Trump Jr.’s remarks were first published by CNN.Mueller’s team has come under scrutiny in recent weeks in the wake of his firing of FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was found to have sent text messages critical of Trump before the election. Strzok’s dismissal from the special counselor’s team has amplified voices from Trump defenders who claim Mueller’s entire investigation is baseless and intended only to harm the president politically.While Strzok’s firing and the reasons behind it have been covered by the media, some of the president’s allies have complained that the story has been ignored or downplayed by reporters. As an example, Trump Jr. suggested that a similar situation involving a group of FBI officials and former President Barack Obama would have received significantly more attention.“What do you think would happen?” Trump Jr. asked. “Do you think the media would cover that? Yeah. Do you think it would be brushed under the rug like, ‘Oh, it’s nothing. It doesn’t mean anything.’ There’d be revolution in the streets. So I’m glad that this is coming out now, because it is good, because real people have to see this.” Also On POLITICO Trump’s approval rating hits historic low of 35 percent: poll By Louis Nelson President Donald Trump’s son suggested Tuesday evening that “people at the highest levels of government” are conspiring against the Trump administration, evidence, he said, of the president’s campaign claims about a “rigged” system.“There is, and there are, people at the highest levels of government that don’t want to let America be America,” Donald Trump Jr. told a group of young conservatives in Florida, lobbing accusations of bias at special counselor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in last year’s election and allegations that Trump’s campaign somehow colluded with those efforts.“My father talked about a rigged system throughout the campaign, and people were like, ‘Oh, what are you talking about?’ ” Trump Jr. said. “But it is. And you’re seeing it.”
This was a spirited fight between Tom Wilson and Nicolas Deslauriers. Both fighters landed blows. Deslauriers had the upper hand at the start but Wilson fought though. This fight was a draw. Win: DrawPlease follow and like us:
By Bruce FuhrThe Nelson Daily SportsJulien Locke led from wire to wire to claim the top prize at the Western Canadian Championships Sunday at the Nordic Ski Trails near Kelowna.The 17-year-old Nelsonite, a member of Rossland’s Black Jack Ski club, finished first overall following the three-stage race.“I had a good race,” said Locke, competing against twin brother Peter.“I started with the lead and was able to put more time on the others, posting the fastest individual time by 10 seconds,” Locke added. “Colin Ferrie from Kimberley (who started and finished second) and I were practically even the entire way — the closest he ever got was 35 seconds behind. “I came into the stadium with a 50 second lead over second.”The Western competition was a “tour” race. The first stage Friday was a skate sprint. Saturday was prologue race, a 3.5-kilometer classic individual start where the skier sprints for the duration of the race.Sunday was a 15-kilometer pursuit where racers are seeded according to times and bonus seconds from the first two days of racing. The whole idea of tour races has been around for a long time in other sports but it’s quite new to cross country skiing.Locke won the Friday sprint skate qualifier by two seconds and the heat final by a wide margin.Brother Peter struggled in the qualifier placing 24th and 15th in the heat and did not advance.“Peter had bad seeding because of his poor qualifier and got stuck in a tough quarter final where he finished third in his heat and did not move on,” Julien explained.Julien Locke increased his lead after the 3.5km Classic Prologue by overcoming tricky slippery and icy conditions.Julien started 15 seconds behind Peter but managed to catch up after one kilometer.The pair skied together until the finish, catching the leader with all three entering the stadium together.Julien cruised to the title with a 15 second margin over Peter Locke, who finished second, and a 25 second margin over the third place skier.Sunday, Julien kept up his dominance on the field to capture the overall title. Brother Peter was able to climb the leader board to finish fifth.Younger sister Robyn Locke, battling the flu all weekend, did not have a good race, as fatigue was too much to overcome.The skiers head back to the training trails in preparation for the Canadian Nordic Ski Championships March 12-19 in Canmore, [email protected]
The Kootenay Thunder earned respect from more than a few colleges and university coached during the Starfire Fieldturf Showcase Soccer Tournament this past weekend in Seattle.The Thunder finished the tourney with a 1-1-2 record.“The Thunder team impressed many coaches and teams with one U.S. College coach stating he would take the whole squad if he had the budget,” said Kootenay head coach Dave Spendlove, who runs the regional squad out of the Soccer Quest Indoor facility in Nelson.The team, consisting of players from throughout the Kootenay region along with a handful of imports from Kamloops and playing in the top division, opened the tournament by playing to a scoreless draw against Seattle Legacy.According to Spendlove, “Kootenay outplayed their American opponents in all departments but could not get the ball in the net.”Kootenay kept its goal-scoring drought alive in a 0-0 tie against Semiahmoo Scorpions of White Rock.Saturday afternoon the Thunder, playing its best half in two years, edged the Sun City Strikers 2-1.Kelsey Martin of Kamloops gave Kootenay a 1-0 lead. Martin converted a rebound off a Kootenay corner kick, depositing the ball quickly into the net after Sun City failed to clear the zone.Sun City tied the game ten minutes into the second half.However, Nelson’s Andrea Stinson, a thorn in the side of most teams during the tournament, was hauled down inside the penalty area.Stinson calmly collected herself before converting the penalty kick.The only blemish on the weekend came Sunday during the rain when Kootenay lost 1-0 to MRFC of Portland, Ore.The only goal came when the game referee incorrectly gave an indirect free kick inside the Kootenay penalty area for a pass back to the keeper.MRFC quickly took the kick and beat Kootenay keeper Kat Garbula of Nelson.