Media security and logistics is an interesting and ever-evolving field to be involved in. News and documentary teams are constantly pushing the boundaries in brilliantly artistic and engaging ways. Drone technology has also enhanced the ability of cameramen to acquire that perfect shot. The focus of the general population on socially driven and visually based entertainment has also helped shape the format of news reporting today. Global Media Risk is privileged to be involved in this exciting industry and providing services which allow our clients to report on stories that matter.
Global Media Risk pride ourselves on our ability to work seamlessly with our clients during productions because we understand our client’s role and requirements at ground level. Unique to the industry, our staff are trained in basic production techniques such as SNG and LiveU set-up, lighting, audio, talent coordination, intelligence vetting, and various other aspects of news and documentary production. This training allows our staff to balance our own aims of providing security and logistics with our client’s aims of developing a dynamic and engaging production. Global Media Risk utilises our global fluency and international presence to provide optimised services for products of all compositions to choice locations around the world, simplifying production management and logistics for our clients.
Cyber attacks on start-ups may fly under the radar in the media, but they can be just as devastating as any assault on a high-end firm.
Earlier this year, I met a start-up founder affected by ransomware — a malicious virus that locks up and encrypts a company’s data. He did not elaborate, but he must have clicked and followed the link in a phishing email in his inbox. Typically, that’s all it takes.
He had a choice. He could pay $45,000 to free his data or he could start from scratch. A bleak proposition considering that a $45,000 loss can ruin a start-up. I believe the individual ended up paying the ransom to restore his system, but this example cements the need for start-ups to consider security sooner rather than later.
In my role as CEO of a risk consultancy firm, I hear of a major breach to a company’s infrastructure — either by individual hackers, industrial espionage, organised crime, or nation-state actors — on an almost daily basis.
Large corporates are all heavily invested in cyber security. They understand the importance of co-ordinating their security efforts at a C-suite level and investigating and mitigating attacks against their company infrastructure.
An often neglected community when it comes to cyber security is the thriving start-up scene. There is a distinct lack of awareness surrounding the protection of digital information and potential threats faced by young companies.
Penetration testing and resilience may seem boring and unnecessary to the average SME. However, a company’s reputation, and possibly existence, depends on prioritising the issue from the conception through to delivery of the company’s product.
As a start-up begins to scale, this issue starts to escalate. Gaining traction, international growth and raising capital are all triggers that will draw hackers to test a start-up’s security.
A cyber security breach can be damning for a start-up. They face costs around repairing their networks and plugging the vulnerability so it can’t be exploited again. Then there’s potential legal costs from companies or consumers who may want to pursue you for not protecting their data. Regulators may want their slice too.
Aside from the obvious business implication, start-ups all have a duty of care to their investors and their users to ensure their data is protected and remains private. The backlash from this inevitably leads to brand damage. Investors may also be wary before committing to your business.
In fact, we’ve noticed a trend around more venture capitalists and investment funds requiring a level of cyber security and testing before investment or collaboration with a start-up.
Australia has the ability to lead the way on this issue. Securing Australia’s start-ups will assist in making Australia one of the best places to do business in cyberspace and will ensure our start-ups remain competitive in the global economy.
New businesses need to meet a high standard for cyber security, not only to protect their networks, products and intellectual property, but because they have a duty of care to their customers to ensure their personal information remains private and secure.
In the end, good cyber security is just good business.
- Shannon Sedgwick CEO Global Media Risk
As published in The Australian
Global Media Risk has just wrapped up another successful Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) course for our clients in San Diego.
The following video is one of the final scenarios that course participants face, all while live fire is occurring in the vicinity. Great work to all involved and for further information on future courses email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tijuana's Police Chief resigns after a story by Jean Guerrero from KPBS and PBS NewsHour on the city's migrant strategy. Global Media Risk was on the ground with the team for the duration and assisted in gaining the access for this groundbreaking new story. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/police-step-up-effort-to-evict-homeless-from-tijuana-canals/
MORE than half of Islamic State’s recruits are foreigners, and they’ve got one thing in common. They don’t know much about Islam.
