Employee Travel Security Analyst Reviews France’s Alleged “No-Go” Zones

No-Go Zones and Employee Travel Security

The recent attack by Islamic militants in France has focused attention on the issue of immigration in Europe. Recently, US media outlets have reported on the economically depressed areas in and around Paris, France. Many of these areas have large Muslims populations and have been incorrectly referred to as “No-Go” zones. Although it later recanted, Fox News initially reported that these no-go zones were off limits to non-Muslims. One of the guests on the Fox News network claimed that radical Muslims were governing parts of France through Sharia Law and further radicalizing the country’s Muslims. Although Fox News has made several apologies, the mayor of Paris indicated she would pursue a defamation lawsuit against Fox News.

An Employee Travel Security Analysisimgsecurity.net/ParisNoGo

France’s government has designated hundreds of large urban areas as ZUS: Zones Urbaines Sensibles (ZUS) or sensitive urban areas. Some media reports have claimed that French police do not frequent these areas for fear of attack, but this threat seems to be exaggerated. The ZUS have been identified by the government as areas with higher levels of poverty and crime that require infrastructure improvement and redevelopment.

North African and Middle Eastern immigrants populate many of the ZUS around Paris. The children of these immigrants have been raised in France, but some have had difficulty assimilating fully into French culture. Whether this failure is due to discrimination by French society, or some other cause, is a highly debated topic. Regardless, many of these youth feel alienated and have embraced Islam more fervently than their parent’s generation. Some of these young devotees have turned to a more radical brand of the faith. This may have given rise to the belief that radicalism is flourishing in these large immigrant communities.

Are No-Go Zones an Urban Myth?

So where did the term “No-Go Zone” come from? Daniel Pipes first coined the phrase in 2006 when reporting on the rise of large urban Muslim ghettos. Mr. Pipes has since come out and stated his first report about these areas was erroneous. In fact, Daniel Pipes traveled recently to the French ZUS and found them to be reasonably safe. However, He did note that the areas experience issues such as unemployment, drugs, poverty, and resentment towards the majority population.

Employee Travel Security in and around Paris, France

France has designated 751 Sensitive Urban Zones where infrastructure, crime, and poverty are issues that need to be addressed by the government. An estimated 5 million people live in these zones and many inhabitants are part of France’s minority Muslim population. Although an executive protection firm like IMG would urge caution to those wishing to visit these neighborhoods, it would not recommend barring travel to these areas altogether.

Learn More About IMG’s Experience in Executive Protection and Employee Travel Security

IMG has extensive experience in executive protection and employee travel security. To learn more about the solutions offered by IMG, please visit: http://www.theimg.com/travel-executivesecurity.html

About the IMG Group

The IMG Group is a leading executive protection and employee travel security firm. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for thorough executive protection management can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as employee travel security, VIP and executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, protective services, crisis management planning, and more.

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International Travel Security Update: Terror Attack in Paris, France

International Travel Security Incident: Paris, France

International Travel Security Update: Terror Attack in Paris, France

The latest international travel security incident occurred on January 7th in Paris, France.  Terrorists launched an attack that resulted in the loss of 17 lives. The terrorists, a group of radicalized Islamic militants, targeted the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish grocery store. After the attacks, French citizens took to the streets in protest, resulting in the largest demonstrations in French history. People protested the attacks with signs that read, “Freedom” and “I am Charlie” (Charlie Hebdo) alongside world leaders like Angela Merkel and Benjamin Netanyahu. The recent attacks by Islamic militants have focused attention on the millions of Muslim immigrants living in France. Unfortunately, many of these immigrants are poor and live in urban ghettos.  Hundreds of these neighborhoods are classified as “Sensitive Urban Areas” by the French government.

Charlie Hebdo is a well-known satirical newspaper in France. The terrorists targeted the paper because the firm had published demeaning cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The suspects, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, entered into the newspaper office building at 11:30 am with automatic rifles and proceeded through the building calmly. They even asked for directions from a maintenance man before killing him. Once they entered the newspaper’s office, they targeted the cartoonists, calling out the names of the victims before shooting them.

Fleeing from the massacre, the suspects tried to get away by car but were initially blocked by police. After a brief gun battle in the streets, they escaped south, firing at another police officer. One of the gunmen got out of the vehicle, and walked up to the injured police officer and executed him at close range. The car was later found abandoned and Molotov cocktails and ISIS flags were found within the vehicle.

