Share This![Disney World Crowd Calendar Reports are back after a lengthy hiatus to fix an issue with some of our crowd calendar calculations. Here is a report for the month of August with a report for September coming soon.]How Crowded Was Disney World August 7 – 13, 2016?Crowds at Walt Disney World in early August lagged behind what we saw during the same period last year, especially in the second half of the week. Animal Kingdom was the most unpredictable park of the week with low wait times dragging the resort wide crowd level down a few points most days. Crowd levels at the other three parks were close to predicted levels almost every day.Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day between August 7 and August 13, 2016: 4 6 Magic Kingdom9 3 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Hollywood Studios hit a crowd level ‘8’ as predicted on Sunday thanks to average wait times like 64 minutes at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (predicted 69) and 31 minutes at The Great Movie Ride (predicted 27). Crowds at Magic Kingdom and Epcot were within one of the predicted crowd level. Animal Kingdom saw lower than expected wait times. Epcot5 Epcot5 Hollywood Studios8 Animal Kingdom5 Animal Kingdom7 Animal Kingdom7 Epcot2 5 6 Hollywood Studios1 2 Magic Kingdom8 1 Hollywood Studios8 One day later we saw a completely different picture, with Magic Kingdom surging from a ‘1’ on Friday to a ’10’ on Saturday. In fact, all four parks saw a large increase in wait times from a day before. 6 Animal Kingdom7 8 Crowds dipped a bit on Friday with Epcot and Hollywood Studios coming in three points lower than predicted. This seems to be the point in the month when we started to see crowds diminish at Walt Disney World relative to historical patterns. Magic Kingdom9 5 10 Magic Kingdom5 More rock bottom crowd levels on Friday thanks to average wait times like 12 minutes at Jungle Cruise, 11 minutes at Mission Space, 18 at Star Tours and 8 minutes at Expedition Everest! That means Everest was basically a walk-on all day. Hollywood Studios8 6 5 Epcot6 Hollywood Studios4 Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 2 Sunday’s wait times matched predicted levels at Magic Kingdom and Epcot while Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom came in two levels lower than expected. Guests at those two parks saw average wait times like 34 minutes at Kali River Rapids and 47 minutes at Toy Story Midway Mania. So much for the back-to-school lull! Magic Kingdom saw a major bounce-back day on Saturday reaching the top level on our scale. Surprisingly, it was only Magic Kingdom that saw the big spike. Hollywood Studios was as crowded as predicted and Animal Kingdom was slightly less crowded than predicted. 4 6 1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Wednesday, August 31, 2016 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS All four parks saw crowds below what the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted on Thursday. The biggest differences were at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Toy Story Midway Mania averaged only 43 minutes while Kilimanjaro Safaris averaged 19. Monday’s predictions missed only at Epcot and Animal Kingdom with wait times pulling the park crowd level down two points from what the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted. Magic Kingdom saw average wait times like 39 minutes at Buzz Lightyear (predicted 37), 44 minutes at Jungle Cruise (45), 70 at Peter Pan’s Flight (75) and 79 at Space Mountain (predicted 75). 7 Monday’s crowd levels were one level higher than the day before at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios while the other two parks saw significant drops in wait times. It is rare to see crowd levels so different at the four parks although the Disney World Crowd Calendar did correctly predict that Epcot and Animal Kingdom would be the least crowded parks. 8 6 Predictions did well on Saturday with the slight exception of Hollywood Studios which saw average wait times like 48 minutes at Toy Story Midway Mania. Test Track Averaged 71 minutes (predicted 70). WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Animal Kingdom7 (Click to view overall details for this day)Tuesday, August 30, 2016 8 6 Magic Kingdom8 Magic Kingdom8 Animal Kingdom4 Epcot2 Tuesday’s crowd was a level ‘4’ at Magic Kingdom as predicted with average wait times like 33 minutes at Splash Mountain and 13 minutes at Pirates of the Caribbean. Meanwhile, wait times at Epcot and Animal Kingdom were nearly walk-ons all day. Magic Kingdom8 Epcot7 2 3 (Click to view overall details for this day)Saturday, August 13, 2016 8 (Click to view overall details for this day)Thursday, August 18, 2016 Magic Kingdom9 6 Epcot7 Animal Kingdom6 Hollywood Studios8 5 1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Monday, August 22, 2016 Magic Kingdom9 6 8 (Click to view overall details for this day)Sunday, August 14, 2016 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 3 Magic Kingdom4 7 Tuesday saw equivalent crowds as the day before at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios but Epcot and Animal Kingdom were much more crowded. Soarin’ averaged 72 minutes (predicted 62), Test Track averaged 78 (72) while Expedition Everest averaged 38 minutes (predicted 35) and Primeval Whirl averaged 19 (16). Animal Kingdom2 Hollywood Studios8 (Click to view overall details for this day)Thursday, September 1, 2016 5 Animal Kingdom6 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Hollywood Studios3 Hollywood Studios9 8 Hollywood Studios3 The second week of August also saw wait times lower than expected across the resort with no day hitting a crowd level as high as predicted by the Disney World Crowd Calendar. Once again it was Animal Kingdom that saw wild swings in wait times depending on the day that tended to pull the resort wide crowd level lower than expected.Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day between August 14 and August 20, 2016: Hollywood Studios8 6 7 3 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 5 Magic Kingdom9 2 Tuesday’s crowd at Magic Kingdom was near the top of our scale again on Tuesday, continuing a strong trend of peak summer crowds at that park. Meanwhile, Animal Kingdom continues to suffer from extended hours without additional attractions. Wait times there are very low compared to what we have seen in years past. 2 We saw a crowd level ‘1’ for the first time in a while on Friday, even though it was at Animal Kingdom. Perhaps this is a sign that summer crowds are making way for the back-to-school lull that we typically see in late August – or perhaps the rain kept crowds at bay. Magic Kingdom9 Hollywood Studios1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Friday, August 26, 2016 9 4 1 6 9 Magic Kingdom7 How Crowded Was Disney World August 21 – 27, 2016?In 2015, with the early Labor Day many schools were back in session by August 23 whereas this year crowds looked more like summer crowds during the same week since labor day fell later. We did see a strange spike in attendance on Saturday however with Magic Kingdom hitting a crowd level ’10’ for the first time since July 4th.Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day between August 21 and August 27, 2016: 6 Epcot1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Saturday, August 20, 2016 Friday’s crowds were as expected at Magic Kingdom thanks to average waits like 44 minutes at Jungle Cruise (predicted 41) and 62 minutes at Peter Pan’s Flight while Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom pulled the resort wide crowd level lower once again. Hollywood Studios7 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 3 Magic Kingdom9 7 (Click to view overall details for this day)Tuesday, August 23, 2016 5 6 Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown Hollywood Studios7 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Monday’s predictions did well, missing by more than one index level only at Animal Kingdom. Magic Kingdom was very crowded with average wait times like 72 minutes at Peter Pan’s Flight and 100 minutes at Space Mountain. Epcot7 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 9 Epcot8 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Hollywood Studios8 1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Tuesday, August 9, 2016 Hollywood Studios4 4 5 Animal Kingdom7 (Click to view overall details for this day)Thursday, August 25, 2016 Animal Kingdom2 Epcot7 Animal Kingdom6 6 (Click to view overall details for this day)Monday, August 15, 2016 6 Epcot8 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 7 Animal Kingdom8 8 Animal Kingdom6 Epcot2 Animal Kingdom2 Hollywood Studios7 Animal Kingdom6 Epcot6 6 5 7 Animal Kingdom6 1 7 (Click to view overall details for this day)Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Magic Kingdom8 8 8 Predictions for Magic Kingdom and Epcot hit the mark on Thursday while Animal Kingdom ended up one level below expectations but one level higher than the day before. Hollywood Studios saw three of its headliners average wait times 20 minutes lower than usual. Animal Kingdom3 8 Epcot2 3 3 Magic Kingdom1 9 Magic Kingdom surged back up to a level ‘7’ on Monday which was surprising considering that last year on the equivalent day that park hit a crowd level ‘3’. The other three parks were near empty though, with wait times in the lowest third of what we see over the year. 8 Tuesday’s crowd at Magic Kingdom continued a month long trend of hitting crowds levels at ‘7’ or above for that park. Peter Pan’s Flight averaged 66 minutes (predicted 64). The other three parks were no slouch either, with crowd levels above the middle point of our scale. 8 Magic Kingdom4 Animal Kingdom5 6 Magic Kingdom9 (Click to view overall details for this day)Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Magic Kingdom5 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Magic Kingdom7 Hollywood Studios8 6 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Hollywood Studios8 Animal Kingdom dropped incredibly from the crowd level ‘7’ on Tuesday to a level ‘2’ on Wednesday, way lower than history would suggest. That means wait times averaged 12 minutes at Kilimanjaro Safaris, 13 at Primeval Whirl and 47 at Kali River Rapids. How Crowded Was Disney World August 28 to September 3, 2016?We can see that by the time August 28 arrived, crowds at Disney World had entered the slow fall season as many school boards began a new year. Although, for the second week in a row, Saturday’s crowds surged well above what we saw other days of the week. It will be interesting to see if September crowds mirror what we have seen historically or will we see the large crowds we saw last year.But