Greetings, my name is David A. Santiago also known as @DavidSecurity and for over 15 years I’ve been assisting organizations operating in HIGH threat environments.
Security without Risk Management is wishful thinking!
My GOAL is to provide organizations with practical and actionable information so that they can operate safely in a cost effective manner.
Security Risk Management is the ongoing process of identifying security risks and implementing plans to address them.
Risk is determined by considering the likelihood that known threats will exploit vulnerabilities and the impact they have on valuable assets.
Mitigating risk through timely information
Timely & Actionable information allows you to stay ahead of the headlines. It enables your organization to assess risk and take proactive steps that will keep your business operations steady in a chaotic world.
With the support of our network and security partners, we are able to provide an in-depth knowledge of the region or regions you’re working in, along with updates and insights on issues and trends that can directly affect your business.
Of course I can write a book on this topic but the best way to experience the power of timely information is to test our service.
Contact us for a FREE DEMO.
- Tunisia chooses regional curfews instead of a country wide shutdown.
- Tunisia’s Prime Minister on Monday ordered a curfew starting from Tuesday in all regions of the country.
- Coronavirus cases are surging in Tunisia, which had managed to contain the virus earlier in the year.
Tunisia Pandemic Success
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
On Monday, October 20th Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi had to address the media to clarify an important point. Over the weekend various media outlets reported that Tunisia would enforce a country wide curfew. This rang alarm bells for many including security professionals like myself that monitor the situation in Tunisia from a security risk management perspective.
Coronavirus cases have been surging in Tunisia, which had managed to contain the virus earlier in the year, and have now reached more than 40,000.
Tunisia Under Regional Curfew
Instead of a country wide curfew, the Prime Minster stated that he gave governors the power to order Regional Curfews in response to the surge of coronavirus cases.
- Much of Tunisia is under a curfew in effect from 21:00 to 05:00 (local time) Monday to Friday, with a longer 19:00 to 05:00 curfew in place at weekends, for 15 days until October 23.
- Face masks remain mandatory in public places nationwide. Schools remain closed though universities have reopened following strict hygiene measures. Nonessential businesses are permitted to resume operations at 70 percent capacity. Restaurants and cafes have reopened, following social distancing regulations. Public transport is also operating at 50 percent capacity.
Here’s a headline from June 15th: Tunisia has beaten coronavirus: prime minister, Elyes Fakhfakh announces country’s victory over COVID-19.
For months, Tunisia was viewed as one of the first countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to successfully contain the coronavirus outbreak. I even wrote an article about how the “Tunisian Model” could potentially be used by the travel industry as a case study of how to operate post COVID.
The country recorded zero new cases for five consecutive days starting May 11, completed its deconfinement plan between May 4 and June 14, opened its borders for tourism starting June 27, and resumed normal economic activity.
By August I was ringing the alarm bells!
As of July 17, Tunisia had performed over 81,300 tests. It had recorded 1,327 total contaminations, 1,093 recovered patients, and 50 total deaths. Compared to the rest of the region, Tunisia has good COVID-19 mortality and recovery rates (3.8 percent and 82.4 percent respectively).
The first cases recorded in Tunisia was in early March. Giving credit where credit is due the government responded swiftly with a comprehensive set of measures aiming to slow the virus’ progression. The Tunisian response included:
- Suspension of all travel,
- mandated working from home for non-essential workers,
- closed mosques, imposed mandatory confinement and nightly curfews,
- shut down schools and businesses, and banned public gatherings.
- Military and police forces were tasked with ensuring that these instructions were followed.
And then Summer happened…
On June 27, Tunisia reopened the country’s international land, sea, and air borders. Tunisia’s Minister of Tourism Mohamed Ali Toumi has tried to reassure foreigners that the country is ready and safe for tourism while promoting the country’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The chains of the virus transmission are primarily linked to gatherings, including weddings. Chains of transmission have also been observed in some factories.”-Nissaf Ben Alaya, director general of the National Observatory for New and Emerging Diseases
Tunisia hopes that by giving regional governors the power to order curfews they will restrict night time gatherings without shutting what is left of their economy.
