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What Does The Metaverse Mean For Security?

The Metaverse sounds like the plot of the latest summer action movie. In reality, it's a technology - or, more accurately, a group of technologies - that will likely have a transformational impact on a host of markets. For security, the Metaverse has an extensive list of needs. It also presents some opportunities. We asked this week's Expert Panel Roundtable: What does the Metaverse mean for Security?

Ed Bacco - VP, Enterprise Security Risk Group, ADT Commercial

I think we first need to understand that 'Metaverse' is not some new technology, but rather a new view at how humans interact with technology. As an industry, we've been slow to leverage and trust technologies that can help us make sense of our sensor-driven world. We're often still stuck at sending in a human to validate what an analytic has already told us. What's driving this mistrust is that the data is presented in a two-dimensional form and humans think in 3D.

Emerging technologies will help bridge that gap by enabling a 3D view of our environments that will supply data beyond just the visual range to eventually include the sense of hearing, touch and feel, and even at some point, a sense of smell through advanced analytics. Enabling a true, multi-sensory, virtual presence will fundamentally change the way we interact with environments and how we secure our facilities.

Read more here

The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

Online Marketplaces Fueling America's ORC Crisis?
RILA: Online Marketplaces at Heart of $1 Billion Chinese Counterfeit Scheme, DOJ Cites over 15 Amazon "storefronts" in a single case

Another case that demonstrates the need for the INFORM Consumers Act

Last week, The Department of Justice announced charges against a 38-year-old Miami resident accused of running a widescale operation to peddle counterfeit goods on online marketplaces.

Onur Aksoy ran at least 19 companies in New Jersey and Florida, along with 15 storefronts on Amazon's third-party marketplace that sold tens of thousands of fraudulent Cisco devices from China and Hong Kong. Aksoy duped unsuspecting customers into believing the products were legitimate, and the operation amassed over $100 million in revenue.

How Did This Happen?

We know that large-scale criminal networks are setting up anonymous accounts on leading third-party marketplaces and selling dangerous, fraudulent, and stolen products. It's why we need our laws to evolve to address the growing problem of Chinese counterfeits marketed on Amazon as legitimate products, along with stolen goods which are similarly marketed and sold on Amazon's marketplace.

This is a remarkable case, but its only ONE case. It has been well established that Amazon's marketplace is rife with stolen and counterfeit consumer products, and its time for them to start answering hard questions.

Transparency Desperately Needed

Retailers are lobbying Congress to pass the INFORM Consumers Act which would require online marketplaces like Amazon to verify their high-volume, third-party sellers. Over 10 states have passed state-level legislation in the last year. It's a big step in the right direction, as transparency will make it harder to sell illicit goods from behind screennames and bogus business accounts.

But as we implement better transparency, we also need some accountability from marketplaces like Amazon. Policymakers, the media, and law enforcement need to start probing Amazon's willful ignorance in these cases. If Amazon wont put its customers first, they need to be held accountable. rila.org

Police Using Amazon Ring Footage to Fight Crime?
Amazon Reveals It Shares Ring Camera Footage With Police Without Permission

Thousands of law enforcement agencies use a Ring platform that allows them to request doorbell video footage without customer consent.

Amazon handed Ring video doorbell footage to police without owners' permission at least 11 times so far this year - a figure that highlights the unfettered access the company is giving police to doorsteps across the country.

Ring, which Amazon bought in 2018, has repeatedly said that police can't view recordings unless clips are posted publicly or shared directly with police, though that doesn't apply to police subpoenas and emergency requests. While the company's policy has said this information can be shared without a user's consent, this letter is the first time the company has confirmed that it has handed over this information.

It's a data point that is likely to only heighten Congressional scrutiny of the tech giant, which lawmakers have already upbraided over its privacy practices, after its facial recognition service Rekognition falsely associated 28 members of Congress with criminal mugshots in 2018 and how its Echo Dot Kids Edition protected children's privacy.

Amazon currently has agreements to let 2,161 police departments across the country use an app called Neighbors where users post Ring camera footage and leave comments. Police can use the app to send alerts and request videos.

Amazon said in the letter it shares footage with police without a warrant under emergency circumstances involving imminent danger of death or serious physical harm. The company said it decides whether the requests meet its standards of an emergency. politico.com huffpost.com

Law & Order Returning to San Francisco?
San Francisco's new DA kicks off tenure with plan to crack down on crime

The new San Francisco DA left Chesa Boudin's office last year over 'mounting dissatisfaction'

The newly-minted San Francisco district attorney kicked off her tenure by voicing support for a plan that would allow police officers access to real-time private security cameras to help curb crime.

Jenkins was sworn into office on Friday after San Francisco voters recalled former DA Chesa Boudin in response to progressive policies some activists say emboldened criminals. Jenkins was appointed by Mayor London Breed after serving as an assistant DA from 2014 to 2021. She resigned from the office in October 2021 citing "mounting dissatisfaction with the direction of the office," according to a press release from the mayor's office. 

Currently in San Francisco, police are able to access real-time private surveillance video in cases of serious risk of physical injury or death. Breed proposed expanding this access in 2021 so that police could see private security footage in real-time to respond to crimes stretching from looting to drug deals, SFGate reported.

In Jenkin's letter, which was sent the day the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee held a hearing on revising the ordinance, she voiced support for the proposal as a "responsible tool" to curb crime.