Most are recent Islamic converts with minimal connection to Syria or Iraq.
Another common denominator is their search for a meaningful cause and reason for their life. To belong to a common moral ground and fight for a religious belief, however disillusioned it may be, is a large attraction to these disaffected individuals.
Melbourne teenager Jake Bilardi perfectly fit this profile.
Going from his suburban bedroom, to a role as an Islamic State “martyr” in a matter of months, Jake was targeted with Jihad Da’wa — an ‘invitation to conduct jihad.
Most likely, he was in contact with Al Hayat, the IS social media unit. The unit is highly sophisticated and polished. The high quality and choreographed nature of videos indicates the people behind them have western training. This social media campaign is a large part of what attracts foreigners to the Islamic State cause.
And it’s likely IS’s recent capture of Ramadi, only 90 minutes from Baghdad, will make stemming western recruitment even more difficult.
The Islamic State is no longer operating as an insurgency - the Islamic State is conducting a war. The group now controls an area larger than some European countries. With a fully formed government that provides all the necessary civil services to those under their control, IS has evolved as a terrorist organization and those combating this group must also evolve if they hope to succeed.
To overcome Islamic State, we must understand how they operate.
THE COMMON DENOMINATOR IN WESTERN RECRUITS
Islamic State recruits are from all walks of life and education, however a common denominator is their ignorance of Islam; with the majority of western recruits being recent Islamic converts with minimal connection to Syria or Iraq.
Another common denominator is their disillusionment with their current life, and their search for a meaningful cause and reason for life. To fight for a common belief, however disillusioned it may be, is a large attraction to the recruits.
FIRST STEPS TO RECRUITMENT
The first step for potential IS recruits is to source, either online or in person, a spiritual leader with hard line Islamic views. These spiritual leaders or mentors most likely have a connection with or know someone who has joined IS ranks. These spiritual leaders will then introduce the IS hopeful to a recruiter either via Twitter, Skype or Facebook ahead of an interview process to evaluate the interviewee’s commitment to the cause.
HOW DO THEY GET THERE?
Once the vetting is finalized and the recruit is deemed worthy then logistics are discussed. What is the best way to travel to Syria? What will draw the least attention from authorities? Most Islamic State recruits enter Syria via Turkey’s extremely porous southern border. I have witnessed firsthand the many illegal border crossings from Turkey into Syria and the ease with which one can cross the border into and out of Syria. The recruit is usually met by a contact on the Turkish side of the border who facilitates their transition into Syria and then another contact once they have crossed the border.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN RECRUITS FIRST ENTER ISIS?
Upon entering Syria and within IS ranks the recruit is then required to hand over their complete social media and online identity. IS controls every aspect of the recruit’s life and if the recruit was to become disillusioned then IS does not want that negative perception to be spread via social media. The recruit is also required to hand over his passport and mobile phone. The recruit then begins two to three months of physical, tactical and ideological training to prepare them for the role IS will delegate to them.
HOW RECRUITS ARE DIVIDED
Depending on your experience and skill set, IS will delegate a position for the recruit within the ranks. Those with IT experience will be sent to Al Hayat, the IS social media unit. Those with previous military training will either be sent to fight at the frontline or be used as a trainer.
Possibly, as in Jake Bilardi’s case, they will be used in martyrdom operations (suicide attacks). Regardless of what role they perform, a foreigner fighting for Islamic State will be used heavily via social media to create publicity and inspire other foreigners to join IS.
For more information, Tweet us via @globalmediarisk or contact email@example.com.
Global Media Risk is now conducting our Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) courses in Singapore in conjunction with AV 8 Media. The HEAT course is designed for media staff, security personnel and travellers deploying to third world countries or high risk locations. Subject matter includes selection of fixers, hotels and transport, remote first aid, filming location selection, navigating checkpoints, threat de-escalation, equipment selection, protective equipment, weapons familiarization, ballistics, navigation and risk assessments - planning and preparation, personal security, and risk management.
