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Planning for terrorist and vehicle attacks on public spaces

New Year’s Eve and major events with large crowds draw particular attention to the risks of having public open spaces unprotected by security and safety technologies that prevent vehicle-borne attacks

Robust but unobtrusive technologies should be designed into public spaces right from the outset, says leading New Zealand public spaces security and technology supplier, HTS Group.

“We’ve passed the days where security technologies need to stick out like a sore thumb. Nowadays, they can blend in effortlessly with the surrounding space, and yet still have the strength to stop trucks weighing several tonnes and travelling at speed,” says Mr Noel Maharaj, HTS Group Managing Director and licensed New Zealand Security Consultant.

HTS Group has decades of experience in providing open spaces security, building security, access control, parking, traffic, vehicle and other technologies designed to keep people and property safe from threats.

“New Zealand has seen terrible events in recent years, where a deranged individual has taken control of a vehicle and sought to cause maximum damage to people and property in public areas,” said Mr Maharaj.

Safetyflex Bollards are an effective anti-terror measure to prevent vehicle attacks in public spaces
(Image Credit: Ezi Security Systems)

“Simple and effective technologies like bollards, street furniture, barriers and gates can protect public areas, without impacting on the aesthetics or functionality of the space. In some cases, they can even add new functionality and features to the area – such as seats or flower beds,” he said.

“It’s important to consider when a public space is going to be utilised to its full potential. Times like New Year’s Eve or special events are a good example of this. Are all possible vehicle entry points secured? Could someone drive a car or truck through and access a highly populated space?”

“Enquiries for safety and security technologies have trebled worldwide in recent years, as companies, governments and organisations are becoming more aware of security risks evident globally, and how to mitigate against them.”

Public space risk mitigation technologies

Ranging from standard bollards and street furniture, right through to advanced speed gates with integrated controls, HTS Group’s technologies are designed to protect public and private spaces from unauthorised personnel that may intend to cause harm.

Selecting the right equipment is vital to mitigate against threats. The right equipment, targeted to a particular area and application, can help prevent or minimise casualties and injuries that result from malicious activities. HTS Group specialises in providing top quality risk mitigation equipment, including:

Street Furniture, which ensures pedestrian safety without discouraging movement through the area. Security technologies that blend in with architectural layouts – such as planters, seats and bollards – provide an elegant, secure and functional solution.

Crash-rated street furniture, such as bollards, seats and planters, above, can add to the functionality and aesthetics of a public space, whilst simultaneously preventing heavy vehicles travelling at speeds from entering certain areas

Bollards, which are a cost-effective, versatile and easily installed security measure to protect crowded spaces and businesses situated near roads. They can be ground- or surface-mounted and static or automatic, depending on the application and what type of vehicles they are preventing.

HTS Group Ltd and Ezi Security’s wide range of security bollards are designed to provide heavy-duty maximum security against ram raids and other hostile vehicle situations, while maintaining aesthetic separation for pedestrian safety.

The latest and most advanced Safetyflex bollards only require an installation depth of 200mm for the same crash rating as comparative products requiring a far deeper installation, which makes them simpler and faster to install.

Automated or fixed bollards provide a visually unobtrusive barrier between public and private spaces, as well as deterring vehicle-borne attackers seeking to cause harm to people and property

Horizontal Lifting Barriers, which are one of the toughest hostile vehicle protection technologies available. These machines are capable of fully stopping a 7.5 -tonne truck driving at up to 80kmph.

HTS Group Ltd, through its long-term relationship with Ezi Security Systems, supplies barriers with lower arms, to ensure that the initial impact on small passenger vehicles occurs at the front of the vehicle, slowing or stopping the vehicle before the upper barrier arm impacts the passenger compartment. Most other designs, without a lower arm, would hit at windshield level sheering off the top half of a smaller vehicle, which is more likely to be driven by a non-threatening innocent motorist.

Barriers are an effective method of keeping public and private spaces separate and ensuring, even during special events, that only authorised personnel enter private property and restricted areas.

Fencing, which is a standard component at most sites, industrial, commercial and public spaces. Steel posts and barbed wire are enough to stop most trespassers, but some key locations require greater security and protection, especially from vehicular assaults.

The new generation of crash fences are designed to protect perimeters from accidental, terrorist or criminal attacks from malicious individuals. These crash fences can form a second barrier behind the existing decorative fencing around the facility providing the required level of protection.

Vehicle Security Gates, which have evolved in response to greater security requirements internationally, changing from standard gate products to impact-rated vehicle gates designed to withstand impact from vehicles weighing as much as 7,500 kilograms running at 48 kph to 80kph.

Barriers and gates provide a physical separation between public and private spaces, as well as a visual deterrent to vehicle-borne assailants (Image Credit: Ezi Security Systems)

The requirement for a shallow footing in many locations excludes many products. However, the patented arrestor system featured in HTS Group’s Truck Stopper range of gates can provide the lowest penetration classification for its class with a shallow foundation, making it an ideal engineering solution for protection against hostile vehicles.

Identifying the threat

“The security industry is rapidly changing, both in response to global threats, and in a pre-emptive nature, to safeguard against new threats that haven’t yet been realised. We’re seeing a strong trend towards advanced technologies such as perimeter security enhancements while maintaining the open space feel,” said Mr Maharaj.

“Determining the kind of threat that an establishment or space may be faced with is the most important first step in hostile vehicle mitigation. It means the technology can target the most likely threats and provide the best countermeasures,” he said.



HTS Group Ltd provides a complete design, system integration, installation and maintenance package to the transportation, traffic engineering, parking and sports timing industries in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

The company – which operates offices in Auckland and Wellington and has a wholly owned subsidiary HTS Australia Pty Ltd in Australia – is ISO 9001:2008, BVQI and AS/NZS 4801:2001 accredited and the leading provider of services to the Public Transport, Traffic, Sports Timing and Digital Media Industries in New Zealand and Australia

HTS Group staff have been directly involved in significant projects for the past 25 years. Our customers are key, and it is our aim to exceed their expectations through technical excellence. HTS Group provides a professional, flexible, quality and best value focused service.

Noel Maharaj
Managing Director
+64 (9) 634 7128
[email protected]


Five trends in facilities management you should know about

Undergoing rapid flux as the benefits of advanced technology are brought to bear, the facilities management industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with market watcher putting the global value at US$35-billion in 2018 and that’s expected to hit a whopping US$59.3 billion by 2023

Auckland is also in the midst of a construction boom. According to figures from regional economic development agency ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development), there are currently more than $28 billion’s worth of large construction projects underway in Auckland alone.

Break that number down further and it emerges that there are over 9,000 apartments under construction in 103 projects, 100,000 square metres of commercial office space being built or proposed in the four years to 2023, and of course there’s the New Zealand International Conference Centre going up in a $700 million project.

But just what is that change, and which trends should you be watching? Read on for the answers.

More intelligence with Internet of Things and analytics

The emergence of inexpensive sensors and dedicated networks to connect them means you can monitor just about anything. These sensors and ‘machine to machine’ information flows are known as the Internet of Things – and facilities managers recognise that remote or automated control of a wide range of building metrics makes for more efficiency and better occupant comfort. Coupled with powerful analytics tools, facilities managers are equipped with the tools for effective management of every aspect of their buildings – and automation means one facility manager can take care of tens of properties. 

Green is the new gold

Property owners, and by extension facilities managers, are increasingly recognising the commercial and environmental benefits of going green. NABERSNZ and New Zealand Green Building Council ratings don’t just deliver a feel-good factor, they deliver premium rents, too. Done right, ‘green’ also delivers reduced operational costs, maximising the use of natural resources (like light, sunshine and rain) while minimising electricity and other resource usage. 

