabulary who was following up on reports of unlicensed operatives being deployed at the venue. Both men were employed by Evolution Security.

Reddington was sentenced at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court back in February. The sentencing of Coe was due to take place at Preston Crown Court on Wednesday 4 November.

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AMG releases all-new AMG750 Series industrial grade cellular router

AMG SYSTEMS, the manufacturer of specialist Ethernet transmission solutions for the security and critical infrastructure markets, has just issued its AMG750 Series industrial grade 4G/LTE router.

Providing remote cellular connectivity, the AMG750 Series 4G/LTE industrial router features advanced dual SIM fail-over and WAN load balancing. The fail-over function itself provides an emergency redundant path, meaning that if the primary WAN connection is lost, the router can automatically switch to a 4G/LTE wireless connection, thereby “guaranteeing” maximum network reliability for the host organisation.

The AMG750 Series’ automatic connectivity switching is essential wherever network uptime is critical for security and/or safety operations, such as within the remote deployment of life safety systems for oil and gas sector applications, or alternatively within the transportation sector. Here, a 4G back-up path is required in addition to a DSL connection.

The router’s load balancing feature achieves a ‘uniform’ traffic balance in order to make the best use of available bandwidth or to distribute traffic according to a set of rules defining which WAN feed should be employed for a given data or connection type. According to AMG Systems, this functionality affords “a superior quality of service” and particularly so within mission-critical systems.

Wireless connection

In addition to a USB port for device-logging functions, the AMG750 Series router features a dual band 2.4/5 GHz wireless connection specifically for local Wi-Fi access and supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac.

Offering installers and end users alike peace of mind in addition to “the highest level” of system reliability, the AMG750 Series features dual power supply inputs along with a wide input range from 24 V DC through to 56 V DC.

In addition, fully-integrated voltage boosting technology ensures that reliable IEEE 802.3at 30 W PoE+ can be supplied to all four Ethernet ports, even when being powered by 24 V DC sources. Extending system flexibility, the industrial router can cater for legacy equipment via its RS232/485 serial data channel and may be either wall or DIN rail mounted.

“Ideal for rapid deployment, the AMG750 Series allows connectivity in scenarios where a wired connection isn’t possible,” explained Tom Exley, technical director at AMG Systems. “The Gigabit Ethernet WAN port and cellular WAN can be combined for load balancing or fail-over applications and is particularly suited to the demands of security, transportation and energy applications. The fully-integrated four-port Gigabit PoE+ Ethernet switch offers a ‘single box’-style approach for remote transmission solutions.”

*Further information is available online at www.amgsystems.com

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Genetec “only VMS vendor in world” to hold UL cyber security certification for security and life safety signalling systems

Unified security, public safety, operations and business intelligence solutions specialist Genetec has announced that Security Center Omnicast, its video management system (VMS), has received the UL 2900-2-3 Level 3 cyber security certification for the second year in a row. Genetec is currently the only VMS vendor in the world to have achieved this certification.

The UL Cyber Security Assurance Program (UL CAP) is a robust certification program that evaluates the security of network-connectable products and vendor processes. It features standardised, testable criteria from the UL 2900 Series of cyber security standards for assessing software vulnerabilities and weaknesses in embedded products and systems. 

The UL 2900-2-3 Standard for Security and Life Safety Signalling Systems was created with three possible levels of certification, ranking with an increasing level of security for each tier, to specifically test physical security systems for cyber security robustness.

Level 3, for which the Security Center Omnicast VMS is certified, is the most advanced. It includes a series of checks including fuzz testing, code and binary analysis, vulnerability assessment, penetration testing and risk management methodology validation.

“As a global safety science leader, UL is dedicated to promoting safe environments,” said Chris Hasbrook, UL’s vice-president and general manager of the Building and Life Safety Technologies division. “As part of that mission, the UL Cyber Security Assurance Program is a robust cyber security certification program for network-connectable products, and one which has to be renewed every year.”

Christian Morin, CSO at Genetec, added: “As a vocal proponent of cyber security Best Practice for many years now, we have always paid great attention to our own processes and operations. Being awarded this UL 2900-2-3 Level 3 certification for the second year is another testament to our continuous commitment to cyber security.”

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TDSi appoints Zara Taylor as marketing manager

Integrated security manufacturer TDSi has announced the appointment of Zara Taylor as its new marketing manager. Taylor is now overseeing the company’s ongoing and rapidly expanding digital and marketing strategies.

TDSi’s managing director John Davies commented: “We’re excited at the prospect of seeing Zara’s skills being put to work as we take our marketing activity to the next level with a good dose of Millennial thinking and know-how. Zara’s knowledge of the digital and social landscape will add fresh impetus to our marketing drive as we bring new products out of our development pipeline and augment our sales channel strategies, both here at home and abroad. I know that Zara will have a positive impact on our activities and I’m delighted she’s now a part of the team.”

Zara Taylor

Having graduated from the University of Northampton in 2017 with a First Class BA Honours degree in Fashion Marketing, Taylor has worked in marketing roles for three years covering a variety of different industries including hospitality, automotive, fashion and now security.