Singaporean and PR Media professionals can apply for 90% subsidy under the MDA Talent Assistance Scheme through Six Degrees Asia. In addition media freelancers can apply for a S$ 7.50 per hour training allowance.
Visit AV 8 Media's training page for more information.
The recent senseless murder of two WDBJ employees in Moneta, Bedford County VA is a terrible tragedy. Global Media Risk's thoughts are with their friends and family during this difficult time.
Unfortunately this tragedy highlights the importance of safety training and security for field reporters and staff. It is clear that journalists are no longer neutral parties. Journalists are at risk of violence every day and most are not prepared.
This incident, amongst other recent attacks on reporters in the US, continually raises the question why the majority of journalists are being sent into the field without basic safety and first aid training. In the last ten years, over 500 journalists and media workers have been killed worldwide whilst reporting the news. Journalists reporting on local conflicts, corruption and other illegal activities also face threats of abduction, harassment, violence, illegal arrest and detention,
News organisations have a duty of care to provide their staff with the training and logistics to protect them and their equipment during the conduct of their work. Media unions need to call for mandatory and continual safety and first aid training for all reporters and staff who deploy in the field. Journalist lives matter and it is time their safety was made a priority.
Global Media Risk constantly receive emails and messages from people asking for advice on how to land a role within the private security industry, primarily pertaining to high threat regions.
This post is for those wishing to break into the industry. I will give you a brief background on the current state of the industry and also tips on how to give yourself the best chance of landing a role.
First the bad news. The security industry is flooded with prospective applicants and job chasers like yourself. Recruiters receive on average 2000 applications for every single PSD role they list as vacant. That is 1999 applicants on average up against you and most of those will have private security experience already. Not the most ideal odds.
The days for anyone and everyone with a penchant for guns landing a role in Iraq or Afghanistan are long gone. The industry is heavily regulated and minimum standards are now quite high. Most PSD roles require the applicant to have first aid skills such as FPOS-I or EMT-B, an internationally recognised PSD qualification, a minimum of 1-2 years previous private security experience within the country you are applying for, ex-military with an honourable discharge and pass a vigorous background check.
Even if you have all of these pre-requisites and you are a levitating back flipping ninja-esque Jedi Jason Bourne type, often that is not enough. Most companies fill positions from within the company or by recommendations from currently employed staff who recommend their friends.
So what can you do in light of all of these obstacles? Be prepared to work your ass off!
Below I will list steps you need to take to maximise your likelihood of landing the gig you want.
Like anything in life, if you want it badly enough you will get there. Ignore the naysayers and light a fire within yourself because your day will come if you work hard enough.
Keep your heads down
Global Media Risk Director Shannon Sedgwick appears live via LA for Channel Nine Mornings Show to discuss the recruiting tactics of ISIS.
Many people openly discuss their desire to fight against ISIS. But is that a realistic goal? They wear flags that state that they are member of the “ISIS Hunting Club” and they create websites and social media pages filled with anti-ISIS media. Some of these people even go to the extent of joining the YPG in Syria to fight against ISIS on the frontline. It is these prospective YPG “fighters” that I wish to discuss and address in this post.
A brief background of the YPG: The People’s Protection Units commonly known as the YPG, is the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syrian Kurdistan. The party is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, the European Union and NATO.
I have spent considerable time with both the YPG and the Peshmerga on the frontline in both Syria and Iraq. I was in Kobane, Syria and on the Turkish border at Mursitpinar for 5 weeks during the siege by ISIS on Kobane (Ayn Al Arab). I gained access to the Mosul Dam 30 mins after it was retaken from ISIS by Peshmerga forces. I also spent considerable time on the Peshmerga frontline in the villages surrounding Mosul. Having worked with both the Peshmerga and the YPG during client operations, I am confident that the following intelligence is sound.
This information is for prospective YPG foreigners who wish to take the fight to ISIS………..