Breed's press secretary Parisa Safarzadeh told Fox News Digital that businesses and residents would need to grant permission authorizing police to use non-city camera "to temporarily monitor activity during significant events with public safety concerns, investigations relating to active misdemeanor and felony violations, and investigations into officer misconduct."

"Under my leadership the San Francisco District Attorney's office will work diligently every single day to restore order to our city and to bring our city back to being the beautiful city that we know it is and the world renowned place that everybody loves to come visit," she said Friday. foxnews.com

Buffalo Tops Market Shooter Could Get the Death Penalty
Federal Grand Jury Indicts Accused Tops Shooter on Federal Hate Crimes and Firearms Charges in Buffalo, New York
A federal grand jury today returned a 27-count indictment charging Payton Gendron, 19, of Conklin, New York, with 14 violations of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Shepard-Byrd Act) and 13 firearms offenses in connection with the mass shooting at the Tops grocery store on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, New York. The announcement was made by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross for the Western District of New York, and Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia of the FBI Buffalo Field Office.

The indictment alleges that on or about May 14, Gendron opened fire with a Bushmaster XM rifle and shot multiple individuals in and around the Tops grocery store, which resulted in the deaths of 10 Black people, as well as injury to three others. The indictment charges that Gendron violated the Shepard-Byrd Act by willfully causing the death of the victims because of their actual and perceived race and color.

In total, the 27-count indictment charges Gendron with 10 counts of hate crimes resulting in death, three counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill three injured individuals, and one hate crimes count alleging that Gendron attempted to kill additional Black people in and around the Tops grocery store. The indictment also charges Gendron with 13 counts of using, carrying, or discharging a firearm in relation to the hate crimes, and seeks forfeiture of items, including the weapon used in the shooting. The indictment further includes special findings alleging, among other things, that Gendron committed the offense after substantial planning and premeditation to commit an act of terrorism.

Upon conviction, the charges in the indictment carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment or the death penalty. The Attorney General will decide whether to seek the death penalty at a later time. Should the Attorney General determine that the circumstances of the offense are such that a sentence of death is justified, the law requires that notice be filed with the court at a reasonable time before trial. Gendron is currently in state custody pending state criminal charges. justice.gov

Full List of Starbucks Crime Closures
(Update) These are the 16 U.S. stores that Starbucks is set to close because of safety concerns

Six stores will close in Greater Los Angeles; six in Greater Seattle; two in Portland, Oregon; one in Philadelphia and one in D.C.

Starbucks will close 16 U.S. stores, mostly on the West Coast, by the end of July because of safety concerns, according to the company. Most of the stores set to close are in the Los Angeles and Seattle metro areas.

The map shows the six stores in California and the six in Washington State that will close. The coffee chain will also close two stores in Portland, Oregon, one store in Philadelphia and another in Washington, D.C., also for safety.

Crime data from Seattle and Los Angeles seems to the back up the safety concerns. In Seattle, property crimes, which include car theft, larceny theft and burglary, and violent robberies are up nearly 20% for the first five months 2022 from the year-earlier period, according to the Seattle Police Department.

In Los Angeles, those types of crimes are up citywide more than 14% for the first six months of 2022 compared to the same period last year, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

In West Hollywood, however, those figures are much higher: Property crimes and violent robberies have more than doubled in 2022 from 2021, according to the LA County Sheriff. cnbc.com

The Media's Role in Fighting Mass Shooting Epidemic
'Show the bodies': Mass shootings spark media debate on gory photos
Graphic images of violent-crime victims are rarely published or aired by mainstream news outlets in the United States; few will show blood or a victim's face. But amid an epidemic of mass shootings, some journalists argue that traditional notions of restraint amount to an evasion of journalists' responsibility to depict reality.

"Show the bodies," journalism dean David Boardman and interim medical-school dean Amy Goldberg of Temple University urged in a Philadelphia Inquirer column last month. "Put on display - in newspapers, on television, across the internet - a photograph or three that can, finally, help the American public understand exactly what happens when a weapon designed for modern warfare is unleashed on innocent, unarmed people. Like a 10-year-old at school."

Even in an age of ubiquitous cellphone cameras, photos such as Sweet's aren't typically available to the press after a mass shooting. News photographers often don't arrive until after police have locked down the scene of the attack. Security cameras and police crime-scene photos provide a record of the gory aftermath, but authorities often withhold this imagery from the public for long periods, reducing its news value. washingtonpost.com

San Diego County District Attorney addresses retail crime spike

Buffalo supermarket to reopen 2 months after racist shooting


COVID Update

599.2M Vaccinations Given

US: 91M Cases - 1M Dead - 86.3M Recovered
Worldwide: 565.6M Cases - 6.3M Dead - 537.1M Recovered

Former Senior Loss Prevention Executive
Know of any fallen LP exec? Let's remember & recognize.

Private Industry Security Guard Deaths: 360   Law Enforcement Officer Deaths: 787
*Red indicates change in total deaths

COVID's Retail Exodus
From Gap to Dollar General, Retail Chiefs Exit as Challenges Grow

Some companies delayed succession plans in pandemic, but others are accelerating changes in their C-suites as industry landscape shifts

Many U.S. retailers are opting for new leadership or moving ahead with pandemic-delayed succession plans as the industry adapts to challenges beyond the Covid-19 health crisis.