Drones take flight

One of the enduring high-cost items for large-scale premises is the difficulty in keeping a consistent eye on the place. In some cases, helicopters are required for routine checks of roofs or other inaccessible places, or facades must be inspected by engineers lowered using ropes. Drones are an obvious and highly cost-effective alternative. Equipped with high-resolution cameras, drones beam images directly to the engineer, who needn’t leave his desk. It’s faster, far cheaper and provides for more frequent inspections of more of your facilities. 

Intelligent automation

We’ve all seen the Roomba vacuum cleaner. Extend the concept to industrial proportions and you have robot cleaners capable of working day and night without a break. The robotic workforce combines clever software capable of handling multiple inputs and outputs (commonly called ‘Artificial Intelligence) with electronic and mechanical engineering. So far, the applications are mostly in cleaning, a job most people find abysmal. But the potential for more than janitorial tasks is obvious; in New Zealand, receptionists have already largely been replaced by a computer screen. 

Smart control

The steady integration of automated HVAC, garden maintenance, lighting control and other systems with Building Management Systems (BMS) points to a future where facilities largely control themselves. The notion is linked either directly or indirectly with the Internet of Things. Sensors providing data on various states – such as temperature, occupancy, humidity, the movement of people within a facility, and more – and linking that to BMS sets the scene for smart control. Combined with analytics systems and automation, a ‘set and forget’ approach to building management is enabled.

With these parameters established and programmed-in, individual facilities managers become far more efficient and effective, capable of handling building fleets, rather than single premises.


See it all at Facilities Integrate 2019

Taking place at the ASB Showgrounds on 25 and 26 September, the Facilities Integrate Expo is a unique opportunity to see all these trends in action and much more. Attendance is free for all registrations prior to midnight 24 September. Attendance for those registering after this date are priced at $25. For more information or to register your interest, visit

Is the Internet of Things overhyped?

For years now, the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) has provided the potential for revolutionising anything from agriculture to traffic, but Michael Welzel, technical director of smart building solutions provider Direct Control, says the IoT means next to nothing

All IoT is, is another connected device producing data. That is not revolutionary; we already have millions of connected devices producing endless amounts of data.

Instead, it is in smart data analytics, which can incorporate machine learning techniques, that the real revolution will be found.

Welzel is presenting a talk at Facilities Integrate 2019, the trade-only exhibition for people who manage, secure, develop, design, influence and revolutionise New Zealand’s buildings and facilities.

A frank and engaging speaker, Welzel is on a mission to dispel the hype around the IoT. He starts with a simple point that connected devices, whether large or small, costly or cheap, are nothing new.

All this is, is another subsystem – and you can put industrial IoT- enabled automation into that definition, too. The lead systems are in fact the workflow management and analytics layers. It is here where real advantages are to be found, and not in connecting yet more things to the internet, regardless of how you might do that.

In fact, connecting things to the internet has never been easier. The emergence of cheap, tiny sensors and low-power, long range dedicated networks (like LoRaWan), adds to existing cellular and terrestrial networks.

And that, really, is the problem. Just imagine a single new high-rise building going up in downtown Auckland. The sensors in that building are generating data from 20,000 points every 15 minutes. For the facilities manager, that is just far too much data to do anything meaningful with it.

That new building is just one in a large portfolio, which further drives home the obvious inevitability of being overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of data. That’s why analytics software – and then workflow for execution – are the layers where true value is created.

You can’t use that quantity of data manually. You need software to go over it, analyse and contextualise, and then provide recommendations or even automated actions through the workflow later for the effective management of your buildings. Analytics only brings the things that matter to the attention of the facilities manager, enabling informed decision-making.

Introducing sensor-based smart technologies into buildings and other facilities is just the first, most basic step towards true IoT value.  Anyone can put a sensor in, whether it costs $100 or $1000. It’s a commodity.

The next, and more important steps towards more intelligent buildings is the integration and practical use of data. Only when data becomes information can facilities managers improve operational efficiency, reduce emissions and lower operational costs.


The straight-talking Welzel will share more insights and take questions on his talk, ‘Optimised operational efficiency in Facilities using Industrial IoT’ at Facilities Integrate. The trade-only event takes place 25 – 26 September 2019 at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland.

Attendance is free for all registrations prior to midnight 23 September. Tickets for those registering after this date are priced at $25. For more information or to register your interest, visit

How the Internet of Things is revolutionising pest control

By now, the notion of the Internet of Things is quite familiar. More and more devices are being connected to the network, providing a range of automated data generation and sharing points which allows improved management of everything from traffic on our roads, to stock on our farms, to now even control of rats

That’s right, the Internet of Things (IoT) now enables pest control like the world has never seen. “You can imagine a factory or any other large facility which has perhaps 500 traps located throughout. Who has the time to check on those traps?” asks Heiko Kaiser, managing director of Alpeco.

The solution to that challenge is a connected trap which can automatically share its status. If there’s nothing in it, no need for anyone to check.

Alpeco is demonstrating a range of internet-connected technologies for space-age pest control at the Facilities Integrate expo, taking place in Auckland this September. Kaiser is also presenting a seminar where he will discuss how modern pest control doesn’t require chemicals, the latest solutions and how these support HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) compliance.

Kaiser says connected traps – called MinkPolice – have been in use in Europe for some time.

More recently, along with the launch of Vodafone’s ‘Narrowband IoT’ network, they have been introduced in the Punakaiki Sanctuary on New Zealand’s rugged West Coast. “Each trap connects to Vodafone’s IoT network and links to a smartphone application. Volunteers receive a notification whenever a trap is activated which sends them to the exact location of that trap, to clear it, reset it, and trap more pests more often,” Kaiser explains.

Grant Parrett, of volunteer group Predator Free Punakaiki, is thrilled with the introduction of the MinkPolice traps: “A huge number of traps can be checked by a very small number of volunteers,” he says.

The IoT traps, which link to a smartphone app, have a further unexpected benefit. “The technology is actually quite fun for the people. We’re getting better engagement from the volunteers through it,” Parrent explains. It’s a bit like feeling a bite on a fishing line; when a trap catches a rat, stoat or other mammalian predator, the volunteer’s mobile lights up and they can go straight to the affected trap and prepare for the next catch.

Parrett adds that he believes the only way for New Zealand to achieve its ‘Predator Free 2050’ goal is through the adoption of technology like IoT traps.

In larger organisations, such as supermarkets or food processing facilities where compliance with regulations including HACCP is a prerequisite, Kaiser says connected solutions for pest control take any guesswork out of the equation. “Now you can monitor your entire facility from a single interface, without leaving the office unless necessary. The traps tell you what they have caught. They tell you if they are offline. They tell you if their batteries are low.”


Facilities managers and all those interested in learning more about internet-powered pest control methods are invited to attend Facilities Integrate 2019. The trade-only event takes place 25 – 26 September 2019 at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland.

Attendance is free for all registrations prior to midnight 23 September.

Attendance for those registering after this date are priced at $25. For more information or to register your interest, visit

Developers sought for central Takapuna transformation

Formal expressions of interest are now open for transformational developers to partner with council organisation Panuku Development Auckland to deliver a high-quality mixed-use precinct in central Takapuna

Currently known as the Anzac Street carpark, about 6,000 sqm of land will be made available from mid-2020 for commercial, residential and retail development behind the main street shops on Hurstmere Road and alongside Berkeley Cinema.

Key to the success of the ‘Unlock Takapuna’ project will be a new town square earmarked for part of the site which Panuku will deliver with a budget of $7 million.

Takapuna Beach Business Association chief executive, Terence Harpur, says the future of the Anzac Street carpark has been a point of contention in recent years. However with council changing the carpark’s planning designation last year for a more people-orientated future, the urban regeneration project enjoys strong local and business support according to surveys.

“For anyone concerned about the loss of carparks, less than 200 metres away Panuku is now building the multi-level Gasometer carpark building on Huron Street for 420 cars. What’s more, let’s not forget that the Unitary Plan requires one carparking space for every 30sqm of retail development, so the new development will come with some car parks.

