Threat Intelligence Blog

Posted February 18, 2016

Today’s blog summarizes findings from our new 2016 physical security white paper, in which we discuss trends we saw in the physical security environment throughout 2015, as well as the outlook for 2016.

In 2015, we saw physical incidents, such as protests, civil unrest, and labor strikes contributing to major disruptions in metro regions around the United States. The areas with the most disruptive events were:

  • New York City Area; 22 percent
  • Chicago, IL; 13 percent
  • Washington, DC; 8 percent
  • San Francisco, CA; 5 percent
  • Seattle, WA; 5 percent

ThinkstockPhotos-497543410-compressedOrganizations have a corporate duty or legal responsibility to ensure a safe work environment for their employees, which is known as “Duty of Care.” The responsibility also demands that company directors exercise good business judgment and use care in the operation of the business. If duty of care is not demonstrated – a threat exists that was foreseeable and endangers the wellbeing of employees or business assets – the result could be legal proceedings, brand damage, and financial losses. So, it is critical for organizations to maintaining situational awareness of physical incidents that could impact supply chains, operations, corporate facilities, and employees.

As we move further into 2016, here’s a quick synopsis of top issues that will impact the physical security landscape.

Increased focus on fighting international terrorism and radicalization

The recent terrorist attacks in the United States and Paris, France, as well as numerous terrorist arrests across the European Union (EU) in 2015 have once again pushed international and homegrown terrorism to the top of the global security agenda. The U.S. is not immune to homegrown terrorism from individuals and smaller cells acting in support of international terrorist networks, and the success rate of terrorism attacks within the EU is potentially increasing due to a combination of ineffective inter-regional cooperation and a new generation of young and computer savvy terrorists with the ability to circumvent electronic surveillance.

Outcome of the presidential election on U.S. social movements

The impending U.S. presidential election in 2016 will likely invigorate many social movements across the country. There are a number of highly-contested policy issues by the U.S. public, which, depending on the outcome of the election, could spark increased activism based on historic and more recent domestic social movements. In addition, given increased media coverage of the elections, commercial entities can become particularly susceptible to public focus and ire based on lobbying efforts and political contributions of well-known executives. Below are some of the key policy issues that, regardless of the election’s outcome, could influence future social movements and activity within the U.S.

  • Approval of the Keystone Pipeline and stance on Arctic drilling
  • Legislative reform and healthcare (i.e., Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act [ACA])
  • Proposed controls concerning Second Amendment rights
  • Syrian refugee conflict stance and broader immigration policies
  • Response to ongoing Middle Eastern conflicts

Additionally, while businesses are usually not the primary of targets of terrorism, business travelers and businesses with fixed locations in Europe could become victims of incidental violence and localized travel disruptions in the event of an incident. We expect London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen and nearby cities in these regions to be vulnerable to terrorism in 2016.

Download the full white paper, “Physical Security Threat Landscape: Recent Trends and 2016 Outlook” now.

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