first, let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day between August 28 and September 3, 2016: 2 Hollywood Studios8 6 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 7 7 Animal Kingdom2 (Click to view overall details for this day)Friday, September 2, 2016 (Click to view overall details for this day)Friday, August 12, 2016 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Epcot7 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Magic Kingdom3 Thursday saw the most evenly distributed crowds of the week with all four parks at a level ‘6’ or ‘7’. Both Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios saw crowd levels two points lower than the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted while the other two parks also saw wait times lower than expected. All four parks were at a level ‘5’ or higher on Saturday, the first time that happened since Tuesday. Magic Kingdom and Epcot led the way again with the highest average wait times. Animal Kingdom continued to be unpredictable with wait times surging back to a level ‘6’, as predicted. WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 6 (Click to view overall details for this day)Saturday, September 3, 2016 3 4 8 6 Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown Magic Kingdom7 Animal Kingdom7 Magic Kingdom9 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Sunday’s crowds were most significant at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios although the difference between the four parks was minimal. We saw average wait times like 39 minutes at Jungle Cruise and 57 at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. All four parks were within one of predicted levels. Hollywood Studios8 3 Animal Kingdom5 4 Epcot6 3 Epcot7 Hollywood Studios9 7 1 8 Epcot1 For the first time in a long time, Sunday saw no park hit a crowd level higher than a ‘5’ on our scale – a sure sign that Fall crowds have arrived. All four parks stayed within one index level of what the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted. Epcot2 3 6 (Click to view overall details for this day)Thursday, August 11, 2016 Animal Kingdom2 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Epcot7 2 Thursday’s crowd levels represent the least crowded day we have seen at Walt Disney World in a very long time, it doesn’t get better than this for crowd averse guests. The highest average wait time was 48 minutes at Peter Pan’s Flight. Epcot4 4 7 4 Epcot5 3 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 1 5 6 7 7 Animal Kingdom2 Epcot2 Hollywood Studios9 Hollywood Studios3 Animal Kingdom6 (Click to view overall details for this day)Saturday, August 27, 2016 8 Epcot4 (Click to view overall details for this day)Monday, August 29, 2016 5 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS (Click to view overall details for this day)Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Another crowd level ‘9’ at Magic Kingdom on Wednesday, and another crowd level ‘3’ at Animal Kingdom. Space Mountain averaged 72 minutes while Kilimanjaro Safaris averaged 17. Meanwhile crowds were moderately crowded at the other two parks. 8 Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown (Click to view overall details for this day)Sunday, August 28, 2016 (Click to view overall details for this day)Sunday, August 7, 2016 Magic Kingdom6 Hollywood Studios9 5 Magic Kingdom3 Magic Kingdom2 (Click to view overall details for this day)Tuesday, August 16, 2016 Animal Kingdom7 (Click to view overall details for this day)Friday, August 19, 2016 Hollywood Studios8 1 (Click to view overall details for this day)Monday, August 8, 2016 1 How Crowded Was Disney World August 14 – 20, 2016 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS 1 9 10 Animal Kingdom dipped back down to a level ‘2’ on Wednesday, another significant jump after a busy day. Kali River Rapids was the busiest attraction at Animal Kingdom thanks to an average wait of 37 minutes. (Click to view overall details for this day)Sunday, August 21, 2016 Animal Kingdom5 Animal Kingdom2 Magic Kingdom7 Epcot6 WHAT WETHOUGHTWHAT WESAWANALYSIS Epcot5 Epcot5 Hollywood Studios4 More low wait times for Epcot and Animal Kingdom on Wednesday and low to moderate waits at the other two parks. Certainly, light Fall crowds have arrived. Hollywood Studios8 5 Magic Kingdom8 1 5
5 April 2007South African financial services group Nedbank and American technology company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) have entered into a partnership to provide technology solutions to five historically disadvantaged schools in the country.The two companies opened the first fully equipped computing centre at the Nelson R Mandela High School in Gugulethu outside Cape Town on Monday.The school was selected as the first of several schools that will implement Learning Labs, and the companies hope it will have a lasting impact on Gugulethu.Learning Labs is an initiative by AMD to provide benefactors with computers and internet connectivity, as well as professional, educational and personal development tools to provide new ways for teachers and pupils to interact with each other.The labs feature systems capable of operating Windows or Linux and come with installed content and applications. To ensure the sustainability of the project, the partners will also provide the schools with teacher training programmes and maintenance and support for the labs.Microsoft, Cisco, Tarsus, First for Business, CompuTainer, @tlantic and Learnthings will also provide additional support for the Learning Labs.