“The Referee apologized to the Thunder coaching staff at half time saying he did not really see what happened on the pass back incident but made a quick decision which later his line assistant told him was wrong,” Spendlove explained. “The incident cost the Thunder their only loss of the weekend but the Thunder should still have won the game again not taking their chances in front of goal.”The tournament attracted more than 40 scouts from various U.S. colleges.This is the second time Soccer Quest has taken a team to Seattle.Next tournament for Kootenay is the Vancouver Whitecaps Showcase event March 2012 in [email protected]
“We played well and there were a lot of great individual performances, but what was most impressive from the girls was how they played a strong team game,” said LVR Coach Jennifer Kidd.The Bombers beat Grand Forks Secondary (25-8,25-23), host JL Crowe (25-11,25-11) and Boundary Secondary (25-10, 25-7) in the Friday round-robin portion of the tournament. On Saturday morning, LVR ran their record to a perfect 4-0 with a victory over Kaslo’s J.V. Humprhies (25-12,25-10) without losing a single game in all their matches.The round-robin record earned Nelson a buy into the semi-final where they beat Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries (25-8, 25-12) to book a spot in the tournament final against the Grand Forks Secondary Wolves.Dominant serving and a synchronized effort by the Bombers helped the girls clinch the title over the Wolves (25-8, 25-16).“It was terrific to see the girls play the game with confidence and trust in each other, that’s when their game flows and is taken to a higher level,” said Kidd. “If they play this way for the rest of the season, we should continue with good results.”Next up for the Bombers is a trip to Salmon Arm on the November 3-4 followed by best-of-five playdown against JL Crowe to see which school will represent the West Kootenay at the BC High School AAA Provincials in early-December. The LV Rogers Bombers senior girls volleyball team came home with the hardware from the annual JL Crowe Block Party tournament after a dominating weekend in Trail.The Bombers didn’t lose a single game over the two-day tournament that featured teams from across the West Kootenay and Boundary. It was the second year in a row that the Nelson team captured top spot.
1 Aston Villa trio Jack Grealish, Adama Traore and Ciaran Clark are all in contention to be fit for the clash with Bournemouth on Saturday.Managerless Villa will have their relegation to the Championship confirmed if they lose to the Cherries and Norwich pick up a point at home to fellow strugglers Sunderland.Grealish and Traore, who have both been sidelined with long-term injuries, came through an Under-21s match away to West Brom on Monday as they stepped up their recoveries.And stand-in coach Eric Black could start the duo after he hinted at giving the club’s younger players a chance as they prepare for life in the second tier of English football.Clark missed the defeat to Chelsea on Saturday but returned to light training on Wednesday and could also be included in the squad to face Eddie Howe’s side. Jack Grealish has made just 18 appearances for the Villa this season
Tigers even WVC record at 2-2By Paul LeckerSports ReporterMARSHFIELD — The Marshfield boys swimming team evened its Wisconsin Valley Conference dual meet record with a 92-77 victory over Wausau East on Monday at the Marshfield High School Fieldhouse.Marshfield (2-2 Wisconsin Valley Conference) won two of the relays and also had a pair of individual victories.The 200 medley relay of Brian Engel, Scott Thompson, Michael Kruse, and Colin Thomasgard won in 1:56.90, and Engel, Kruse, Thomasgard, and Calden Wojt won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:42.26.Engel took first in the 100 freestyle in 55.09, and Wojt won the 50 freestyle in 25.21 seconds.Six Marshfield individuals, as well as the 400 freestyle relay team, earned second-place finishes.Marshfield will compete at the Eau Claire North Invitational on Saturday.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)Marshfield 92, Wausau East 77Winners and Marshfield results200 medley relay: 1. Marshfield (Brian Engel, Scott Thompson, Michael Kruse, Colin Thomasgard) 1:56.90; 3. Marshfield (Gabriel Ronan, Jacob Dick, Alec Brenner, Ben Donahue) 2:12.41; 5. Marshfield (Andrew Gilkerson, Andrew Rall, Nick North, Trent Anderson) 2:25.82.200 freestyle relay: 1. Connor Rowe (WE) 2:12.54; 2. Donahue (MAR) 2:16.58; 3. Anthony Hartwig (MAR) 2:18.50; 5. Gilkerson (MAR) 2:29.73.200 IM: 1. Jeremy Meerstein (WE) 2:25.97; 2. Thompson (MAR) 2:33.22; 4. Dick (MAR) 2:35.70; 5. North (MAR) 3:02.17.50 freestyle: 1. Calden Wojt (MAR) 25.21; 3. Kruse (MAR0 25.66; 4. Thomasgard (MAR) 26.99.100 butterfly: 1. Aaron Russow (WE) 1:05.72; 2. Kruse (MAR) 1:07.27; 4. Brenner (MAR) 1:15.03.100 freestyle: 1. Engel (MAR) 55.09; 2. Donahue (MAR) 1:00.45; 4. Zach Hanson (MAR) 1:03.70.500 freestyle: 1. Jordan Straub (WE) 5:37.13; 3. Hartwig (MAR) 6:28.30; 4. Ryan McLellan (MAR) 7:47.61.200 freestyle relay: 1. Marshfield (Engel, Kruse, Thomasgard, Wojt) 1:42.26; 3. Marshfield (Hanson, Eric Tollefson, Ronan, Brenner) 1:55.57; 5. Marshfield (North, McLellan, Alex Wuethrick, Hartwig) 2:03.55.100 backstroke: 1. Straub (WE) 1:02.48; 2. Engel (MAR) 1:10.59; 3. Thomasgard (MAR) 1:12.86; 5. Wojt (MAR) 1:16.06.100 breaststroke: 1. Meerstein (WE) 1:12.16; 2. Thompson (MAR) 1:16.57; 3. Dick (MAR) 1:21.75; 5. Hanson (MAR) 1:33.32.400 freestyle relay: 1. Wausau East (Nick Schmitt, Rowe, Straub, Axel Treinen) 3:55.90; 2. Marshfield (Donahue, Hanson, Thompson, Wojt) 4:10.43; 3. Marshfield (Tollefson, Gilkerson, Hartwig, Dick) 4:37.20; 4. Marshfield (Wuethrick, McLellan, Rall, Anderson) 5:29.62.
