Monday, June 20

U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Cyber Tips

Jun 20, 2016 - 12:00pm
Don't Surrender to Hackers - and Other Cyber Tips for Main Street
Ann M. Beauchesne
Senior Vice President, National Security & Emergency Preparedness Department
Main Street
You've probably heard me say more than once that there are two types of businesses - those that have been hacked and know it, and those that have been hacked and don't know it. Speaking to small business owners at America's Small Business Summit, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas implored attendees not to surrender to hackers.

Hackers, criminals, and our cyber enemies are clearly winning. Cyberattacks against governments and businesses are growing in number, frequency, and sophistication. And so is the cost to victims. According to a 2015 report on cybercrime by the Ponemon Institute and Hewlett Packard, the average cost of a cyberattack to an organization is $15 million. This report monetizes the consequences of an attack including business disruption, information loss, revenue loss, and equipment damage.

The good news for America's small businesses is that they have a partner that can help them prepare for and respond to cyberattacks against their networks. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on a host of issues including cybersecurity.

During his remarks, Mayorkas suggested three best practices for small businesses:
  • Passwords. Require your employees to change them frequently, every 45-60 days. Make them complicated, meaning 8-15 characters long, using a mix of upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers.
  • Cyber Hygiene. It sounds vague, because there isn't a precise definition for "what's good cyber hygiene." A couple of tips. Don't allow personal phones to be connected to networked computers. Don't allow your employees to use USB drives. Limit the number of administrators who have full access to everything. Install patches and software updates when they are available.
  • Test Systems and Train Employees. Resource and budget conscious organizations won't be able to afford third-party auditors to perform penetration testing, but you can exercise your response plans. As an example, send an anonymous email with an attachment to your employees and see if they open it. If they do, do they report it to IT? Phishing and spear phishing emails remain the easiest way for the bad guys to get into your network.

DHS is uniquely positioned in the government to help small businesses. More information on the departments resources and capabilities, and even a small business toolkit, is available on its website.

The U.S. Chamber is doing its part as well. Its cybersecurity awareness campaign aims to advance cybersecurity policies and educate small and medium-sized businesses about cyber threats and how to protect their organization against them.

This fall, working with Ridge Global, the Chamber will launch a new online cyber education effort aimed at preparing and defending American small businesses from cyberattacks. You can learn more here.

The bad guys have nothing but time and resources, and a determined bad actor can and will always find a way in. By working together, we can improve our defenses and make it harder for hackers.

In closing, Mayorkas asked small business owners to share information on cyber threats. There's nothing more important than having a conversation with the FBI, the Secret Service, or DHS. It may sound overly simplistic, but if you see something, say something.


Reminder of the Charleston, S.C. Church Shooting

Posted from WHSV 3 News

This week, one year ago, a shooter gunned down nine people inside a Charleston, S.C. church.

Nine families will never look the same, but neither will churches.

Many of them are forced to face current events and upgrade their security.

The shooting set itself apart from other shootings because it happened in a church which is a place of worship, and a safe haven to many.

To some local pastors, it showed them that such a tragedy can happen anywhere, including right here in the Valley.

Harrisonburg Free Will Baptist Church is in the beginning stages of getting a plan to keep their church safe.

Just this past weekend they went to a seminar to learn more.

"We are going to the very best we can to lead people in the right direction toward the Lord, and do everything we can to keep them safe," said Paul Collins, the Pastor at Harrisonburg Free Will Baptist Church.

Collins said he wants to make sure his congregation is safe, but he also adds he wants to greet troubled individuals with the Lord, not with force.


Sunday, July 19

Should the doors of the church be open and armed?

Article from: Daytona Times
Full Story Link:

Church safety initiatives
Keeping the church secure has been a national initiative for decades and initiatives like the Texas-based National Organization for Church Security and Safety Management, Inc. (NOCSSM) trains churches through the country in the areas of security and safety.
President and founder Chuck Chadwick also is the licensed security manager and president of Gatekeepers Security Services. The company’s Gatekeepers Program has put hundreds of armed Gatekeepers in churches across Texas.
“Our mission in our Gatekeepers program is to train these men and women to go toward the sound of the gunfire and stop the violence, and the only way to really do it effectively is through firearms,” said Chadwick.
For a megachurch with a hefty budget, Chadwick’s initiatives are an apt resource. But, according to Brian J. Gallagher, a Maryland-based church safety expert, more than 80 percent of the nation’s churches have less than 100 members. Their budgets cannot afford high-tech training or often the necessary base-level security – an alarm system.
Gallagher adds that churches are what’s known as “soft targets,” meaning they are accessible unlike a university setting, which was Roof’s initial choice but the confessed killer said it proved difficult access.
“Too many churches don’t have alarm systems and many keep their doors unlocked,” stated Gallagher. “I can understand the doors of the church need to be open to the public, but if you have multiple entrances – not every door.’’
Pastors and pistols
Beyond technology, the safety conversation has advanced to the need for church pastors and clergy to also arm themselves with weapons as a form of protection.
“Everybody has a Second Amendment right to be armed with a weapon, but you can’t blanket every church’s security needs across the country,” Gallagher advised. “If you’re holding a gun, it’s for one or two reasons – to take a life or defend someone’s life from being taken. Every pastor is not going to have the necessary training, maturity or law enforcement skill-set to be armed for the varied scenario-based situations,” he added.
Gallagher served as a U.S. Secret Service specialist for 10 years and currently oversees an online resource initiative for churches at
“I can say that every megachurch should have armed-security of some sort,” offered Gallagher.
“Every church in an inner city or high crime area should also have an armed response or personnel, but I cannot endorse that security be the pastor. It’s different in each church, every location.”