“We are confident that this learning lab and the others to follow it will greatly enhance the local educational system’s ability to provide students with the skills and information they need to achieve success in an increasingly competitive, digital world,” said Nedbank South Africa chief executive Tom Boardman.He said the partnership was an innovative way to meet the needs of South African communities and address the digital divide. The labs also use low-power systems that are compact and sealed, enabling them to last in a harsh environment.Several Learning Labs around the world together form part of AMD’s 50×15 initiative, launched at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in 2004, which aims to provide access to computing and internet connectivity to 50% of the world’s population by 2015.“The positive effects of the Learning Labs extend beyond the students and teachers at the schools and into the greater community by providing an incredible community resource for educational and economic development opportunities,” said AMD vice president Gautam Srivastava.According to the AMD statement, experience at previous lab deployments have shown that access the internet persuades students to stay enrolled in school for longer and make use of the available technology.The two partners want to learn from their experiences in Gugulethu, hoping it will enable them to expand the Nedbank-AMD 50×15 partnership across South Africa in the “coming months”.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
The demand for organic fresh produce has increased across the world.Khanyi MagubaneEmerging farmers in Kwa-Zulu-Natal will soon be reaping the rewards of the growing worldwide demand for organic products. The South African government has signed an agreement with the Swiss company BioSwiss for the export of high-quality organic vegetables to the US, France and Britain.The eight-year memorandum of agreement with the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs involves three land reform projects in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal. BioSwiss has invested R100-million (US$ 13.2-million) to develop a factory in the area.“We would like to expand this project to other regions of the province, once we see it successful in Vryheid,” says Gwelyn Owen, CEO of BioSwiss.BioSwiss will provide the communities involved in the project with financial backing and the technical skills for growing organic produce. They will also receive mentoring/training and business management, as they will have to deal with international clientele during the exporting process.The three land reform projects form part of the Department of Agriculture and Land Affair’s Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) project. This is a sub-programme of the land redistribution programme.LRAD has two distinct parts. Firstly, agricultural land is transferred to specific individuals or groups. Secondly, the programme deals with commonage projects, which aim to improve people’s access to municipal and tribal land primarily for agricultural purposes.The term municipal commonage is traditionally given to land owned by a municipality or local authority that was usually acquired through state grants or from the church. It differs from other municipally-owned land in that residents have acquired grazing rights on the land, or the land was granted expressly to benefit needy local inhabitants.What is organic farming?Organic farming avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators, livestock feed additives and any other form of chemicals in the production process. Organic farmers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil, and growing a mixture of crops. With respect to livestock, animals are reared without the routine of drugs and antibioticsAccording to the Soil Association, which promotes health and organic farming in England, more people are choosing to buy organic food because it tastes better, is safer from a health perspective and is environmentally friendly. Organic farming also requires that animals be kept in more natural, free-range conditions with a more natural diet.Organic AfricaIn South Africa, the organic farming industry is growing. From an estimated R5-million before 2003, sales of organic food grown in South Africa – domestic sales and exports combined – jumped to R155-million in 2005. This figure was expected to increase significantly in the 2006/2007 financial year.Organics South Africa, a non-profit organisation formed in 1994, engages with farmers, retailers and government. Its main aim is to “increase the awareness of sustainable farming methods and to assist in the recognition of the natural relationship between soil, plant, animal and mankind”.With its vast natural resources, Africa is quickly becoming the preferred supplier of organic foods. Three years ago, a report released by the Advocates’ Coalition for Development and Environment, an independent public policy, research and advocacy think tank, indicated that Uganda was the biggest exporter of organic products in Africa.According to the report, the number of organic farmers increased by 38%, from 28 000 in 2002 to 39 600 by the end of 2004. The report also indicates that Uganda has the largest