The project provides hand-madebookshelves to each centre. The goalis to ensure that every book collectioncontains a variety of books, includingencyclopaedias, dictionaries, studyguides, reference books, story booksand picture books.(Image: Chris Dykes) The Bookshelf Project was established inresponse to the desperate need forreading material in many impoverishedcommunities in South Africa. Through theproject, Chris Dykes hopes to facilitatea love for reading in children.(Image: Chris Dykes) MEDIA CONTACTS • Chris DykesInfinity Learning+27 82 363 1958Wilma den HartighFormer US first lady Jacqueline Kennedy once said that a love of books is the best way to enlarge a child’s world. But for many children in South Africa, this is not the reality.Access to books is limited for many of the country’s children, depriving them of the opportunity to develop a love for reading. It also puts children at a major disadvantage when it comes to literacy and educational opportunities.Chris Dykes from Infinity Learning, an organisation that equips children with study skills through various programmes, decided to establish the Bookshelf Project in response to the desperate need for reading material in many impoverished communities in South Africa.The project provides books and bookshelves to any organisation that works with children in such a capacity, mainly in Gauteng province.The project has already set up the infrastructure that will impact the lives of 2 000 to 3 000 children through the eight centres, which have already received bookshelves stocked with books.Stimulating a love for readingDykes says the need for books became apparent in his conversations with staff at children’s centres and schools in underprivileged areas.“It became clear to us that limited access to books was one of the main barriers to literacy improvement,” he says.South Africa has a major literacy challenge. According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, coordinated by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, 80% of South African pupils do not develop basic reading skills by the time they reach grade five.“Our vision for the project is to facilitate a love for reading. I realised that kids need books to read. Many children don’t read because they don’t have access to books, not because they don’t want to,” Dykes says.Building bookshelves and collecting booksHe believes it isn’t enough to just teach a child to read. What children need is something worthwhile reading.“Children have to read books that are interesting, fun and that will help them to dream,” he says. This will help children improve their literacy skills, build their confidence and imagination, and ultimately improve their academic performance.The project has partnered with aftercare centres and schools that have a need for books and are keen run reading groups and homework sessions for the children they work with.“The initiative needs existing infrastructure to provide kids with a safe place to read,” he says.Instead of just distributing books, Dykes and his team also provide hand-made bookshelves to each centre. “Each bookshelf is built at our homes in our free time and no fees are charged for this time,” he says.But he says the project is growing so quickly that he is running out of time to build bookshelves. Soon he will have to outsource the construction to a carpenter.“Doing this is a great job creation opportunity that can also come from the project,” he says.Each bookshelf costs about R900 (US$122) to build and he is negotiating with a local hardware store to get a discounted price on the material needed for each shelf.The bookshelves are 1.8-meters wide and 1.5-meters high and can house 500 to 600 books. The goal is to ensure that every book collection contains a variety of books, including encyclopaedias, dictionaries, study guides, reference books, story books and picture books.All the books are donated by second-hand bookshops, schools and individuals who support the programme.“The response to the project has been phenomenal,” Dykes says. Just recently, a UK-based organisation, Book-Cycle, donated 3 000 to 5 000 books for the project.To date, the Bookshelf Project has collected books to the value of approximately R175 000 ($24 000). Some of the books are not suitable for children and are donated to other charities such as Friends of Rescued Animals and Forest Farm, which supports people with cerebral palsy.Future plansThe Bookshelf Project has a goal to reach at least 10 000 children in the next three years, but Dykes says this is a conservative estimate.He says that the main goal is to collect as many books as possible. In the next few months, he wants to set up a book-collection system involving schools in Johannesburg.To start out, he wants to approach 10 schools to organise book collection days, once a year. In doing this, the project will receive 500 to 600 books every month. He also wants to ensure that each bookshelf is stocked with new books every year so that the children won’t run out of reading material.The Bookshelf Project is a labour of love for Dykes and he is encouraged by the positive response to it. He says that he is also amazed at how well the children have responded to the project.“I met a 16-year-old girl who had never owned a book in her life because her parents are too poor to buy her any books. It was heartbreaking,” he says.Through the project, she can experience the benefits of reading. Children are also taking ownership of the bookshelves by keeping them neat and tidy.“The kids at the centres are just incredible,” says Dykes.