In the Wake of the Attack: A International Security Analysis

The day after the initial attack on Charlie Hebdo, one of the terrorists shot a policewoman and injured a man before fleeing. On January 9th, a brief shootout between French police and the brothers occurred. The shootout left Said Kouachi with a gunshot wound to the neck. However, the brothers were able to flee, taking refuge in a printworks building. Eventually, French police and special operations units caught up to the brothers and surrounded the building. The brothers, who had vowed to become martyrs for Islam, emerged from the building and fired on police, injuring 2, just before Police gunned them down. During this confrontation, another terrorist incident occurred in Paris, at a Jewish food market.

Around the time of the print works battle, Islamic radical Amedy Coulibaly took hostages at a Jewish grocery store. Police surrounded the market, but the hostage taker threatened to kill the hostages unless the brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi were set free. The police entered while the gunmen was preparing for his daily prayers, and killed the armed suspect. Later, the police found the bodies of 4 hostages in the grocery store, making the series of terror attacks in France one of the nation’s deadliest.

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IMG has extensive experience in protective services and international travel security management. To learn more about the solutions offered by IMG, please visit: http://www.theimg.com/travel-executivesecurity.html

About Incident Management Group (IMG)

IMG is a leading firm specializing in protective services and international travel security management. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for protective services and detailed international travel security management can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as employee security, VIP and executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, protective services, crisis management planning, and more.

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International Travel Security: The Risk of a Long ISIS War

International Travel Security & Terrorism: The Siege of Kobani

In August 2014, the United States launched its first air strikes against ISIS. The strikes were meant to blunt the effectiveness of the group and stop the Islamic militants from marching on Baghdad and northern Iraq. Since that time, a large coalition of Arab states and NATO countries have come together to confront the ISIS threat, launching dozens of air strikes.

Although these air strikes appear to have slowed ISIS’s advance, they have not been able to inflict the damage many had hoped. Perhaps the most visible example of these disappointing results is the siege of Kobani. In mid-September, ISIS fighters surrounded Kobani, a Kurdish town located on the Turko-Syrian border. Despite an aggressive air campaign, ISIS has managed to make slow but steady gains as of the date of this writing. Indeed, Western media outlets were even International Travel Security: The Risk of a Long ISIS Warable to capture ISIS vehicles moving freely around Kobani, in seeming defiance of Western air power.

For now, the United States and other nations are unwilling to send in ground forces against ISIS. This is probably because the White House believes, reasonably enough, that conventional ground forces could complicate and even exacerbate the situation in the region. However, there is a risk with the current approach as well. By relying solely on air strikes, the West and its Arab allies risk dragging out the conflict, artificially inflating the status of ISIS. Indeed, the group can claim that it is holding out against Bashir Assad, NATO, and several Arab states, all at the same time. That is why the current siege of Kobani is so psychologically important for the group. It demonstrates ISIS’s ability to continue to take ground in spite of the might of its many adversaries.

Military successes such as these will tend to increase the group’s credibility among radical Islamists, allowing it to attract recruits and resources. Additionally, ISIS gains on the battlefield mean that Arab tribes in the region may be intimated into submission. After all, if ISIS can go toe-to-toe with NATO, what chance does a smallish tribal group have?

From an international travel security prospective, the growing credibility of ISIS among radical Islamists presents a serious concern. It suggests that ISIS, rather than Al Qaeda, may become the center of Islamic extremism and terrorism. Indeed, the group is more sophisticated that Al Qaeda in some ways. For example, ISIS has demonstrated that it is able to take, hold, and raise revenue from captured territory. Going foreword, international security experts should pay attention to how this group evolves and matures. Unfortunately, ISIS may be the next chapter in the long struggle against Islamic extremism.