area dedicated to organic farming (22 000 ha), making it the organic farming leader in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. Uganda’s climate and the fact that much of the land has been not been used for agriculture before makes Uganda ideal for organic farming.Useful LinksOrganic South AfricaSoil AssociationOrganic NewsAdvocates coalition for development and environmentDepartment of AgricultureDepartment of Land AffairsDo you have any queries or comments about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is 11:00 p.m. and after a quick pause and look around, the team begins to approach the building where the target suspect offices. Circling the parking lot, the car headlights are turned off as not to draw attention in the muggy moonlit night. Confidence builds after spotting no cars or anyone burning the late-night oil. A long-awaited productive evening lies ahead.The car slowly pulls to a stop. The doors are opened and closed in a gingerly fashion to avoid noise that could filter through the cool blackened night air. Entering the building with ease, the team utilizes their privileged access and master keys to begin a stealth and secret assignment. Hearts begin to beat faster as we check cubicles nearby to make sure there are no potential witnesses who could ruin the day.Standing at the office door of our person of interest, an examination of the area begins. Any scotch tape on the door and jamb? A common technique used to reveal unauthorized entry. No tape and the coast is clear. A check of the door handle and review of the office condition is made. Door unlocked? Check. Lights on? Check. Chair turned 45 degrees. Check. Blinds open? Check.- Sponsor – The blinds are closed and a rapid fire of flashes stream across the room as multiple pictures are shot with a digital camera making an inventory of the scene and location of articles that may get shifted during the search. Before anyone leaves, a check of the images are compared to the room condition to ensure everything is returned to the way it was found.You can’t help but think about the Watergate burglars and how they must have felt during their illegal search. This, however, is not a burglary or an unauthorized or illegal search. This is the start of a forensic seizure that is now becoming all more common place in the world of electronic crimes investigation.The target computer is found, and the serial, make, and model numbers are noted. The power cord is removed from the back of the computer to freeze the hard drive in its original state. Training teaches the importance of not shutting down the computer through the operating system because doing so changes the evidence, which can cause a potential problem in court.A duplicate drive that has been sterilized via a wipe utility to erase any lingering data from previous use is readied. The forensic examiner’s experience and training dictates the importance of creating an exact working copy of the suspect drive. Using a specialized field imaging unit designed specifically for forensic examination seizures, an exact duplicate of the suspect drive is made for analysis later in the forensic lab.The imaging unit is designed to create a one-way stream of data onto a duplicate drive while not changing the state of the original hard drive. This duplication process is critical in the course of a computer forensic exam. The MD5 hashing method is used on the drive to ensure an exact copy is made by comparing the digital signature keys of the original and target drives.Just before leaving, the power cords of computers in cubicles and offices nearby are pulled and replaced, giving the impression in the suspect’s mind that it was just another overnight Florida lightning storm that caused their computers to reboot.It’s another good night as we leave to head back to the forensic lab, which is located in a separate building across campus. It is 1:00 a.m. when we quickly log the suspect drive into evidence at the lab and head home. The forensic examination and analysis will begin in a few hours, once the official work day begins.An Epidemic of Electronic CrimesElectronic crimes investigation has evolved over the past decade to such a degree that it has shifted from the paradigm of conducting email searches and IP address tracing to developing sophisticated and complex investigation units.Why the need for sophisticated software and complex hardware for electronic crimes investigation? The simple answer is that those people we investigate are utilizing these sophisticated tools, and therefore we are required to level the playing field. Consider the BTK murders and how it took police over thirty years to catch the killer. It was computer forensics that finally brought the perpetrator to justice. Imagine how much more easily computer criminals, who leave behind millions of bytes of digital evidence, can be caught, as opposed to the BTK murder, whose primary tools were his hands, rope, and a bag to cover the faces of his victims.Pick up almost any newspaper today and you are sure to find an article about electronic crimes, including identity theft, phishing*, and corporate espionage. In one survey it was reported that 43 percent of the participating companies faced a breach of their information systems, and 85 percent of those breaches were caused by employee espionage.In 2003 the losses to American corporations reached over 45 