“The development will also enable the upgrade of the bus interchange on Lake Road, upgrades to Huron and Northcroft Streets and most importantly a new 3,000sqm town square which will dramatically increase and improve Takapuna’s public open space,” says Mr Harpur.

“Town centres are all about people and our town square will provide a central place to congregate – something we’ve probably always lacked in Takapuna. Its draft design is expected to go out for public consultation in July, and we’ll be encouraging everyone to have their say. We want our town square to be the best in the country.”

Takapuna’s new town square will also provide a key link to Hurstmere Road. To ensure this an old shop on the main street was bought and recently demolished, with Rangitoto now visible from Shore City Shopping Centre.

Artist’s impression of Hurstmere Road


“With 38 Hurstmere Road demolished to form part of the town square, it will really help to re-orientate Takapuna and give it a bigger heart. In recent years new development has made more of the beach, but this project will create a whole new east-west flow, better linking the likes of Shore City Shopping Centre to the main street and ultimately the beach.”

Key to improving the pedestrian environment is the upgrade of Hurstmere Road currently in detailed design. As well as much-needed improvements to the streetscaping, Auckland Transport’s work will aim to prioritise space for pedestrians and reduce vehicle traffic. The main street will become one-way – from south to north, its angle parking will be replaced with parallel parking, and there’ll be a drop-off only zone on the beach side of the road.

“The upgrade of Hurstmere Road has long been talked about and lobbied for. However we’re hoping towards the end of this year construction will be well underway.”

An exciting aspect of the Hurstmere Road upgrade is the fact that once it’s completed, all water run-off will be treated with rain gardens installed to catch contaminants. This will be a massive improvement on what flows into Takapuna Beach during normal weather events.

The Auckland Plan identifies Takapuna as one of 10 metropolitan centres with sub-regional catchments and where significant change is expected during the next 30-plus years. These centres are identified for growth and intensification. The Unitary Plan’s ‘Business – Metropolitan Centre Zone’ allows for high-rise buildings and contains retail and commercial ‘frontage control’ provisions.

Mr Harpur says it makes perfect sense for central Takapuna to be zoned a Metropolitan Centre as it has good public transport links, employment, and is well placed to carry the wider area’s future commercial growth and development.

He says the Panuku-led project will likely see private-sector development range from four to nine stories, with any tall buildings aesthetically stepped back.

“We’d like to see retail on the ground floor, along with some al fresco dining spilling out. There’ll be commercial above which will be great as high-quality office space is something Takapuna is really crying out for. No doubt there’ll also be a residential component.

“We’re currently seeing apartment complexes going up on the fringe of central Takapuna, with more than 400 individual apartments coming to market. The prospect of also having high quality apartments right in our town centre will be welcomed by our retailers and hospitality operators.”

Mr Harpur says now is the time for businesses, investors and developers to consider commercial opportunities in Takapuna as the area is only going to become more sought-after. He points to Panuku having great form when it comes to unlocking and transforming areas, with Wynyard Quarter the best example.

“The same team at Panuku that worked on Wynyard Quarter is now working on Takapuna, with the success of that model set to be replicated here. The fact that Panuku is leading the charge in a significant way has already led to a surge of private sector activity in anticipation.

“We’re seeing old buildings getting upgraded, developers creating new spaces to attract even more eateries, commercial property prices rise, and a general increase in buoyancy and business confidence in Takapuna’s future. And that’s before our new central precinct has even been constructed,” says Terence Harpur.

About Panuku

Panuku Development Auckland manages about $2 billion of land and buildings owned by the Auckland Council.

Its role is to facilitate and rejuvenate parts of the city – from small projects that refresh a site or building, to major transformations of town centres or neighbourhoods.

Its mandate is to “understand the communities in which we work”  and identify development opportunities, plan and prepare the ground to attract private investment.

Terence Harpur

Takapuna Beach Business Association

(021) 187-3715

Mobile malware a rising threat to businesses

20 percent of external cyber attacks were carried out through mobile malware, Forrester Analytics Global Business Technographics Security Survey 2018 finds

Mobile devices are becoming a top target of attack, a trend that in many ways is rooted in poor vulnerability management.

Android fragmentation has been a discussion in the security community for a number of years because many mobile manufacturers either stop supporting devices when new versions come out, or are slow to make updates available — leaving consumers believing they are up to date when they check for the latest updates. To truly understand the scope of this issue, according to Google’s developer site, over 50% of Android devices are running Marshmallow, which was released in 2015, or something even older.

Privacy-minded employees often reject MDM solutions. Mobile enabled employees are happier and more productive, which has a direct impact on your business. Unfortunately, many organizations that have tried to deploy MDM solutions found that privacy concerns limit adoption. In fact, Forrester surveyed one large manufacturing company and found that 40% of employees rejected this control.

Ensure employees have access to an anti-malware solution

Earlier this year, Check Point determined that mobile malware that had the ability to evolve was coming pre-installed on phones, loading variants of itself for campaign-level control. Recognizing the productivity gains of a mobile workforce, we need to provide employees with a solution that will leave them comfortable that you can’t snoop on the photos, contacts, and personal details on their personal devices. Providing them with access to a mobile anti-malware solution that is not managed by your organization will alleviate these concerns while ensuring a mitigation of risk against the coming tide of mobile malware.

Five ways to improve your email security and protect your personal information

No matter if it’s private communication or business, your emails contain practically all the information there is to know about you

From your emails, anyone can learn about your work, our relationships, our vacations, and our medical problems. Someone in control of your email account could impersonate you and scam your friends and business partners, as well as reset passwords to any account linked to the email address.

Email security is of high importance, and while perfect anonymity and security might seem unachievable, it is rather easy to secure your account against some of the most equipped adversaries — and without too much cost.


Strong passwords protect your account from hacking

To make sure that no one else has access to your account, simply change your password. The most important characteristic of your password is that it should be unique. This means not only do you not use this password on any other service, nobody uses this password on any service.

Ideally, your password is also a long one. A password manager and the diceware technique can both help you to find a good unique password.

You should also enable two-factor authentication for your email account. Two-factor authentication works by sending a secondary, one-time password by text message to a registered phone, making it far harder for anybody to access your account, even if they have your password.

Regular housekeeping on your account is essential for good security. Make sure that no one has set any redirects or filters that automatically forward your email to another account.

Also, check your previous logins and see if you find anything suspicious. Some email providers allow you to link your account to other apps or platforms. Make sure that all of these integrations are trustworthy and needed.

Don’t load images and be careful about tracking links

To track the reach and effectiveness of their emails, many companies, especially newsletter providers, will track the links in their emails. This is done to see how many people, and even who exactly, read the email, clicked on certain links, or forwarded the email.

When you hover your mouse over a link, your browser should show you its destination, which you can copy it into a text editor for further inspection. You could open the link in the Tor Browser to disguise your location, although this would still reveal the time you opened the link.

Another strategy used to track you is to include images into your emails. When you open the email, you automatically load the image from a remote server. This can contain a tracking code, and reveal to mailing list administrators who opened the message. You can most likely configure your email provider to not load external images by default, thus disabling the tracking code.

Links might not only track you, but rather send you to sites that host malware, or phishing sites.

Be careful opening attachments

Attachments can contain all kinds of malware, such as cryptolockers or trojans. Only click on files that you expect, and whose senders you trust.

It is advisable to open commonly infected formats such as pdf, xls, and doc using the built-in functionality of your webmail provider, or to open them in a virtual machine. Either way, make sure your computer is up to date. Antivirus software helps but is not a guarantee of a virus-free computer.

Always use TLS

TLS stands for Transport Layer Security, and it ensures your connection to a website is encrypted as well as verifying the integrity of the server you are connecting to. TLS is also used to encrypt your connection to an email server and connections between email servers.

