Tag Archives: COVID-19

International trade body IHMA issues warning over latest COVID-19 counterfeiting scam

News that people are being duped into buying fake COVID tests reinforces the urgent need for manufacturers and law enforcement agencies to step up investment in anti-counterfeiting measures including product security devices. This warning from the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) comes in the wake of reports of illicit sales of fake negative COVID-19 test results.

The latter are becoming more widespread as criminals look to profit from travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic. Europol has reported an increase in cases of fraudulent COVID-19 test certificates being sold to travellers.

In tandem, an increasing number of countries in the EU and beyond now require travellers to provide a negative Coronavirus test in order form them to be allowed entry when travelling from a high-risk area.

According to the IHMA, this development strengthens concerns about manufacturers and the public being targeted for exploitation by unscrupulous counterfeiters looking to cash in on the trade in illicit goods and services as the pandemic continues to impact the globe.

Fake test results are just one example of a range of fraudulent activity that has emerged during the COVID crisis. Counterfeit coronavirus testing kits have been sold and online scams have risen, with criminals exploiting millions of people now working from home. Seizures of fake test kits were reported by both the US CBP and the World Customs Organisation during 2020 at a time when the counterfeit market represents an estimated 7% of global trade.

Fake medicines

The World Health Organisation has said that a growing volume of fake medicines are on sale in developing countries, while Interpol has seen an increase in fake medical products. Despite efforts from businesses, counterfeits continue to seriously harm brands while customers are being duped.

Counterfeiting is a multibillion-dollar global problem. The current crisis only exacerbates the situation, suggests the IHMA, which is urging supply chains and authorities to be extra vigilant and review how they tackle the threats posed. They may even have to bring forward plans for investment in authentication and verification technologies to protect brands, profits and reputation.

Indeed, an IHMA poll revealed that almost 50% of manufacturers and suppliers of holograms had seen an increase in demand from customers, specifiers and end users for devices and technologies in the face of COVID-19.

Opportunities for criminals

Dr Paul Dunn, chair of the IHMA, explained: “COVID continues to present opportunities for crafty criminals who are infiltrating global supply channels and deploying scams and counterfeiting measures to trick consumers and damage manufacturers. Furthermore, items such as falsified medicines and test kits can pose a terrible threat and even endanger lives.”

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

The use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated by ISO 12931, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from fake products coming from counterfeiting ‘hot spots’ in parts of 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Security Matters

Abloy UK issues 2021 dates for free online training sessions

Abloy UK has released its Academy calendar outlining the company’s free online training courses to be delivered in 2021. The webinars are going to be presented by specialists and aim to keep practising professionals operating in the sector up-to-date with the Building Regulations and compliance standards, as well as current security and technology trends.

A suite of four courses will be held across the year on specific themes: Escape Door Systems, Electric Locking for Fire and Escape Doors, Digital Transformation in Physical Security and Digital Access Solutions. The latter is a new subject for 2021.

Pat Jefferies, commercial director at Abloy UK, told Security Matters: “Ongoing COVID restrictions mean that in-person training is very difficult. However, this shouldn’t prevent security professionals from striving for self-improvement and ensuring that they always keep up-to-date with the latest Best Practice across the sector.”

The full list of course dates is as follows:

Escape Door Systems: 1 April, 4 June, 5 August, 6 October and 2 December.

Electric Locking for Fire and Escape Doors: 4 March, 6 May, I July, 2 September and 4 November.

Digital Transformation in Physical Security: 11 March, 13 May, 8 July, 9 September and 11 November.

Digital Access Solutions: 22 April, 10 June, 12 August, 14 October and 9 December.

The Electric Locking for Fire and Escape Doors and Digital Transformation in Physical Security online courses are CPD-accredited.

*To register for one or more of the training sessions visit https://bit.ly/3asYtwS

Leave a comment

Filed under Security Matters

Award-winning Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust joins IFPO

The International Foundation for Protection Officers in the UK and Ireland (IFPO UK) is pleased to welcome the award-winning Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Barnsley Facilities Services as corporate members of the not-for-profit organisation.

Barnsley Hospital is among the leading NHS Trusts in the country. The 350-plus bed hospital was built back in the 1970s and serves a population of over a quarter of a million people in the Barnsley area. Today, it continues to provide a full range of district hospital services to the local community and surrounding area. These include Emergency Department services, outpatient clinics, in-patient services and maternity and children’s services.

