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Computer Fraud Doubles in Manchester

Victims of bogus Apple and Microsoft ‘experts’ rocket in Greater Manchester

The number of ‘computer software service’ fraud reports and crimes has almost doubled in the region in the past year.The number of computer service scams in Greater Manchester has risen by almost 90 per cent this year

A fraud that sees conmen impersonate Microsoft and Apple computer experts to fleece unsuspecting victims has soared by nearly 90 per cent in Greater Manchester over the last year.

The so-called ‘computer software service’ scam involves fraudsters contacting people and pretending to be from computer companies.

In some cases, the conmen phone up to say they are ‘Microsoft tech support’ and need access to the individual’s computer to fix it.

Once they gain access, they install malware — or malicious software – that allows them to steal personal or financial information on the device. In other cases, conmen send emails with attached security updates or to ask for credit card information to ‘validate your copy of Windows’.

The fraudsters have also invented a ‘Microsoft Lottery’, where they try to trick people into paying an upfront fee for a fictitious gift or cash prize.

Figures, obtained by the M.E.N., show that the number of ‘computer software service’ fraud reports and crimes has almost doubled in Greater Manchester from 378 between November 2012 and October 2013 to 712 between the equivalent period this year.

The statistics have been provided by Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime.

An Action Fraud spokeswoman said: “Fraudsters often use the names of well-known companies to commit their crime, as it makes their communication with you seem more legitimate. This is why it’s important to think twice before giving out any personal information.

“Computer firms warn that they do not send unsolicited emails or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information, or to fix your computer.

“They advise anyone who receives such communication to delete the email or hang up the phone.”

Industry group Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) has issued a warning about a ‘number spoofing’ scam – where crooks clone the telephone numbers of trusted organisations – such as banks – and make them appear on a victim’s caller ID. The conmen will then try to defraud the victim – having gained their trust.

Craig Jones, for FFA UK, said: “Number spoofing is becoming increasingly common and it’s not difficult for the criminals to fake a caller ID.

Remember that if a caller is trying to draw your attention to the number on your phone display, it’s very unlikely the call is genuine as there is no legitimate reason to point it out.”

How to avoid computer software service scams…

  • Treat all unsolicited phone calls with scepticism and don’t give out any personal information.
  • Computer firms tend not to send out unsolicited communication about security updates. If in doubt, don’t open the email.
  • Microsoft does not request credit card information to validate copies of Windows.
  • The ‘Microsoft Lottery’ does not exist –so it’s not true if you’re told you’ve won.

By Dan Thompson (Manchester Evening News)

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Technology in the Security Industry

Technology in the Security Industry

Gone are the days of the card clocking system, punching in and out of work. Where managers had to guess how many hours were worked each week and by whom.

Technology has brought with it a total change of how the human operates. Yes technology applies to everyone. You may not be very tech savvy but I can bet that you either have a computer or a phone that requires you to sign in to some sort of platform.

In the workplace, businesses have adopted technology in the shape of an employee. They are getting technology to run rosters, payroll, HR, stream meetings, take payments and the list goes on and on.

Introducing technology into your business does not have to be as daunting as you may think.

Think about how much time may be saved transferring simple tasks to online. All that free time you will have to spend on productivity.

We at Clear Watch Security have adopted technology in a big way. Our staff have all been trained to perform their duties and report back electronically. All our sites in Oldham, Manchester, Birmingham and the South of England are seeing a massive difference in performance.

Our incident reports have gone electronic. If an incident occurs on site, the security officer fills out an incident report which is filled out immediately. This is then saved on to the company’s cloud system.

A manager picks the report up in real time and then sends it to our clients. Historically this procedure could take up to 72 hours. It now takes a couple of minutes and a few clicks of the mouse.

By introducing technology into our security services business we have given the senior management team the freedom to their job and that is to grow our company.

The client is also happy as they know exactly what is going on and are kept in the picture at all times.

The main concern for the client is that their premises are protected at all times and there are no security breaches.

Clear Watch Security offers Manned Guarding, Keyholding, Alarm Response and Patrols. Our SIA Licensed professional security staff are on standby to provide you with excellent security protection at all times.

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The Disgruntled Employee

The Disgruntled Employee

You are all aware of the incident that has taken place in Washington. An ex Navy reservist has killed 12 people and wounded numerous others. Somewhere a security lapse has taken place. The authorities are investigating the cause of the incident and how it could have been avoided.

This kind of situation is present in all of our businesses. We have employees who leave on a sour note. Admittedly not all employees take extreme action, but most will be filled with anger and would like your business to suffer.

After a security breach as business owners we take 4 different steps:

  • Transfer
  • Accept
  • Avoid
  • Mitigate

Accept – We as business owners may feel that our budget does not allow us to implement security measures on our premises, so we accept the situation as it is and hope that our business premises will not be a target again.