billion dollars in lost revenue. Why is it becoming an epidemic? You can answer this question simply by looking at the explosive growth of technology. Eighty percent of households today have a computer and of those households, 73 percent also have an Internet connection.If you are an e-commerce retailer, you can appreciate the dynamic growth in on-line sales. For example, in 2002 e-commerce sales reached an estimated $2.2 billion in sales where annual sales in 2006 are expected to exceed over $12.8 billion.With this expected growth comes an increase in the number of e-crimes that we face in the course of conducting our business. There are over 242 million Internet users…and potential customers…in the Asia- Pacific region alone. Nobody knows the potential number of users around the world who may want to commit e-crimes against retailers and American corporations.Around the World and at HomeBut American businesses don’t have to look around the world for potential criminals. Unfortunately, many of our own employees are possible electronic criminals.Take for instance the case at AOL, where an employee stole a customer list and sold it to a spammer. It was very easy for this employee to commit this e-crime. In this particular case, the employee had easy access to a centralized database once past the log-on security. This problem is one most of us face because we store data in a centralized repository in contrast to a more secure decentralized approach that takes more time, resources, and money. This made the e-crime easy because it allowed for one-stop hopping—one data center and one source for the information.Access to the Internet also makes it easy. You can virtually sell anything on the Internet. Internet sales are typically anonymous and secret, so the employee committing espionage against you has the opportunity (the first part of the fraud triangle) to sell this information.Next, consider the multiple access points within your company. Think about how easy it is for you to log on to your company’s email or intranet systems. You can access these systems via a blackberry device or broadband connection from your hotel or dial up from home.These multiple access points make our business lives easier. They also make the lives of dishonest employees easier as well.Finally, the threat can be costly. It may not be merchandise or money, but it is critical information—customer data, corporate financials, source code, employee passwords, sales data, private employee data, and strategic planning documents. Theft of some of this information can be much worse than the loss of merchandise or money, as it can result in customers turning away from your stores, customer and employee lawsuits, falling stock prices, and, perhaps most importantly, the loss in brand equity.“It’s not like I’m Stealing Merchandise or Money, Right?”How and why are employees who we entrust committing e-crimes against us?Espionage and fraud is virtually the same beast. In fraud we understand the fraud triangle where there is pressure, opportunity, and rationalization. In espionage we have employees that seize the opportunity to sell or post information on the Internet. In espionage there is external peer pressure on employees to post on message boards. In espionage there is rationalization that they feel what they are doing is justified because it is only information—“It’s not like I’m stealing merchandise or money, right?”Employees are moving information everyday for a variety of reasons outside of the scope of the business need and through a variety of communication channels, including voice communication, mail systems, and IP-based protocols, such as the web, instant messaging, FTP (file transfer protocol), IRC (Internet relay chat), Usenet, and Internet message boards.Employees use a variety of methods to keep from getting caught, such as steganography (the art of hiding messages in pictures), file deletion, encryption, proxy avoidance, and anonymizers. All of these methods can be detected by a trained computer forensic investigator. Some are more difficult than others, depending on the level of sophistication and technique applied.For example, there are many levels of protecting data, from simple password protecting a Word document to more robust measures, such as using 128-bit encryption. The Word document in this case would be easily cracked in the course of an investigation, while the later may eventually be cracked, but would require many other resources and software to do so.Another example is file deletion. If an employee hoping to hide information simply used the computer’s normal deletion function, the computer forensic investigator can easily recover the file. However, he may not necessarily be able to do so if the suspect employee used a specialized wipe utility.In both of these examples, policy is the key. Does your company have a policy that prevents employees from downloading or installing unauthorized software, such as a wipe utility or encryption program? If not, then now is a good time to begin a partnership with your information security department and draft a policy to manage the desktops of your deployed systems. If nothing else, hopefully this article will prompt you to begin a partnership between loss prevention and information security to begin addressing these issues.Spy vs. SpyEspionage is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the