Morning Security Brief: More Severe Weather, Target Improves IT Security, Survey Released, and Unionizing Security Guards

By Ann Longmore-Etheridge

►The dangers of storms, torrential rain, and possible tornados are still plaguing the United States, with the weather system expected to impact about 37 million people from Jacksonville, Florida, to Atlanta, Georgia, to Virginia Beach, Virginia, and further north. CNN reports, "By Tuesday night, much of the fear of severe storms that could produce large tornado tracks in the eastern half of the United States, from Mississippi to New York, dissipated after the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center downgraded the threat. Some storm risks remain, including the possibility of large hail, damaging winds and flash flooding in portions of the South and East Coast, forecasters said." ABC News notes, "In the latest blow from a dayslong chain of severe weather across the South and Midwest, the Florida Panhandle and Alabama Gulf Coast were hit with widespread flooding early Wednesday, with people stranded in cars and homes waiting for rescuers to find a way around impassable roads and others abandoning vehicles to walk to safety."

►Retailer Target announced that it has hired a new executive vice president and chief information officer who will serve as a technology leader. In a release issued yesterday it was stated that "in his role, [Bob] DeRodes will assume oversight of the Target technology team and operations, with responsibility for the ongoing data security enhancement efforts as well as the development of Target’s long-term information technology and digital roadmap. The company is continuing its active search for a chief information security officer [(CISO)] and a chief compliance officer." Target is still recovering from the enormous credit-card information breach that it suffered during the holiday shopping season. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the company did not have a CISO in place last year when the breach occurred. CIO Journal states that the company has made security improvements such as no longer allowing contractors access to the server impacted in the breach and blocking them from communicating with Target via network communications protocols such as FTP and Telnet. Firewall software that controls the flow of data in and out has also been improved.

►TELUS and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto has released the 2014 TELUS-Rotman IT Security Study. The study has been undertaken for six years to track trends and document current IT security in Canada. reports that "the research team surveyed more than 400 Canadian security professionals to get the pulse on trends it has been following since 2008. This year's study also includes global perspectives on the data, trends, and analysis from key security thought leaders. The study's key finding this year may seem like a bit of a no-brainer: "Canadian organizations that are more security responsible have higher security satisfaction, a lower number of breaches, and are more capable of managing risk." Also of interest, these same organizations have a far higher employee retention rate.

►A movement is afoot to unionize Apple security guards, and the hope is that if the Apple guards do so, other companies in the region will do the same. To that end, protests have been held outside of Apple's store in downtown San Francisco and a browser-based video game has been created "showing how difficult it is to live in Silicon Valley on a security officer's income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, security guards in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area earned $12.99 per hour on average in 2010," says Business Insider.


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