Commenting on her appointment, Taylor stated: “I am very excited to be leading TDSi’s push into the digital world, which is a vital part of the security industry’s continued growth and evolution. Security needs are universal across all industries and our customers and potential customers operate across all vertical sectors. On that basis, it is vital that we continue to deliver relevant and exciting messaging to all these audiences through all digital channels.”

Taylor continued: “We have many exciting developments taking place at TDSi which we will be unveiling over the coming months and into 2021, and I very much look forward to being a key part of this. TDSi will be further embracing digital channels, as well as meeting our customers and partners at UK and international events in a determined bid to showcase our solutions for an evolving security world.”

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NSI launches e-Learning course on BS 7858:2019 for security screening

The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) has announced the launch of a new eLearning course designed to help NSI-approved companies understand and apply the requirements of the revised Code of Practice BS 7858:2019 which focuses on the Screening of Individuals Working in a Secure Environment.

This introductory course is available to all who wish to enrol, but is particularly useful for screening administrators and controllers. Accredited by The Security Institute’s Continuing Professional Development scheme, the course includes guidance on information and documentation requirements, relevant legislation and regulatory requirements, the difference between personal opinion and fact and, importantly, the implications of non-compliance.

Upon completion of the course, learners will understand the reasons for screening, be able to assist in developing an effective screening process and also understand how to apply the requirements in practice. Each learner will receive a personalised Certificate of Completion.

Split into four parts, the eLearning course takes approximately two hours to complete. Learners may log in and out as many times as they wish, saving their progress to date each time.

Max Linnemann

Max Linnemann, head of certification services at the NSI, said: “We are very pleased to be able to offer this new eLearning course to our approved companies. The NSI is committed to helping companies keep on top of standards developments and widening their access to training. Our new eLearning course provides a cost-effective and convenient way of understanding the latest requirements of BS 7858:2019, which NSI-approved companies in the security systems and guarding services sectors need to be aware of.”

*Those who would like to find out more information about the course, pricing and how to enrol should contact Maxine Dent (training, facilities and events co-ordinator) by e-mail at maxine.dent@nsi.org.uk

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Evolution continues growth of risk and design team with Richard Desay promotion

Evolution, the integrated fire and security systems business, has promoted Richard Desay to the role of technical solutions architect in a bid to further enhance its risk and design-focused capabilities and expertise.

Desay is responsible for the design and production of detailed technical security systems – including intruder detection, perimeter protection and fence line and security lighting – both modified and bespoke to meet specific customer requirements and in accordance with relevant regulatory legislation and standards.

He joined Evolution in 2016 as a technical sales engineer. Prior to joining the business, Desay spent over ten years at the Atomic Weapons Establishment as a security systems engineer and designer.

Richard Desay

Desay will now report directly to Brendan McGarrity, head of risk and design. “I’m pleased to welcome Richard to the team and look forward to working closely with him,” explained McGarrity.

McGarrity continued: “Richard has extensive experience of technical system design, with a strong pedigree of working in high-security environments including the Government, nuclear and military sectors. He has a proven ability to identify risks in processes and procedures and implement appropriate measures and actions to mitigate and reduce them.”

Commenting on his new role, Desay stated: “Evolution is a business that continues to grow and expand. I’m pleased to be a part of it and I’m excited to tackle this new role, working closely with clients to design and deliver systems that meet their exact requirements.”

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Verisure joins Security and Services Section at Euralarm

Euralarm has welcomed its newest member Verisure, the European provider of professionally monitored security systems. The company will join both the Security and Services Section.

Verisure will now benefit from Euralarm’s services in terms of representation in front of European institutions and standardisation organisations. This includes the monitoring of legislative and standardisation issues relevant to the industry.

Verisure will have access to the extended network of national associations and major companies in the electronic fire safety and security sectors which form Euralarm’s membership. The new membership will create opportunities for both parties as it also strengthens the association.

Verisure provides professionally monitored security systems with 24/7 response services. It protects more than 3.5 million customers in 16 countries across Europe and the Latin American region.

The company’s mission is to bring peace of mind to businesses by providing them with the best security solutions and services. Verisure is known for category-creating marketing, sales excellence, innovative products and services and customer-centricity.

Verisure protects a highly satisfied and loyal customer base, with some of the strongest growth rates and best retention rates globally in consumer-facing services, demonstrating its exceptional service levels and strong value proposition to its customers.

Gain expertise on markets and opportunities

Companies joining Euralarm gain a unique insight into what is happening across European markets and the opportunities that they might offer. They can not only tap into the political expertise and understanding of the EU policy, but also make personal connections with technical and political experts and potential business partners.

Being a member of Euralarm enables companies and associations to gain expertise on standardisation. Members have their voice heard in Brussels and can support and help to direct standardisation and legislative processes.

The Security Section meetings gather experts presenting on topics such as the standardisation landscape on video surveillance. The Security Section liaises with key standardisation groups in the security field and closely follows technological developments to guide regulation and standardisation.

In terms of standards, the Security Section continues to inform its members of changes and advocates key activities at both the national and EU levels.

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