When you use an external email client, such as Outlook, Apple Mail, or Thunderbird, always make sure your emails are fetched over an encrypted channel.

Go into your settings and ensure “STARTTLS” or “SSL/TLS” is activated.

  • Some software may call this connect only through encrypted channels

TLS ensures that emails are encrypted between your computer and the email server, so they cannot be easily intercepted.


It is important to encrypt emails not only between your computer and your email server but also between email servers.

This is also done with TLS. You can use the tool CheckTLS to see if your email server encrypts between servers.

Simply enter your email address (or that of anyone else) into CheckTLS.


Your test results should look like this. Everything is green, indicating all emails are encrypted when sent between servers, and the certificates are valid.


If you see a red Fail under TLS, you need to urge your email provider to configure their servers correctly, or switch providers. (Yes, the U.S. Military does not encrypt its email!)


In many cases, you will see a result like the one above. The Cert OK fail indicates that while the email servers do use encryption, they do not have a valid certificate, making them vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. If you encounter this problem, reach out to your email provider, system administrator, or look out for a new one.

Encrypt your emails with PGP

It is possible to encrypt emails to protect them from being snooped on, intercepted, and altered by even the most skilled and well-funded adversaries.

Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), also called GNU Privacy Guard (GPG), is free software that encrypts the contents of your email in a way that means only the intended recipient can see it. However, it does require the recipient to use the software as well.

When using PGP, both you and your contacts will create a keypair on your devices, which includes a public and a private part. You can exchange the public key, verify its authenticity, and encrypt your emails with this key. To decrypt the information the private key is necessary, which never leaves the computer.

Though very secure, PGP does still leave some information out in the open, called metadata. The metadata includes the email addresses of the sender, recipient, time the message was sent, and the approximate email size.

Avoiding metadata is difficult and might entail not using emails at all. For an example, have a look at Off-the-record (OTR) , an encrypted chat protocol. OTR encrypts your messages, but also creates a new key for each conversation, to make it more difficult to link them.

This article teaches you how to set up an anonymous jabber account, enable OTR encryption, and route your chats through the Tor network.


This article was originally published by ExpressVPN.

Multi-million dollar development a container hot spot

More than 85 shipping containers have been pressed into service on site at the $790 million Westfield Newmarket development

The containers in Newmarket are being used for everything from pedestrian walkways around part of the 88,150 sq m site, through to multi-storey container site offices, toilet blocks, and refrigeration.

Royal Wolf is Australasia’s largest supplier of shipping containers and the scale of the Westfield Newmarket project highlights the continued growth of the container hire and sale sector in New Zealand.

“Newmarket is a huge development and although it may not be obvious, the containers play an important role in ensuring the project runs efficiently and smoothly,” says Royal Wolf Executive General Manager Paul Creighton.

“From a workflow and health and safety perspective, the efficiency, strength and ease of installation and use of containers helps create a highly efficient and robust work site which means workers can just get on and get the job done.”

Much of the upgrade of Scentre Group’s Westfield Newmarket shopping centre located at 277 Broadway is shielded from view by containers lining the perimeter of the site as works continue.

A line of 14 double-storey site office containers, complete with walkway balconies connecting each container unit, line one corner of the site where the former Westfield Newmarket – 277 Broadway centre is undergoing a refurbishment and expansion.

Container pedestrian walk ways run down the hill on Mortimer Pass, a main thoroughfare for traffic heading to Newmarket from the Southern Motorway.

Creighton says one of the challenges for contractors on the Newmarket site, and inner city building sites in general, is having enough room to set up site offices and to store equipment.

“Containers are an ideal solution because they can be stacked easily and very quickly to multiple levels on top of each other. It means there is limited disruption around building sites, which are often in high pedestrian areas.”

It’s the largest construction project container specialist Royal Wolf has supplied in New Zealand and its containers will be on site until the project is completed, which is projected to be in the last quarter of 2019.

Key tenants for the new Westfield Newmarket include Farmers, Countdown and Australian department store David Jones, and it will house around 220 new stores, an Events cinema complex, and roof top restaurants and bars.

With growing awareness around the versatility of containers, and ongoing demand in key areas such as construction, storage, and semi-permanent worker accommodation, Royal Wolf has undergone widespread expansion in the last two years and is now in 12 centres around the country.

Creighton says it is relocating its Dunedin and Wellington offices to larger sites to cater for increased demand, and its second largest site in Christchurch is expanding later in the year to provide increased capacity in Canterbury.

“Containers have become a part of the landscape in New Zealand being used for storage through to being widely used in the construction and infrastructure sectors.

“There is huge potential for Royal Wolf to grow and diversify even further as companies and customers start to realise the diverse uses containers can be used for.”

Royal Wolf is the industry leader in the hire, sale and modification of new and refurbished shipping containers, with 22 years’ experience and 38 facilities with 35 Customer Service Centres across Australia and New Zealand.

The company has a customer base of over 22,000, supplying customers each year with containers which are inexpensive, safe, secure, easily transportable and able to be modified with doors, internal walls, windows, electricity, water supply and more.

From portable storage options for consumers, sporting associations, community groups and schools, to accommodation units, mobile exhibitions, retail outlets, offices, kitchens, training facilities and innovative construction projects, experience shows ‘You can do anything in a Royal Wolf’.

Royal Wolf containers can be specified to meet portable storage requirements for general purpose, refrigerated or hazardous goods and are available in a variety of sizes.

The company’s ‘Worksite Range’ includes a selection of shipping containers that are available as a stock item and provide hoardings and gantries, construction site offices, change rooms, first aid rooms and ablution blocks.

The company also has a division focused on the freight sector, providing freight containers for road, rail, removals, bulk commodity, construction and project applications.

The mining, defence and resources sectors have embraced Royal Wolf container solutions as seen by the extensive use of large portable camps and blast resistant buildings.

Royal Wolf was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2011 and currently employs over 260 permanent staff who are dedicated to servicing the needs of customers and delivering container solutions.

Local tech stars lead world-first blockchain launch

New Zealand tech stars are leading a global team in launching the world’s first ever blockchain platform for the multi-billion-dollar global online ratings and review industry 

Kiwi tech business experts including 2017 New Zealand Chief Executive of the Year award winner Leigh Flounders and NZTech and FintechNZ chair Mitchell Pham are at the forefront of the launch of which is ground-breaking and disrupting the online review world.

The blockchain platform was soft-launched in Bangkok recently to an audience of more than a thousand investors from around Asia, Europe and the US, a week before the scheduled ICO (Token Generation Event) that took place in Geneva on January 15.

Pham says that to do something on a global scale, Kiwis have to get out there and join global teams, work with a diverse range of people from around the world. We are too small to do global things on our own.

“We can even lead these international teams in some instances.

‘We saw a great idea being developed internationally that will change an entire global industry and demonstrate how blockchain can solve real world problems.

“So, being can-do Kiwis, we joined them in taking it to the world.

New Zealand has a relatively immature online review industry with little ​recent innovation, Pham believes

“Except for TradeMe, and Canstar, there is little in the way of a central, reliable, easily accessible New Zealand ledger for ratings and reviews.”

Pham says Lina is not just a website but is a blockchain-based platform that everyone can build their own review system to develop community and manage their own businesses.

Worldwide connectivity

All Lina-based review channels are globally connected, he says.

“With Lina review being a truly global product, Kiwis can interact with Lina for international product and service websites and domestically.

“Being part of a global review platform will also make it easier for Kiwi businesses to market their products globally.

“Lina can also be integrated into existing platforms such as ecommerce and bookings platforms through the upcoming Lina API.

“Kiwis can now get value from trustworthy, transparent reviews, whilst being able to monetise their involvement with the Lina platform by providing quality content and engagement,” Pham says.

Blockchain, a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography or coding, is a relatively new technology that is being used to solve problems in an increasing number of industries.

