All posts by admin

Dan Byman

writes that Lone Wolves are having a real, indeed a strategic, impact today by helping change the politics in the United States and Europe and, in so doing, are shattering the good relations between Muslim and non-Muslim communities so vital to counterterrorism and to liberal democracy in general. The year 2016 was the year of the Lone Wolf terrorist. In the United States, Omar Mateen, a loser who pledged himself to the Islamic State as he attacked a gay nightclub in Florida, killed 49 people in the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the 9/11 attacks. Europe too saw numerous attacks that involved individuals or small groups with only loose connections to the Islamic State.

Author

Daniel L. Byman

Senior Fellow – Foreign Policy, Center for Middle East Policy

The Lone Wolf threat is hardly new. Islamist groups, right-wing white supremacists, abortion foes, and separatists of various stripes have all used this tactic with varying degrees of success. Over a century ago, lone anarchists killed presidents and prime ministers in their campaign to overturn what they saw as oppressive governments and bourgeois society. The deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil before 9/11 occurred in 1995, when white supremacists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. In 2009, another right-wing extremist, Anders Behring Breivik, killed 77 people in Norway. Lone Wolves, however, seem to be growing in number. The scholar Ramon Spaaij found that although absolute numbers remain low, the numbers of attacks since the 1970s grew almost 50 percent in the United States and by over 400 percent in the other countries he surveyed.

[I]t is the rare Lone Wolf who is truly alone.

Precise numbers are difficult to come by, as it is often unclear how lonely Lone Wolves really are. A Lone Wolf is traditionally described as someone who operates on their own and is not part of a group, network, or directed by an outside organization. However, it is the rare Lone Wolf who is truly alone: the San Bernardino killers were married, and the Nice cargo truck driver was in contact with a range of radicals. An excellent New York Times report revealed that the Islamic State leaders operating remotely from Syria often exercise various degrees of influence and direction of many attackers at first thought to be acting alone. Think of them really as lone-ish wolves—wolves who are either acting alone or in very small packs.

The Lone Wolf logic is tied to the terrorists’ weakness, not its strength, which is why so many diverse groups have embraced it over the years. In 1983, white supremacist Louis Beam pushed for “leaderless resistance,” arguing that the federal government was too strong for any citizens’ movement to oppose it directly and that like-minded groups should operate independently without central coordination. “The concept of Leaderless Resistance is nothing less than a fundamental departure in theories of organization,” Beam wrote, using bold font to emphasize his point. Traditional groups with tight command and control “are easy prey for government infiltration, entrapment, and destruction of the personnel involved.” He admitted that “Leaderless Resistance is a child of necessity” but one that can create “an intelligence nightmare.”

Despite these many advantages, most terrorist groups have shied away from using Lone Wolves—at least most of the time. Mateen’s high death tolls is rare—indeed off the charts—compared with the vast majority of Lone Wolves, who usually kill only a small number, if any before being killed or arrested themselves. In comparing plots involving individuals who had fought as foreign fighters and thus had some training with those who had not, the terrorism scholar Thomas Hegghammer finds that the presence of a veteran from a foreign jihad both dramatically increases the chance that a terrorist plot will succeed and makes the overall lethality higher. Professionalism matters.

Cyber Jihadists Dabble in DDoS: Assessing the Threat

Recent events suggest that while cyber jihadists appear to remain of low skill and under-sophisticated, their toolset is expanding. Between December 2016 and January 2017, two distinct pro-ISIS cyber threat groups experimented with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and achieved limited apparent successes. Although the attacks have since ceased, these actors have expressed interest in engaging in similar and potentially more offensive cyber activities in the future. Indeed, the DDoS attacks that occurred previously provide visibility into these actors’ targeting strategies, limitations, and capabilities — all of which can help us assess the scope and credibility of the risks they represent.

Background

In December 2016, when one member of a top-tier ISIS Deep Web forum first discussed the possibility of DDoS, the initiative quickly gained support. Five weeks later, after the group’s ringleader finished developing a proprietary DDoS tool dubbed “Caliphate Cannon,” the group launched its first DDoS attack. As recently as late May 2017, the tool’s author referenced a new version in development, suggesting that more attacks may follow.