As if the pandemic wasn’t bad enough, Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi said on Sunday that his country is undergoing a critical financial situation as a result of the ongoing stifling crisis which has led to a reduction in the 2021 budget.
This will only make the situation even more challenging!
We will continue to monitor the situation in Tunisia by providing up to date analysis and support. Currently, our COVID-19 Security Portal which provides advanced tactical and in-depth forecasting, is proving to be an effective tool for organizations operating in Tunisia.
Request Access to our COVID-19 Security Portal:
Nobody likes to be called a dummy. Especially a well educated professional like yourself but what if I was able to convince you that when it comes to Cybersecurity, taking the “dummy approach” may be your best mitigation strategy.
The numbers are alarming. According to the FBI the number of complaints about cyberattacks to their Cyber Division is up to as many as 4,000 a day. That represents a 400% increase from what they were seeing pre-coronavirus.
The headlines don’t lie, cyber-criminals are intensifying their attacks and going for everything from personal information to consumer data. While they may not have any ethics, they are not stupid.
Let me ask you a question: If you had to pick a house to break into. Would you pick house#1 with the state of the art security, anti-climb fence, and K-9s? Or house#2 with the windows slightly open, mail piled up, and no car in the garage?
Pretty easy choice..wouldn’t you agree?
Cybercriminals think the same way. While it is true that each day more and more companies are experiencing increasingly sophisticated attacks, cybercriminals are always on the lookout for easy targets.
Online, the easiest targets are individuals and usually small businesses that take little to no precautions.
Enter the Dummy Approach
Let’s face it cybersecurity is COMPLICATED. Disagree? Well consider this:
- There is a hack attack every 39 seconds.
- Around 94% of all malware is spread through email.
- 300,000 thousand new pieces of malware are created daily.
- 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error.
The fact is that we are living in a fast paced and ever complicated world. There’s simply too many threats and too much information for us to catch up. Instead of trying to keep up with everything we can approach cybersecurity as a Dummy. Please allow me to explain.
When I said like a “dummy”, I use the term as an avid reader of the Dummies series. They are extensive series of instructional/reference books which are intended to present non-intimidating guides for readers new to a particular topic.
“Dummies has always stood for taking on complex concepts and making them easy to understand.”
Now, this article is by no means a review of the excellent book Cybersecurity for dummies. More than just reading a book, the point we are making is that when it comes to Cybersecurity the “dummies approach” is effective. The genius about the Dummies series is that they empower readers with actionable knowledge that they can apply to their daily lives.
With that, here 5 Cybersecurity for Dummies Tips that will help you cyber-protect yourself, family and business.
5 Helpful Cybersecurity for Dummies tips…
- 1. Acknowledge the Risk: Cybersecurity for Dummies makes a simple yet alarming claim:
“Every person, business, organization, and government entity is a potential target for hackers. People who think that they do not have anything of value and “why would hackers want to attack me?” often act without proper diligence and learn quite quickly how wrong their perspective is.”
Dummy Tip#1: By acknowledging the risk you are more likely to take practical measures to protect yourself.
- 2. Passwords Are Important: A recent study on passwords showed that “despite ubiquitous warnings not to do so, a large number of people still use weak passwords such as “123456” or “password”.
Dummy Tip#2: Avoid weak passwords. Even better use multi-factor authentication when it is available. Multi-factor authentication should be used whenever possible because it immediately neutralizes the risks associated with compromised passwords by adding an additional layer of security to protect highly sensitive personal information.
- 3. Don’t go cheap: The average hack can be easily prevented with a base level of awareness and effective software. Modern security software dramatically increase the odds of a person fending off a whole slew of potential cybersecurity problems, including malware, breaches, spam overloads, and others. Add on a strong cybersecurity awareness foundation and you have yourself a fordable cybersecurity posture.
Dummy Tip#3: You owe it to yourself, your family, and your business to invest in the latest software and cybersecurity awareness training.