In addition, Barnsley Hospital provides a number of specialist services, including cancer and surgical services. These services are delivered in conjunction with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

The Barnsley Hospital security team, which is led by Mike Lees CSyP FSyI (head of business security) and business security specialist Lisa Corbridge MSyI, has won numerous awards in recent years for its innovative security regimes. At present, of course, the team is very much on the front line when it comes to the fight against COVID-19.

Commenting on the news, Mike Lees stated: “Both the NHS Trust and Barnsley Facilities Services consider the development of our front line personnel as being vitally important. Going forward, membership of the IFPO will be key to ensuring that patients and members of staff working at the hospital are protected by professional teams, the members of which have the opportunity to continue progressing their skills and competences.”

IFPO UK director Mike Hurst CPP MSyI responded: “We’re honoured to have Mike, Lisa and the award-winning Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust security and facilities team as members of the IFPO. Individual security practitioners, security companies and end users are all welcome as members of the organisation. They can access our range of member benefits and security education programmes. Indeed, we’re presently developing some new programmes designed to support front line officers, supervisors and managers.”

Professional membership association

IFPO UK is a not-for-profit professional membership association that exists to provide professional learning opportunities for security practitioners. The core focus is very much on imparting the knowledge, skills and competencies required to maximise job performance and enhance career potential.  

The UK and Ireland website, to be found at www.IFPO.UK, was launched in July last year. UK director Mike Hurst is supported by an Advisory Board of experienced security professionals. The members of that Advisory Board include Chris Middleton, Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Yolanda Hamblen, Paul Kellett, Garry Bergin, Jacqueline Walker, Jayne Robertson, Les Allen, Nic Reed, Peter Stiernstedt and Brian Sims Hon FSyI, Editor of Security Matters.

The IFPO was established in Canada by Ron Minion back in 1998. A former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and owner of a large Canadian contract business, Minion served as the IFPO’s executive director until 1992. He was succeeded by Sandi Davies, who has held the office ever since.

Davies also serves on the UK Advisory Board alongside Charles ‘Chuck’ Andrews, the IFPO’s chief strategic advisor. At present, the IFPO has members in 68 countries, with security professionals operating in 56 countries studying on its educational programmes.

To date, upwards of 14,000 individuals have achieved IFPO certificates.

Leave a comment

Filed under Security Matters

Wave XS by SALTO Systems offers 100% touch-free access control

The Wave XS is a smart, fast and reliable access control solution from SALTO Systems with a touchless button that permits easy and clean operation for a large number of activator devices. Upgrading to touchless access control allows for hands-free entry, eliminating the need to make contact with common touchpoints upon entry and creating a more hygienic environment.

Wave XS reader technology offers 100% touch-free automated access control. Depending on the configuration, the Wave XS reader’s capacitive technology can sense hand gestures. All the user has to do is approach the door and their hand activates the door to open, which makes for simple operation and eliminates the need to touch any surface.

With the Wave XS standard reader range, it’s easy to install hands-free automatic door opening hardware on an existing electrified door to eliminate that added touchpoint and promote a touchless, disability-compliant workplace. The solution can also be integrated with the SALTO Systems controller product range which delivers seamless integrations with lifts, turnstiles and parking garages to further reduce touchpoints throughout a building.

Contactless push-button technology has advanced in recent years, with devices activated by proximity using microwave, infrared and laser sensors. Within the context of the global pandemic, automatic door technology is expected to revolve around innovation and the development of smart touchless access that avoids contact and creates safer spaces.

Some of these systems allow doors to be opened by simply bringing the hand to within just a few centimeters from the reader device. As SALTO Systems has long leveraged industry-leading electronic locking solutions that enhance any door or building with elegant electronic locks, cylinders, locker locks and readers, the company now does so again with the SALTO Wave XS reader.

The Wave XS reader will help combat the spread of COVID-19 as well as future germ threats, at the same time helping to reinforce safety within building spaces.

Leave a comment

Filed under Security Matters

Over half of UK businesses list security concerns as biggest barrier to public cloud adoption

No less than 58% of UK business decision-makers have admitted that security remains the biggest barrier to public cloud adoption in their organisations. That’s according to new research recently commissioned by Centrify, the provider of privileged access management solutions.

The research, conducted by independent polling agency Censuswide via a survey of 200 business decision-makers in large and medium-sized enterprises in the UK, also reveals that over one-third (35%) of those organisations who’ve adopted cloud are less than 80% confident that it’s completely secure.