Around the same time, another pro-ISIS group known as the United Cyber Caliphate (UCC) also claimed credit for DDoS attacks. Although UCC did not provide any details regarding their attack methodology, the group likely used a booter/stresser — also known as a “DDoS-for-hire” service. Some of this activity was captured by a “honeypot” — a tool that monitors attack traffic from these types of services — which logged attacks against at least two of the targeted sites, the details of which corresponded to UCC’s claims.

Targeting Strategy

Although the UCC attacks were not accompanied by a discussion of targeting strategy or priorities, the forum community’s attacks using Caliphate Cannon were. The effort’s ringleader prioritized military and economic targets as well as security and education networks. While news agencies and even satellites were also considered desirable, the forum members recognized that such targets would likely be too difficult given their capabilities and resources.

The organizer of the DDoS efforts also published a survey to solicit feedback from forum members with regard to geopolitical priorities. The survey offered four categories: Crusader (the US-led anti-ISIS coalition), Iraqi government, Syrian government, and “Tyrants” — a term often used to describe Middle Eastern governments. Upon the close of the survey, the “Tyrants” category had obtained the most votes, followed by “Crusader.”

Based upon those results, the forum community launched DDoS attacks against government targets in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Iraq, with the latter receiving multiple attacks. No evidence suggests collusion between the forum community and UCC; however, six of the seven websites UCC claimed to have attacked were government, NGO, or private businesses’ websites in Iraq.

Results of the Attacks

UCC claimed credit for seven DDoS attacks in December 2016; the forum community targeted five sites throughout the second half of January 2017. Although at least one site targeted by UCC was confirmed offline after the attack was announced, Flashpoint analysts cannot confirm the site was online prior to the attack. The forum community’s organizer posted reports after each attack, most of which lasted three or more days. Each report included claims that the sites had gone down intermittently or suffered degraded response times.

Additionally, Flashpoint analysts cannot confirm that the sites targeted by Caliphate Cannon were offline due to the DDoS activity; however, the evidence is compelling. At least two of the sites were confirmed offline when analysts attempted to check their availability. Of those sites, one was hosted on a web server in Yemen and the other in Iraq. In the first case, the entire server appeared to have been affected, denying access to 260+ of its hosted sites. In the second case, the site was offline for nearly two months before returning on a new IP address hosted by a DDoS protection service.

Potential Capability

Without better insight into the infrastructure on which the target sites were hosted, we can make some inferences from the tool used and the potential size of the population of attackers. Caliphate Cannon was designed to carry out HTTP flood attacks by sending a deluge of HTTP GET requests to the target site. Because flood attacks are volumetric, they also rely on either one or more machines with the capacity to generate large volumes of traffic, or a large enough population of attacking devices to generate that traffic.

Despite the apparent success at knocking some sites offline, it is unlikely that the attack population was large enough to generate the volume of traffic necessary to realize success against targets with DDoS mitigation strategies. Unfortunately the tool’s download pages remain inactive, so it is impossible to view the number downloads. However, one means of estimating the population of attackers is to look at the number of active users on the forum during the period of the attacks.

Since the forum is password-protected, the links were only available to those with login credentials. Of those, it is impossible to speculate the number of users who might simply have browsed the forum; however, it is possible to formulate a picture of active users by looking at the number of users who posted to the forum after the download links were posted. Between January 12, 2017, when the tool was first posted, and January 31, 2017, when the last targeted site went offline, there were 282 unique users who posted in the forum.

These observations raise a crucial question: If all 282 users were to download the tool and participate in the attacks, would they generate enough traffic to have an impact on higher-value targets, most of which likely employ DDoS mitigation strategies? Theoretically, yes. Under ideal conditions, 282 attackers could generate enough collective traffic to impact such a site.

However, these actors face several limiting factors. First, many are believed to be in the Middle East and North Africa region, where Internet infrastructure is less developed and network speeds limited.
Second, these actors face complex security concerns that go beyond potentially committing computer crimes under the law in their respective countries; they are also supporting a terrorist organization. This reality drives many of these actors to use the Tor network to obfuscate their Internet activity. Caliphate Cannon sends attack traffic over Tor by default, which further slows connection speeds and attack traffic potential — an obstacle that would even impact actors in countries with more developed Internet infrastructure.