On Monday, Gap Inc. replaced Chief Executive Sonia Syngal after more than two years on the job. On Tuesday, Dollar General Corp. said its longtime CEO would step down. Those announcements follow recent exits of the CEOs at companies such as Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. athletic-equipment merchant Under Armour Inc. and luxury-consignment seller The RealReal Inc.

In the past, retail executives typically reached the top job through two paths: They were either great merchants, with a canny ability to anticipate popular styles and new trends, or skilled operators, with a mastery of the systems necessary to keep stores running smoothly. The shift to online shopping further complicated the job, requiring an understanding of technology and data. And other factors have come into play, including a push for making products in a more sustainable way.

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, retailers are dealing with fresh complications from supply-chain bottlenecks and historic levels of inflation to staffing issues and an increase in crime at retail stores.

"The landscape of retailing changed during the Covid era," said Craig Johnson, the president of consulting firm Customer Growth Partners. "The skills necessary for a CEO to succeed today are much broader." wsj.com

Retail Will Be Impacted by LA's New Mask Mandate
L.A.'s New Universal Indoor Mask Mandate Would Include Restaurants, Retail And Indoor Events - But Not Gyms
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer revealed today that the county has officially entered the CDC's "High" Community Level. Ferrer has warned of the prospect for weeks.

If the county remains in the CDC-designated High level for two consecutive weeks, it will again impose what Ferrer called "a universal mandatory indoor mask-wearing mandate."

Ferrer noted, however, that "We're not including gyms and yoga studios." She requested that people in those situations mask up anyway or move the activities outside, where masking is not required for any of those venues listed above.

"I recognize that when we return to indoor masking this will seem like a step backwards," Ferrer acknowledged. "The reality is that we're living with a mutating SARS-CoV2 virus." deadline.com

COVID-Era Tech Advancements
Coronavirus innovations have taken hold even as pandemic eases
The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a number of technological innovations beyond vaccines and treatments and some of them came from the Capital Region.

New ultraviolet lamps to kill coronavirus, low-cost ventilators, locally made disinfectants and phone apps to help people avoid crowds were some of the innovations coming from businesses and universities. And some are still in use.

While the worst of the pandemic seems like a "distant memory," Albany distiller Matthew Jager still has supplies of the hand sanitizer he made starting two years ago. "I have a lot of regular retail customers who come in to buy it," Jager said of his Yankee Distillers Hand Sanitizer. Those customers include private customers and businesses such as restaurants. timesunion.com

China Set to Post the Slowest Growth in Two Years on Zero-Covid Policy

Epidemiologist urges caution as new COVID variant drives cases


Brink's Employee Biometrics Lawsuit
Brink's hit with class action over requiring armored truck drivers to scan fingerprints to unlock doors
One of the country's largest operators of armored security trucks has become one of the latest targets of a class action under Illinois' biometrics privacy law, as employees claim Brink's Inc. has improperly required them to scan their fingerprints to verify their identities when they access the secured rear of the vehicle, where the cash and other valuables are stored.

The plaintiffs seek to expand their lawsuit to include virtually everyone who drove a Brink's truck in Illinois in the last five years.

The lawsuit centers on Brink's use of a biometric security system to secure currency and other valuables being transported in their armored trucks. Under this system, Brink's drivers or other employees are required to scan their fingerprints to unlock the trucks' secured rear compartment.

According to the complaint, Brinks has deployed this system across its fleet of vehicles. However, according to the lawsuit, Brinks did not first secure written authorization from its Illinois employees before requiring them to scan their fingerprints into Brinks' security database. Nor did Brinks provide certain written notices concerning how those biometric scans would be stored, used and ultimately destroyed.

The plaintiffs assert these alleged actions amounted to violations of employees' rights under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which allegedly requires employers to provide such notice and obtain consent before requiring workers to verify their identities using such fingerprint scanners.

BIPA has been on the books in Illinois since 2008. Supporters said the law was needed to ensure companies safeguarded Illinoisans' unique biometric identifying information. However, since about 2015, the law has underpinned a barrage of thousands of class action lawsuits.

The vast bulk of the lawsuits to date have taken aim at employers who require their workers to scan fingerprints or other biometric identifiers when punching the clock at work, or when accessing secured settings, such as drug closets, cash rooms, or, in this case, armored vehicles filled with money or other valuables. cookcountyrecord.com

More OSHA Enforcement & Inspections Coming?
Citing weak enforcement, advocates pitch $100M OSHA funding increase
For 2023, Congressional lawmakers should approve a $100 million increase in OSHA funding, along with additional increases for federal workplace safety enforcement agencies, the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health and Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health said in a June 30 letter to Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

Advocates said workers faced "ever greater threats″ to their health and well-being, including exposure to COVID-19 and extreme heat. The letter cited an AFL-CIO report noting that OSHA's current head count of some 755 federal inspectors is near the lowest it has had in more than 50 years.

Earlier this year, Congress allotted OSHA a 2022 budget of some $612 million. This represented an increase of roughly $20 million from OSHA's 2021 fiscal year budget of about $591.8 million, but it was lower than the $73 million increase initially proposed by the Biden administration.

More than a year since President Joe Biden took office, NCOSH has pushed for greater enforcement of workplace safety laws. In 2021, NCOSH leaders criticized OSHA for failing to keep workers safe during the pandemic. In its June letter, the organization also cited a "lack of consistent and aggressive enforcement of existing safety laws" that could prevent hazards such as falls and trench collapses.

