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Security: The reflective glasses that could make you (well your face) ‘invisible’ to security cameras

I’m not sure if these are a good idea or not! 272 Backers on Kickstarter think they are….

  • The accessory, called ‘Reflectacles’, reflect light off of the wearer’s face 
  • This increases visibility and confuses security cameras’ infrared sensors 
  • The crowdfunded spectacles cost between £78 and £100 ($95-$125)
  • They are designed to ‘erase our faces’ even in low light conditions
  • Kicker pledges currently at $34,632

Read more here

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Physical Security – House of Commons Personal Security Advisor

The Houses of Commons are seeking to recruit a full time ‘Personal Security Advisor’ to ensure that MP’s are protected whilst away from Parliament. The role will be based in the Parliamentary Security Directorate at Westminster and will have a salary up to just over £61k.

New roleI actually think this seems reasonable and is similar to any organisation which must effectively protect its work force, after-all as an employer you have a duty of care to keep your employees safe.

High profile people and/or executives in large private sector companies can make themselves unpopular and sometimes this will come with additional threats and enhanced risks. Most corporate businesses have security advisors who can proactively support the business and their employees. MP’s at times make themselves VERY unpopular (no sh*t Sherlock) and as a result risks can be heightened.

Gone are the days where the Police seemingly do everything, not only do they not have the resources but they are not the experts in all things security. This new position offers a consistent risk based approach, to provide guidance/advice and to give assurances for an MP’s total protection.

The awful killing of the Labour MP Jo Cox in June has of course raised some serious concerns and in addition to this new role, The House of Commons have recently awarded a contract to Chubb Fire and Security to provide a ‘standard’ package of protection. The new role should tie this together nicely and ensures a consistent holistic approach…..to be honest for me this seems very sensible.

I have read some interesting comments mentioning that unless MP’s have a security adviser each then how will this work? I can only compare from a business perspective and this clearly isn’t a close or executive protection role and with only 650 MP’s I absolutely think that a centralised advisory position is the right thing to do. Afterall, global businesses with thousands of staff have relatively small corporate security teams and with arguably a much larger remit.

Not everyone will like it and yes we the public will pay for it, but something should be done. I hope they break the mold and look wider than the normal government recruitment position of employing ex police or military. This is not because I am interested but because a private sector security professional would actually be a better fit and add more value to the position.

If your interested in applying click here, a summary of the job spec is below or click here for the full spec:

Personal Security Adviser

Salary Band: A2

The Role

The Parliamentary Security Department (PSD) is responsible for physical, personnel and cyber security for both Houses of Parliament. PSD sets security strategy, provides expert advice and delivers an operational service. It does this in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and by working closely with the Parliamentary Digital Service, Strategic Estates, the Sergeant at Arms Directorate, Black Rod’s Department, and other key stakeholders.

The Person

The successful candidate will have the following skills/experience:

  • Sound understanding of personal physical security threats and risks and detailed knowledge of associated protective measures.
  • Significant experience of delivering personal security advice to individuals in a reassuring and authoritative manner.
  • Sound understanding of personal online security threats and risks and broad knowledge of associated protective measures.


Annual leave starting at 28 days pro rata, Interest-free season ticket loan, Child care voucher scheme, Discounted membership of the in-house gym.

Corporate Security: Is security keeping up with the Kardashian’s?

Upwards of £8m stolen is a serious heist in anyone’s book, to put this into perspective the Hatton Garden robbery in April 2015 was estimated at £14m. Further information is slowly trickling through about the incident but the fingers are already beginning to be pointed towards Kim’s security team and other possible security breaches.

Kim Kardashian’s bodyguard Pascal Duvier was with the other family members Kourtney and Kendall at the Arc nightclub less than two miles away. I’m not saying for one minute he was out partying, he was highly likely to be working, having been ‘dispatched’ as Kim was ‘safely’  within her luxury and deemed secure apartment. I’m sure questions have been asked about this (especially by husband Kayne West).

Earlier in the week Kim had another scare when prankster Vitalii Sediuk slipped past her security and tried to kiss her famous backside. There are also reports of photographer who closely followed her and even posed as a policeman to gain entry to a restaurant Kim was dining at.

Just because an apartment or hotel is expensive doesn’t mean it’s secure! Paris Hotel No Address

Travel security is an interesting subject and seems that for the Kardashian’s it’s rather inconsistent. Whenever you see them in the public eye they have a mini army around them, in fact when they arrived back in New York yesterday they had no less than 10 vehicles, 15 bodyguards and a group of local police officers. BUT in France within her hotel for some reason the perceived risk was lower?!