Way back when I was in high school I found myself in a high school scienceclass. It was your typical experience, replete with bunsen burners, safteygoggles and a science teacher named Norbert. But one day Norbert had aninspriation – he let the class watch a video of James Burke and his Connectionsseries, which described all of the happy accidents in technology through theyears, that have brought us where we are today. My favorite accidentalconnection was the development of fine mist sprays for perfume bottles. While itmay have helped people smell better, the real combustion happened in yourautomobile, where the fine mist sprays became fuel injection nozzles for themodern gasoline engine.Like a fine fragrant perfume, Amazon has a revolutionary technology sittingright under everyone’s noses. Their happy accident? Building a reliable,scalable and robust ecommerce system. While I’m sure Jeff Bezos didn’t envisionhis online company being compared to perfume sprays, the fact of the matter is,even after immense technological investment, retail needs a lot of perfume tomake the margins smell nice– even if you’re online.But in their quest to prove to the world that online retail is the wave ofthe future, Amazon has created not just a fine mist. They have unexpectedlycreated a vapor cloud – orinternet cloud – that is ready for ignition. Most fortunately for Amazon,they’ve been able to build one of the world’s most impressive, massivelyscalable datacenter systems. Most fortunately for you, they’re willing to shareit. And most fortunately for corporate programmers, you’re about to be relevantagain.The Value of SharingHow valuable is a robust, secure, scalable and reliable computing platformthat allows you to store and retrieve any kind of digital data from anywhere inthe world at anytime of the day? While your average high school student doesn’thave much use for one, technology visionaries and corporate titans have beenwilling to pay big money to build such platforms. Groove Networks ran throughapproximately $120 million of investment in order to build and convince theworld that theirs was robust, secure, scalable and reliable. Microsoft, whichpurchased Groove in 2005, is spending upwards of $2billion in order to do the same thing. Google’s entire business modelrequires them to reinvest huge amounts of capital into their storage platform.Throw in Yahoo and Baidu and it’s clear that such computing power is seen as atechnological edge.However a high school student can rent one of the best, most proven, storageplatforms of them all — for a little less than $.50 per month. If he or she iswilling to lay off the occaissional candy bar, he/she can be on an equal webinfrastructure footing with the richest technology companies in the world. If Iwas an investor in MSFT, I might even ask if investing $200 million in Amazonmakes more sense than $2 billion on your own technology and starting fromscratch. In fact, taking it one step further, I might even be worried thatAmazon’s examples treat .NET as just another language – alongsideJava, Ruby, PHP, Python and Perl. Another $1.8 billion into .NET and VisualStudio might take care of that, especially for those prized corporateprogrammers.So Easy a High Schooler Can Do ItLike anything worthwhile, it takesa bit of time to figure out the best way to exploit it. The obvious comesfirst: use Amazon’s storage capacity and scalability to store data such asimages or globs of backup data. Indeed, a simple scan of Amazon’s Simple StorageService solutionsshows many backup, photo sharing and large email attachment services.Furthermore, most of these services are web-based and so their single greatestcost is usually bandwidth. Hence Amazon’s marketing focus on web2.0 apps as their clientele. This makes perfect sense, as it fits the world’scurrent multi-tiered architecture: the simple browser on the client, thebusiness logic on a web server and now the robust data store on the backend.Many well known and successful companies are exploiting this today: SmugMug,37Signals and MyBlogLog to name a few. Would you know it buy using theseservices? Probably not, unless you have a keen eye reading the urls flash by aselements on your web page are downloaded. Does it matter? Not one bit. Each ofthese services uses Amazon S3 in order to offload the work of sending images anddocuments off their servers and onto Amazon’s. As a result, each company canfocus on their distinctiveness and bring it to market as quickly as possible,without worrying so much about infrastructure. In some cases it’s enough toprove the concept and sell to a large company in justa few months.The Next Fortunate EventIn the US there is a saying: “OnlyNixon could go to China.”. While Amazon has positioned itself as aproven resource for eager online entrepreneurs, they have also (accidentally?)created a solution that makes the client chic again – actually both the Clientand the Server. Indeed, Amazon’s Simple Storage Service takes us back tothe 1980s, resurrects Client/Serverarchitecture and provides it on such a scale that it actually works.In the late 1980s, when C/S became a holy grail, it quickly sprang a leak atthe supper table as large deployments grappled with networking protocoldecisions, scaling issues, big capital investments for servers and, of course,maintenance. Amazon has moved these giant obstacles aside and resurrectedsomething most thought dead. And this from an online department store!While Amazon is still very much a consumer site selling anything they candisplay on a web page, at some point people will see the light and realize thata lot of C/S architecture implemented, deployed and wheezing along incorporations around the world can be refactored with services like Amazon S3. Byproviding the ultimate server, Amazon has made it possible for programmers tobuild corporate client software that a) actually scales and b) actually cutscosts – no more corporate servers to procure, house and maintain. A corporateprogrammer can create a client that can scale for the entire organization byusing a good GUI tool and something only moderately more complicated thanFile.Open. Web application stacksof functionality might not look as appealing compared to this new reality.