Learn More About IMG’s Experience in Protective Services and International Travel Security

IMG has extensive experience in protective services and international travel security. To learn more about the solutions offered by IMG, please visit:

About Incident Management Group –  IMG

The IMG Group is a leading international travel security firm, with considerable experience in protective services. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for detailed international travel security planning can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as employee security, VIP and executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, protective services, crisis management planning, and more. Web: http://www.theimg.com http://www.globalsecur.com Tel: (877) 887-9914 or (352) 460-4731

The Sony Hack: A Protective Services Firm Analyzes North Korea’s Actions

International Security Update: Cyber attack on Sony Pictures

On Nov 24th, the computer system of Sony Pictures was compromised by a sophisticated cyber attack. The firm’s employees were locked out of their computers, and much of the company’s data was stolen or erased. During the attack, an image was uploaded to company computers by a group calling itself GOP (Guardians of Peace) with a list of the information taken and demands to be met by that evening. The hack was believed to be in response to the movie “The Interview,” a comedy about the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The FBI has accused North Korea of instigating the attack while North Korea has denied any involvement.  imgsecurity.net/northkoreahacksony

Hacking by cyber criminals has been a long-standing concern from many businesses. In most cases, these attacks attempt to access personal and corporate information in order to facilitate identity theft and corporate espionage. However, the direct targeting of private corporations by nation states is rare. In most cases, criminals conduct cyber attacks to raise money. Hackers generally target corporations in order to steal credit card information, intellectual property, and other private data.

However, the Sony hack appears to be motivated more by politics than cash. The hackers of Sony Pictures gained access to over 100 terabytes of corporate and personal information and then dumped the data onto the Internet. The hackers claimed that the attack was launched in response to the movie “The Interview.”

The US Looks to a Familiar International Security Foe

The FBI has accused North Korea of orchestrating the attack on Sony Pictures. Although an unnamed North Korean diplomat has denied involvement in the action, a North Korean news organization has called the hack, a “righteous deed.” Furthermore, the hackers stated that a “9/11” style attack would occur if the movie was released as scheduled. In response, many movie theatres (which are independent from Sony Pictures) refused to show the film.

In the wake of the Sony hack, North Korea suffered a cyber attack that overwhelmed the country’s limited Internet infrastructure. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but some have speculated that this was the United State’s response to the cyber attack against Sony. Proponents of this view point to statements from the Obama administration. Both the President and the White House Press Secretary have stated that the US would respond proportionately to North Korea’s action.

Learn More About IMG’s Experience in Protective Services and International Security

IMG has extensive experience in international security and protective services. To learn more about the solutions offered by IMG, please visit: http://www.theimg.com/index.html

About the IMG Group

The IMG Group is a leading international security firm with considerable experience in protective services. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for detailed international security management planning can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as employee security, VIP and executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, protective services, crisis management planning, and more.

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The Five Top International Security News Stories of 2014

The Five Most Important International Security News Stories of 2014

2014 was a dynamic year in international security. Although there were many security issues making the news this past year, five stories stand out in particular. The protective services specialists at IMG believe these five to be the most significant. This was based on two factors: the broad impact of these events and the way these stories changed the international security landscape.

International Security Story #5: The Ebola Virus

Five Top International Security News Stories of 2014There was much exaggeration over the Ebola virus, and the media clearly drove unnecessary panic. Clearly, the threat of Ebola in the US and Europe continues to be very small. Even so, the disease was included in this year’s list because the virus did pose a real threat to employee travel security in Africa. Another reason that this story was included in the top five was because it focused the public’s attention on the threat of communicable diseases. Although often ignored, the safety and security threat of disease is a very real concern for many travelers and employees around the globe.

International Security Story #4: Cyber-crime

Although cyber-crime is not a new phenomenon, it continues to have an impact on individuals everywhere. The large data breaches at Target and Home Depot affected millions of customers and were reputationally devastating for the firms affected. Furthermore, these incidents demonstrate that sophisticated cyber criminals can breach large, well-protected firms.

International Security Story #3: Russia’s Resurgence

Russia’s meddling in Ukraine initially produced a divided reaction among Western nations. However, as the year went on, Moscow stepped up its military efforts in Ukraine and made additional provocations towards other European countries. This new, resurgent Russia has caused many observers to speculate about the rise of a new cold war in Europe, creating another set of international security concerns.

International Security Story #2: Latin America

As many employee travel security managers know, Latin America is the most dangerous region of the world. Although violence there does not garner much news attention in the West, one incident in 2014 stunned people all over the globe. In September, students held a demonstration in Iguala, Mexico to protest government corruption. Shortly afterwards, 43 of these students went missing. Although the investigation is still ongoing, many fear that the students were massacred. If true, this massacre may change the way Mexico and Latin America approaches its organized criminal groups.