Did social media posts help the Paris robbers? 

Social Media RisksSocial media is an interesting topic, most corporate security professionals will be aware of the excellent intel this can provide someone who wishes to do their business, executives (and their families) and/or employees harm. On the flip side A-listers are obsessed with posting everything minute of their extravagant lives online. In fact Kim posted a picture hours before the raid showing her £3m 20ct diamond engagement ring….maybe she geo tags her images also (the hotel’s name is ‘No Address Hotel’ for a reason)? Should your security detail be using social media?

In the right hands this is very useful information that can be exploited as much or as little as someone needs to.

What’s next?

I’m sure further details will continue to come out but not only was a great deal of jewellery stolen but also two smartphones. The robbers may not care for these or even know their true value, but dependent upon what is on these devices and how securely Kim has them locked them down the £8m could be extremely insignificant. We shall wait and see what if any demands are made regarding these but I fear we haven’t heard the last from these…

I honestly feel that A-listers could really benefit from engaging with Corporate Security professionals who in my opinion have a very rounded/holistic view on security risk management and are not just boots on the ground focused.

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Travel security – How safe is your next trip?

The recent awful bombings in Istanbul have again raised concerns regarding the likelihood of us being exposed to such incidents whilst travelling for business or even when holidaying with our families.

Most businesses have some form of travel security and safety programme in place (well hopefully they do). This ensures their employees are safe and secure. There is also various legal requirements to demonstrate and meet any ‘duty of care’ requirements.

In my experience commercial organisations receive additional support from their travel and accident insurance policies that they have in place.


These types of polices are ofcourse a given for anyone travelling. Insurance companies attract businesses with various add-on benefits and amongst them is travel risk awareness and intelligence. This in simplistic terms is pre-trip advice and guidance on the destination the person is going to and will often also include realtime email notifications for relevant alerts on any security or safety issues after the booking is made and during the actual period of travel.

Another very useful service is the ability to call a ‘hotline’ 24/7/365 and ask any questions, highlight concerns or just simply ask for some general travel advice. These types of services are invaluable to ensure travellers are suitably aware of risks and allow the traveller/employer to make informed decisions which may impact their trip and ultimately their safety.

As a business traveller and someone who manages a travel security programme I get this and I can’t stress enough the importance of it.

BUT….When I travel for personal reasons and I make my annual 2 week pilgrimage, I also make sure I have travel insurance. So why is it that I don’t receive such valuable information from my travel insurance provider? There doesn’t even appear to be an option to ask for it.

I appreciate that if you book via a travel agency they will provide some updates but this is generally based on the FCO’s advice (which by the way is available on their website anyway) and is normally out of date and in response to a serious incident.

I did some research and I couldn’t find any mention of these services for personal travel insurance. I think it’s time that travel insurance companies begun to earn their money and show a level of ‘duty of care’ to its customers.

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How to deal with a security breach….Old Trafford bomb error a ‘devastating mistake’

Can there be anything worst for a security company then the mistakes made in the lead up to the home match of Manchester United and Bournemouth? Of course this is in relation to the fake bomb that was left behind in a toilet cubicle after a training exercise the previous week.

Chris Reid - Director of Security Search Management & Solutions Ltd

Chris Reid – Director of Security Search Management & Solutions Ltd

In this example it appears to be a catalog of mistakes and errors which ultimately ended in a serious incident. Not least the reported £3m (ish)  that it’s going to cost Man United and the cost of the emergency services response and whatever else comes out of a potential inquiry.

In my opinion fair play to security boss Chris Reid at Security Search Management & Solutions Ltd (the person who has publicly accepted responsibility). He is a very small fish in a large pond at the moment. He isn’t one of the security sector giants with their large media budgets and prickly internal counsels but he has stood up in front of the national press (and in turn the country) admitted HIS mistakes, apologised and even given into the fact that his business is probably now doomed.

The many mistakes are inexcusable and I’m not trying to say this is not a big balls up and now no doubt the whole security industry will be chastised for it’s lack of professionalism and poor licensing standards but I do respect Chris Reid for what he has done post event.

In my opinion CEO’s, CISO’s and many other senior people in large corporate businesses should sit back and learn from Mr Reid….this is how to react in the aftermath of a security breach!

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Physical Security: What’s the cost of protecting a company executive?