The Biden administration has, in part, blamed staffing shortages for weak enforcement. In July 2021 testimony before a Senate subcommittee, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said that DOL's worker protection agencies, OSHA included, had lost 14% of their staff over the previous four years. hrdive.com

Retailers Continue to Respond to Abortion Ruling
(Update) How retailers are responding to the Roe v. Wade ruling

The rollout of companies voicing support for abortion access continues, with brands like J. Crew, Sephora and Adore Me making public statements.

The Supreme Court's decision to overturn the half century-old constitutional protection of the right to abortion led several retailers and brands to join others in pledging to pay for medical services and travel for employees in need of the medical procedure.

Since Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24, President Biden has signed an executive order to further protect reproductive health care services. Among several directives in the order, it asked the secretary of Health and Human Services to protect medicated abortion and consider updating guidance to physicians for emergency abortion. It also asked the "Chair of the Federal Trade Commission to consider taking steps to protect consumers' privacy when seeking information about and provision of reproductive health care services."

Retailers like Levi's and Amazon had previously released statements to that effect following a leaked draft of the landmark opinion last month. That indication of the high court's reversal on Roe did little to prevent the shock that ensued following the official opinion, spurring protests nationwide, including on the court's own doorstep.

Indeed, companies moving to protect access to abortion have the American public on their side: In a CBS/YouGov poll taken June 24 to 25, a solid majority (59%) in the U.S. disapprove of the ruling, with 64% saying they believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

See how retailers have responded to this hot button political issue here: retaildive.com

Stressed Out Rail Workers Ditching Jobs, Adding to Supply Chain Mess
U.S. supply chain hurt by rail workers being 'ground to dust,' AFL-CIO head says
Efforts by national freight rail carriers to increase efficiency are having the opposite effect, a union official said Tuesday. Demoralized workers are leaving the industry causing delays and damage to the national supply chain, said Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.

Major rail carriers have cut roughly 45,000 positions in the past six years, according to an April 2022 report from the federal Surface Transportation Board. However, the United States had 11.3 million job openings in May, with 4.3 million people quitting their jobs that month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regan said workers are being, "ground to dust," after going three years without a raise and being asked to work long hours to meet surging demand.

Rail labor unions have pointed the finger at an industry practice by carriers called "precision scheduled railroading." Carriers say this practice gives their customers more reliable service, but workers counter its main purpose is to reduce the size of the workforce. Add to this an availability policy put in place by Fort Worth-based BNSF in February, and railroaders are leaving the industry in droves, Regan said. star-telegram.com

Retail Sales Up 1% in June
U.S. retail sales climbed 1% in June as consumers continue to spend despite decades-high inflation
U.S. retail sales climbed in June by more than forecast in a broad advance, suggesting resilient consumer spending despite decades-high inflation and raising the prospects of an even larger Federal Reserve interest-rate hike this month.

The value of overall retail purchases increased 1%, after an upwardly revised 0.1% decline in May, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. The figures aren't adjusted for inflation.

The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.9% advance in overall retail sales from a month earlier. While the figures aren't adjusted for prices, the better-than-expected results indicate that consumer demand is holding up despite Federal Reserve policy aimed at tamping it down. fortune.com

Prices Up, Store Visits Down
Inflation: Coffee visits to Starbucks, Dunkin' drop as record-high inflation takes hold
As inflation reaches new record-highs, more Americans are ditching their daily cup of joe - at least at big coffee chains like Dunkin' and Starbucks.

According to new data from foot traffic analytics platform Placer.ai, coffee visits dropped below quick service restaurants for the first time all year during the month of June due to "a combination of inflation, high gas prices, and the rise in COVID cases," the report noted.

Over the past two years - as the pandemic hammered fast food and dine-in restaurants - coffee consistently kept up its customer visits, outpacing quick-service chains every month between July 2020 and May 2022 when comparing foot traffic to a January 2020 baseline. yahoo.com

2022 Back-to-School Spending On Par with 2021
NRF: Families Prioritize Back-to-School and College Spending Amidst Rising Inflation
As inflation continues to rise, one-third of consumers (38%) said they are cutting back in other spending areas to cover the cost of items for the upcoming school year, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Families expect to spend more per person on both K-12 and college items this year as a result of higher prices.

Total back-to-school spending is expected to match 2021's record high of $37 billion. Families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $864 on school items, approximately $15 more than last year. nrf.com

Securitas receives regulatory approvals for acquisition of Stanley Security

Survey: Middle-income consumers spending less amid recession concerns

Pay hikes not expected to keep up with inflation

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Forbes Interviews Target CISO Rich Agostino
Can The CISO Lead The Customer To Safety And Security?

Forbes interviews Target CISO Rich Agostino on the evolving role of the chief information security officer

I reached out to Jerry Dixon, CISO of cybersecurity technology company, CrowdStrike, (who better to join efforts for such a question, right?) and we started asking just that question, just that way, "How is the role of the CISO emerging as more than just a foundational requirement, but instead as a driver of the transformation itself...?"

Jerry and I decided to pull together a group of CISOs and dig in together. And our first call was to Rich Agostino, CISO of Target, from whom I have learned so much over the years. Rich had a number of points to make about the CISO as a source of competitive advantage.

Leading the Enterprise on Consumer Well-Being

"Cybersecurity isn't marketed in retail as a reason to shop one store over another. But that doesn't mean that cybersecurity is not a huge enabler of growth," says Rich, "...our team of hundreds of in-house security experts help protect Target and our guests against cybercriminals and fraudsters so that our business can continue to smoothly operate and scale."