International Security Story #1: The Rise of ISIS

Of all the issues in 2014, the protective services specialists at IMG felt that the rapid rise of ISIS was the biggest story of the year. At the end of 2013, few had heard of the organization. By mid 2014, ISIS had one of the most powerful military factions in the region. The group’s violent actions and large-scale massacres have shocked the world, and forced the US back into the region. Additionally, this group poses a credible threat of terrorism to US and Europe and will probably be a threat to employee travel security for some time to come.

Learn More about IMG’s Experience in Protective Services and Employee Travel Security

IMG has extensive experience in employee travel security and protective services. To learn more about the solutions offered by IMG, please visit: http://www.theimg.com/travel-executivesecurity.html

About Incident Management Group

The IMG Group is a leading international employee travel security firm. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for detailed protective services management can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as employee security, VIP and executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, protective services, crisis management planning, and more.

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International Security Management Update: Missing Students in Mexico

Possible Massacre in Mexico, Gang Violence, and International Security Management

43 students went missing in Mexico on the night of September 26th after attending classes in the city of Iguala, a village located 200 kilometers Southwest of Mexico City. According to reports, the students were arrested after clashing with Mexican authorities suspected of having ties to local drug gangs. Parents and relatives of the missing students are protesting the government’s response to the incident and one American student is thought to be one of the missing. Many believe that the students were massacred by drug cartel members, but definitive proof has not yet been found.imgsecurity.net/Mexicangang

Recent arrests of local gang members have led authorities to a pile of burned bodies outside the town of Iguala. The suspects in the case told Mexican authorities that the mayor of Iguala arrested the students and then handed them over to the gang, Guerreros Unidos. The gang members drove the students to a landfill, killed them and burned their remains with fuel and wood for 14 hours. The charred bodies were then gathered and dumped in a nearby river. Authorities are now conducting DNA testing on the remains in hopes of identifying the bodies.

The mayor of the town of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez, has been stripped of his office due to his involvement in the students’ disappearance. The mayor’s wife was giving a speech on September 26th and the students had come to the speech to protest. Allegedly, Velazquez ordered the police to intercept the students and arrest them before they could interrupt the speech. Once the student protestors were in custody, Velazquez is accused of handing the 43 students to the local drug gang implicated in the massacre.

The Mexican drug war has led to over 22,000 missing and over 80,000 dead since the 2006. If the testimony by the arrested gang members is accurate, this will be the largest massacre in the history Mexico’s drug war. Parents of the missing students, distrustful of the Mexican government, are awaiting DNA testing by Argentine experts to prove that the remains found are those of their children. Preliminary DNA evidence has shown that the mass grave found near the school in Iguala, was not that of the 43 missing students.

Learn More About IMG’s Experience with International Security Management

IMG has extensive experience in security consulting and international security management. To learn more about the solutions offered by IMG, please visit: http://www.theimg.com/international-security-consulting.html

About the IMG Group

The IMG Group is a leading international security management firm, with considerable experience in physical security. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for detailed international security management planning can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as employee security, VIP and executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, protective services, crisis management planning, and more.

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Physical Security and “Lone Wolf” Terrorism

International Security Management Update: Terrorist Attack in Canada

On Oimgsecurity.net/lonewolfct 22, 2014 a gunman fatally shot a Canadian soldier guarding the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada. The assailant then attempted to assault the Canadian Parliament building but was shot dead before he could continue his rampage. Although an investigation is still ongoing, the shooter was identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a radicalized Muslim convert and ISIS sympathizer. The attack in Canada has caused many in the media to speculate that so-called “lone wolf” terrorists present the most significant terrorist threat today.

Lone wolves are self-radicalized individuals who have few formal connections to the terrorist groups they support. Rather, they are inspired by these groups to commit acts of violence. This lack of formal affiliation means that lone wolf attacks are generally less sophisticated. Unfortunately, it also means that there are simply no channels of communication that security services can intercept and exploit. As a result, lone wolves are more unpredictable.

While lone wolf attacks are certainly a concern, they are not as unique a threat as many in the media suppose. Disgruntled employees, mentally ill individuals, and radical political groups have been a part of the security landscape for a long time. Indeed, theses examples are similar to lone wolves in that they commit acts of violence that are unsophisticated, yet difficult to anticipate. From a security perspective, lone wolf violence is similar to many other types of violent acts.

Fortunately, international security managers have a reasonably effective tool to deal with such threats: Physical Security. Metal detectors, security guards, physical barriers, CCTVs, and access controls are very common, yet very capable security methods. When managed well and in concert, these techniques can do much to mitigate the threat of lone wolves and other dangers.