(Have you noticed that programming stacks have evolved like razor blades? Westarted with one, then two blades, then three solved the problem, until fourblades really did the trick, and so on – in fact, aren’t servers even calledblades now?)But while Amazon has provided the fuel, it’s still up to the developers toprovide the ignition; and right now we’re dealing with sticks. By that I meanthat Amazon isn’t offering a database, nor server side scripting, interpretedlanguages, web server plugins or anything else to add complexity. Instead, atits core, is the world’s greatest file server.Groaning from the Peanut GalleryThe collective moan you just heard was from everyone who actually livedthrough the client/server days rolling their eyes and recalling how difficult itwas to merge everyone’s changes into a single file on the server. That wasindeed a huge problem and yes it did lead to C/S being discredited. HOWEVER, theproblem was twofold: 1) tackling multi-user scalability issues for the serverand 2) tackling multi-user data issues for the client. In the 1980s, personalcomputing was still in its infancy, and nascent applications struggled to meetthe needs of a single user, much less two.If we look at the path highly available and scalable servers have travelledthe last twenty years, we see a single machine– even a really big one– wassimply inadequate for the task– it’s just too prone to failure. Furthermore,data needs have exploded past workgroups or departments in a single location–people across the globe may need access to specific data now. Although it willtake a post in the future to adequately describe how Amazon and others arebuilding scalable and reliable data services, they do require multiple datacenters located around the world connected by fiber optics, with each datacenter housing thousands of redundant systems built for quick switching in caseof any single point of failure. In other words, a far cry from a PC running IBMOS/2 with an Intel 386 and 32 megs of RAM locked in a closet.But while the server side of the equation has advanced over the last twentyyears, can the same be said for the client? Or, more specifically, for the dataclients are producing? No. While operating systems are more powerful today andprettier to look at, the state of application data today is not so differentthan it was back in the 1980s– a stream of data supporting the state of theapplication as last saved by a single user. In this day and age, multiple peopleneed to work in single context to produce a deliverable. Unfortuantely up tillnow this has been dealt with using the checkout, checkin, ‘hey, you overwrote mydata!’ design pattern. The server has improved, now it’s time for clients torespond in kind.One More Event Before The Big BangThe solution? How client applications read and write data needs to make thesame advancements that server platforms made to make data storage reliable anddelivery scalable. As application’s become decoupled from the desktop, theyshould also decouple from the notion that a single user updates data at onetime. Does only one person work ever work on a document? Does only one personever participate in a project? Only if they wish to remain in the past.Now that a superserver like Amazon S3 is almost a given (just a bitmore reliability and maybe onemore feature), applications can pull ‘multi-user’ files off, perform mergeoperations using local computing power and then place the file back in the cloudwith an updated, combined view – ready for the next user to come along. Savedoesn’t have to mean ‘write out my view of the data only’ – it can also mean‘merge my view of the data with the group’. It might sound like a database,but it’s really functionality that all apps working with groups, or in a groupcontext, should have. The applications themselves will have the knowledge tomerge files they recognize together – an excercise left to the developers of thenext generation of client software.There’s a lot of refactoring to do, but this time the benefits are tangible.Entrepreneurs seem to be embracingAmazon web services, and the next wave can’t be far behind. If Amazon manages tocatch that next wave, they could be in for a great ride. And however it worksout, in their quest for the ultimate online department store, Amazon might havefinally solved the server side of the equation in Client/Server architecture. Ifthey manage to attract the corporate programmers ready to build the nextgeneration client pieces, then not only would Amazon again enjoy first moveradvantage, but it would be for something worth a lot more than books. Even JamesBurke would have been proud of that connection. john milan 1 A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Amazon#Analysis#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts
As technology draws us deeper into a new age of business enterprise, we are continuously bombarded with challenges and opportunities involving those with malicious intentions. Data security attacks come at us from every direction as the ingenuity of criminal minds seek new and creative ways to infiltrate our information resources and engage in cyber warfare against our businesses.In order to survive these intrusions, retailers must fight back. We have to defend our ground and take the necessary steps to combat the threat. This requires that we build a solid data breach policy and recruit the data security resources that will help us win the battles. We must become cyber warriors in our own right, defending our computer and information systems against those seeking to seize and exploit the lifeline of our business.Hackers and like-minded data security mercenaries wage war using information technology to assault our computers and information systems through cyber-related strategies. In the retail space, we primarily have thieves looking for personally identifiable information that can be exploited and turned into cash. But hackers also target organizations for their R&D assets, intellectual property, and corporate strategies, among other motivations.