When questioned about security weaknesses in their companies, 45% of decision-makers agree that it’s the increasing amount of machine identities and service accounts, such as those used by servers and applications, that are becoming the largest exposure point for their organisation.

Interestingly, the study findings also reveals that more than one-in-four (28%) of those companies questioned during the survey have already been targeted by a cloud hacking attempt since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early part of last year.

Most worryingly, despite continued requirements on enterprises for digital transformation and rapid innovation, almost one-third (31%) of business decision-makers admitted that their development teams are more interested in circumventing security rather than building it into the DevOps pipeline. This poses a potentially grim cyber security outlook for 2021.

Adapting to the pandemic

Kamel Heus, vice-president for the EMEA region at Centrify, commented: “Adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a bumpy ride for many businesses and, in most cases, companies have necessarily had to adopt the public cloud in at least some capacity due to the level of scalability, availability and efficiency it provides for distributed workforces.”

Heus continued: “While the common misconception is that cloud security is quite different to that of on-premises infrastructure, it’s by no means less secure if common security protocols are followed, and security controls are applied.”

In conclusion, Heus observed: “One core challenge posed by digital transformation is accurately verifying human and machine identities before granting access to systems, applications and other high-value targets. Therefore, adopting cloud-ready privileged access management software is essential in protecting access to workloads in the public cloud by dint of granting access only when a requestor’s identity has been properly authenticated.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Security Matters

Hanwha Techwin launches temperature detection thermal camera

The dual-purpose Wisenet TNM-3620TDY camera from Hanwha Techwin is equipped with QVGA thermal imaging and HD capabilities designed to help businesses operate safely during the COVID-19 era.

The TNM-3620TDY is a bi-spectrum, multi-channel device which incorporates a QVGA-class thermal imaging camera and a 2 MP video surveillance camera. As such, it can detect heat and measure temperature with a very high degree of accuracy, while providing visual verification of people within its field of view.

In body temperature mode, the QVGA-class thermal imaging camera is able to estimate a person’s temperature within a range of 30⁰-45°C, with +/-0.5⁰C accuracy. When supported by black body technology, the accuracy increases to +/-0.3⁰C, allowing the TNM-3620TDY to provide a strong indication that a person may have a fever.

Offering support for deep learning AI-based face detection functionality, the TNM-3620TDY can measure the temperatures of up to ten individuals in real-time at a distance of up to 3 metres, with operators able to choose to view either the captured thermal images or standard HD video images.

IEC 60601 certification

The TNM-3620TDY is compliant with a series of device technical standards for the safety and essential performance of medical electrical equipment published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

In addition, Hanwha Techwin has completed the FDA facility registration process and device registration for the TNM-3620TDY in respect of FDA 510(k) clearance which is in progress.

In normal radiometric mode and with a high degree of accuracy, the thermal imaging camera detects and measures changes in temperature within the -20⁰C to 130°C range. End users are able to set up detection zones to cover specific areas of interest within the camera’s field of view. This provides a powerful tool which generates alerts when there’s a threat of fire in recycling, waste management and landfill-type facilities where spontaneous combustion may occur. A detected change in temperature may also be a warning that machinery in factories, processing plants, cold stores or utilities is faulty.

In addition, a spot detection feature enables operators, via a web viewer, to click on any pixel within an image and obtain a measurement of the temperature of the area covered by that pixel.

WiseStream II technology

The TNM-3620TDY supports H.265, H.264 and MJPEG compression formats, as well as WiseStream II, a complementary compression technology which dynamically controls encoding, balancing quality and compression according to movement in the image.

Bandwidth efficiency is improved by up to 75% when compared to current H.264 technology when WiseStream, which is unique to Wisenet cameras, is combined with H.265 compression.

The 2 MP video surveillance camera features a set of Intelligent Video Analytics which include directional detection, motion detection, enter/exit, virtual line, audio detection and camera tampering detection.

The TNM-3620TDY has a Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC slot which allows up to 256 GB of video or data to be stored at the edge should there be any disruption to the network. Video evidence, which potentially might have been lost, can therefore be retrieved when the network connection has been restored.

Capability to deliver

“Regretfully, some so-called ‘fever screening’ solutions devised by other manufacturers have attracted negative publicity,” said Uri Guterman, head of product and marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe. “In my view, this is because they’ve been oversold in terms of what they’re capable of delivering.”

