Security

20 November 2015, Bamako, Mali – Statement from Radisson on the ongoing attack

On 20 November, the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, released the following statement regarding the terror attack that began there this morning and still continues: “HOSTAGE-TAKING AT RADISSON BLU HOTEL, BAMAKO / MALI MEDIA STATEMENT AND FAMILY SUPPORT TELEPHONE NUMBERS – 20 NOV 2015; 13:00 CET WE ARE CLOSELY FOLLOWING THE HOSTAGE-TAKING INCIDENT THAT IS TAKING PLACE AT THE RADISSON BLU HOTEL, BAMAKO / MALI TODAY, 20TH NOVEMBER 2015. ACCORDING TO OUR LATEST INFORMATION 124 GUESTS AND 13 EMPLOYEES ARE STILL IN THE BUILDING. OUR HIGHEST CONCERN IS THE SAFETY OF ALL OUR GUESTS AND EMPLOYEES IN THE HOTEL. WE ARE IN CONSTANT CONTACT WITH THE AUTHORITIES THERE AND WILL SHARE FURTHER INFORMATION WITH YOU WHEN WE HAVE IT. WE HAVE ESTABLISHED DEDICATED PHONE LINES TO SUPPORT THE FAMILIES OF GUESTS AND EMPLOYEES, AS WELL AS A MEDIA ENQUIRY LINE. PLEASE REFER … Continue reading

25 September 2015, Tunisia’s tourism sector collapses after hotel attack

On 25 September, The Guardian reported that Tunisia’s tourism sector had collapsed in the wake of the 26 June attack on the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba in Sousse.   Scores of governments have published travel warnings and no-go advisories for Tunisia, and tour agencies have abandoned it as a holiday location. The numbers of British tourists in 2015 are predicted to drop as much as 90% from 2014. That year brought 420,000 British citizens to Tunisia. ABC News says that tourism from the European Union has already decreased 50%. The Guardian furthermore reports that as many as 26 hotels in Sousse have closed since the attack. Some 50 of Tunisia’s 600 hotels have closed, countrywide, and the RIU chain is currently in talks with the operators of its nine properties in Tunisia regarding the future of the company there. Radhouane Ben Salah, head … Continue reading

20 August 2015, Bangkok hotels increase security after bombing

On Monday, 17 August at 6:55 pm, an IED exploded at Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, at the corner of Phloen Chit and Ratchadamri Roads. It is a bustling area with modern shopping centers, hotels, coffee shops, eateries, and major businesses. Current reporting says the bomb, a pipe bomb, weighed 3kg (6.6 pounds). It consisted of TNT and was packed with ball bearings for use as shrapnel. The device’s blast radius ranged out to 50 meters. It killed 21 and wounded as many as 130. The device was built and placed to achieve maximum casualties, and it did. This terrorist attack was the worst in Bangkok’s history, and one of the worst in Thai history. The next day, Tuesday, 18 August, another bomb exploded, this one at the Sathorn pier on the Chao Phraya River under the Taksin BTS Skytrain station. It is not clear if … Continue reading

30 June 2015, Tunisia

On 27 June, the Tunisian government announced increased national security measures in the wake of the 26 June Sousse hotel massacre that killed as many as 30. This was the second time this year that the Tunisian government announced stronger security measures for tourist areas. Muir Analytics reported on the first government announcement in April just after the 18 March Bardo Museum massacre in Tunis. At the time of that announcement, the government gave no intricate details of its security plan. Now, however, the government is telling more. Here’s what it’s said so far: First, the AP quoted Prime Minister Habib Essid as prefacing the solution: “The fight against terrorism is a national responsibility. We are at war against terrorism which represents a serious danger to national unity during this delicate period that the nation is going through.” Second, the government has announced … Continue reading