Transfer – We transfer the blame on to the current economic climate and tell ourselves it won’t happen again. We board up and carry on as we did before the breach. In other words we take no action whatsoever.

Avoid – We totally avoid the situation, put a temporary measure in place such as an improved alarm system and brush the incident under the carpet.

Mitigate – We weigh up the cost against our insurance cover and take the hit, yes this increases our insurance premiums but we don’t fork out any money in the short term.

All the above steps lead to the business becoming a soft target. A security breach should alert you to take radical action. Where there is access control you should have trained security personnel controlling people flow within your business premises.

If your business involves transport vehicles then a gatehouse should be manned to provide the correct level of security assistance to monitor all activity on your premises.

All the new technology access systems are fantastic.  CCTV cameras are great (When they are being monitored).

Patrols and response services are all required in instances where you have become a target. The real deterrent is good old security manpower. A trained alert security officer can not only deter crime but can combat it.

Human intelligence always reigns over technology. It’s back to the old argument of hunt or be hunted.

 

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Lone Working: Looking at Key Risk Assessment Questions

Brian Sims, Media Solutions Manager, UBM Live Security & Fire Portfolio

23/04/2013

According to the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work: Employers are required to evaluate risks to safety and health and take action to improve the level of protection given to workers. This process is called a risk assessment, and involves identifying hazards and assessing the associated risk.

Such assessments or security risk analyses are essential for every organisation. Only by conducting these exercises can those who hold the purse strings be absolutely sure that the controls in place and the expenditure aligned with them are fully commensurate with the risks to which any given organisation is exposed.

Drilling down to the micro level, it’s also true to say that risk assessments around employees are equally vital. No more so than when it comes to members of staff who work alone. The Corporate Manslaughter Act and companies’ Duty of Care to staff as part of today’s CSR policies absolutely set that assertion in stone.>

What factors, though, demand most consideration for a genuinely collaborate risk assessment procedure to be executed between manager and employee?

It’s critical to ask certain fundamental questions. For example, can the work defined be carried out safely by a lone individual? What arrangements need to be put in place to make certain a lone worker isn’t exposed to a greater risk than those who operate in tandem?

In essence, the risk assessment for any lone worker has to pinpoint all potential hazards, identify those who may be affected by the perceived risks, and outline the right control procedures.

Looking specifically at hazards (or threats), does the workplace present a special risk to the lone worker, perhaps because of the environment, its location, or any degree of unfamiliarity with their surroundings?

From a Health and Safety perspective, is the working environment appropriate in terms of, say, lighting and heating? Are welfare facilities (toilets, drinking water, etc.) on site both adequate and accessible? And what about immediate access to first aid facilities should they be needed?

From a pure security point of view, does the lone worker have access to suitable communication devices for summoning assistance? Needless to say this area is always important, and particularly so if there’s any perceived or real risk of violence associated with the work activity or location.

Is there an emergency plan in place, and is it appropriate? Has the employee received specific training in how to respond to emergency situations that may arise in the course of their duties when working alone? Variables such as fire safety or the need for electrical shutdowns ought to be considered.

For their part, control measures are focused on reducing risk and the consideration of alternative work methods/patterns, additional training (around, say, emergency procedures and personal safety) and adequate supervision.

Enhanced on-site security (courtesy of CCTV and personal alarm systems) will likely be part of the mix, so too increased lighting at entrances and exits as well as for external zones like car parks.

As a “must,” all lone workers have to be privy to the necessary information that assists them in dealing with everyday scenarios but they should also understand when, where, and how to seek guidance or assistance from others should they be confronted by threatening or otherwise abnormal situations.

Generally speaking, the level and extent of training required for lone working employees depends largely on the nature of the work to be conducted in addition to the knowledge and experience of the individuals in question. It stands to reason that younger, less “worldly-wise” individuals and those new to the company have to be inducted by way of additional training.

Supervision must also be paramount. The level and degree of this mentoring is determined by the nature of the risks involved in tandem with the aforementioned abilities and experience of each lone worker.

Manual (panic alarms) or automatic (motion sensors) warning devices may come into the mix, along with periodic telephone contact/site visits from managers at set intervals. Regular contact (by way of dedicated radios or telephones) or perhaps “end of shift” or “end of task” contact could be initiated.

At the end of the risk assessment, every lone worker must be made fully aware of the outcome and of all necessary control measures to be orchestrated.

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Clear Watch Security introduces Active Guard

Security Patrols

We agree that security officers are asked to carry out a very touch role whilst the rest of the country sleeps.

Security officers are tasked to carry out patrols to make sure materials and property are safe.

To act as a visual deterrent. To provide assurance to clients that when they attend work in the morning that all their valuable assets will still be there.

Continue reading Clear Watch Security introduces Active Guard