Protecting the Legitimate Retail Customer from Bots

Bots became more commonplace during the pandemic as people quickly needed and looked for Purell and safety items like that. Now bots appear for big gaming console launches and releases of trading cards and collectibles." Rich explains that his team uses a combination of custom and third-party technology solutions and threat intelligence to identify and block bots.

Reducing Returns Fraud

Many organizations have to rely on stricter return policies to address rising fraud rates which can introduce more friction for consumers. Target took a different approach, leveraging the expertise of their cybersecurity team to create several new tools and processes to analyze transactions from the time of purchase to the time of return. As a result, Target's returns fraud declined significantly. Rich cites this as an example of how the cybersecurity team was able to step in and support a safe and flexible option for guests, ultimately helping to enable a great guest experience.

Read the full interview here: forbes.com

History's Largest Data Heist - Hosted on Alibaba's Cloud Platform
Alibaba Execs Called In by China Authorities as It Investigates Historic Data Heist

Cybersecurity companies say Alibaba's cloud platform that hosted Shanghai's police database used outdated systems that didn't offer ability to set a password

Executives from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s cloud division have been called in for talks by Shanghai authorities in connection with the theft of a vast police database, according to people familiar with the matter, adding urgency to an internal investigation by the Chinese tech giant into how one of history's largest data heists was allowed to happen.

The investigation revolves around a cache of sensitive Shanghai police data on an estimated nearly one billion Chinese citizens, which was offered for sale online for the equivalent of roughly $200,000 in late June. Cybersecurity researchers said a dashboard for managing the database had been left open on the public internet without a password for more than a year, making it easy to pilfer and erase its contents.

Based on scans of the database, the researchers concluded that it was hosted on Alibaba's cloud platform. Company employees also confirmed the relationship. Senior managers from Alibaba and its cloud unit gathered virtually to formulate an emergency response on July 1, after an anonymous seller posted an advertisement for the data and provided a sample of it in a cybercrime forum, according to people briefed on the meeting.

Executives called in for meetings with the Shanghai authorities include Alibaba Cloud Vice President Chen Xuesong, who was recently hired to lead the unit's digital public-security business, according to people familiar with the matter.

Since the theft was discovered, Alibaba engineers have temporarily disabled all access to the breached database and have begun inspecting related code, some employees familiar with the response said. The reasons for the breach haven't yet been determined, they said.

Two cybersecurity companies told The Wall Street Journal the stolen data had been stored on Alibaba's cloud using technology that was several years outdated and lacked basic security features, part of a pattern they detected with more than a dozen other databases hosted by the company.

The breach has highlighted the volumes of data Chinese authorities are collecting through the country's nationwide digital surveillance system, as well as the difficulty the government faces in keeping that data secure. wsj.com

The Cyber & Privacy Implications of AI in Retail
Retailers using AI must tread lightly with privacy laws
Artificial intelligence (AI) is being deployed to help shoppers make better choices, but retailers must be aware of their obligations under personal privacy and cybercrimes laws. This is the view of Wendy Tembedza, a partner at Webber Wentzel. She says the viability of AI-driven consumerism depends on retailers' ability to show they can process personal data responsibly.

AdvertisementThe acceleration of the fourth industrial revolution due to the Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to our general understanding of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is no longer viewed as a creation of science fiction. Instead, it is now understood in relation to its capabilities that allow machines to perform tasks that require human intelligence.

Specifically, AI functions by using complex algorithms to assess large amounts of data and gain insights from the data. The continuous ingestion of data teaches the AI tool to identify patterns and provide insights that can be predictive in nature. Increasingly, retailers are seeing the benefits of using these AI capabilities to better service consumers.

AI can help deliver enhanced customer experiences by making better product suggestions, enabling faster checkouts, and facilitating more convenient in-person shopping. An example of AI in retail can be seen in the use of facial and voice recognition. Walmart, Tesco, and many other established retail brands, use Google or Amazon AI technology to provide customers with simple and quick voice searches.

Retailers are also using AI in virtual fitting rooms which are a great way for customers find the perfect outfit while saving time.

The viability of AI-driven consumerism depends on retailers' ability to show they can process personal data responsibly. While the use of AI creates opportunities for retailers, the deployment of any AI tool in the retail context must be carefully scrutinized for compliance with data protection laws. ventureburn.com

Boosting America's Digital Infrastructure
Biden's cyber strategy expected to boost federal role in protecting critical systems from hackers
A forthcoming White House cybersecurity strategy will likely project a more muscular federal government role to safeguard the nation's digital infrastructure, taking a more aggressive approach than prior administrations to compel industry to do more to prevent U.S. adversaries from hacking critical networks.

Three sources familiar with the work on the document, which is still in the early stages of drafting, described it to CyberScoop. It would be the first national cybersecurity strategy since one drafted under the Trump administration and released in 2018.

"They're taking a look at how to more forcefully use government power in the cyber arena," said one source familiar with the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity like the other two sources because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the draft document. "The sense is that we've not used the full breadth and scope of U.S. power to address some of the underlying systemic cyber issues."

The Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) is leading the drafting, as POLITICO first reported. Its goal is to produce something by September, but one source said the document would "nest" with broader national security strategy documents, so the cybersecurity strategy's timing could be tied to how those documents proceed. Cyber strategy drafts have only recently begun working their way through the interagency review process and being shared with industry, the sources said. cyberscoop.com

FBI Warning: Fraudsters Using Deep Fake Video Interviews For Remote Jobs
Making the rounds in the media outlets

The FBI says fake job applicants are on the prowl. How can HR protect itself?
Once hired, fraudsters could make off with a trove of sensitive client information. FBI Supervisory Special Agent Brian Blauser shared some tips on avoiding the scheme.

Is Cryptocurrency's Crash Causing Headaches for Ransomware Gangs?

New Phishing Kit Hijacks WordPress Sites for PayPal Scam







Amazon's Record-Breaking Prime Day Event
Prime Day 2022 was the Biggest Prime Day Event Ever

Amazon Prime members worldwide saved over $1.7 billion-more than any other Prime Day event

Prime members purchased more than 300 million items worldwide during Prime Day 2022, making this year's event the biggest Prime Day event in Amazon's history. And, more shopping means more savings-Prime members saved over $1.7 billion, more than any previous Prime Day event.

This year was the biggest Prime Day event for Amazon's selling partners, most of whom are small and medium-sized businesses, whose sales growth in Amazon's store outpaced Amazon's retail business. Customers spent over $3 billion on more than 100 million small business items included in the Support Small Businesses to Win Big sweepstakes.

Prime members worldwide purchased more than 100,000 items per minute during this year's Prime Day event. Some of the best-selling categories worldwide this Prime Day were Amazon Devices, Consumer Electronics, and Home. Prime members worldwide did the most shopping from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. PT on Tuesday, July 12 during the entire Prime Day event.

Prime members in the U.S. purchased more than 60,000 items per minute during this year's Prime Day event. Prime members in the U.S. did the most shopping from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. PT on Wednesday, July 13 during the U.S. Prime Day event. Some of the best-selling categories in the U.S. this Prime Day were Consumer Electronics, Household Essentials, and Home. press.aboutamazon.com

Biggest Day of Online Spending This Year
Prime Day 2022 breaks records with $11.9 billion in sales
Early results from the 2022 edition of Amazon Prime Day indicate that consumers were spending more on a larger number of products than ever before.

Prime members purchased more than 300 million items worldwide during Prime Day 2022, the most in Amazon's history. According to official figures from Amazon As usual, Amazon did not release a total sales amount, but said Prime members saved over $1.7 billion, more than any previous Prime Day event.

However, Adobe Digital Economy Index data indicates total U.S. online spend across retailers reached $11.9 billion (including $6 billion on day one and $5.9 billion on day two), representing 8.5% growth compared to $11 billion in Prime Day total online revenue in 2021. The two days of the Prime Day event are the biggest days for U.S. online spending to date in 2022. chainstoreage.com

How Inflation Impacted Prime Day
Inflation reshapes Amazon Prime Day
With its 2022 Prime Day event over, Amazon on Thursday said that, globally, Prime members (the only ones allowed to shop the deals) bought more than 300 million items, surpassing other years. The e-retailer declined to provide the event's revenue.

Still, at a time of peak inflation, consumers kept much of their Prime Day shopping to essentials and smaller purchases, according to Numerator, which found that just 5% of items sold for over $100, while 58% sold for under $20.

As in previous years, Prime Day lifted other U.S. retailers as well, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. U.S. online spending nearly reached $12 billion ($6 billion on Tuesday, $5.9 billion on Wednesday), an 8.5% increase over last year. Stores played a role, with conversion for retailers offering curbside pickup and BOPIS up 20% compared to an average day in June, Adobe said by email.

The burst of online spending during Prime Day was not quite as robust as it seems, given that inflation in the U.S. reached 9.1% in June, according to the latest consumer price index report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. retaildive.com

How To Make The Transition From Brick-And-Mortar To An Online Store: Five Tips






$10M in Retail Losses
Tulsa, OK: Woman who lead Retail Theft Organization that netted $4.5 million pleads guilty
A Tulsa woman who headed a retail theft organization that caused more than $10 million in losses to retailers plead guilty Thursday, according to U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. Linda Ann Been. 49, admitted to leading the operations in a blind plea. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy (Count 1); wire fraud (Counts 2-166); conspiracy to commit wire fraud (Count 167); conspiracy to commit money laundering (Counts 168-169); relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity (Counts 170-214).

Johnson and Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor announced charges against 29 members of the organization who were arrested following a joint law enforcement investigation in January of this year. The investigation was known as "Operation Booster Buster." So far, 16 federal defendants have plead guilty. A "booster" is a person who steals goods and merchandise, specifically, but not limited to OTC from retail stores. "Cities across the United States, including Tulsa, have seen a sharp rise in organized retail theft. The losses drive up costs for retailers which are then passed on to consumers," said Johnson According to state and federal court documents, Been led the ring of "boosters" that netted $4.5 million from the sale of stolen merchandise and over-the-counter stolen products through e-commerce sites, like eBay and Amazon.