Cybersecurity has never been more challenging than it is today and with new threats arising daily it is only going to get more complicated. While this may seem overwhelming at first, there is a lot we can do to reduce the risks we face.
By adopting a practical yet effective approach as outlined in Cybersecurity for Dummies we can strengthen our cyberscurity posture without be an IT professional.
Small town in friendly Tunisia made the “10 Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions” in Africa list?? Let’s talk SECURITY!
@DavidSecurity here once again keeping you up to date on the latest Travel Security Updates on everything from travel warnings to personal security awareness.
I recently came across an article with the catchy headline Top 10 most dangerous tourist attractions in Africa. As an expat that lived for over 10 years in North Africa, I have to say that the headline grabbed my attention.
Breaking down the Top 10 List-VIDEO
Top 10 Most Dangerous Tourist Destinations in Africa…
The article written by Adaobi Onyeakagbu was very descriptive and informative. I loved the 1st question:
“Is a good adventure story worth risking your life? Let’s leave you to decide from a list of beautiful tourist attractions in Africa that can actually kill you.“
The question was powerful and it immediately grabbed my attention. You see as a security professional, I believe that with the right mindset, awareness, and set up virtually NO PLACE is off-limits to tourists.
Get the latest Travel Security UPDATES, International Security Jobs List, Travel Offers and more in your INBOX
“They don’t call it the Devil’s Pool for no reason! This naturally formed rock pool is located at the very edge of the majestic Victoria Falls on the Zambia side (the other side of the falls is in Zimbabwe). Some tourists are daring enough to swim in it. Some go even further and dangle their legs off the side.
Swimming can only take place between September and December when a natural rock barrier forms, but it is still extremely dangerous. Several people have plunged to their death from the Devil’s Pool, including one famous tour guide, who managed to save one of his charges who had started to fall. Unfortunately, he slipped during the rescue and lost his own life instead. You can marvel at the beauty of Victoria Falls without risking your life, so why not do that?”
How did Tunisia Make the List?
I was literally shocked when I came across the 8th so-called most dangerous place in Africa. 8. Tatooine, Tunisia.
According to the Article:
8. Tataouine, Tunisia
“This one is for all the Star Wars fans out there planning a visit to Tunisia. You may be familiar with Tataouine as the fictional village of Tatooine in George Lucas’s Star Wars films. The Skywalker farm buildings were left there after filming and have since attracted thousands of Star Wars fans to the area.
Unfortunately, it appears that the region is no longer safe for tourists to visit, so you may have to put your tour on hold for now. Recent terrorist activity in nearby Libya has made the area of Tataouine unstable, as it is in the path of traveling jihadists hoping to join infamous terrorist group, ISIS. Tourists have already perished in Tunisia, after an attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis left 19 dead. Best to leave it until there’s no further risk of attacks, we think.“
Tataouine is UNIQUE!
Anybody that’s ever been to Tataouine, Tunisia know 3 facts about the sleepy town:It’s quite literally in the middle of NO WHERE!
1. It is literally in the middle of nowhere!
Tataouine is the southernmost of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia, the only one to border both Algeria and Libya (a geographical fact that makes people think it is “dangerous”). While it has a population of 149,453 you wouldn’t know it if you visited town as it is as lay back as you can get.
2. The star wars set are…shall we say aged…
Tataouine is the town that inspired George Lucas to name his fictional desert planet Tatooine. The sets are visible in the desert nearly four decades after the first film was filmed! Although there’ve been several attempts to revive the area the sets have to face the harsh sand dunes.
3. The locals are very welcoming…
During your trip to Tataouine, you’ll notice the breathtaking desert landscapes, colorful markets and of course friendly people.
Tataouine is NOT “Dangerous”…
Now I know that it’s true that the region is facing challenges especially in nearby Libya but still I know that there are 100 other places more “DANERGOUS” in Africa. In fact, you’re properly more likely to get pickpocketed in a major Western city then you are to be kidnapped in Tatotourine IF you practice basic security awareness.
