We are the Cyber Champions

The certification of 21 new Cyber Champions has followed an event staged by Nuneaton & Bedworth Neighbourhood Watch Association (N&BNWA). All are active volunteers in their own localities serving their neighbours by helping protect them from harm.

When it first started in 982 its focus was very much on enabling neighbours, by banding together and working closely with their local police, to protect themselves from the impact of threats such as burglary, criminal damage and vehicle crimes. How things have changed! Although those original threats have not gone away the greatest current threat is cybercrime.

Responding to this developing threat began in earnest by N&BNWA followed a challenge issued at its 2015 AGM by then Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner Dr Eric Wood – “…… and what are you going to do about it?” We began by making use of DISC (Database & Intranet for Safer Communities) to improve the efficacy of our communication network.

This was followed in 2016 by the organisation, in conjunction with NW colleagues from across Warwickshire, of a Combating Cybercrime Conference. Its aim was that each of the five district NW associations would be able to develop and implement and effective action plan.

By early 2017 N&BNWA had developed and adopted a Combating Cybercrime Policy supported by an operable, rolling action plan. Alert messages and advisory cybersecurity information items are posted regularly on DISC, on Twitter @NunBed and on website www.nbnwa.net Very recently the launch of a Nuneaton wide network of interlinked, closed Facebook groups has considerable enhanced capability to successfully deliver the Combating Cybercrime Action Plan.

And following the Community Champion’s event, so excellently facilitated by Warwickshire County Council Cybercrime Advisor Sam Slemensk, N&BNWA now has a cadre of up-skilled volunteers to support the delivery of the action plan

Lock Snapping & How to Prevent It

Lock Snapping is a method used by home invaders which involves snapping a particular type of lock cylinder, allowing the burglar to quickly and easily gain access to your home. If the right amount of force is applied to the cylinder, it can break and give access to the locking mechanism.

Lock Snapping has become more common over recent years as it requires no special tools or expert knowledge, just the force of a hammer, mole grips or anything else that can physically grab and take hold of a cylinder is enough to gain entry. Many readily available videos’ online show the shocking force, speed and ease of the technique that burglars are using to break into homes up and down the country. One online video that we’ve seen shows how burglars will gain access to a cylinder even if it isn’t protruding from the handle. In this case the handle is shown literally being ripped off the door, the cylinder exposed, and the locking mechanism compromised using household tools such as a hammer and screwdriver.

A recent short tv documentary showed how a former burglar, without previous experience of snapping locks, could use this method to gain access to a property within 40 seconds, even he admitted how shocked he was at the ease and speed of gaining access, he said that an experienced lock snapper could probably gain access in as little as 13 seconds [Lock Snapping Video]. Another former burglar admitted that even if he had the best lock picks in England, he would rather snap the cylinder because “it’s simpler and easier”.

Police have said it’s estimated that around 22 million doors throughout the UK could be at risk from lock snapping where the lock cylinder can be broken in seconds.

 

What Locks Are at Risk

Key locks that are at risk of lock snapping are those of Euro Cylinder profiles, and locks that extend beyond 3mm of the handle. The further the lock cylinder protrudes from the door the more prone to tampering it becomes as it is easier to grip and take hold of, but even if a lock cylinder doesn’t protrude from the handle it still isn’t immune to tampering.

ASB Anti-Snap Locks

Locks that are of a TS007 3 Star standard (also known as ‘anti-snap’ cylinders) are locks that meet the requirements to withstand lock snapping attempts.

Anti-Snap cylinders have a ‘snap-off’ section integrated which will come away if a burglar was to try and snap the lock, making the cylinder shorter, thus making it more difficult to grasp. With the help of built in grip defenders it makes getting hold of the cylinder even harder. Not only that but anti-snap locks have a hardened bar which won’t snap, it will only flex making snapping almost impossible.

Check that your current locks do not over extend. If they appear vulnerable you may want to consider having them replaced or replacing them yourself. Fitting them yourself is relatively easy, takes little time and requires no specialist tools.

Replacement costs

Upgrading to an ASB lock by a reputable locksmith will cost you £100 to £150 for a single door. Replacing more than one at the same time reduces the cost per door.

If you are prepared to buy the replacement cylinders off line and DIY it will cost you £35 to £45 per door.

Tackling Tobacco Crime across the Midlands

Over 5.5 million illegal cigarettes and 645 kg of hand rolling tobacco were seized by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service and other local Trading Standards within the Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CEnTSA). The cigarettes and tobacco were seized in the last financial year (2016/2017) with a loss to the tax payer of over £2 million. The total retail value of the illegal goods is estimated to be worth more than £2.5 million.

The cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco were often well hidden, in sophisticated concealments using electronic magnets controlled by a switch, in cavity walls and even disguised as BBQ sets. Such hiding places are difficult to detect without the aid of specialist tobacco sniffer dogs.

All offending businesses are subject to a criminal investigation, with some traders already being successfully prosecuted. Some have received financial penalties, others, suspended prison sentences and community orders. In addition, some shops have had their alcohol licences suspended or revoked for dealing with illegal tobacco products.

Warwickshire County Councillor Howard Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:  “Far from being a victimless crime, the illegal tobacco trade is providing a cheap source of cigarettes for children and young people. Whilst all tobacco is harmful, the illegal tobacco market, and in particular the availability of cheap cigarettes, makes it easier for children to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit and remain smoke free. The loss to the tax payer means less money being spent on local communities, schools and the NHS.’’

Bob Charnley, Chairman of CEnTSA said ‘‘More and more people over the past few years have decided enough is enough and are providing information to Trading Standards, to stop local criminals selling and distributing illegal tobacco. Combating illegal tobacco has become an increasing priority for Trading Standards. The illegal tobacco trade has strong links with crime and criminal gangs, including drug dealing, money laundering, people trafficking and even terrorism. Selling illegal tobacco is a crime.”  Mr Charnley added ‘‘retailers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their approach, adapting their methods in order to avoid detection. Some businesses had gone to great lengths to conceal the illegal tobacco in secret compartments, including BBQ sets, fake floor boards, false walls, ovens and fridges. You may hide it, but we will find it.’’

Illegal tobacco products can usually be easily recognised. They will be very cheap, often less than half the price of legitimate packets and often have foreign writing on them. Anyone being offered cheap tobacco or any other types of illicit goods should report it to Trading Standards by calling the CEnTSA’s confidential fakes hotline on 0300 303 2636.

For more details on NHS Stop Smoking Services in Warwickshire go to www.quit4good.co.uk or phone 0800 085 2917.

 

Apple Mac computers targeted by ransomware and spyware

Mac users are being warned about new variants of malware that have been created specifically to target Apple computers. One is ransomware that encrypts data and demands payment before files are released. The other is spyware that watches what users do and scoops up valuable information.

Experts said they represented a threat because their creators were letting anyone use them for free. The two programs were uncovered by the security firms Fortinet and AlienVault, which found a portal on the Tor “dark web” network that acted as a shopfront for both.

Google game teaches kids about online safety – Help Net Security

Talking to kids about online safety is a difficult undertaking for many adults, and making the lessons stick is even harder. To that end, Google has launched a new program called Be Internet Awesome, which includes:

  • An online video game called Interland
  • A classroom curriculum
  • A YouTube video series

The game and learning materials are aimed at children that are between 8 and 11. Interland can be played on any of the major browsers. It leads the player through several floating islands where the challenges and puzzles they should complete will teach them about several aspects of online safety: how to choose which information to share with whom, how to choose good passwords, how to deal with online bullies, how to spot scams.

Source: Google game teaches kids about online safety – Help Net Security

Service station thieves ‘using car key jammers’ – BBC News

Thieves are using radio jammers to steal from cars parked at motorway service stations, police warn.

Thames Valley Police said the transmitters could be used to “interrupt” signals from remote keys, preventing vehicles from being locked properly.

The force said 14 recent thefts from lorries, vans and cars with “no obvious sign of a break-in” had been reported.

It advised motorists to check vehicles before leaving them unattended.

Source: Service station thieves ‘using car key jammers’ – BBC News

Warwickshire Police – Online shopping?

cyberpic1_3

The internet is a fantastic resource for people searching for that special something for friends, family and loved ones in the run up to Christmas but it also presents opportunities for fraudsters to set up scams.

Source: Warwickshire Police – Online shopping?

Want the iPhone 7? Make sure you sell your old phone safely!

Tempted to upgrade your old iPhone to a brand new iPhone 7? Learn what safety steps you should take before selling your old device. Via award winning cyber security expert Graham Cluley.

Source: Want the iPhone 7? Make sure you sell your old phone safely!

Most UK Adults Do Not Know Where To Look For Cybercrime Advice – Global Dating Insights

  A recent report by the National Audit Office found that from 2014 to 2015, the UK government allocated £20m to help improve the public’s knowledge of crime carried out on the internet. Yet despite the…

Source: Most UK Adults Do Not Know Where To Look For Cybercrime Advice – Global Dating Insights