Increasingly, the public is beginning to see a trend towards terrorist attacks targeting crowded, so-called soft targets. The Australian government, in a public paper discussing terrorism in crowded spaces, noted that terrorist prefer such places because density increases the likelihood of large numbers of casualties, many crowded places are accessible, the psychological effect on the public, and the attention such attacks garner. These were seen with the attacks that have occurred over the last few years in United Kingdom such as the London Bridge attack, the Manchester concern bombing, and the Borough Market attack; elsewhere in Europe, there were attacks in France on Bastille Day in 2016 and an attack at a Berlin Christmas market; in the United States, it is seen in the mass shootings that have occurred in schools, nightclubs, concerts, and at mass public events (e.g., the Boston Marathon bombing). Inherent in public spaces – especially crowded and non-permanent spaces – are significant security challenges that authorities and planners must contend with as they seek to reduce both the risk of terrorist attacks and, if an attack were to occur, its damage. Some common targets that concern authorities are malls, stadiums, and shopping centers.

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Calculating the Cost of a Mega Security Breaches

The Ponemon Institute in a study sponsored by IBM Security found that the global average cost of data breaches has increased by more than six percent from 2017 to 2018 to an average of nearly 3.9 million dollars. The study, 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study, also, for the first time, studied so-called mega breaches whose record losses range from 1-50 million. The study also articulated some of hidden costs to an organization that occur during a data breach and that often are not, when costs reported, tabulated. For example, in the mega breach category, the biggest cost was not related to remediating the actual data breach; rather, the largest expense related to mega breaches was lost business. This is often not included in publicly reported costs which typically report only costs related to legal, recovery costs, regulatory expenses, and customer reparations. The study found, as an example, that with a breach of 50 million records, the total costs could reach more than 350 million dollars.

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Since at least 2014, ISIS – also known as the Islamic State – and its affiliates have been household names in much of the world because of their ability to rapidly take control of vast swaths of Iraq and Syria and their claiming of responsibility for terrorist attacks elsewhere in the world. At its peak, the unrecognized Islamic State held 34,000 square miles of land in Iraq and Syria and was able to march close to the borders of both Baghdad and Damascus. The United States, their Syrian/Kurdish allies, Iranian-backed Shiite militias, and the Iraqi government have been – in separate coalitions – engaging in a protracted war against ISIS to drive it out of Iraq and Syria; the endeavor has, at the very least, led to ISIS losing control of more than 99% of its land in both countries, and it has greatly diminished the ability for the organization to conduct operations as it has largely driven them underground and denied them vast quantities of revenue.

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