Well let me know what you think. Especially if you’ve ever visited Tatoonie or maybe you clicked on this video because you’re a big start wars fan in which case I say….May be the force be with you!
-Tunisia declared VICTORY over the pandemic on June 15th.
-Since then Tunisia recorded 983 COVID-19 cases, 424 out of them imported and 559 locally transmitted.
On June 15th 2020 Tunisia’s prime minster held a press conference to declare victory over the pandemic.
The former prime minster stated that his country had achieved a victory against the novel virus and pointed to the convincing statistic that Tunisia had no NEW CASES to report.
Fakhfakh made the statement on a local TV channel, saying Tunisians should be proud of themselves for beating the virus.
“We came out of this crisis with really important health consequences and the least damage,” he said.
He noted that the country would reopen its borders on June 27.
Rush to Reopen…
For tour operators and the hospitality sector in Tunisia, March through June is typically one of the busiest times of the year.
On top of this: “2020 was set up to be our best year in terms of sales and numbers of tours, and even size of tours. We had big group tours coming,” said Joshua Mok, who works at Mosaic North Africa, a Canadian company that offers private tours in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. “
Naturally, the local economy was eager to restart the economy.
Tunisia reopened with a color-coded system to show which countries may enter without restrictions as the government attempts to revitalize tourism, a key sector for the country’s flailing economy.
Tunisia’s color-coded system…
The government of Tunisia divided countries into three zones (red, orange, and green) based on the number of cases and epidemiological situation in each country. While they continue to revise the list as the pandemic evolves here’s a quick breakdown:
· “Red List” Countries (including the United States): for citizens and official residents of “red” countries, only Tunisians may enter Tunisia.
· “Orange List” Countries: for citizens and official residents of “orange” countries, Tunisians and tourists may enter Tunisia providing they present a negative COVID-19 lab test, with results received within 72 hours before travel to Tunisia and the analysis conducted no more than 120 hours prior to arrival.
· “Green List” Countries: for citizens and official residents of “green” countries, everyone may enter Tunisia without a test.
In addition to the testing requirement, all individuals, regardless of nationality, are required to quarantine upon arrival, with Tunisians in mandatory self-quarantine at their homes and tourists in a seven-day quarantine at a hotel at their own expense. Tourists remaining past seven days may pay for a COVID-19 test the sixth day and, if negative, may leave the hotel.
Citizens of the UK interested in traveling to Tunisia were very confused. Within a matter of 30-days they went from Orange to Green…back to Orange…and quite possibly back to Green in the coming days.
UK FCO Travel to Tunisia Guidelines
- The UK is classified as an “Orange” country. This means that visitors from the UK wishing to travel to Tunisia must take a PCR test (which detects the presence of the virus) 72 hours before they travel. From the 26 August, all visitors to Tunisia, regardless of where they fly from, must take a PCR test 72 hours before they travel.
- You must show evidence of your negative test result at the airport when you arrive in Tunisia.
- Upon arrival in Tunisia you must self-isolate at your hotel or place of residence for 14 days.
- If you wish to pay for an additional PCR test after seven days of self-isolation, you can do so at your own expense. If the result of this second test is negative you will be permitted to end your quarantine early.
- Upon entry you must sign a declaration to confirm that you will abide by these rules.
- The Tunisian authorities are updating country classifications regularly so please ensure you check these pages for the latest status before travelling.
See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel. (UPDATED on August 21, 2020)
Did Tunisia reopen too soon?
Tunisia recorded 983 COVID-19 cases, 424 out of them imported and 559 locally transmitted, in addition to six deaths.
The horizontal growth of cases pushed the country to reconsider the “VICTORY” label and restart the battle against the pandemic across the country.
The Director of Tunisia’s National Observatory for New and Emerging Diseases warned that the epidemiological situation in the country is “critical” after an increase in the number of Covid-19 infections.
So did Tunisia reopen too soon? It appears they did. This could be a result of several factors including increase travelers, increase testing, and increase social activities (wedding season) throughout the country.