Friday, June 19

Update from CNN: Charleston Church Shooting

Update From CNN:

(CNN)[Breaking news update, posted at 10:26 a.m. ET]
Dylann Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime in this week's shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, police tweeted Friday.
Roof is expected to have a bond hearing in a South Carolina court at 2 p.m. ET Friday, according to Charleston police.
[Previous story, posted at 10:07 a.m. ET]
For Dylann Roof's friends, talk of sparking a race war or wanting segregation reinstated was nothing new.
But then again, they didn't think he was serious.
    After all, they had known him for years.
    "He never targeted a specific black person," his roommate Joey Meek told ABC News. "He never did any of that, so it was just pretty much a shock."
    Meek didn't take his claims about Roof to authorities before Thursday morning, the day after nine people were killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, ABC reported.
    Dylann Roof is escorted from the Cleveland County Courthouse in Shelby, North Carolina, on Thursday.
    Roof is now in custody, having been caught by police about 245 miles (395 kilometers) away from the carnage in Shelby, North Carolina.
    He confessed to the shootings in interviews with the Charleston police and FBI, two law enforcement officials told Evan Perez and Wesley Bruer of CNN, the first network to report this development. He also told investigators he wanted to start a race war, one of those officials said.

    Friends and family

    John Mullins, who attended White Knoll High School with Roof, told CNN on Thursday that the suspect was "kind of wild" but not violent. 
    "That's why all this is such a shock," Mullins said.
    The classmate recalled Roof occasionally making racist comments, though he appeared to have black friends at the same time.
    "They were just racist slurs in a sense," he said. "He would say it just as a joke. ... I never took it seriously, but now that he shed his other side, so maybe they should have been taken more seriously."
    Roof repeated the ninth grade at the Lexington County high school, said Mary Beth Hill of the Lexington School District, west of Columbia, South Carolina. She said he was "very transient," that he "came and went." 
    In a Washington Post interview, Roof's uncle, Carson Cowles, said his mother "never raised him to be like this."
    Police are investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
    "The whole world is going to be looking at his family who raised this monster," Cowles told the Post. "I'd be the executioner myself if they would allow it."

    Before opening fire

    Roof spent about an hour at the historic African-American church before the massacre, attending the prayer meeting with his eventual victims, Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen said. 
    Witnesses told investigators the gunman stood up and said he was there "to shoot black people," a law enforcement official said.
    He answered one man's plea to stop by shooting him, said Sylvia Johnson, a cousin of the church's slain pastor who has talked to a survivor.
    "'No, you've raped our women, and you are taking over the country," he said, according to Johnson. "... I have to do what I have to do."
    Investigators are looking into whether Roof had links to white supremacist or other hate groups, a law enforcement official said. There's no indication so far that he was known to law enforcement officials who focus on hate groups.
    A former schoolmate of Dylann Roof's described him as "kind of wild" but not violent.
    In an image tweeted by authorities in Berkeley County, South Carolina, Roof is seen wearing a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and nearby Rhodesia, a former British colony that a white minority ruled until it became independent in 1980 and changed its name to Zimbabwe.

    Banned from mall

    The months leading up to the shooting were a mix of troubling and odd.
    Police in his hometown of Columbia -- about 120 miles northwest of Charleston -- obtained a warrant for his arrest in early March. He had been picked up on drug charges a few days earlier at Columbiana Centre mall, according to a police report. 
    Workers at two stores told mall security that Roof was acting strangely, asking "out of the ordinary questions," the police report said. 
    Roof initially said he wasn't carrying anything illegal. But he agreed to be searched, and an officer found "a small unlabeled white bottle containing multiple orange ... square strips" in his jacket, the police report said. 
    They turned out to be Suboxone, which is used to treat opiate addiction, according to the police report. Roof said he got the strips from a friend.
    He was arrested on a drug possession charge that day in late February, but it's unclear why the March 1 arrest warrant was issued. 
    On April 26, police were again called to Columbiana Centre because Roof, who had been banned from the mall for a year after his drug arrest, had returned, the police report said. The ban was extended to three years after his second arrest.

    The gun

    Roof turned 21 in April, and a short time later he had a gun.
    On Thursday, investigators did a trace of the handgun used in Wednesday's shooting and determined that it was a .45-caliber handgun Roof purchased from a Charleston gun store in April, two law enforcement officials told CNN's Perez and Bruer.
    His grandfather says Roof was given "birthday money" and that the family didn't know what he did with it

    Still Here!