8 June 2015, Indian security forces lament lack of hotel security

On 8 June, the Times of India ran a piece titled, “DC boss stay exposes chinks in hotels’ armour.” In this story, police in Bhubaneswar (Odisha state, 150 miles down the coast from Bangladesh) were on the hunt for Mr. P K Iyer, Vice Chair of the newspaper, the Deccan Chronicle, for alleged bank fraud, and, in the process of the investigation, discovered hotel security vulnerabilities. It seems that Mr. Iyer had checked into a hotel under a fake name, sidestepping both hotel security and police surveillance. The Times of India said, “Police are supposed to make periodic inspection of hotels to know whether hoteliers collect identity proof of guests before check-in.” The Hindustan Times reports that the arrest happened at 2:30 am at the Trident Hotel. The Trident in Bhubaneswar is listed as a 5 star hotel on exotic grounds and popular … Continue reading

13 May 2015, Ireland

Prosecutors in Ireland continued their case in a Special Criminal Court on 13 May 2015 against alleged IRA bomber Samuel Devlin. Mr. Devlin is accused of trying to detonate a bomb on 10 May 2014 at Finnstown House Hotel in Lucan, just west of Dublin. A wedding was in progress when the device – a car bomb – was discovered, reports NewsTalk.com. The Irish Times says Devlin is charged with unlawful possession of explosives and for being a member of an outlawed terrorist organization, the IRA. (Exactly what IRA group Mr. Devlin is supposed to belong to, the Real IRA, or the New IRA, or some other faction, is not clear.) Devlin was arrested at the Finnstown House Hotel. Police found in his possession 26 meters of PETN detonation cord. Sources and further reading: “Man arrested after car bomb attack had detonating cord … Continue reading

23 April 2015, Tunisia

FVW magazine, one of Germany’s top travel trade news outlets, reported in April that German hotel and tourist investors continued to be optimistic about tourism and hotel investment in Tunisia despite the 18 March terrorist raid on the National Bardo Museum in the capital, Tunis, that killed 21 people and wounded at least 50. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Tunisian government blamed the Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade, an apparent splinter group of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Read more here by MSN: Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Tunisia Attack, and by Reuters: Thousands of Tunisians, leaders march after Bardo attack. FVW quotes TUI Group (hotel investment) product manager Florian Fleischer as saying; “TUI has not only expanded but also upgraded its hotel portfolio in Tunisia, with 10 exclusive target group hotels.” TUI said these included properties “on Djerba, the … Continue reading

10 April 2015, Pakistan

The BBC reported on 10 April that Pakistani authorities released from prison Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged LeT planner of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, which included attacks on two hotels: the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi Trident. Pakistan’s High Court issued Lakhvi’s release, asserting his detention since December 2014 was unlawful since he had been granted bail in December. India’s government decried his release, asserting it was bad for India-Pakistan relations and public safety. Lakhvi and several LeT cohorts are still supposed to face trial in the coming months. Copyright © Muir Analytics 2015

26 March 2015, Kim Zetter covers hotel wi-fi security

26 March 2015, Kim Zetter for Wired discusses how vulnerable many hotel wi-fi systems are. Zetter says, “Researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the systems, which would allow an attacker to distribute malware to guests, monitor and record data sent over the network, and even possibly gain access to the hotel’s reservation and keycard systems.” While criminals pose the most common threats at hotels, terrorists could easily exploit the same vulnerabilities. Read Zetter’s excellent piece here: Big Vulnerability in Hotel Wi-Fi Router Puts Guests at Risk Copyright © Muir Analytics 2015

1 March 2015, Fallout from the 2008 Mumbai attack continues…

1 March 2015, the accused central planner of the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, that included, among multiple other targets, attacks on two hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi Trident, is reportedly living in a pampered jail cell in Pakistan. Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander, can reportedly have unlimited visitors, computer, cell phone, and television access on a regular basis. The apparently light treatment of Lakhvi has caused damage to the India-Pakistan relationship. Copyright © Muir Analytics 2015