It’s been reported that Mark Zuckerberg had security expenses of $5m in 2015, $6.2m in 2014 and $3.3m in 2013. Now that’s a hefty amount (more than some companies’ annual security budgets) and probably more than most other A-list celebrities or key public figures spend.

Apple spent just $209,000 on CEO Tim Cook’s security last year ($900k in 2014)

The COO at Facebook Sheryl Sandberg also spent $1.2m in 2015

Jack Doresy at Twitter spent $68k in 2015

Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison was portioned $1.5 million to secure his home in 2015

Amazon spent $1.6 million on Jeff Bezos’s security in 2015

Nigel Farage the Ukip leader is spending up to $22,000 per day

No doubt Facebook also has other key execs with high security spends so across the company the $’s is not an insurmountable sum! Executive protection is big business with around 50% of Fortune 100 companies providing personal and home security to their chief executives.

Exec Protection

I actually think so what…..like any security spend as long as its risk based then fine BUT often it can come down to ego’s and the individuals own fears and perceptions of being liked or disliked (not least by the shareholders!).

Not only is Zuckerberg worth in excess of $35billion, he is the key figurehead for Facebook and has had direct threats made against him not least via a 25 minute ISIS video in which his face is riddled with bullet holes, this video also mentions Jack Dorsey of Twitter but his spend was just $68k!

On average the spend by a fortune 100 company to project its chief executives is around $30,000 a year – via Equilar’s

As I mentioned this kind of expense needs to be justified and no doubt Facebook has carried out threat and vulnerability assessments in order to justify it to the shareholders, but at the end of the day Zuckerberg is protecting his company, his family and of course himself….can you put a price on that?

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Travel Security and Safety: The World is A Scary Place

Anyone who works in Corporate Security, Travel Risk or just reads a newspaper will know that we are in very interesting times, with businesses and employees becoming increasingly nervous about travelling almost anywhere, let alone to ‘high’ risks destinations.

The shocking terrorism events in Europe and the Middle East are making people very concerned and businesses are seeing resources being deployed re-actively. As I often say to colleagues in the industry the best thing to happen for a security team is a security incident (as long as you can keep your job after the event)….it’s not right but often how it seems to pan out.

I recently attended an event in London and although focused towards the Global Mobility market, part of the event was focused on security risk. At the end of the day if employees are based in country, travellers or assignees the concerns are the same and there is still the all-important ‘Duty of Care’ and more and more a ‘Duty of Loyalty‘.

Business travellers, especially ye olde road warriors, have a reputation for resilience, often being exposed to risk but taking it all in their stride. Hopping from one plane to another they don’t even bat an eye lid, but even this hard-core group are becoming concerned.

The ACTE (Association of Corporate Travel Executives) has recently published its results to a new survey (more information is here). The study polled 605 business travellers and 270 corporate travel executives over a two-month period, prior to the attacks in Belgium.

The survey showed some interesting results:

  • 67 percent of travelers said there was a psychological effect on them or their families when they went to a region where they didn’t feel safe.
  • Of that group, 16 percent said travel was psychologically taxing on them, while 77 percent said the impact was on their family and friends.
  • While 20 percent of travelers said they felt that fear started to subside after a week following a terror strike, 65 percent said it lingered for up to three months and 5 percent said they thought concerns lasted for more than a year.
  • Ten percent of business travellers remain “utterly fearless” regarding terrorism, and 25 percent have very little fear.
  • 18 percent of respondents said they were much more anxious, while 42 percent said they were a little more anxious. More than a third said there was no change in their anxiety level.
  • After the Brussels bombings in late March, 53 percent of respondents were limiting travel to or within Europe to some degree. Very few (<4%) were halting travel altogether.

These survey results echo concerns that I have experienced and I continue to hear via industry colleagues and social media. Please don’t only get hung up on just the high risks, terrorism although shocking they are still rare events, after all employees are more likely to have a traffic accident over anything else. BUT that said it’s important to manage risk. Is important because its clearly just the right thing to do but also in most countries there is a legal obligation to protect employees and to provide travel support.

“Maintain a Low Profile and be a Hard Target”

My advice is to review your policies and processes, check they are still fit for purpose. Please do talk to people in my industry and if you’re not a security professional then find one, we have various industry bodies (e.g. ASIS, The Security Institute ) that can put you in contact with someone. Feel free to drop me an email I work with this stuff day in day out and I’m always happy to offer a steer and provide advice.

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Personal Security: How to break free from duct tape restraints

Who knows when you might be bundled into the back of a Transit or get caught out when doing some role playing at home 😉

  • Simply raise your arms over your head as far as you can
  • In a swift movement, swing your arms down while pulling your wrists apart
  • The hack causes the tape to tear and should allow you to escape

So just in case you ever need it take a look at the video below.