He continued: “Although we’ve often been the first to market with new product developments and technologies, in this instance we’ve taken the time to develop the TNM-3620TDY and ensure that it’s fit for purpose. We highly value the trust our customers and business partners have in our ability to provide solutions which do not compromise on performance and quality. In this respect, they can be confident that this camera will meet, if not exceed, their expectations.”

In conclusion, Guterman stated: “The TNM-3620TDY is a great addition to our suite of COVID-related solutions, which includes face mask detection, occupancy monitoring and AI deep learning-based social distance measuring applications.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Security Matters

Dahua’s TMAC integration with PAC access control helps keep workplaces safe

PAC has produced an integration guide for Dahua’s Thermal Monitoring Access Control (TMAC) terminal to allow easy checking of an individual’s temperature as well as confirmation that a face mask is being worn when someone’s entering a building or any area secured by PAC access control. This integration guide is for use in the UK, Europe and the APAC region.

As businesses continue to adapt to the current COVID-19 measures, building managers need technology to help them enhance the safety of building occupants. In conjunction with other measures and procedures, and as part of an overall strategy, thermal monitoring and automated face mask detection presents an additional method for controlling security and adherence to safety measures by visitors to a given building.

PAC’s long-standing tradition of security integration with Time and Attendance, CCTV monitoring and other building and occupancy control services is now extended to the Dahua TMAC terminal, which has the functionality to check a person’s temperature and determine if a face mask is being worn when they’re entering a building or specific area.

This integration with Dahua’s TMAC allows access rights for individuals to be dynamically managed. By taking an output from the Dahua TMAC into the PAC access control system, access rights can be withdrawn for anyone not meeting the safety standards required to gain entrance.

Integrators will find set-up simple, with only some basic wiring and a few configuration settings within the Dahua TMAC required in order for the system to be ready and active. For end users, access control list set-up and management are also easy with a single access control system provided for the management of all secured areas and entrances.

Multifactor authentication supports the Dahua temperature and mask checking functionality before being able to use the PAC access control ID device to unlock the secured entrance.

A single keyholder database enables the clear demarcation of building controls as the PAC access control system is used for all access control and the Dahua TMAC is effectively employed as an added check for temperature and mask wearing.

*To access a copy of the integration visit http://pacgdx.com/products/dahua-tmac-integration-with-pac

Leave a comment

Filed under Security Matters

Inner Range offers contact tracing reports to help create safe environments

Access control solutions manufacturer Inner Range is offering customers the ability to identify close contacts of anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19, or other infectious diseases, by generating detailed reports of where the infected person has been and who else has been near them.

The contact tracing report can be generated and shared quickly and easily. It can show which doors an infected user has passed through, how much time they spent in each area, what time they badged a reader and which other users were near them up to 15 minutes before the infected person arrived and 60 minutes after they left the area.

Reports are completely customisable and multiple variations can be saved to ensure operators have the information they need for a range of requirements.

Inner Range’s general manager Tim Northwood said: “Organisations around the globe are struggling with the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. One way that we can help to address some of these issues is by assisting organisations to design safer work environments for their staff and customers. Providing a robust contact tracing report will help organisations quickly identify users who could be at risk and interrupt the spread of infection.”

The contact trace report is available via Inner Range’s intelligent integrated access control and security system Integriti and specifically for those end customers using the Integriti Business and Integriti Corporate software editions.

Specific access permissions

The reports can be generated and displayed directly within Integriti and shown on the operator’s screen in a user-friendly format. Reports can be saved in PDF, Excel, CSV, Text, Image or RTF formats along with more advanced options such as generating HTML or creating everything that’s needed for an MHL single-page website.

In addition, Inner Range access systems can provide specific access permissions for each area of a building and include area counting to monitor and limit the number of users in a particular area. This is available for Enterprise-level Integriti as well as Inner Range’s Entry-level system, namely Inception.

Occupancy thresholds can be set for a whole building, a specific area, individual offices or rooms, car parks and lifts. Once the level is reached, further users’ permissions are suspended until the occupancy count has a spare space. All information about occupancy can be transmitted to the site’s Health and Safety manager for real-time monitoring and alerts. A report can be run at any time in order to confirm the occupancy status of any designated area.

Leave a comment

Filed under Security Matters

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Security Matters

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Security Matters