practice of spying or using spies to obtain information about the plans and activities of a competing company.”My definition of electronic crimes investigation is “the practice of spying or using spies to obtain information about the plans and activities of persons committing e-crimes via electronic methods.”In other words, electronic crimes investigation pits spy vs. spy.How do you get started in this world of electronic crimes investigation (ECI)? You begin by getting the buy-in from key stakeholders, including legal, human resources, information technology, information security, and perhaps your internal audit or compliance office, in order to draft policies that address the risk.First, you will need a terms-of-use policy. This is critical in ensuring that your employees understand that when they are using company assets, such as their assigned computer, intranet, and Internet access, that there is no expectation of privacy. You will need your policies to support everything from the practical use of those IT resources to the protection of passwords and the protection of confidential data.To combat the problem with employee espionage and other electronic crimes, we employ a model of an electronic crimes unit that includes four main branches—surveillance, first response, evidence repository, and computer forensics, which is the backbone of the ECI unit.Surveillance provides a practical and proactive approach to e-crimes investigation. These tactics include the use of many electronic monitoring solutions that enable us to filter through network traffic to look for policy violations, such as employees surfing to eBay or pornographic web sites.These monitoring solutions include network sensors that use analytics to detect unauthorized credit files being transmitted through a firewall. Mailbox and desktop monitoring allows us to view the mail from both internal and external mail systems, such as a Yahoo email system. A well-developed mail review program also enables us to filter out competitor email and other email to specific domains that may be of concern for further examination and study.In addition to using the many new technologies for monitoring computer systems, we also employ traditional methods such as CCTV, office sweeps, and access control systems.By developing a strong partnership with our information security resources, we have enabled many other tools and techniques too sensitive for publication. The partnership with information security is key to building a strong ECI unit.First responders are virtually everyone that would normally respond to a criminal incident. These would include your information security team or CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team), loss prevention managers, store managers, corporate managers, and others who could potentially be involved with an investigation.The primary mission of the first responders is to preserve evidence. First responders are trained to document and photograph the scene, seize hardware, and collect information related to the digital evidence. This information may include the serial, make, and model number of all hardware seized and inventory of other digital evidence, such as thumb drives, floppy disks, CDRs, and DVDs.It is the mission of the first responder to freeze the evidence in the state in which it was found. First responders document, preserve, and protect the chain of evidence so the forensic investigator may properly take the chain of custody to complete the cycle of the investigation. It goes without saying that the first response team requires detailed training. Training is crucial since the result of the e-crimes investigation process will be challenged in a court of law. The use of new technology and procedures will require a substantial amount of knowledge that is not regularly attained in traditional loss prevention roles.Evidence repository is the third branch to the ECI unit. We not only store items of evidence related to electronic crimes, but we also support other investigations where a computer may have been involved, including unemployment claims, Sarbanes-Oxley investigations, business continuity, and patent-infringement claims to name a few. By supporting a variety of investigations outside of the traditional role of loss prevention, we continue to add value to the organization by providing these valuable services to other departments, such as HR, legal, risk management, and information security.The critical key to the success of managing evidence is maintaining the chain of custody. When handling electronic evidence, such as computer disk drives, one needs to understand that this particular kind of evidence is susceptible to the environment and can be easily damaged or destroyed. For example, we use specialized containers lined with antistatic bubble wrapping and antistatic collars when handling this type of evidence to prevent discharge of static electricity.Another threat to electronic evidence is the simple fact that the data can be easily changed or manipulated, unlike hard evidence such as stolen merchandise. To prevent the unauthorized manipulation of evidence, we use tamperproof bags and tape along with securing the evidence in an access controlled environment requiring entry through the use of proximity photo ID badges. The access-control system not only ensures that only permitted individuals are granted access, but also logs