As always its the reader comments that are far more entertaining!

DM Comments

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Security and Resilience Market Report 2016 via @BarclaySimpson

The Barclay Simpson 2016 Market Report combines a review of the prevailing conditions in the security & resilience recruitment market together with the results of their latest employer survey. They look to analyse and discuss the latest trends in the recruitment market. The results of the survey and their market experience allows them to report a buoyant recruitment market.  However, in an arms race, in which threats are growing and becoming more sophisticated, those seeking employment in security and resilience need to be able to respond accordingly.  Click the image below to read more.

Market Report 2016

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Physical security a growing threat to organisations

Physical security a growing threat to organizationsPhysical security is seen as growing concern for business continuity professionals, according to the fifth annual Horizon Scan Report published by the Business Continuity Institute, in association with BSI. Among the ranks of potential threats that organizations face, acts of terrorism gained six places from 10th in 2015 to 4th this year, while security incidents moved from 6th place to 5th place.

55% of respondents to the global survey expressed concern about the possibility of both an act of terrorism or a security incident such as vandalism, theft or fraud disrupting their organization, compared to 42% and 48% respectively the previous year. Whether these concerns are justified is another matter, but the incidents in Paris are still fresh in the mind, not to mention the many other events from across the world that constantly fill our news channels.

While security incidents of a physical nature make up the 4th and 5th greatest threats, it is incidents belonging to the virtual world that once again make up the top three. For the second year running, cyber attack comes in at number one with 85% of respondents expressing concern (2015: 82%). The attack on BBC over the new year period is a reminder of the danger this kind of threat poses when it suffered what was reputed to be the largest DDoS attack in history at 600 GBps, enough to bring down its website and most of its online services for some considerable time.

Data breach has climbed from 3rd place in 2015 to 2nd place this year with 80% of respondents expressing concern about the prospect of this type of threat materialising (2015: 74%). Not only are data breaches damaging reputationally, they can be expensive in terms of any fines imposed as result.

Unplanned telecoms and IT outage may have dropped from 1st place in 2014 to 2nd place in 2015 and now 3rd place in 2016, but it is still a very real threat with 77% of respondents expressing concern (2015:81%). Offices, shops, factories and warehouses are all heavily reliant on IT infrastructures and when those infrastructures fail it can cause severe disruption.

This year’s global top ten threats to organizations are:

  1. Cyber-attack – static
  2. Data breach – up 1
  3. Unplanned IT and telecoms outages – down 1
  4. Acts of terrorism – up 6
  5. Security incidents – up 1
  6. Interruption to utility supply – down 2
  7. Supply chain disruption – down 2
  8. Adverse weather – up1
  9. Availability of talents/key skills – up 5
  10. Health and safety incident – up 1

David James-Brown FBCI, Chairman of the Business Continuity Institute, commented: “The need perceived by organizations to identify and build resilience to this range of threats reveals the importance of this survey for business continuity professionals, the Horizon Scan’s reputation and reliability make it one of the most popular reports in the industry on a global scale. It is indeed crucial for practitioners to advise organizations on what to prepare for and adjust their recovery plans accordingly.

“The industry landscape is rapidly changing, and so should our discipline in order to keep up with both traditional and modern challenges. At the top of the list this year we continue to see threats such as cyber-attack, data breach and unplanned IT outages. More traditional threats such as terrorism continue to be ’front-of-mind’ for organizations. Given the rise of new challenges and the fact that old ones remain, horizon scanning techniques are even more valuable in assisting organizations to be prepared to the best of their potential.”

Howard Kerr, Chief Executive at BSI, commented: “2015 saw a number of high profile businesses across the world hit by cyber attacks, so it’s reassuring to see that so many are aware of the threat it poses. Our research finds it to be the top concern in six out of the eight regions surveyed.

“However, we remain concerned to see that businesses are still not fully utilizing the information available to them to identify and remedy weaknesses in their organizational resilience.

The report concludes that horizon scanning impacts on overall resilience as it provides an objective basis for assessing near-term threats that lead to disruption. The Horizon Scan Report, as a global study aggregating practitioner input across industry sectors and regions, complements in-house analysis and provides useful input for strategic decisions.

Download your free copy of the Horizon Scan Report here. If you have any questions, or would like to find out more, join us for our webinar on the 25th February when we will be discussing some of the findings and answering any of your questions.

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