- Sponsor – To win these wars, we must find better ways to secure our systems by building awareness, educating our teams, finding and closing vulnerabilities, and developing a collaborative data breach policy to protect our resources and defend our customers and our companies.Our greatest opportunity to overcome these intrusions is through a comprehensive approach that includes information sharing and best-practice protocols that support a joint data security defense team. To prevail over this imposing threat to the business, we have to work together.A team is at its best when the offense and defense work well together. LP Magazine intends to take this fight to the offensive by providing information and resources that can be used to support our efforts and strengthen our sentinel. In the process, we’ve attended multiple seminars and interviewed data security thought leaders and cyber security experts to provide a more comprehensive perspective.The Influence of Retail“Retail is the lifeblood of the American economy,” said Michael Chertoff, former US Secretary of Homeland Security, at the June 2014 National Retail Federation (NRF) loss prevention conference. “Having a safe space to operate is critical to the successful operation of the business.”According to the US Department of Labor, the retail trade sector is one of the nation’s largest employers. Studies show that total retail sales in the US topped $5.5 trillion in 2015. While no surprise to those leading the industry, these numbers make it apparent that cyber threats can not only impact the retail sector, but can also have a substantial influence on the growth and stability of our economy as a whole.Chertoff, now the executive chairman and co-founder of the global security advisory firm The Chertoff Group, feels that cyber security issues have not received the type of front-line attention that some of the more visible and obvious risks have obtained. With some of the recent data security incidents that have brought the issue front and center, it is becoming increasingly clear that these types of cyber threats must become a business priority.“We’ve seen broad exposure of systemic vulnerabilities in our company infrastructures,” Chertoff said. “Businesses are collecting more personal information about customer preferences, locations and behaviors, not to mention credit card numbers. Organized groups have become sophisticated in their efforts, using strategies that are complex and well planned.”Did you ever consider that something as simple as a thermostat could leave your company vulnerable to a cyber attack? To help keep customers comfortable and shopping at a store, it’s common for retailers to routinely monitor temperatures and energy consumption in stores to save on costs and to alert store managers if temperatures in the stores fluctuate outside of an acceptable range. Often, this process is completed with the assistance of an outside service provider with specific expertise to keep the system efficient and cost effective. Yet this seemingly mundane process opened the door for access to a company’s database, leading to one of the largest, most damaging data breaches in retail history.Whether data security vulnerabilities are introduced by employee errors or negligence, disgruntled employees, partnering companies, or some other weak link in our systems or procedures, the risks are formidable, the possibilities are only bound by the creativity of the criminal element, and no business is exempt from the threats.“Data security is about risk management, not risk elimination,” said Chertoff. “There has to be a strategy for managing the risk built on realistic expectations. You have to understand what you’re facing so that you can make intelligent decisions. There must be a full understanding of the threat, of the consequences, and an assessment of the company’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities and how they fit within the business.”Arming Ourselves with Data Security ExpertsMany businesses are aggressively pursuing different avenues to improve cyber strategies and provide data security training and awareness opportunities for company leadership. Industry conferences have taken significant steps to offer quality sessions that provide information, guidance, and direction on how to build a data breach policy. Companies are bringing in top experts to consult with their teams, perform vulnerability assessments, and educate both staff and company leadership.Various conferences held across the country also specifically focus on data security issues–some intended for industry experts, and some for business leaders at different levels and areas of responsibility. Larger events would include the RSA conferences, which attract some of the best and brightest in the field through annual conferences in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Other conferences may focus on specific or more intimate audiences to heighten awareness and maximize the learning experience, such as the Cyber Security Summit. All of these efforts are intended to improve our skills, keep our professionals connected, and increase awareness of these critical business concerns.“In many ways, we have been short-handed when it comes to cyber warriors,” said Ken Fuller, former executive vice president for the Cyber Security Summit. “We’ve had tremendous success bridging the gap by bringing in data security experts and educating leadership regarding what’s going on and how we can better defend ourselves. By identifying and securing thought leaders that can successfully communicate the message, educate them on what to look for, and help determine the weakest link, we can help our enterprises approach technology issues with a broader perspective and a sharper focus.” The Power of Social MediaBy using web and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue, social media creates an effective channel for individuals and groups of people to connect, interact, create, and share.With businesses constantly positioning to make news, build their brands, improve communications, and grow their customer base, companies are using email blasts and a plethora of platforms to include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube to market their products and services. These powerful tools can have significant