Operations were staged out of northeastern Oklahoma and sometimes crossed state lines. Court documents revealed stores targeted included Reasor's, Sprouts, Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco, CVS, GNC, Walgreens and other stores. k95tulsa.com

Agoura, CA: Nearly half a million dollars in luxury goods robbed at Malibu Lumberyard
A brazen robbery in broad daylight occurred at the Malibu Lumberyard shopping center shocking bystanders and store clerks. A crew of six Black male and female suspects, wearing masks and hoodies entered the luxury goods store Maxfield on Tuesday July 12 at 2 p.m. The robbers pushed past the store's security guard and grabbed armloads of "high-end" designer handbags. The crew then quickly raced out of the store and across Cross Creek Road and were seen getting into two separate vehicles. No license plates were noticed. The security guard and a female employee rushed out of the store to give chase, but the suspects got away.
Employees at the retailer confirmed that no one was injured during the felony robbery. They were unauthorized to speak about the incident and seemed shaken after the brazen crime. A spokesperson at the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station said the robbers may have made off with nearly half-a-million dollars in merchandise. There have been similar crimes reported in Westlake Village in Lost Hills' jurisdiction and of course elsewhere in California in recent months.  malibutimes.com

San Francisco, CA: SFPD seize $200,000 in stolen retail items as part of fencing-operation bust
Police in San Francisco announced an arrest and the seizure of nearly $200,000 worth of stolen over-the-counter medication and personal care products. SFPD said on Thursday that the four-month investigation uncovered an illegal retail theft fencing operation. Police said the investigation launched earlier this year and that information was provided to them by retailers. Sergio Manuel Puga-Tenorio, 38, of San Francisco was arrested as the primary suspect in the operation. Police obtained a search warrant Wednesday and found the stolen goods in the suspect's Milton Street home in the Ingleside District.  ktvu.com

Oshtemo Township, MI: Gone in 60 seconds: $16,000 stolen in flash mob thefts at Kalamazoo County beauty store
They came in a group, and they didn't stay long, but they got away with more than $16,000 dollars worth of merchandise, according to the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office. A 30-second surveillance video clip from the Ulta Beauty on W. Main Street captured more than a dozen people grabbing anything and everything they can, as fast as they can. "They're so fast, they're so fast," said Cassie Sanders and Danny Wallen, reacting to video shown to them by News Channel 3. About 13 people can be seen in the surveillance footage loading multiple items into bags inside of the store before running out after being confronted by employees. wwmt.com

Coral Springs, FL: Video shows suspects in several jewelry heists in South Florida
Detectives are searching for two women who are suspects in a series of jewelry thefts in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Surveillance video shows them stealing from a kiosk at the Coral Square Mall, at 9469 W. Atlantic Blvd., in Coral Springs, police said. The kiosk vendor accused the two women of running away with about $10,000 worth of jewelry. Detectives are investigating similar heists in Doral and Boynton Beach. Officers arrested three women from Miami on Monday after accusing them of attempting to steal jewelry at Royal Jewelers in the Treasure Coast Mall. local10.com

Memphis, TN: 10 men involved in smash-and-grab at liquor store, $7500 of merchandise stolen
Memphis Police Department is searching for 10 men people of breaking into a liquor store and stealing thousands of dollars worth of items. The burglary happened at Charlie's Wine and Spirits on Kirby Whitten Road just after 2 a.m. on July 12. Police say the front window was smashed with a sledgehammer. The suspects then grabbed items and walked out with about $7,500 worth of liquor. actionnews5.com

Update: Greenley, CO: Two people accused of stealing nearly $180,000-worth of vehicles from dealerships in Weld, Larimer counties
Two people are accused of stealing $180,000-worth of vehicles from several dealerships in Weld and Larimer counties last year. Last week, a Weld County grand jury indicted Amanda Johnson and Jose Luis Pizarro on more than 50 felony charges related to an auto theft scheme, including one count each of violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act. thedenverchannel.com

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Shootings & Deaths

Forestville, MD: Man killed outside Domino's Pizza in Prince George's County
A man was killed Thursday evening outside a Domino's Pizza in Forestville, Md., and police said the shooter is still at large. Prince George's County police said the shooting occurred about 5:45 p.m. One man was found on the sidewalk outside the pizza place, which is in a strip mall at the corner of Marlboro Pike and Donnell Drive. He had multiple gunshot wounds and succumbed to his injuries after being taken to the hospital. No one is in custody and police did not provide a description of the shooter. County Police Cpl. Antonia Washington said she could not confirm whether either the victim or the perpetrator worked in the shopping center. washingtonpost.com

Detroit, MI: 20 year-old man charged with first-degree murder in shooting death of man outside liquor store
A 20-year-old Detroit man has been arrested and will be charged with first-degree murder after a 48-year-old man was shot and killed at a liquor store on the city's west side Monday afternoon. Terrance Lewis is accused of shooting Francisco O'Neal, also of Detroit, on July 11 in the area of West Warren and Grandville Avenues. Lewis is expected to be arraigned Friday on one count each of first-degree murder, felon in possession and felony firearm. audacy.com

Elkhart County, IN: Update: Man who killed couple at Papa John's sentenced for their murders
The man who killed Haley Smith and Dustin Carr at the Papa John's in February has been sentenced for two counts of murder. Jose Benitez Tilley Jr was sentenced to 65 years in prison for each count of murder. The sentences will be served concurrently. The abuse of a corpse charge has been dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Court records show at 10:11 a.m. on February 12, Elkhart Police were called to the Papa John's on Cassopolis Street when an employee showed up that morning and located the bodies of Haley Smith and Dustin Carr. They had both closed the store the night before, reports said. Two witnesses told police Benitez Tilley was with the two victims late the night before. A witness told investigators Benitez Tilley was a former employee of Papa John's and they have issues with him in the past. He said the suspect had been at the restaurant on February 12 at approximately 10 p.m. asking for a job.  abc57.com