Tunisia showed the world the 1st time around that they were more than capable of handling this pandemic. Let’s hope they use that experience to put balance measures in place so that that they can once again claim “victory”.
@DavidSecurity once again with your Technology Tuesday Update in less the 60 seconds and today we’re looking at a new report that examines the pandemic’s IMPACT on Cyber Security
The report is from the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) which a community of international cyber security professionals.
According to this report, the pandemic has presented a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for hackers and online scammers”.
The pandemic has led to an increase in attempted cyber attacks, the report said, with 20% citing a significant increase in attempted attacks and 43% noting a slight increase in attempted attacks.
As part of their research the organizations surveyed 364 cyber security and IT professionals from the global ISSA member list in April 2020, and found that respondents experienced a 63% increase in cyber attacks because of the pandemic.
On a positive note, the health crisis and work from home strategies have led to some improvement in collaboration.
That’s your 60 second technology update. Stay safe and have a great day!
All the information you need to be SECURITY READY for the week!
Top Security News in the United States–Riot declared in Portland as protest turns violent… Read full article
Top International Security News–Thousands on streets of Belarus demand resignation of President Lukashenko. More INFO
Travel Security–TSA: July air travel down 75% from 2019, but gun confiscation rates TRIPLE…Read full article
Cyber Security–With more and more of us relying on our smart phones for work. Check out 9 Apps to Boost Your Phone’s Security. More INFO
Monday Motivational Quote–“Magic is believing in yourself. IF you can make that happen, you can make ANYTHING happen.”-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Summary VIDEO: Can UK residents Travel to Tunisia?
Can UK residents travel to Tunisia?
According to the Foreign Office, all but essential travel is advised for the entire country, excluding a number of regions where all travel is banned.
The border with Libya is advised against, along with the Chaambi Mountains National Park.
Holiday hotspots including Hammamet, Sousse and Monastir remain off the list.
It is also not included on the air bridge list, meaning Brits can face a two-week quarantine when returning to the UK from Tunisia.
The travel ban means Brits won’t be protected by insurance if something happens abroad.
Will you have to quarantine when entering Tunisia?
Despite this, Tunisia is allowing UK tourists to enter the country with no restrictions.
This means no rules or testing before departing or self-isolation on arrival.
The UK is on the green list meaning it is considered a safe country – countries on the orange or red list face additional testing and quarantine.
However, the UK Foreign Office warns: “The Tunisian authorities are updating country classifications regularly so please ensure you check these pages for the latest status before travelling.”
Are flights to Tunisia running?
Charter flights to Tunisia have resumed from today from some European locations – commercial airlines are yet to resume a normal schedule from the UK.
Air, land and sea borders resumed from June 27 from a number of countries, the Minister of Tourism, Mohamed Ali Toumi, confirmed.
Transport Minister Anouar Maârouf added: “We’re in discussions with all the countries we had direct flights with and talks are ongoing.”
Holidaymakers from France, Germany and Luxembourg returned earlier this week – Brits are yet to.
Article Key Points:
- 5-member cell was planning attacks against security headquarters and patrols
- The threat remains focused on state targets.
- No travel alerts were issued by the USA & UK regarding this incident.
Tunisia security forces arrested a terrorist cell planning to carry out attacks in the country, according to the Interior Ministry on Wednesday.
A ministry statement said the 5-member cell was planning attacks on security headquarters and patrols.
Stakes are HIGH as Tunisia Welcomes back tourists…
According to the ministry, some of the cell’s members had attempted to join militants holed up in the mountains for training on making explosives.
In April, Tunisian security forces arrested a terror group for planning to target security and other vital installations in the country.
In May, the authorities said a Daesh/ISIS militant was arrested.
Tunisia suffered a number of terrorist attacks since 2013 that claimed the lives of scores of security and military personnel and foreign tourists.- Source: Anadolu Agency
Operating in Tunisia?
Find out how you can have access to reliable security information & support.
- Only a handful of countries are still welcoming US Citizens.
- All of the countries OPEN to US Citizens have certain restrictions.