Finally, Caliphate Cannon employs no mechanism to coordinate the timing of attacks. This leaves the potential for a fractured attack population to send traffic at different times, further limiting the cumulative volume of attack traffic at any given time.

What if the Attacks Resume?

Without significant advancements in technical capabilities, these jihadist cyber threat actors have a couple of options should they decide to resume DDoS attacks. As was likely the case during UCC’s attacks, the first and easiest method is to pay for booter services. Funding, however, could be a limiting factor. These groups are not officially recognized by ISIS, and no evidence suggests that their activities are directed by ISIS commanders. Without an operations fund, even cheap services may not be sustainable.

Another option is to grow the attack population. The author of Caliphate Cannon discussed releasing a second copy of the tool, devoid of any ISIS symbols, in order to achieve exactly that. In one post, the actor claimed that removing ISIS symbols could help the group co-opt others — likely hacktivists — into the attacks while concealing the initiative’s jihadist ties. Although this tactic could work, the hacktivist community is fractious; coordinating a large enough group to generate ample traffic is unlikely.

Lessons Learned

Ultimately, cyber jihadists’ DDoS experimentation teaches us two lessons. First, these actors are resourceful and innovative. Although most lack advanced technical skillsets, they continually search for ways to overcome their limitations and approach problems in interesting ways. Second, these actors derive value even from perceived successes. ISIS has proven particularly adept at leveraging the digital realm as a platform for propaganda and recruitment. Activities conducted in the name of ISIS contribute to this machine; and in the propaganda war, perception is reality. With even a fraction of truth, these actors can spin issues in their favor while denouncing factual refutations as enemy propaganda.

In the end, if these actors do resume DDoS attacks, any successes will likely align with the scope of their successes in other activities. Website defacements, for example, often occur when these actors exploit known vulnerabilities typically found in low-value targets. In other words, soft targets. If the impact of a DDoS attack is measured in terms of loss or degradation of service — such that it drives customers away from a given site — these actors are unlikely to realize success against hardened targets. However, even perceived successes are likely to embolden and motivate these actors to continue seeking the means to achieve a greater impact.

FPCollab: Intelligence Sharing for Risk, Security and Business Leaders

Information sharing in security and intelligence, as we all know, is critical to ensuring the success of defenders of both public and private organizations. This concept has become even more evident in the last twelve months following our expansion into Business Risk Intelligence (BRI). While traditional applications of cyber threat intelligence are largely tactical, indicator-centric, and designed specifically for cybersecurity teams, BRI’s strategic nature and focus on finished intelligence aims to help all business units mitigate widespread risk across a wide range of use cases.

But since addressing many of these use cases — from fraud and ransomware to supply chain vulnerabilities and insider threats — can be complex, challenging, and even unprecedented for many organizations, we knew we had to ensure that our customers and subject matter experts alike had timely, trusted, secure access to the latest information and leading expertise pertaining to such threats.

At first, we considered having our customers and team members join one of the intelligence community’s many existing information-sharing groups. But the more research we did, the more apparent it become that no existing group aligned well enough with BRI’s strategic, risk-centric focus and the broad spectrum of use cases our customers sought to address. So instead of joining a group that wasn’t the best fit for our (and our customers’) needs, we joined forces with our customers and our subject matter experts and created one of our own. Fittingly, it’s called Flashpoint | Collaboration — better known as FPCollab.

Over the last year, FPCollab has grown to support a trusted network of professionals by providing timely insights and intelligence to facilitate more effective decisions around risk. Consisting exclusively of Flashpoint customers and team members, this uniquely diverse and collaborative community comprises the following:

• Experts from leading organizations in 18 industries across the public and private sectors

•Native or fluent speakers of Arabic, Mandarin, Farsi, Turkish, Kazakh, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Italian, and Portuguese

• Threat intelligence pioneers who have built and led top global intelligence teams

Cyber and physical security experts with skills honed during careers in the U.S. military and public-sector intelligence agencies 


• Leaders representing business units including cybersecurity, physical security, executive protection, fraud, M&A, supply chain, insider threat, anti-money laundering, counterterrorism, vendor risk management, human resources, engineering, compliance, and public policy

• Subject matter experts with comprehensive visibility into the most exclusive regions of the Deep & Dark Web

We strive for FPCollab to help organizations across all industries and business units leverage our joint wisdom and intelligence to alleviate the broad spectrum of challenges and uncertainties contributing to their overall risk. And given the continual growth and enthusiastic participation of FPCollab’s esteemed pool of members — not to mention the countless complex challenges these members have helped one another address — I couldn’t be prouder of the community we’ve all created.

