• Home Depot Facing at Least 44 Civil Suits in Data Breach
    Wall Street Journal (11/25/14) Calia, Michael

    Home Depot reports that it faces at least 44 civil lawsuits in the U.S. and Canada related to a widespread data breach at the home-improvement retailer earlier this year. The company — which is also under investigation by several state and federal agencies — says its investigation of the breach continues, and it is still assessing its financial and other impacts. In a bid to prevent future attacks, Home Depot has completed a project that encrypts customer credit-card data at the point of sale in all of its U.S. stores. It also expects to roll out the encryption system to its Canadian stores by early next year. Additionally, Home Depot says its U.S. stores will soon have EMV chip-and-PIN technology, which helps authenticate transactions with debit and credit cards. The company revealed earlier this month that 53 million customer emails were stolen in a cyberattack that had also compromised an additional 56 million customer credit-card accounts, an intrusion the retailer had previously disclosed in September. The breach resulted in $28 million of pretax expenses in the most recent earnings period.

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    Retailers Beefing Up Security Against Data Breaches
    Detroit News (11/24/14) Abdel-Razzaq, Lauren

    There have been just under 700 major data breaches reported this year, up 25 percent from last year, according to new data from the Identity Theft Resource Center, and there are signs that retailers are waking up to the threat. According to eBay’s Enterprise 2014 Holiday Retail Audit, 65 percent of large retailers say they have heightened concerns about data security, even though 77 percent say they have not experienced a data breach. A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of 758 American companies finds that $4.1 billion has been spent to protect respondents from cyber threats this year, a number that PWC expects to grow by $2 billion in 2017. Still, there is more that companies could be doing. Karl Volkman, chief technology officer at SRV Network Inc., says companies will need to bring on security consultants, increase the size of their IT security staffs, and keep themselves up-to-date on the latest threats.

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  • U.S. Orders Electric Utilities to Secure Sites From Attack
    Wall Street Journal (11/20/14) Smith, Rebecca

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday adopted a rule that requires U.S. power companies to identify and take steps to secure key transmission substations and other hubs that could cause major problems if they were out of service. The rule also requires utilities to have unaffiliated experts review their security plans. The commission said the new standard could take effect by 2016, and will carry fines and penalties for non-compliance, but there is not yet a deadline for utilities to complete security upgrades. The agency began to examine the issue of physical attacks on power facilities earlier this year, in response to an armed assault on an electric substation in California owned by PG&E.

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  • Bold Jewelry Heist in Manhattan’s Diamond District
    Wall Street Journal (11/12/14) Shallwani, Pervaiz; Wilson, Colleen; Bashan, Yoni

    Two men stole an unspecified amount of jewelry and other items from a jewelry store in Manhattan’s Diamond District on Tuesday in a rare armed robbery in the highly-secure block of stores and businesses that is at the heart of the U.S. diamond industry. The two men robbed the Watch Standard Inc. luxury store on West 47th Street by posing as delivery men. One of the robbers was buzzed into the store, which he robbed at gunpoint while the other man stood watch in the hallway outside. At least one of the store’s employees was injured during the robbery. The suspects were clearly captured by security cameras, but remain at large despite a massive police manhunt. Michael Grumet, the executive director of the 47th Street Business Improvement District, says he can only recall one other robbery occurring in the Diamond District during his eight-year tenure. He says most of the 4,100 companies that call the district home employ private armed security, and the district itself has a significant police presence.

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    Security is Questioned After New York Jewelry Store Robbery
    Wall Street Journal (11/12/14) Bashan, Yoni; Shallwani, Pervaiz

    Many stores and building managers in Manhattan’s Diamond District are reconsidering their security arrangements following a robbery on Tuesday at one of the area’s ostensibly well-protected jewelry stores. The Watch Standard store, the site of the robbery, is among the merchants in the area considering whether to increase security. Those plans could include upgrading security in the entire building. Meanwhile, the owner of another store located near the Watch Standard is considering screening customers before they enter. Similar stores in the area already use mantraps to prevent members of the public from entering secure areas. Screening buzzers, security cameras, and guards are also used by many of the businesses in the area. A security guard who works near the robbed jewelry store says he and other security personnel will probably be more attentive to potential trouble going forward. The guard, whose store is next to the Watch Standard, says he is prohibited from interfering in a robbery that occurs in another store, aside from calling police.

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    Study Finds Spike in Cost of Retail Crime in the U.S.
    Security InfoWatch (11/07/14) Griffin, Joel

    Retailers worldwide lost $128 billion last year due to shrink, which includes shoplifting, fraud by employees or suppliers, and administrative errors, according to the results of the Global Retail Theft Barometer that were released on Nov. 6. Of these losses, $42 billion were from the United States alone. The study did find that shrink declined slightly overall from 1.36 percent of retail sales in 2012 to 1.29 percent in 2013. Ernie Deyle, a retail loss prevention analyst who conducted the study, said that this is partly because retailers in some countries made greater loss-prevention investments. Although U.S. shrink declined from 1.5 percent of sales in 2012 to 1.48 percent in 2013, the cost of retail crime in the country as a percentage of revenue rose 27 percent last year to 1.74 percent. Deyle says retailers should change their attitudes toward loss prevention by employing analytics and technology, and “look at their loss prevention departments as a tactical performance improvement type of group.” Retailers reported that electronic article surveillance antennas, labels, and hard tags can effectively protect their most vulnerable products. More suppliers are also using source tagging radio frequency labels. Shoplifting and employee theft, however, remain issues that lack a definitive solution, Deyle noted.

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  • Back to Basics for Lobby Security
    Security Magazine (11/14) Ludwig, Sarah

    Good lobby security is vital for any organization, since lobbies are a buffer between public and private areas, says Tim Sutton, a security consultant at Sorenson, Wilder & Associates. Effective lobby security should involve a security vulnerability assessment to identify assets and shortcomings and use best industry guidelines, Sutton says. He recommends that organizations make sure their lobby is arranged so that people must go through its security measures, which may be as simple as moving a receptionist’s desk. A lobby ideally should have two doors, with a receptionist or security officer between them to better monitor who comes and goes, and to control access to the second door. Organizations may also consider a visitor management system that registers visitors and creates badges for them. This allows security personnel to know how many people are in the building and who they are. Organizations must have written, enforced policies and procedures for access and security, and should train their personnel to diffuse a situation or notice suspicious activity, says Patrick Ketchum, the director of the Office for Insurance and Benefits at the Diocese of Springfield, Ill. The diocese recently overhauled its lobby security, implementing access cards for employees and requiring visitors to be buzzed in by a receptionist. The diocese also plans to place the front desk behind glass so visitors can approach it to announce themselves.

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