Pham says Lina is the first and only fully functioning blockchain platform for a multi-billion-dollar industry through understanding some of the fundamental weaknesses of the existing industry and how blockchain technology can fix these issues.

Other Kiwis involved with in prominent roles include successful serial tech entrepreneur Greg Kushnir, world-class blockchain and cryptocurrency expert advisors Mark Pascall and Paul Salisbury.

“This is a great example of NZ tech entrepreneurship, expertise and leadership being applied on the world stage, to change an entire global industry,” Pham believes.

“Consumers love using online reviews pre-purchase, yet over half of online consumers say they don’t trust online reviews or ratings.

“So, what happens when a consumer reads a review about a product or service and they don’t trust the content? They either stall their purchase, or worse: do not buy at all.

“Lina is the first and only blockchain platform built specifically for the multi-billion-dollar online ratings and reviews market. It has been built to restore trust again into this industry and provide tangible value for all participants in the review and ratings ecosphere.”

Three big tech trends critical for Kiwis in 2018

Digital learning skills, smarter homes and medical drone deliveries will be major tech developments that will significantly impact lives of Kiwis, a leading New Zealand tech expert says

NZTech Chief Executive Graeme Muller says while the tech talk is often about issues such as robots stealing jobs or virtual reality worlds New Zealanders may sometimes overlook some of the advances that are happening already that will be important for Kiwis in the coming days of 2018.

Possibly the biggest tech trend is the growth in demand for people with skills in digital technologies.

“These skills are not hard to learn and come with a median salary that is twice the national average,” he says.

“The nationwide Digital Skills Study released at the end of last year found digital jobs are increasing twice as fast as graduates are being created.

“The median annual salary is now $82,000, almost twice that of the average Kiwi.  

“Learning how to write software, design processes, manage data or any of the hundreds of other tech jobs in demand is the way to go for anyone looking to develop a secure income in 2018. 

“This year we will also see the launch of the digital technology curricula in all New Zealand schools where students from year one will start to learn how computers work and how to control them. 

Smarter homes

“The second trend that will sweep across key parts of New Zealand are smarter homes.

Usually smart homes talk is about fridges that order your food but this is more important.

“Last year’s House Condition Survey found that about half of New Zealand homes suffer from under heating, damp and mould, all of which are contributing to poor health for many Kiwis.

“In fact, one study last year estimated that 1600 deaths during last winter could be attributed to cold damp housing. 

“A simple solution, developed by Kiwi social enterprise Whare Hauora,  is a low-cost sensor which lets people know the temperature and dampness of their rooms and it can even be set up to monitor mould levels. 

“All houses should have healthy home sensors if we want to reduce strain on the health budget and improve the lives of Kiwis.

Drone deliveries

“Finally drone deliveries are going to a major cost saver to the country and will eventually decrease traffic on our roads.

“When Dominos New Zealand delivered a pizza by drone in 2016 we were told to expect the service to be a commercial reality by 2018. 

“The technology is ready, with drone delivery trials successfully occurring all over the world; however regulations remain the sticking point. 

“Globally, New Zealand’s regulatory environment for drones is considered progressive compared to those in the northern hemisphere who face greater security considerations.

“Last year New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority cleared the way to conduct autonomous beyond line of sight drone trials in the country’s newest 874 square kilometre restricted airspace, dubbed incredible skies, in Northland. 

“Trials are being conducted by Medical Drones Aotearoa for the delivery of prescription medicines to rural communities.

“It might be another couple of years before we see hundreds of flying delivery vehicles over our cities, but 2018 should see the launch of the first specialised services,” Muller predicts.

These and other tech trends and how they can make New Zealand a safer, cleaner and healthier country by 2030 will be discussed at the upcoming Digital Nation Summit with International experts and local business and social leader in Auckland Feb 19-20. 

Top Google researcher to address Auckland digital summit

Tomas Izo, a lead engineering director in machine perception at Google Research, will speak at the biggest global tech summit ever held in New Zealand in Auckland on February 19 and 20.



The event, Digital Nations 2-30,  is an international meeting coinciding with the visiting ministerial and business delegations from the world’s leading Digital Nations and the D5 meeting in Wellington next month. The D5 is a network of the world’s most advanced digital nations.

Izo leads a Google team of engineers and scientists researching digital issues which contribute to a wide range of products across Google and Alphabet, such as video understanding for YouTube and Cloud Platform APIs.

Recent work from the team includes improving YouTube thumbnails, motion stills apps on android and iOS for machine intelligence-enabled micro-video creation and learned image super-resolution.

Super summit

NZTech Chief Executive Graeme Muller says the summit is the biggest and most important international tech conference ever to be staged in New Zealand and will help pave way for faster advances in the Kiwi economy.

“Changes and tech developments are happening globally at a phenomenal and unprecedented rate.

“Last year we saw the launch of a self-driving vehicle firm in New Zealand, face-detecting systems to authorise payments, the creation of new solar devices that could create cheap and continuous power and the relentless push to add connectivity to home gadgets,” Muller says.

“As self-driving cars become common in this country, we need to gauge if New Zealand is living up to its reputation as a standout digital nation.

“The Digital Nations 2030 Global Future summit, organised by NZTech and Conferenz bringing together the tech sector and the government, will put the spotlight on Kiwi tech advances.”

Technology, business, social and government leaders from across New Zealand are on the agenda including Simon Moutter, chief executive, Spark; Carolyn Tremain, chief executive, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment; IanTaylor, chief executive of Animation Research; Te Aroha Moreehu, general manager for digital transformation, Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Maia.

Muller says the conference will cover every aspect of how New Zealand and global digital economies are shaping.

The Digital Nations conference is expected to attract more than 450 people including D5 Ministers and their delegations, invited international experts and New Zealand digital leaders and influencers representing all sectors.

Communications minister Clare Curran says she wants to step up tech development in New Zealand with the appointment soon of a Chief Technology Officer who will be responsible for preparing and overseeing a national digital architecture, or roadmap, for the next five to ten years.

The top five phishing challenges that lie ahead in 2018

Last year was a rough one for cybersecurity with large, brazen phishing attacks negatively impacting governments and companies around the world – and this year promises more of the same.

Even some of the most supposedly cyber-secure organizations such as Google, Yahoo, Verizon, Virgin America and Equifax fell victim to large data breaches in the past year.

The onslaught of threats exploiting email phishing as the primary attack vector is highly likely to continue in 2018 as hackers become more sophisticated, legacy technologies struggle to provide adequate security and even cyber-aware humans remain susceptible to chicanery.

Such are the primary reasons that 90 percent of all cybersecurity attacks start with email phishing, says anti-phishing solutions provider Ironscale.

According to the 1st Half 2017 Phishing Activity Trends Report by the Anti-Phishing Workgroup, there were roughly 100,000 unique phishing email reports per month (2H 2017 data not yet available).

The report also found that “several hundred companies are being targeted regularly, at least every few weeks.”

Once hackers gain access to the right information, they can penetrate even the most advanced security systems.

Here are the top 5 phishing-related challenges that will impact cybersecurity in 2018:

1. More SMS text and social media phishing

Phishing attacks against mobile devices are on the rise and are expected to increase in 2018.

Also known as “smishing,” SMS-based phishing aims to gather sensitive information from mobile users via text messaging.

With more than 2 billion smart phone users worldwide sending 20 billion text messages per day and opening most of them in an average of 3 seconds, it’s a prime opportunity for hackers.

Hackers are perpetrating more text attacks because there aren’t many tools to protect SMS messages.

Many mobile users also aren’t aware that phishing scams can come via text, thus they’re more likely to click on fake links in a text than they are in an email.

Social media attacks are also on the rise.

Proofpoint noted in a recent report that social media phishing attacks rose more than 500 percent in the last quarter of 2016.

One growing trend is for attackers to use fraudulent accounts and pose as customer service for big name brands.