Halloween safety tips

Halloween Safety

Halloween is a time of year that signifies the coming of Fall. Kids dress up in their cute costumes and parents chase them as they make their way around the neighborhood, collecting candy as they go. The community participates in this spooky holiday with children’s safety as the number one priority. Here are some Halloween safety tips to keep you safe and happy:

1. Stay in a Group
Young children should always have an adult and be in a group. A troop of kids look out for one another and it makes the experience more fun.
2. Information Tags
Put name, address and phone number on your kid. It can be on their costume, bracelet or necklace. There are also GPS trackers that can be monitored by smartphone to find your kid if they happen to wander off.
3. Don’t Enter Homes
As children visit houses for sweets, make sure they know to never enter a home, even if they are asked to by the resident.
4. Follow Traffic Rules
It is understood that people walk in the street while they trick or treat. It is still smart to make sure you and your kids are looking both ways before crossing the road. Flashlights and glow sticks also help drivers see trick or treaters.
5. Pre-Determined Route
Before leaving the house to trick or treat, round up the gang and decide on a route. This makes it easier for everyone to stick together. It’s also easier for parents to keep tabs on their children if they have an idea of where they may be.
6. See Something, Say Something
As a community, we want every child to be safe on Halloween. If you see any behavior that puts you, your kids, or other children at risk, call your local police department immediately.
7. Costumes
Long dresses or robes can be a walking hazard for kids. Masks can also make it difficult for kids to see where they are going. Pick costumes that are easy to move around in and provide clear vision.
8. Check Candy
It is always a good idea to check the candy your kids have received. Discard candy that is not factory sealed, smells strange or covered in an unknown substance.
9. Smartphone
This is a good time to let your kids have access to a smartphone. It helps them reconnect with the group if they get separated. Parents also have a way of contacting their kids if they are out of sight.
10. Stick To Familiar Neighborhoods
It’s easier to trick or treat in an area that you and your kids are familiar with. Setting pre-determined routes and locating each other is much easier when you know your surroundings.

Halloween is a time to bond with your kids and have fun. Keep these tips in mind as you go out and trick or treat this Halloween. Your Halloween safety plan will prepare you if an unexpected event occurs. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that you able to handle the situation if a problem arises.

Security duty blog by Gentu Consultancy

Security Duty

Gentu security officers provide monitoring services for property owners to provide a safe environment and prevent violence. A security officer plays many different roles, but his primary task is to prevent criminal activity. The presence of a security officer on the premises often serves as a deterrent to potential opportunists. Security guards work in public and private buildings, as well as retail and wholesale establishments. Some work at transportation facilities guarding against potential terrorist attacks.

When it comes to planning events, many people spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars trying to make the event a success. However, they look to save money or restrict spending on the area most important for the party ‘s success. The absence of good security can ruin an event that has taken a lot of time and resources to plan and should not be neglected by anyone. Many people have the mistaken impression that most security companies only provide generic services that barely add anything to the overall safety of the event. This is not the case, as many security companies provide specialized services that can be extremely beneficial to any client.

Having security guards working onsite for any event you host is not only a way to give you and your guests comfort and security, but it also helps to add to the level of professionalism you have, especially when you are hosting corporate events and conferences. By providing security and protection, you are showing potential business partners, investors and associates that you are security contientious and genuinely care for their well being as well as there own personal interests.

Gentu Security Consultancy can take all the stress out of planning your event or function by supplying you with well-presented customer service focused security guards. By using our expert knowledge of the security industry we can tailor a service to suit your particular event or function, from weddings and birthdays held at your house to larger events held at venues.