influence on awareness, acceptance, and behavior. They play an important role in marketing strategies and are a common vehicle used by many employees to network and communicate with one another. Unfortunately, these same resources are opening doors to data security issues.Finding the Weakest Link“When cyber criminals are looking for ways to breach our systems, the starting point to penetrate our information typically has nothing to do with the use of credit cards, even when that’s the information that they’re attempting to obtain,” said James Foster, founder and CEO of ZeroFOX. “But they have to get in somewhere. So what is the best way in? Attackers will look for the weakest link and a way in that exploits or manipulates the system at a point of vulnerability. They’ll often use tools that have mass adoption—even if it fails a thousand times, the one time it does work gets them in. They are looking for a more covert way to get into the system—one where they can feed on the user’s trust and delay detection. When you put it together, the easiest venue to leverage is social media.”In our push to get ahead in the competitive business world, Foster commented that information technologies must reap immediate benefits. As a result, the technology can be significantly ahead of the controls. “Security measures can lag behind three to five years,” he added. “A company’s number-one asset is its people. This is a common thread and a prime opportunity for access. Ninety percent or more of the malware is getting in through social media.”Foster went on to describe a simple scenario as an example. If a hacker wants to break into XYZ Company, they may create an online persona that mirrors the brand’s logo, verbiage, and marketing style. They build the false content using one of many social media platforms, along with a link that says “XYZ Company Rocks.” If an employee were to open the link, it can then open the door for the hacker to breach the company.While it may sound like a simple strategy, hackers have become experts at disguising their intentions—and it may only take one unsuspecting employee to be successful. Regrettably, this is only a single example of a problem with prospects only limited by the imagination and ingenuity of the hacker. This is the challenge, and only one of many data security issues that we can face.Defense in DepthSo, how do we combat these problems?“Unfortunately, existing plans are ninety percent reactive, which is like patching cracks in a dam with bubble gum.” Foster said. “There has to be a plan, a defense-in-depth strategy that proactively addresses data security.” In the information world, it’s about firewalls, intrusion-detection systems, two-factor authentication, and encryption. These defenses are layered to make them more resilient. But there has to be more. Our defenses must include a data breach policy and a partnership that effectively creates a unified team to combat these cyber threats. This involves a comprehensive approach that would include:A knowledgeable and educated team that communicates well and works togetherA diverse team that can provide different perspectives and offer comprehensive valueExpert external opinions that provide guidance and will objectively review the data breach policyAn adequate budgetPrivacy and compliance policiesA framework and foundation for governance“As retailers expand their offerings and push online services, internal and external policies, roles and synergies must be reevaluated, and a collaborative security strategy that includes loss prevention absolutely must be part of the conversation,” said Foster. “The success of the organization simply depends on it.”Building Bridges“When it comes to dealing with data security issues in the business world, there are basically two kinds of companies—those that have discovered that they’ve been breached, and those that have been breached and don’t know it.”The retail industry has become a primary target for malicious cyber crime, with both individuals and criminal networks trying to steal financial information, identity information, and credit card information. But issues have the potential of going even deeper. As demonstrated by recent news stories, there is even the potential for business strategies, processes, products, and other valued information to be targeted by nation-states seeking to pirate intellectual property and related business assets.“There are also many ways that these data breaches can occur,” said Brian White, who formerly led the global security services for The Chertoff Group. “That’s part of what makes it such a complex issue. Some methods are fairly unsophisticated, exploiting people’s natural inclination to trust others, for example. False emails may be sent to company employees, encouraging the employee to open a file or download a link that allows the criminal to back their way into the network and ultimately exposes the business to the intrusive malware—a process commonly referred to as ‘spear phishing.’ Other methods may be much more sophisticated, with the cyber criminals investing in any number of intricate tools that will allow you to hack into the system.”While such threats can never be eliminated entirely, a key aspect of any data breach policy is managing the potential risks. This involves understanding where your vulnerabilities may occur, what the potential consequences might be, and working together internally as a team to minimize those vulnerabilities. This is where retail must continue to build the bridges within our existing infrastructure.Throughout the retail environment, the LP and IT departments typically have different roles and responsibilities. Their functions within the organization are carved from distinctive stones, dissimilar in origin, structure, balance and purpose. In many ways, they even speak different languages. However, there is also common ground and a working relationship based upon shared tasks and accountabilities. It is this relationship that must continue to evolve.