Attackers are also using phishing bots and automated technologies to scrape social media for information to be used in targeted attacks.

2. Traditional email security safeguards will fail

As phishing scams become more complex, traditional email security will become even more obsolete in 2018.

Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams reached record levels in 2017, fueled by email impersonation, spoofing and spear-phishing.

According to the FBI, documented BEC scams increased 2,370 percent between January 2015 and December 2016 and have so far resulted in more than $5.3 billion in losses.

Most traditional email security systems cannot detect the latest socially-engineered attacks because they mainly rely on content scanning and signatures to analyze messages.

But some attackers don’t even need to use malicious links if they assume the identity of a trusted person.

Such emails often appear to come from clients, co-workers and managers and can be almost impossible for people or technology to recognize.

Mailsploit, a phishing vulnerability that gained popularity in 2017, can spoof email addresses to both the user and the email server, making email filters all but obsolete.

3. Cyber-criminals and nation states will perpetrate more cloud-based attacks

Due to rising adoption of the cloud, more cloud-based phishing attacks are expected in 2018.

A white paper by Avanan noted that impersonation is easier with SaaS platforms.

Since users are constantly being asked to authenticate their account, and the uniformity means hackers can open their own account to test methods until they can bypass filters.

Gmail suffered a mass phishing attack in the summer of 2017 with an authentic-looking email that asked for permission and opened access to their email accounts and documents.

The attack was unique in that it exploited Google’s OAuth protocol to phish for information.

While organized criminals will perpetrate many of these attacks, Experian’s 2018 Data Breach Industry Forecast noted financially-motivated nation states will increase attacks in the coming year.

North Korea has been accused of initiating a number of attacks in recent years, including the WannaCry ransomware attack and the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, among others.

4. Legacy technology won’t keep pace

Sophisticated phishing attacks are being designed to bypass security, and legacy systems simply can’t keep pace.

These increasingly complex scams can now bypass firewalls, gateway security scans and spam filters with ease.

Outdated systems have been blamed for a number of security failures in recent years, and studies indicate that old systems in government and in private sector industries such as healthcare and financial services are leaving organizations exposed.

Organizations will need to upgrade in 2018 and tap into machine learning capabilities to fight the continuing complexity of phishing attacks.

5. The threat of ransomware will grow

Ransomware remains one of the most dangerous cyber threats facing organizations and consumers and that’s expected to continue in 2018.

According to McAffee Labs 2018 Threats Prediction Report, the coming year will see more growth in malware and ransomware as criminals exploit it for financial gain.

A report by Cybersecurity Ventures noted that ransomware damages are expected to exceed $11.5 billion annually by 2019, up from only $5 billion 2017.

Because phishing can be so successful, hackers are turning to it as the primary means of injection.

Sophos noted in its 2018 malware forecast that attacks are being driven by growth in RaaS (ransomware as a service) which offers malware kits that anyone can use, regardless of skill.

Improve your threat intelligence strategy with these ideas

You do want to improve your threat intelligence strategy, right?

I mean, who wouldn’t?

Isn’t it every CISOs wildest dream to run a ship so tight that not a single exploit, APT, or hacktivist threat could ever hope to make it through?

Well … yes, it probably is. But it shouldn’t be.

The problem is that as someone gets closer and closer to the idea of optimising their threat intelligence strategy, they lose sight of the big picture.

The collection, dissemination, and use of threat intelligence has only one real purpose:

To reduce operational risk in order to maintain or improve profitability

Of course, that’s no easy feat.

Breaches are increasingly common, and with the troubling new trend toward data destruction the risk of long-term damage has never been higher.

So what’s my point?

Simply this. Threat intelligence is a massive subject, and it’s natural to want to produce the most comprehensive range of intelligence possible … but that’s not always useful  — in fact it’s usually not.

By concentrating intelligence efforts on highly specific business objectives (eg to maintain or improve profitability), this broad subject can be narrowed down to the point where a small amount of highly valuable intelligence is produced.

With this principle firmly in mind, let’s look at some ways to enhance your threat intelligence strategy.

Go beyond passive intelligence gathering

Broadly speaking there are three primary means of gathering cyber threat intelligence:

  • Signals intelligence (SIGINT) results from intercepting and analyzing signals, usually those used for communications. This includes monitoring of all signals incoming to your networks.
  • Open source intelligence (OSINT) comes from publicly available information. Technically this includes all sorts of books, publications, radio, television, and so on … but for our purposes it’s intelligence sourced from the Internet, whether through search engines or focused “crawling” technology.
  • Human intelligence (HUMINT) is a little different. Where SIGINT and OSINT are primarily passive forms of intelligence collection, often taking the form of automated software, HUMINT is largely active. It could, for example, include human sources within threat actor communities.

So which is best?

Well, threat intelligence is useful because it enables us to take a proactive approach to security, so essentially this comes down to a breadth versus depth argument.

Passive threat intelligence gathering will turn up huge amounts of intelligence, which will inform the bulk of counter-measures … but active intelligence can shed light on specific threats that might otherwise cause massive damage.

Unsurprisingly, the ideal solution would be to utilise both.

There’s just one problem. Whilst nation states continue to invest heavily in HUMINT, most organizations simply don’t have the resources to do so.

It’s tempting, then, to rely solely in OSINT. It’s freely available in huge quantities, it yields some excellent results, and there are a plethora of excellent platforms available to exploit it.

But that would be a mistake.

Firstly, by investing time and resources in the analysis of your own incoming traffic (SIGINT) you’ll spot anomalies that relate specifically to you. Clearly, this is invaluable in the ongoing fight to maintain or enhance profitability.

Secondly, HUMINT data is not as elusive as it might seem. In fact, human “tip” data is evident throughout the Internet, it’s just difficult to aggregate and correlate it all into a useful format. This is where threat intelligence platforms really shine.

Strictly speaking this is a crossover between OSINT and HUMINT, but let’s not split hairs.

By investing in a quality threat intelligence product, you can gain access to a broad array of usable HUMINT sources without investing huge amounts in active intelligence gathering.

Isn’t it a beautiful time to be alive?

To build or not to build? Bite the bullet and choose

The thing about threat intelligence is that you never seem to have enough.

Most companies start out small. Maybe a few of the “tech guys” start regularly checking security blogs, forums, and exploit databases looking for clues to help them secure the organization’s networks.

And of course, the more they look, the more they find.

After a while the job gets too big, and something has to be done. With a bit of time and effort a basic threat intelligence program is built … and for a while all is well.

A few months pass. Inevitably, the platform’s shortcomings are exposed, and further development is required.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Eventually a point is reached where further development is simply not feasible. Either the platform needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, or it needs to be replaced with a vendor-built alternative.

Yup, that age old question: Build or buy?

There are so many variables to address and questions to ask in order to make this decision, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you what to do.

Will the platform need to scale? Do you have the skills and manpower to build your own? Can you do it better than anyone else?

These are questions you’d ask of any IT project. There are, however, two questions that I believe must be asked when it comes to your threat intelligence platform:

  • Is your organisation so different that existing vendor-built platforms won’t suffice?
  • Will a homegrown platform survive the constantly evolving threat landscape?

If you’re in a position to build and maintain a comprehensive threat intelligence platform, which will continue to function for 3-5 years, it may be worth your while to do so.

Equally, if your organisation is radically outside the norm, and vendor-built platforms won’t do the job, you may be forced to build your own.

If, however, you don’t fall into these categories, vendor-built platforms have many advantages.

The threat landscape is progressing at a tremendous rate, and vendors focused specifically in this area are constantly developing and refining their platforms.

So while it might be a greater investment than you were hoping to make, trusting the specialists could well be a decision you look back on fondly.

Get some context

I know, I know.It’s tempting to focus exclusively on the latest threats, and pore over the last week’s incoming signals data trying to identify nefarious (micro) trends.

But if you get lost in the minutiae you risk falling prey to other, more enduring threats.