the event so that you may use this log as evidence during the course of any litigation that may arise.Finally, documentation and training is required for a sound evidence repository program. Not only is it important to document the evidence, assign control numbers, and case numbers alike, but you need to have a trained custodian who can follow procedure as well as speak to the procedure and its meaning if ever challenged in court.Computer forensics is the heart of the operation. As mentioned before, computer forensics requires specialized hardware and sophisticated software. A computer forensics operation will require the expertise of a trained computer forensics investigator who not only can perform a forensic analysis, but more importantly can testify in court as to what that process is and how it was conducted.Computer forensics is defined as “the preservation, identification, extraction, and documentation of computer evidence.” In the course of computer forensics, several steps are taking to preserve the evidence. A simplistic view of the process begins with the example at the beginning of this article, where the suspect drive was duplicated in such a way that there is an exact copy made so that the evidence is never touched during the exam and is filed away for a later date. Second, the duplicated evidence is processed by specialized software that indexes every byte of data found on the drive in a physical manner. This is different than how the operating system views data in a logical manner.For example, logically speaking the operating system views deleted data as no longer available. But when computer forensics techniques are performed, every byte, including those that have been flagged for deletion, are recovered and viewed as part of the chain of evidence.Complex Crimes Require Complex SolutionsIt is true that electronic crimes investigations are complex operations with associated costs. It is also true that there are significant costs in hiring a third-party contractor to conduct just one investigation. When you review the value that a program such as this can add to your overall loss prevention program, the benefits are obvious and, at least in our case, far out way the costs.Identity theft, phishing, and corporate espionage are the new age of e-crime that is attacking American business on a daily basis. The explosive growth of technology is here and retailers must quickly adapt to the ever-changing world in which we conduct our business.We have both legislation that supports us as well as new tools that enable us. Now is the time to develop a key partnership with your information security department and begin an electronic crimes investigation program to protect your company against this growing threat. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
Raheem Sterling conceded Manchester City got lucky with his controversial first goal in the 3-1 Premier League win over Watford.Sterling went on to complete a quickfire hat-trick to take the game away from Watford and stretch City’s advantage over Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table to four points.But the England winger’s opener provided a major talking point after he was initially flagged offside, only for the officials to award the goal on account of Watford defender Daryl Janmaat playing the ball into Sterling’s shin before it ricocheted into the net. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! “The first half was very difficult. It was hard to break them down,” he told BT Sport.”In the second half thing opened up a bit. We had some luck with the first one and then we had a few more chances that we took really well.”In the first half they were really compact. We knew we only had 45 minutes left and we knew we had to go for it and be more aggressive. That’s what we did.”Asked specifically for his views on the opening goal, Sterling added: “I don’t know exactly what it was, but I was praying and hoping that they’d give it to us.”We got that slight fortune and we deserved [the win].”Sterling moved on to 15 Premier League goals this season, the fruits of hard work on the training ground.He was just too good today!@Sure 3-1 #MCIWAT #mancity pic.twitter.com/OPfUTGFdUn— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 9, 2019″Every year I want to improve. This year’s no different. I’m not just trying to score goals but want to help the team as well,” the 24-year-old said, before refusing to be drawn on the balance of power between his old club and current one in the title race, with Liverpool hosting Burnley on Sunday.”To be honest we just take it a game at a time. We know we’ve got strong contenders. We’ve done our part and we recover and go again.”Today was really difficult and it will be a difficult run in.”Anyone know if that 1st goal was offside?— Ben Foster (@BenFoster) March 9, 2019Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster posted on Twitter to mock the decision to award Sterling’s goal, while his boss Javi Gracia was in tongue-biting mode in his own post-match interview.”I think we played very good in the first half – defensively perfect, collectively doing a very good performance,” said the Spaniard. “I think everybody has seen what happened. I never criticise the referees and I’m not going to do it today. [Sterling’s] position and influence, I think is clear.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.