“When dealing with data risks in the retail environment, there’s increasingly a link back to the LP teams. The investigation function is particularly valuable, and a unified strategy only makes good sense. For our data security functions to be most effective, our professionals must be a collective enterprise,” said White. This requires a comprehensive approach:Recognizing our vulnerabilities to mitigate the risks. This may also include consulting with specialized professionals to establish controls, ascertain roles and responsibilities, and determine effective and efficient protocols.Increased communication and enhanced cooperation. This is a shared responsibility and must flow both ways. There must be shared perspectives and open channels to build these bridges.Additional training. Everyone responsible for protecting this information must have a strong awareness of the tools and the power of the data, along with the knowledge and skills to manage the risks.With the depth, magnitude, and global reach of several recent data breaches as well as the repercussions for the businesses and their brands, there is clearly greater awareness to the point that companies have become much more sensitive to the threat. But this awareness must be coupled with continuing education, proactive controls, and an actionable data breach policy.“Every company should start with the proactive assumption that their perimeters can and will be breached,” said White. There must be a layered data security defense that would include the following:Appropriate tagging and classifying of data based on importance and sensitivity.Robust policies and procedures that clearly identify security expectations.Strong password policies, network controls, and access controls to include third-party controls.Maintenance protocols and keeping software up-to-date.Appropriate education and awareness of the data breach policy to keep our teams current and informed.A quick and diligent response-and-recovery plan in the event of an intrusion.Continuing and persistent evaluation and updates as necessary and appropriate.Every organization must evaluate their risks and exposures and establish best practices based upon their specific business needs. However, that approach should not focus solely on compliance. What you really have to do is take an active, functional approach to the business, determine the risks, and then make informed, intelligent decisions based on the needs, vulnerabilities, and resources available to the organization.Perception versus RealityRecent data security attacks on retailers have focused the attention of the entire retail community on these cyber crimes, and all have an important connection in cyber security expert and noted blogger Brian Krebs. A journalist and investigative reporter who broke the news on several prominent data breaches, Krebs is best known for his coverage of profit-seeking cyber criminals. However, beyond his experience, it is his sharp instincts and insightful approach that help him stand apart. In 2014, he gave a presentation at the NRF loss prevention conference and shared some thoughts that should make all of us take notice.When it comes to protecting our critical information, Krebs stressed the concept of perception versus reality—how secure you actually are versus how secure that you think you are.“Most companies think that the automated tools that they have do a pretty good job at protecting them from these cyber attacks,” he said. “But where they really need to focus more of their data security budgets is on the people to help them interpret all of the stuff that’s being put out, and how to respond to it. Too many organizations spend way too much emphasis on the tools, and not enough on the people.”Reflecting on several of the incidents that have garnered his energy and attention, Krebs feels that companies typically have all of the information that they need to figure out that they’ve had a data breach, but no one is looking at and interpreting that information. He emphasized the importance of communication, teamwork, and talent. He then proposed the following model to guide those efforts:Identify and protect your soft spots—Determine what information that you feel is vital to protect.Know your enemy—Figure out who you’re likely to be targeted by and what information they want.Invest in talent—Too many organizations rely on automation for security rather than talent. Get smarter about how you spend your security dollars. For example, few companies have a chief information security officer (CISO). Invest in people and leadership.Look beyond compliance—A primary opportunity lies in a failure to act on information that has already been gathered.“For too many organizations, it takes a major data breach to get religion,” he says. Do we really need to experience another incident to find a common creed?When describing himself on his blog, Krebs reveals, “Much of my knowledge about computers and Internet security comes from having cultivated regular and direct access to some of the smartest and most clueful geeks on the planet.” Maybe we should all take his lead.Moving Forward with Your Data Breach PolicyData security is vital to the success of our businesses in many ways, and every retail professional has a responsibility to remain educated and informed. As the experts are quick to remind us, that means that we must take the steps to listen, as well as to be heard. We have to build partnerships as well as learning opportunities, and work together to find solutions. We must arm ourselves with information, and make swift and sound decisions when called upon. We have to expect the battles, and win the war.For many of us, this is new territory. For others, it is an opportunity to refocus and remind ourselves of the importance of communication, cooperation, and teamwork. For all of us, it is an essential message that we must always strive to learn, flex, and adapt. We have to look at our teams and our business in a new way. There is a new paradigm in retail, and we’d better step up to the plate.For more on this topic, see “The Challenges in Dealing with Data Breaches—A Cybersecurity Panel Discussion” from the 2014 Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) asset protection conference.This article was first published in 2014 and updated June 15, 2017. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now