    I have received several emails in light of the recent tragedy in South Carolina asking about the status of I wanted to let you all know that although I have not been unable to update this website much over the last year that I am still here and often receive and respond to emails from readers.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones!

    Thursday, May 15

    Russell Moore - Southern Baptist Convention - Sex Abuse and the Church

    From: Associated Baptist Press


    Russell Moore, head of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said at a recent conference on sexuality that church leaders who suspect abuse have an obligation both to contact legal authorities and to address it internally through church discipline.
    “If someone comes and says ‘I have been abused sexually’ or ‘I know someone who’s been abused sexually,’ you have to first of all recognize that there are two authorities at work here, and both of them need to be involved,” Moore said.
    “Caesar has a responsibility to deal with this at the civil level. The church has a responsibility to deal with this at the ecclesial level. You immediately call the police. Even if you don’t know whether this is true or not, you don’t know whether or not this has actually happened, you call the police and you say, ‘Caesar has a responsibility, the government has a responsibility, to investigate this.’

    Nathaniel Morales trial: Victim Jeremy Cook testifies

    From: WJLA News


    ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - A 12-member jury holds the fate of a former spiritual leader, accused of repeatedly molesting three teenage boys, in its hands.
    On Monday, testimony began in the child sex abuse trial of Nathaniel Morales, 56. The self-professed man of God was most recently preaching in Las Vegas. However back in the late 1980s and early 90s, Morales was a well-respected member of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg. Then in his mid-20s, Morales led youth bible studies, directed worship teams, and even attended sleepovers with the male teens he mentored. It's alleged, Morales' abuse went undetected for years because he exhumed trustworthiness and charm.
    "He was charismatic, affable, the life of the party," the father of Victim #1 testified. "Just one of those guys who walked in the room and people were surrounding him."
    Morales joined Covenant Life Church in the mid-1980s. Although his spiritual life was growing, his professional worth was taking a downward spiral. Morales was soon out-of-work, and terribly low on cash. A fellow parishioner offered-up a room in his home along Sunflower Drive in Rockville. In Oct. 1989, Morales accepted the offer, settling into the basement recreation room. The family's 15-year-old son also slept in the basement, in an adjacent bedroom.
    "I recall a number of times, while I was sleeping in the basement, when I woke-up to him kneeling by my side touching me," Victim #1, now 39-years-old, told the court. "I would tell him, 'What's going on? Why are you doing this?'"
    Victim #1 claimed Morales would creep into his bedroom in the middle-of-the-night, groping and performing oral sex on the then teenager as he slept.
    "He mentioned to me, he had these urges that he had to satisfy one way or another," Victim #1 added. "He'd threaten he'd have random acts of sex and get AIDS otherwise."
    While Victim #1's overarching memories were clear, the fine details were a bit... hazy. When asked about the number of sexual encounters he had with Morales, Victim #1 said, "about a dozen." When asked when the abuse began, Victim #1 couldn't identify a month, or even a season. Morales' public defender, Alan Drew, used that poor memory recall to try and derail the prosecution's credibility.
    "The only evidence the state has in this case is their [victims] testimony; their 30-year-old recollections," Drew stated to the court.
    "Kids don't carry around calendars when they're being abused," Assistant Montgomery County State's Attorney Amanda Michalski rebutted.
    Prosecutors say Morales became more confident, soon molesting Victim #1's friends during sleepovers. Jeremy Cook tells ABC7, he was one of those boys.
    "This man was a predator. He found every way to get inside, to be trusted, to be respected, to be in a position of authority. He then used that authority to abuse each of us individually, alone, in the middle-of-the-night, for his own pleasure," Cook remarked.
    Cook, who now lives in Raleigh, N.C. with his wife and three children, estimates Morales molested him around 50 times. Fearing public shame and scrutiny from church elders, Cook kept silent until Victim #2 reported the abuse to police in 2009.
    "You have to realize, Nate was a powerful man, and I was a young boy. Who were they going to believe," Cook explained. "There was also a fear if this came out, I would lose all of my friends. I didn't want the stigma and shame."
    In 1992, Victim #1 garnered the courage to tell his parents about the abuse. Cook followed-suit in 1994, but by that time, Morales had vanished.
    "I fell to the floor," Ann Cook recalled. "I was devastated; devastated that he felt he had to keep a secret like that; devastated that it cost him so much during such an important time in his life."
    The Cooks and Victim #1's parents reported the allegations to the pastoral team at Covenant Life Church. However, it never contacted law enforcement.
    "Did you have an obligation to report the alleged abuse," public defender Drew asked former pastor Grant Layman during cross-examination. "I believe so," Layman replied. "And you didn't," Drew followed-up. "No," Layman added.
    "If you're not going to be the guy in the van saying, 'here little girl do you want candy,' than get into a church that's an isolated cult where it will never get to the police because it will all be handled in the church," Cook said.
    On Thursday, the jury, made-up of five men and seven women, will continue its deliberations. Morales, who's currently incarcerated, faces five felony counts of Sex Abuse Minor and Sex Offense Second Degree.
    "He was a duplicitous monster... Still it's not about revenge, it's not even necessarily about justice, it's about preventing him from ever harming anyone else again," Cook concluded.

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