Let’s not forget, most breaches aren’t the result of cutting-edge malware or state-sponsored cyber espionage. Most breaches result from completely mundane events, such as lost passwords, careless online activity, and petty theft.

So shouldn’t we instead focus on larger time periods? Can we successfully defend ourselves simply by identifying macro threat trends and preparing for them?

Here’s the problem. Unlike most forms of analytics, threat intelligence must identify both macro and micro threat trends in order to be useful, because a single breach can cause massive long-term damage to even the largest organizations.

Take 2014, for example.

Anyone paying attention to the threat landscape around that time would have noticed a sudden and marked increase in destructive cyber attacks against high-profile organizations. Taking a purely macro approach to threat trend analysis at that time would have placed an organisation in great short-term danger of suffering a breach they weren’t prepared to deal with.

But fast-forward to 2016. Destructive cyber attacks are still a serious threat, and would clearly fall under the umbrella of macro trends.

We’re also seeing a big move towards increasingly sophisticated phishing and spear phishing attacks, and away from payload-based malware attacks. Knowing this, we’re much better able to allocate our resources in line with business objectives.

So what does all this tell us?

Basically, your threat intelligence must cover both macro and micro time periods in order to minimise the risk of suffering a serious breach.

But there’s a silver lining.

By understanding macro threat trends, it’s much easier to spot (and respond to) anomalous threats within a smaller time period. In other words, macro threat trend analysis provides the context for micro threat trend analysis.

Or, as Levi Gundert puts it in his white paper “Aim Small, Miss Small”:

In addition to addressing defensive control improvements, analysts should be using collective data points to prognosticate on perceived future threats.

If the majority of threat actors are doing one thing, but you start to see something wildly different in your incoming signals data, you might want to sit up and take notice.

It’s not what you know … it’s what you do with it

Remember the golden rule?

Your threat intelligence strategy must help the organization stay profitable.

It’s a sad fact, but one of the most common issues with threat intelligence is not the collection or processing of intelligence. It’s the communication of intelligence between different areas of the organization.

Red teams, security operations centers (SOCs), incident response (IR), vulnerability management … these are all areas that can benefit dramatically from high-quality threat intelligence.

Not only that, if they’re involved early enough they can inform on which specific aspects of threat intelligence will help them to do their jobs, which in turn helps the organization stay profitable.

This may seem like stating the blindingly obvious, but I can’t stress the importance of this point enough.

If the only thing you do after reading this article is investigate the way intelligence is disseminated within your organization, it will have been worth your time.

I can almost guarantee you’ll find someone who isn’t receiving the intelligence they need … and they might not even be aware of it.

Breach the knowledge gap

When it comes to threat intelligence there is a wide (and widely publicised) knowledge gap, and it’s roughly the size and shape of the average C-suite.

This needs to change.

But before you start bemoaning the state of C-suite cyber knowledge, I’m afraid I have some bad news. The knowledge gap isn’t necessarily the fault of C-suite members … it’s the fault of cyber specialists who lack the ability to translate these very real cyber threats into language that leaders can understand and act upon.

Thankfully, rectifying this is simple, so long as C-suite members are willing to listen.

Engage with them. Ask them what they need, and how they need it. These are exceptionally busy people, and they need poignant, useful information in a format they can digest and understand easily.

More importantly, they need information they can act upon, take to the shareholders, or use to allocate budgets.

Stop complaining that you’re not getting the support you need from above, and start proactively helping them understand what they can do to help.

Cultural change can be difficult, but it’s in everybody’s best interests.

Just keep asking yourself one question

When it comes down to it, threat intelligence is as complicated as you want it to be. There’s always something else to test, more logs to check, and new research to pore over.

But while you’re doing that, I hope you’ll keep asking yourself the same question: Will this help the organisation stay profitable?

And any time the answer is no, I hope you’ll put it down and move on.

After all, there’s plenty more where that came from.


This article was written by RFSID on February 2, 2016 and recently republished by Recorded Future


About Recorded Future
Recorded Future delivers threat intelligence powered by patented machine learning to significantly lower risk. The company’s technology automatically collects and analyses intelligence from technical, open, and Dark Web sources. Twitter at @RecordedFuture.


VigilAir drones first-response security guards of the future

Kiwi-owned and operated VigilAir has launched its semi-autonomous aerial surveillance drone technology onto the global market.

The VigilAir software product will undoubtedly disrupt the security industry and is a product that has the potential to change the face of security worldwide.

International patents are well underway for the software that can dispatch camera-equipped drones to investigate any external security event.

The VigilAir solution will be provided as a full-service solution, with drone enclosure, installation and full ongoing support provided.

“Simply put, our software will enable drones to be the first-response security guards of the future,” says director of VigilAir, Mike Marr.

New Zealand has been at the forefront of drone/UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) regulation and VigilAir continues to work closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to develop the equipment, systems, and processes to provide a safe and effective service.

The product and service operate under a current CAA certification, with work underway to rapidly expand the operating parameters.  

The company spent years pioneering the use of drones with new technology for security purposes, including self-funding its own research and development.

VigilAir is a SaaS product that integrates drones into existing electronic security systems.

It’s suited to large outdoor sites such as retail and industrial parks, hospitals, university campuses, schools, ports, prisons, and town centres which are at risk of burglary, vandalism or security breaches. A security drone will also act as an effective deterrent.

When not flying, the drone sits in an enclosure – dubbed a nest – located on a business site.  When alerted by an alarm sensor trigger, it will be dispatched to fly over the site to investigate, record and live-streame high definition video footage to whoever’s monitoring the action.

The drone may include a thermal or infra-red camera, and bright LED floodlights to illuminate any intruder and record the scene. The hovering drone may sound a siren or even talk to the intruder using a two-way communications system.

Before leaving the nest, the VigilAir SaaS system checks the weather data, then the drone flies a pre-determined flight route that’s geo-fenced to preserve neighbours’ privacy and comply with flight regulations.

A future release will allow the drone to be further manoeuvred to follow any fleeing suspects, capturing images of them and their vehicle license plate number. It then returns to its nest to recharge.

“After considerable R&D, innovation and years of trials, not to mention processing technology and software patents, to now be able to unleash the product onto the international market is really exciting.

“VigilAir’s system is all about delivering faster, safer, and more cost-effective security for organisations or businesses with large sites and security installations,” says Mr Marr.

He says to be able to fly a rapid response drone literally directly into a crime, and to record and transmit all that’s happening, has huge advantages over a traditional on-the-ground security response.

“And we’ve designed it to be user-friendly. Security guards, whether on site or operating remotely, will be able to use the system and it’s one that can already ‘talk’ to 99 percent of all existing electronic security systems.

“As you can imagine this is all a lot safer than dispatching a guard on foot to check out a security problem.

“Drones will help catch perpetrators as everything’s recorded which is gold for any eventual prosecutions. And importantly, the ongoing cost will be lighter on operational budgets,” Mr Marr says.

VigilAir has the potential to make NZ$400 million in its first year largely because the fully integrated semi-autonomous system is a world-leader.

“Its ease of operation and effectiveness has wide appeal for any organisation needing to protect its assets or people,” he says.

VigilAir is completing reseller agreements with two major international corporations, providing a channel for product export and on-going support.

“We’re very confident in its success. We’ve done exhaustive searches and cannot find anything to compare with VigilAir’s system worldwide. It’s truly a global first with unlimited potential.”

Mr Marr believes harnessing drone technology for security purposes was “somewhat inevitable” for a company that has been at the forefront of CCTV and wireless security technology in New Zealand.

VigilAir’s interest in drones doesn’t stop at security.

“While their use for aerial photography is well established, considerable potential remains in core like agriculture, construction and forestry.

“Our drones have assisted the police in search and rescue operations in hard-to-reach terrain like cliffs and crevasses. And we’ve done all sorts of work from inspecting the Auckland Harbour Bridge to looking for leaks on the roofs of central city buildings.”

