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Learning from larceny, SXSW crowdsourcing and tracking business incentives

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Sandia applies the lessons of larceny

Researchers charged with helping defend U.S. nuclear assets and other complex federal systems are looking into how data mined from high-profile, big-money jewel and bank heists can inform their work.

"There are many insights to be gained from studying high-value heists and related crimes that could be applied to Sandia's work in physical security," Sandia National Labs systems analyst Jarret Lafleur said in an Aug. 19 statement. "Our work focuses on securing nuclear materials and other assets. Those kinds of attacks and threats are extremely rare, which is good, but give us very little historical information to draw upon."

A team of researchers that includes LaFluer, published research in a report, "The Perfect Heist: Recipes from Around the World," that leverages details from 23 craftily executed crimes, including the 2003 Antwerp diamond heist in Belgium that saw thieves sneak past a ring of police, into a secured building, and past motion sensors to break into a supposedly impregnable vault and make off with hundreds of millions of dollars in diamonds. Data points from other audacious, high-end crimes, like the 1999 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist in Boston, in which burglars posed as police officers to fool and subdue museum guards, were also used by the researchers to compile the Heist Methods and Characteristics Database.

The Sandia researchers analyzed the results qualitatively and quantitatively to describe the range and diversity of criminal methods and identify characteristics that are common or uncommon in such high-value heists. The analysis, said the lab, focused on seven areas: defeated security measures and devices; deception methods; timing and target selection; weapons employed; resources and risk acceptance; insiders; and failures and mistakes.

"I learned from this study that these thieves have a lot of patience. Most spent months and even years planning. They were very deliberate in how they defeated security measures and those methods were often very low-tech, like using hair spray to disable infrared sensors," said Lafleur. "In most of these heists, multiple security measures were defeated."

ODNI taps SXSW hive mind for advice on future threats

The National Intelligence Council is working on the sixth edition of the Global Trends report, forecasting social, economic and political trends through 2035. Written for the incoming president, and due to be released in 2016, the document stands to influence high-level thinking about global demographics, governance, the impact of technology, the distribution of natural resources and the influence of the United States on the international stage.

Naturally, the intelligence community is seeking input from only the most knowledgeable sources ... like the audience at the annual South by Southwest Interactive conference, to be held in Austin next March.

Suzanne Fry of the National Intelligence Council will be co-hosting a discussion with University of California-Berkeley professor Steve Weber, and they're seeking input now on possible topics, including questions of how robotics and manufacturing automation will affect employment, how technology will alter relationships with between governments and citizens, and steps governments can take to better understand the forces of change in play across different societies.

Click here to upvote the panel at the SXSW site, and to contribute ideas in the comments.

Commerce plans database of state business incentives

SelectUSA, a Commerce Department effort to encourage business investment in the United States, wants to build a database of business incentives offered by states, GCN reports.

A request for information on FedBizOpps describes the State Business Incentives Database as a comprehensive, searchable and regularly updated web-based database of all business incentives offered by states.

Report: Nuclear regulator hacked by foreigners

Computers at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were hacked twice by foreigners in the last three years, Nextgov reports, citing an IG report from the commission. The IG report did not specifying the nationality or nationalities of the hackers.

The NRC is the country's regulator of commercial nuclear power.

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