News

January 2024 — Hacking, Violence, and ‘10-Foot Aliens’

By Daniel Young | February 7, 2024 | 4 min read
January 2021 industry news

There’s a lot going on in the world of physical risk and vulnerability; it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the latest news and developments. We’ll keep you informed with the best content to keep your organization safe and secure. Check out the top news and headlines from the past month.

Rumors of 'shadow aliens' at Bayside Marketplace go viral

From CBS: A large brawl between teenagers caused chaos at Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami earlier this month; however, social media users claim that what ensued then was something much more... extraterrestrial. As the fight drew a heavy police presence to the area that evening, rumors quickly spread on social media that police were there to handle "8-10 ft tall shadow aliens." According to an amateur video posted online, there are moments when a big "creature" could be seen in plain sight standing in front of the entrance to the shopping mall, causing many online conspiracists to post their takes.

Our take: While we are disappointed that there were no actual aliens involved in this incident, we are even more disappointed that the police didn’t move faster to communicate with the public and control the panic. Social media moves fast, and by the time the police did release their tongue-in-cheek response, the rumors about aliens had gotten out of control. It’s the job of police to keep the public from panicking, and this viral rumor got away from them.

Man leaps over bench to attack judge, sparking bloody brawl in Las Vegas courtroom

From ABC 7 Chicago : Moments after a defendant in a felony battery case tried to convince a Nevada judge that he was turning his violent past around and didn't need to be locked up, his sentencing went sideways: He leaped over a defense table and the judge's bench, landing atop her and sparking a bloody brawl with court officials and attorneys.

Our take: The defendant in this case is known to have a history of violence. He’s a good example of why we need to improve mental healthcare in the U.S. When violence isn’t addressed, it escalates — as he did.

Man killed after being pushed onto tracks in front of oncoming train during fight in Philadelphia

From The New York Post: A man in Philadelphia died when he was pushed onto subway tracks and into the path of an oncoming train during a fight with another man on January 4.

The death occurred blocks away from the University of Pennsylvania at the 34th Street SEPTA station in University City around 4:30 p.m., officials told NBC 10.

Our take: Anger and violence have been on the rise over the past few years, and we are concerned about how bad it will get ahead of this year’s election. That aside, it may be time for more safety precautions in subway stations to keep people from falling on the tracks.

Russian Agents Hacking Residential Surveillance Cameras to Gather Intel in Ukraine

From CPO Magazine: The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) is asking the public to cut off live feeds of residential and business surveillance cameras, as Russian hackers have been actively exploiting them as a means of scouting areas that their military intends to attack. The hackers have reportedly accessed cameras in apartment buildings and parking facilities, and are most interested in those that are near critical infrastructure or air defense systems and can have their viewing angles changed remotely.

Our take: Cameras are a standard security measure, but how easy are they to hack? While we support residential cameras, securing those devices is as important as having them. This is something everyone needs to consider — not just those living in Ukraine.

January’s Top Security Grants

Fiscal Year 2023 Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA): The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program makes federal funds available to states, U.S. territories, federally recognized tribal governments, and local communities to reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings and structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It does so with a recognition of the growing flood hazards associated with climate change1, and of the need for flood hazard risk mitigation activities that promote climate adaptation and resilience with respect to flooding. These include both acute extreme weather events and chronic stressors which have been observed and are expected to increase in the future. Grant closes: Feb. 29, 2024

Fiscal Year 2023 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC): The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program makes federal funds available to states, U.S territories, federally recognized tribal governments, and local communities for hazard mitigation activities. It does so with a recognition of the growing hazards associated with climate change1, and of the need for natural hazard risk mitigation activities that promote climate adaptation and resilience with respect to those hazards. These include both acute extreme weather events and chronic stressors which have been observed and are expected to increase in the future. Grant closes: Feb. 29, 2024

FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Fire Prevention And Safety Grants: The Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grants are part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards. The primary goal is to reduce injury and prevent death among high-risk populations. Grant closes: March 8

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