Osceola County, FL: Update: Theft charges dropped against 2 men hurt in deputy shooting at Osceola County Target
The theft charges against two men who were hurt in a shooting by Osceola County deputies in a Target parking lot were dropped, according to court filings. Records show a no information notice was filed in the cases against Michael Gomez, 18, and Joseph Lowe, 19. "From the investigation which has been made, it is the opinion of the writer that this case is not suitable for prosecution," the notice reads. Gomez and Lowe both faced a charge of petit theft stemming from a shoplifting incident that ended in a deputy shooting, records show. The fatal shooting happened near the store at 4795 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in April. Jayden Baez, 20, was killed by the gunfire. clickorlando.com

Louisville, KY: Man charged with attempted murder after shooting at C-store
A Louisville man has been arrested after police said he attempted to shoot and kill a woman inside a Manslick Road convenience store. Desmine Croom, 28, was charged with attempted murder and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, according to court documents. Louisville Metro Police said Croom had entered the Manslick One Stop on Manslick Road on Saturday and noticed the victim inside the store. According to documents, Croom followed the woman through the store as she was trying to get away from him. Police said Croom grabbed the woman, who then tried to get away. Croom then smacked the woman in the back of the head. Officials said Croom picked up a large chair and tried to throw it at the woman before he was stopped by a bystander inside the store. Croom then pulled a gun out of his waistband and pointed it at the woman. As she went down the store aisle, Croom fired the gun towards her and missed, documents state. The woman crouched down to hide from Croom, who then left the store. wave3.com

Winston-Salem, NC: Winston-Salem man is arrested after an exchange of gunfire at a grocery store; no injuries reported
A man was arrested Thursday night after an exchange of gunfire in front of Kristy's Food Mart in the 2600 block of North Liberty Street. Police said multiple bullets struck the business, where many customers were shopping at the time, but no injuries were reported. journalnow.com


Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

Ann Arbor, MI: Decoy pill bottle leads to arrest of suspect in several CVS pharmacy robberies
A man suspected of robbing a CVS pharmacy in Ann Arbor in June is facing federal charges after his run of robbing CVS locations in southeast Michigan came to an end with the help of the FBI and a decoy pill bottle. Kristopher Kukola, 37, was indicted, July 8, on one federal count of pharmacy robbery after FBI agents found there was probable cause to believe he had robbed five CVS pharmacies between May and July, demanding narcotics, according to a federal complaint filed in the United States District Court Eastern District of Michigan. The FBI Detroit Violent Crime Task Force began investigating a string of armed robberies of CVS pharmacies in southeast Michigan in June. In the robberies, the suspect stole a variety of narcotics including Norco, Vicodin, Adderall, Percocet, Xanex, Codeine and Oxycodone. mlive.com

Houston, TX: Leader of robbery "rip crew" sentenced to 26 years in prison following investigation by HSI Houston, HPD
Jose Salomon Madrid-Paz, a 59-year-old unlawfully present Honduran national, was sentenced in the Southern District of Texas to 26 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $30,400 in restitution for interference of commerce by robbery and using a firearm during a crime of violence. He pleaded guilty to the charges Jan. 10.  ice.gov

Myrtle Beach, SC: 21-year-old man charged with throwing lit firework into store

Miami Gardens, FL: Man arrested in connection with attack at UPS Store

Porch piracy now a felony in Kentucky



Louisville, KY: Feds seize $300K of counterfeit pro sports merchandise in Louisville, Indianapolis
Federal agents stopped almost $300,000 of counterfeit sports items in Louisville and Indianapolis this week. According to a news release, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Louisville and Indianapolis seized 178 counterfeit championship rings and 171 counterfeit professional sports jerseys. The counterfeit items would have combined to be $288,350 if sold at Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. The jerseys included NBA, MLB and NFL teams. The sports apparel was headed for Bakersfield, Calif., University Park, Ill. and West Chapel, Fla. wdrb.com



AT&T - Evansville, IN - Robbery
Antiques - Glenview, IL - Armed Robbery
Auto - Rogersville, TN - Robbery
C-Store - Hopewell, VA - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Winston-Salem, NC - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Philadelphia, PA - Armed Robbery
Family Dollar - Sharpsburg, NC - Robbery
Grocery - Manheim Township, PA - Robbery
Grocery - Tulare County, CA - Armed Robbery
Grocery - Annsville, NY - Armed Robbery
Jewelry - Los Angeles, CA - Burglary
Jewelry - Coral Springs, FL - Robbery
Jewelry - Colorado Springs, CO - Burglary
Jewelry - Moorestown, NJ - Burglary
Jewelry - Nashville, TN - Robbery
Jewelry - Ridgeland, MS - Robbery
Jewelry - Chesterfield, MO - Robbery
Jewelry -, CA -Robbery
Jewelry - Springfield, VA - Robbery
Jewelry - Paramus, NJ - Robbery
Liquor - Memphis, TN - Burglary
Pharmacy - Jackson, MS - Burglary
Restaurant - Hillsborough, NC - Robbery
Restaurant - Queens, NY - Burglary (Dunkin)
Sport - Costa Mesa, CA - Burglary
UPS - Miami Gardens, FL - Armed Robbery
7-Eleven - Estero, FL - Armed Robbery


Daily Totals:
• 20 robberies
• 7 burglaries
• 0 shootings
• 0 killed


Weekly Totals:
• 92 robberies
• 31 burglaries
• 9 shooting
• 7 killed

Click to enlarge map



None to report.

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