Obviously, physical security is not a full guarantee. As every risk manager knows, few risks can be eliminated entirely. To be sure, lone wolf attacks are difficult to predict, and could become more common. However, this does not make them impossible to defend against. Well-executed physical security measures are designed to deal with the unanticipated, and are tried and tested tools to meet the threat of lone wolves and other security challenges.

Learn More About IMG’s Experience in Physical Security and International Security Management

IMG has extensive experience in physical security and international security management. To learn more about the solutions offered by IMG, please visit: http://www.theimg.com/internationalthreatassessment.html

About the IMG Group

The IMG Group is a leading international security management firm, with considerable experience in physical security. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for detailed international security management planning can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as employee security, VIP and executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, protective services, crisis management planning, and more.

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Aviation Security, Executive Protection & Enhanced Succession Planning

Executive Summary: Succession Planning and Corporate Travel Security

Succession planning is a standard risk management technique practiced by many companies around the world. Succession planning is the process that ensures key roles within a company can be quickly filled in the event of injury, death, or untimely departure of a company executive. Normally, firms produce a succession planning document that lists the individuals able to take on key roles within the company. In the event that there are no personnel on-hand to step in, a succession planning document should detail the necessary experience, background, abilities, education, and temperament of suitable replacements. While every company needs to engage in succession planning, firms should also attempt to mitigate risk through executive protection and corporate travel security strategies. Basic safeguards can do a lot to increase the safety of employees and executives. Furthermore, these strategies can help a business assess the risks facing its staff. One component of both executive protection and corporate travel security is aviation security.

Executive Protection and Aviation Security

Aviation Security, Executive Protection & Enhanced Succession PlanningCommercial aviation is becoming safer with each passing year. Despite some people’s trepidations about flying, it is far safer than other forms of transport. In fact, the odds of dying on any single airline flight stand at more than 1 in 4.7 million. However, this risk profile is not entirely uniform. For example, business jets, commuter flights, and charter flights are somewhat more risky than travel aboard big commercial carriers. It also should be noted, that flying between major metropolitan hubs is generally safer. For instance, remote airstrips located near overseas mining or drilling operations may simply lack much of the safety, air traffic control, and rescue infrastructure present at large airports. Given these risks, the executive protection professionals at IMG have provided advice to organizations in order to strengthen their aviation security posture. For example, IMG recommends that a company refrain from booking its entire management team on a single flight. This will ensure that the company will still be able to function in the event of a plane crash. Although private flying is popular, firms should be aware that general aviation is substantially more risky than commercial aviation. In fact, the rate of fatalities for general aviation is five times higher than the rate in commercial aviation.

Aviation Security and Succession Planning: List of Notable Plane Crashes

Many people are familiar with the notable air disasters of the past 50 years. Some of the incidents involving sports teams have garnered significant media attention. There was the 1972 plane crash in the Andes Mountains involving a Rugby team that was captured in the movie “Alive.” Also, there were two plane crashes in 1970 that devastated the college football teams of Wichita State and Marshall. Yet, there have been lesser-known accidents that have had an outsized impact. For instance, there have been several crashes that have led to large disruptions to the operations of large businesses. In some cases, whole countries were impacted. Some notable incidents include:

  1. In 2010, a plane crash in the Republic of the Congo resulted in the deaths of the entire executive board of Sundance Resources, an Australian mining company. The crash was also responsible for the death of Ken Talbot, a well-known Australian billionaire.
  2. In May of 2014, a plane ran off the runway in Hanscom Field in Massachusetts. The victims of the crash include Lewis Katz and several of his philanthropic partners. Mr. Katz was the owner of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
  3. A crash off the coast of Denmark in 1989 killed 50 employees of Wilh. Wilhelmsen, an international shipping company. Included in the dead, was the company’s entire management team.
  4. In 1991, a plane went down in Georgia carrying 5 company executives of Bruno’s Inc., a grocery store firm operating in the Southern United States. The company’s chairman and vice-chairman were both killed in the crash.
  5. A Polish Air Force flight carrying the Polish President and his entourage to the Russian town of Smolensk in 2010 crashed killing all 96 people aboard. In addition to killing the President, the crash also resulted in the deaths of the head of the Polish National Bank, the Deputy Foreign Minister, the Chief of the General Staff, multiple military leaders, and 18 members of Parliament.