Another important placement for security guards is at offices and apartment buildings. We provide professional uniformed guards to patrol and guard the inner and outer premises of the property. Even with self locking doors and entry phone systems, criminals are still able to infiltrate a building where there is no security staff present. All it takes for a stranger to have access to your building is for someone to enter or leave the building and then they catch the door before it closes. Criminals will go to great lengths and sometimes even disguise themselves as a courier, maintenance man or a postman through the enterphone to gain access to a building. A security guard would prevent unwanted persons from entering through the front entrance. A security guard is also able to patrol the parking areas to ensure the visitor parking is not being abused, and that all doors on the premises are safe and secured.

Whether you are planning a business conference, an extravagant family wedding, or hosting a VIP event, event security should be high on your priority list. Ensuring you have security on the premises during any event is a sure way to keep all guests safe and ensure peace of mind throughout the proceedings. If you’re planning an event and have questions regarding security, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Airport Security blog by Gentu Consultancy

AIRPORT SECURITY

The irrefutable fact is– airport security plays a paramount role in today’s society. It facilitates the smooth transfer of thousands of passengers all around the globe. For that reason, it’s essential to find a company that can provide highly professional and competent airport security services at competitive prices.

There are two main reasons why competent airport security services at affordable prices are so vital:

1. Airport security makes sure any potential threats of crime, such as hijackings, thefts, or bombings are minimised
2. Affordable security works in line with the tough economic climate to ensure passenger safety is carried out at all times

Gentu Security Services can provide staff for all the major Airports including London City, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stantead, and Luton Airport.

The services we provide give members of the public peace of mind simply by seeing our uniformed presence, while also acting, as a deterrent to any wood be criminal acts in both the terminal buildings and on the planes.

If you’re looking for cost effective airport security services for airports large or small, private or commercial, then Gentu Security Services is what you need. We offer passengers and crew that additional sense of safety whilst supporting the police and other security services.

For further information about our airport security services, Please call 0207 9938489.

Security staff turnover blog by Gentu Consultancy

Security Staff Turnover

The rate of turnover in the contract security industry is incredible, with yearly turnover rates averaging around 150% at numerous customer sites. High turnover results in increased costs for recruitment and training on an ongoing basis, and increases administrative expenses for both the client and the contracted security company.

All the more vitally, high rates of turnover reduces the general viability of the agreement with the security company. It can take two/three months or more for security officers to end up completely capable at their obligations, and having steady officer turnover implies that there is a strong possibility that a few or all officers onsite might be new and inexperienced. A new officer has less capacity to distinguish surprising action as a result of their newness to the site, and are less equipped to use sound judgment about what to do or not do.

Always having new and inexperienced security officers onsite strengthens the contrary perception that numerous individuals have of security officers and can keeps representatives of the company from considering them important.

Numerous customers feel that diminishing security officer turnover is totally the obligation of the contracted security organization. While the contracted security organization absolutely has an essential part to play, they can’t do it all. Actually, a large number of the means important to enhance security officer maintenance must be provided by the customer /organization. Only by cooperating can the customer and the contracted security organisation understand the turnover issue.

The rate of pay that security officers get in a few sections of the nation is ludicrously low, with a few officers being paid at the lowest pay permitted by law or only marginally above. In numerous areas, security officers are paid less than some other class of laborer, including hospitality and janitorial representatives.

While enhancing the rate of officer pay is one essential calculation that may diminish turnover, it is in no way, shape or form the main component. Security officers who are disappointed with their employments frequently say that different issues are as imperative to them, or much more critical to them, than the rate of pay that they get. While inspecting these issues, most rotate around the conditions under which the security officer must work.

A portion of the issues of significance to security officers include:

Being treated with respect by other employees at the site where they are assigned to work.

Receiving clear instructions about what they are supposed to be doing.

Having a professional work environment.

Being supported by management when they enforce an established policy or procedure.

Doing work that they feel is important and valued.

Receiving acknowledgment when they are doing a good job.

Having a realistic schedule that allows them to get enough rest between shifts and gives them enough hours of pay to live on.

Feeling that they are being listened to.

.

As should be clearly obvious, numerous things of significance to the security officer rotate around they way that they are dealt with instead of what they are paid. A large number of the progressions that can enormously enhance working conditions for officers base on enhancing they way that they are overseen, and can be executed at little or no extra cost.