As well as inspecting infrastructure and assets, smart drone technology is used for Infrared imagery to track heat-loss and to create 3D models that are dimensionally correct to a few centimetres.

VigilAir was invented and developed by ASG Technologies – a technology incubator established three years ago by TPT Group.

Mr Marr is the founder of TPT Group and remains its chief executive. He is also directly heading VigilAir which was founded last year to commercialise ASG’s drone control software.

“Our experienced VigilAir team, led by Andy Grant an ex Warfare Officer from the Navy, includes software and mechatronic engineers and a commercial pilot,” says Mr Marr.

“The team remains focused on the ongoing development of the VigilAir capability and delivering world-leading future-focused security technology.

“To now launch a semi-autonomous ‘eye in the sky’ solution, incorporating an on-site drone with cloud-based SaaS software, is a long way from how we initially viewed drones – as flying CCTV cameras to support the fixed ones.”

Ongoing security technology innovation will help with many governments’ aspirations to develop safer cities in a continually urbanising world.

And for the future: TPT is advancing robotic technology with the intent of one day launching fully autonomous ‘foot patrol’ robots to work in conjunction with its security drones.


About TPT Group

More than150 people are employed at TPT Group which has a stable of security businesses including VigilAir Ltd, ASG Technologies Ltd, Advanced Security Group, TPT Finance (NZ) Ltd, Promessa Property Group Ltd, ASGSPL Ltd, Asset Insight Ltd, and TPT Group Investments Ltd.

Mike Marr +64 29 281 0221

Seven out of 10 customers use Dark Web sourced threat intelligence

Recorded Future is a leading threat intelligence provider which numbers 86 percent of Fortune 100 companies among its clients.

The company announced recently that 70 percent of its customers have adopted Dark Web sourced intelligence to gain insight into their own risks from the adversary’s perspective.

They also use it to identify compromised assets, such as credentials and intellectual property.

These Dark Web sources include underground forums where threat actors discuss intrusion methods, malware, and fraud schemes outside the scope of open web search engines and marketplaces for illicit goods and stolen data.

In addition to capturing the latest dark web posts and listings in real time, Recorded Future constantly integrates this content into its massive historical archive.

This process connects “hacker chatter” into the larger context, such as pastes that appear on the web for just seconds, technical details of exploitable vulnerabilities, and security research published on the “surface” web.

Using machine learning and natural language processing, Recorded Future automatically analyses these sources to identify trends, highlight emerging threats, and score the risk of millions of vulnerabilities, domains, addresses, and executable files.

By leveraging Recorded Future’s Dark Web monitoring capabilities, customers receive:

  • Hundreds of thousands of detailed threat actor profiles including behavior patterns, indicators, motivations, and targets.
  • Alerts for compromised credentials and stolen data exposed in the dark web.
  • Trending threat data based on machine-learning analysis conducted at a scale beyond what human analysts can do.

“Recorded Future’s threat intelligence from the Dark Web provides unique insights we utilise to help protect our clients every day,” says Bruce Biesecker, Global Director, Security Operations, Security Engineering, Client Care, and Identity Management at Verizon.

“Their distinctive approach to structuring the data and using it to enhance other open and technical-sourced intelligence makes the data more critical to more companies than other offerings in the market.

“We continue to see increasing significance as the capabilities and breadth of sources continue to grow,” he says.

Top banks, retailers, hospitals, government agencies, and other organizations around the world are using Recorded Future’s Threat Intelligence Machine™ to identify threat trends, find compromised data, and alert on threats specifically targeting their data and networks.

“Security teams may look to the Dark Web first for incident detection: are our credentials or sensitive information exposed?,” says Matt Kodama, Vice President of Product at Recorded Future.

“But operational monitoring is just one way to leverage dark web sources. We know that adversaries will find new intrusion methods and fraud schemes.

“Which technologies are emerging as targets, and how are threat actors finding exploits? By harvesting and indexing the dark web at scale, we highlight these emerging trends as a key input to an intelligence-driven security program,” he notes.

Part two: Improve Your Threat Intelligence Strategy With These Ideas will appear on this site on Friday December 1.


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Recorded Future delivers threat intelligence powered by patented machine learning to significantly lower risk. The company’s technology automatically collects and analyses intelligence from technical, open, and Dark Web sources. Twitter at @RecordedFuture.

Global entrance solutions leader expands Down Under

A global leader in architectural revolving doors and security entrance systems, Boon Edam, is expanding its operations Down Under through a partnership with leading Australian-owned automatic door manufacturer Auto Ingress Pty LtdTG_AMBIENCE_STEDELIJK MUSEUM_004_low res

Boon Edam Australia Managing Director Michal Fisher, says the two companies will partner nationally in the sales, installation, maintenance and retrofit of the entry technologies of Boon Edam, which has dozens of Fortune 500 companies among its global clients, including some of the world’s largest firms.

Major benefits of the partnership include:

  • expanded availability of 24/7 service and maintenance agreements for existing, new and retrofit installations of Boon Edam technologies in public and private facilities, including office buildings, data centres, airports, healthcare facilities, shopping centres and retail outlets, major hotels, restaurants and national attractions visited by millions of people a year.
  • a greater range of choices throughout Australia of world-class architectural entrance and security solutions from Boon Edam, drawing on its 140 years of global experience and now distributed in partnership with market leader Auto Ingress, which has more than 20,000 installations nationally and in export markets. Auto Ingress has more than 20 years’ experience in automatic door operations to suit extremely busy entrances to facilities such as shopping centres, hospitals, universities and other major publicly accessible facilities.
  • greater on-the-ground expertise to benefit both existing and new clients of both companies, throughout Australia. Auto Ingress’ local capabilities complemented by Boon Edam’s local expertise and direct links globally to advanced entrances solutions. Boon Edam’s solutions are focused on architects, builders, facility managers, property owners, new project developers and specifiers seeking entrances solutions which harmonise aesthetics with entry solutions that reflect the importance of facility entries as mobility hotspots in today’s security-conscious world.

“The partnership of Auto Ingress’ local expertise and service with Boon Edam’s global leadership is a major advantage for clients of both companies,” says Fisher, who is expanding Boon Edam’s presence in Australasia with a team that includes locally-based facility design, security and maintenance personnel operating nationally.

Auto Ingress has a highly complementary quality ethos, being dedicated to achieving market leadership through products that are extremely reliable, quality manufactured to stringent ISO 9001-2000 conditions, are low maintenance, economical to install, aesthetically pleasing and supported by market-leading warranties.

Auto Ingress, with its own broad network of technicians, has secured long term relationships with many local and regional contractors, ensuring prompt, reliable service to Australian metropolitan and regional areas 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Auto Ingress Director Rob Jessen says the partnership offers major benefits to customers. “Boon Edam is the world No 1 in architectural revolving doors and way up there also in security doors,” he notes. “Their top quality products and outstanding service standards ideally complement Auto Ingress’ product and service range.”

Boon Edam Australia provides local expertise and direct access to its global experience in tailoring to quality entrance systems to manage issues ranging from architectural presentation, energy conservation and HVAC issues, through to protecting sensitive facilities and precincts against unauthorised access by unwanted visitors posing threats to physical and cyber security.

The latest Boon Edam installations globally include the giant 5-metre high revolving doors on the new Rialto building regeneration project in Melbourne (the tallest such doors in the Southern Hemisphere).

The company was also responsible for the world’s highest revolving doors ever installed in the façade of a building, on the observation deck of the 124th floor of the 442m-high Burj Khalifa building in Dubai that is the world’s tallest structure.

“With over 140 years of experience in engineering quality entry solutions, Royal Boon Edam has become expert in creating future-proof mobility hotspot solutions that meet the diverse requirements of sustainability, security, and service while also being aesthetically outstanding,” says Fisher.