Learn More About IMG’s Experience in Aviation Security, Executive Protection, and Corporate Travel Security

IMG has extensive experience in executive protection and aviation security. To learn more about the full range of services offered by IMG, please visit: http://www.theimg.com/travel-executivesecurity.html

About the IMG Group

The IMG Group is a leading corporate travel security firm. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for detailed corporate travel security planning and executive protection can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as executive, employee, VIP, expatriate travel security, executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, crisis management planning, and more.

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Employee Travel Security: What to Know About the Ebola Virus Outbreak in Africa

Summary: Employee Travel Security, Africa, and the Ebola Virus

The most recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has been the largest outbreak ever recorded. The virus has spread out of remote villages and killed over 2,000 people as of the date of this writing. Many observers are concerned that the outbreak will continue to spread, and several global health organizations admit that the disease has spread “out of control.” Given the scale of this particular outbreak, many companies are considering the potential impacts to employee travel security. IMG Group, a protective services provider, believes that some of the information below can assist organizations, as they weigh their employee travel security options.

  1. What is Ebola?

Employee Travel Security; What to know about the Ebola Virus Outbreak in Africa - CDC mapThe Ebola virus is one of the world’s most deadly, with a mortality rate of up to 90%. Although the most recent outbreak of Ebola is the largest recorded, it is less deadly, with a mortality rate of only 60%. The virus is believed to have originally been an animal-borne virus that mutated and began infecting humans living in West-Central Africa. Although there is some debate on its origins, many believe that the virus first appeared among fruit bats. The virus works by attacking internal organs and tissues, causing clotting and bleeding. Death often results from a loss of blood and eventual organ failure.

  1. Symptoms of Ebola

Symptoms of the Ebola virus normally appear within 2-21 days after initial infection. However, the virus can rapidly progress and has been known to kill its victims in under two weeks. At first, the Ebola virus resembles the flu. An infected person might experience a fever, sore throat, muscle pain, and headache. Later, as the virus progresses, the individual may suffer from diarrhea and a rash. During the advanced stages of the infection, victims will experience internal and external bleeding notably from the eyes, ears, and nose.

  1. Where is the Ebola Virus Prevalent?

Ebola outbreaks have historically occurred in remote villages located in West and Central Africa. For example, past outbreaks have occurred in the Congo, Uganda, Senegal, Liberia, Sudan, Gabon, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, and Guinea. However, the most recent outbreak is different as it has reached urban centers and infected many more people. Currently, there are active cases of Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. There have also been a handful of cases identified in Nigeria. Obviously, these countries present a heightened risk to employee travel security and organizations should review their travel policies in West and Central Africa. However, there is a fear that this outbreak could spread the virus globally. This is because this outbreak has not been contained and has already reached urban centers and global transit hubs. Given the risks of an uncontained outbreak, employee travel security professionals should continue to monitor the situation.

  1. How does the Ebola Virus Spread?

Although the Ebola virus is very deadly, it is not yet an airborne virus like the flue. Bodily fluids such as blood, urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and semen are the primary medium for the transmission of Ebola. Additionally, contaminated needles and unsanitary conditions at health clinics are thought to have hastened the spread of the disease. However, the virus is also believed to be capable of jumping from animals to humans as well. For example, pigs, monkeys, and fruit bats are thought to carry the disease and may infect humans that come in contact with them.

  1. How to Protect Against Ebola

Firms can protect themselves from Ebola by closely monitoring the health status of their workers and seeking immediate medical attention if a problem is suspected. Organizations can also try to postpone or cancel travel to Ebola affected regions. Additionally, workers returning from travel to affected areas should seek medical advice from a physician before returning to work.

Despite the danger for individuals working in Ebola affected regions, there are safeguards that can be taken. Travelers should avoid contact with pig farms and not consume any meat from monkeys or apes. Additionally, all other consumed meat should be cooked thoroughly. Unless absolutely necessary, clinics and hospitals treating Ebola patients should be avoided. Travelers should also avoid contact with any items handled by Ebola victims, and maintain high-standards of cleanliness and sanitation. Finally, individuals should drink bottled water and wash their hands regularly, using only treated water sources.