- One country that CNN mistakenly put on it’s “Open to US Citizens” list.
- Travel prediction: When this 1 thing happens countries will welcome US Citizens with open arms.
It’s hard to believe that there are only a handful of countries welcoming US travelers. A quick look at the list of countries open for US travelers is sobering:
As if the list wasn’t short enough. I researched CNN’s list of countries “OPEN” to US Citizens and discovered that one of them was NOT allowing US Citizens at the time of this writing (July 17, 2020).
As Americans start to go back out they are quickly discovering that when it comes to international travel, their options are limited.
Uncle Sam not traveling anytime soon…
With so many challenges taking place throughout America, international travel may is not high on the list of things to do post quarantine and for the time being Uncle Sam wants to keep it that way.
A US State Department health advisory issued on March 31 advises US citizens to avoid all international travel due to Covid-19, and the CDC’s latest guidance says “travel increases your chances of getting and spreading Covid-19.”
While Americans may be disappointed to cancel their summer vacation to Europe, the International travel & hospitality sector will bear most of economic pain.
Europe will especially feel the pain. On July 1st, European nations reopened their borders to nonessential travelers but the US did not make the selected list.
Simple math gives us an idea of how much pain Europe will endure during the US traveler shutdown.
Tourism contributes 10% to EU GDP and creates jobs for 26 million people. The U.S. is Europe’s main tourist market, in terms of the number of arrivals and spending.
To put it in even simpler terms: The European Commission stated that visitors from the U.S. made up an astonishing half of total hotel nights in 2016 and that number has only risen since then.
While most of the travel news remains doom and gloom, there are countries that have decided not to close the doors on American travelers.
Where US Citizens are allowed to travel to this summer
With the current resurgence of the pandemic it is no surprise that all of the countries open to US Citizens have some sort of condition or quarantine restriction.
List of Countries Open to US Citizens
- Antigua and Barbuda – With Negative Covid-19 test result within 7 days
- ArubaNegative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours for travelers from 24 US states
- BahamasNegative Covid-19 test result within a week before travel
- BarbadosNegative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours
- BelizeDeclaration of no Covid-19 symptoms 72 hours
- BermudaNegative Covid-19 test result within 5 days + $75
- CambodiaNegative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours + $3,000 Covid-19 deposit
- CroatiaNegative Covid-19 test not older than 48 hours presented on arrival
- EcuadorMandatory 14 day quarantine and negative Covid-19 test result within 7 days
- EgyptNegative Covid-19 test result within 48 hours
- French PolynesiaNegative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours
- JamaicaTravelers from New York, Florida, Arizona and Texas must have negative test result within 10 days
- RwandaArrival by private jet or charter only until August 1, then commercial flights will resume
- St. BartsNegative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours
- St. LuciaNegative Covid-19 test result within 7 days
- St. Maarten(Opens August 1 — though subject to change)
- St. Vincent and GrenadinesCovid-19 test on arrival with mandatory 24 hour quarantine while awaiting results
- TanzaniaCovid-19 tests on arrival are possible
- Turks and Caicos(Opens July 22 with restrictions)
- UkraineDownload app, test upon arrival, 24 hours self isolation
- United Arab EmiratesOnly Dubai is open, all other Emirates are closed
- United KingdomSelf-isolate for 14 days
The Travel & Hospitality world can not thrive without the participation of the US travelers. Once again, simple math proves this point:
- US Citizen outbound tourism: Americans take 93.0 Million international outbound trips each year. (Source: https://www.condorferries.co.uk/us-tourism-travel-statistics)
- $1,089 Billion: Yearly American tourism expenditure ($932.7b domestic / $156.3b international) (Source: https://www.condorferries.co.uk/us-tourism-travel-statistics)
Right now the world is being cautious and nobody can blame a country for not wanting to receive tourists from the US due to our high infection rate. That being said once there is a clear mitigation in the form of a vaccine, standardize screening, international cooperation, or a combination of these safety measures; the world will once again open it’s doors to US Citizens.