Learn More About IMG’s Experience in Protective Services and Employee Travel Security

IMG has extensive experience in protective services and employee travel security. To learn more about the solutions offered by IMG, please visit:

http://www.theimg.com/employee-travel-medical-assistance-service.html

About the IMG Group

The IMG Group is a leading employee travel security firm, with considerable experience in protective services. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for detailed employee travel security planning can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as employee security, VIP and executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, protective services, crisis management planning, and more.

Web. http://www.theimg.com

Tel.         (877) 887-9914 or (352) 460-4731

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17: IMG’s thoughts on air travel safety and security.

Executive Summary: Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Shot Down Over Ukraine

imgsecurity.net/malaysiaflight

On July 17th, 2014 Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was en-route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it crashed in eastern Ukraine. All of the 298 people aboard the flight were killed after the aircraft was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. Although no one has claimed responsibility, US intelligence believes that pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine are responsible for the downing of the aircraft.

This tragedy follows months of fighting between Ukraine’s pro-Western government and pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east. In fact, several Ukrainian aircraft have been shot down in the past few months including a transport plane carrying 49 Ukrainian troops.

Many Western observers believe that Moscow is arming the separatists with increasingly sophisticated weapons, including advanced anti-aircraft missiles thereby threatening aviation security. Some also believe that Russian Special Forces may be advising the Ukrainian rebels. In fact, just before the Malaysia Airlines tragedy, President Barack Obama pushed for further sanctions against Moscow for failing to halt the flow of weapons to the separatists.

A New International Travel Security Threat?

Many observers are questioning why a passenger aircraft was allowed to fly over a known conflict zone in the first place. Eastern Ukraine has experienced heated fighting for the past few months, and separatists have already shot down several Ukrainian aircraft. However, flying over conflict zones is a common practice for many international air carriers. For example, many airlines continued to fly over Iraq and Afghanistan at the heights of these conflicts. However, in these instances, aviation security authorities felt that high altitude flights were safe due to the limitations of insurgent anti-aircraft weapons. Increasingly, weaponry in the hands of terrorist groups is now posing more of a threat to international travel safety.

Yet, aviation security authorities did have concerns about the conflict in Ukraine. On the day of the tragedy, there was a no-fly zone over eastern Ukraine. However, it was capped at 32,000 feet, meaning aircraft could still fly so long as they remained above this altitude. It is probable that officials believed that aircraft flying at these heights would be safe from more common, but less capable, anti-aircraft systems.

However, what officials failed to take into account was that both sides in the Ukrainian conflict had access to advanced anti-aircraft systems capable of hitting aircraft flying above 32,000 feet. This has resulted in a change in international travel safety awareness and a new approach to aviation safety.

Some airlines, such as British Airways, chose to avoid flying over the conflict zone in Ukraine. Many other airlines did not divert flights. After all, the area above 32,000 feet was deemed clear by Eurocontrol, a European Air Safety Organization, and diverting flights away from the area would prove costly. In fact, the flight path over eastern Ukraine is known as airway L980, a popular conduit between European and Asian hubs. It is no surprise then, that many airlines were reluctant to change their routes.

Implications for Aviation Security

When it comes to aviation security, there is no central authoritative organization. Although the UN’s ICAO is recognized worldwide, its powers are limited. As a result, regional or national bodies generally determine if a no-fly restriction is necessary or not. Yet, airlines still have quite a bit of latitude. While some areas such as Syria, North Korea, and Somalia are almost universally avoided, airlines often make their own decisions on flight paths. As a result, air carriers should take steps to increase security awareness and monitor the security environment of the areas they fly over and take mitigation efforts when appropriate.

Unfortunately, the tragedy of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 is not unique. Aviation safety and security has long been an issue over conflict zones and there have been several instances of passenger planes being shot down over conflict zones. For example, Iran Air flight 655 was shot down over the Persian Gulf by the USS Vincennes in 1988 and Libyan Airlines Flight 114 was shot down by Israel over the Sinai Peninsula several months before the 1973 October War. The unfortunate fact is that militaries occasionally mistake passenger planes for military aircraft. This risk is most dangerous during a conflict or over a contested area, as belligerents may not have the time or the resources to confirm the identity of aircraft. As a result, airlines should remain cognizant of the international security climate and understand the potential anti-aircraft threats in the areas they fly.

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About the IMG Group

The IMG Group is a leading international travel security firm, with considerable experience in aviation security. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for detailed international travel security planning can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as executive, employee, VIP, aviation security, executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, crisis management planning, and more. Web. http://www.theimg.com