The SOCI Act and CIRMP: A New Era in Critical Infrastructure Protection

Our previous article, Navigating the Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Program (CIRMP): Understanding and Compliance, provided an overview of the CIRMP and the obligations arising for critical infrastructure owners, operators and suppliers in Australia. This article delves further into the CIRMP, what it means and the specific obligations arising with regard to cybersecurity.

A Systems Approach to Fire Strategy Development in Waste Management Facilities

The implementation of the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020, prohibiting the overseas export of unprocessed waste coupled with the challenges posed by COVID-19, has spurred the transformation of local Waste Management Facilities (WMFs) to handle recyclables domestically. WMFs, with their diverse operational setups, encounter distinct fire safety risks, especially with the rise of hazards like Lithium-Ion Batteries.

LoteOptimise – Our Team's Potential

The LoteOptimise Initiative, introduced by Lote, underscores the company's commitment to enhancing team well-being and productivity. Recognising that a mentally and physically prepared team delivers superior results, the program focuses on three pillars: Health, Mind, and Exercise. These pillars provide guidance on physical health, mental well-being, and the importance of regular physical activity.

Warnings about evolving cyber threats after hackers steal $1.2 million from Grafton family business

Paul Fuller says his account manager had good reason to trust the voice on the other end of the phone asking for bank details but handing them over was a mistake that has cost his business almost $1.2 million.

The man on the phone introduced himself as Mike from the National Australia Bank (NAB). Mr Fuller's Grafton-based earthworks business had previously dealt with a Mike from NAB in Coffs Harbour, so no-one was suspicious.

Biggest battery facility in NSW is now fully operational

The latest and biggest battery in New South Wales – the country's biggest state grid – is now fully operational with the commissioning of the 150 megawatt (MW) / 300 megawatt hour (MWh) Tesla system built by Edifiy Energy and Federation Asset Management.

The Riverina and Darlington Point Energy Storage Systems, built on Wiradjuri land in the Riverina, are comprised of three independent units which are contracted to Shell Energy and EnergyAustralia for the next decade.

“Dangerous heat” incident puts thermal energy storage pilot on hold

New South Wales energy storage start-up MGA Thermal has temporarily suspended operations at its pilot plant in Tomago after a “dangerous heat build-up” at the facility had to be brought under control with the help of emergency services.

The incident occurred during the commissioning of MGA's $3 million, 5MWh plant that is demonstrating the company's proprietary thermal storage technology that uses metal blocks to store energy as heat.

Electric car charger ban recommended by owners corporation conglomerate

Property services firm MICM, a wholly owned subsidiary of Central Equity, is recommending electric vehicle (EV) chargers not be installed in its buildings until it receives guidance from the Federal Government.

In a document sent to CarExpert by a reader, the company – which has nearly 75 buildings under management – says these installations “bring forth challenges and risks”.

Increased fire risk from charging e-bikes due to lack of battery regulation in Australia, expert says

A lack of regulation covering lithium-ion batteries has resulted in lower quality products on the market, increasing the fire risk from charging devices such as e-bikes, an expert says.

Robert Kerr, an associate professor from Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials, told Guardian Australia that one of the major issues was a lack of regulation around how the technology is developed and how people would charge the batteries.

The fire risk hiding in the walls of Australian homes

It didn't take long for the house next door to burn.

As she helped her son brush his teeth one evening in early 2019, Melanie Francese saw a red glow outside the bathroom window. When she looked outside, flames were taking hold of the roof of her neighbour’s home. Within minutes, her family were standing on the street, watching as fire engulfed the top storey. An incident report conducted by the fire services in the weeks after the blaze would reveal that their neighbour's home, a five-bedroom, two-storey house in Beaumaris in Melbourne's upmarket south-east, was covered in a combustible cladding material called expanded polystyrene (EPS).

Cybersecurity and Compliance in the Age of AI

It takes a diverse village of experts to enact effective cybersecurity guidelines, practices, and processes.

Amid the ongoing policy push to implement the comprehensive National Cybersecurity Strategy and manage risks posed by AI, cybersecurity compliance officers, together with other specialists like cybersecurity attorneys, network engineers, IT personnel, and technical writers, form the core of cybersecurity.

Making your residential strata building EV ready

NSW strata legislation requires that changes to common property - in this case changing the electrical services and/or infrastructure in your building - require specific steps to be taken as noted in Section 108 of the Strata Schemes Management Act (SSMA 2015).

You need to read this along with the Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Infrastructure) Bill 2020. This categorises the installation of EV charging infrastructure as a sustainability infrastructure upgrade and replaces the special resolution previously required under section 108 of the SSMA 2015.  

Getting regulation right to improve Australia's cybersecurity

Poor cybersecurity is a risk to the interconnected digital systems on which we all increasingly rely, while improved security is an opportunity to build trust and advantage by enabling further digital transformation.

The Australian government has recognised the challenge and is developing a new national cybersecurity strategy, expected in the next few months. The strategy will need to cover a diverse range of digital infrastructure, with a mixture of private and public ownership and responsibility.

The role of AI in modernising property security surveillance systems

With the growing availability and seamlessness of AI and analytics solutions, traditional CCTV surveillance and access control are becoming increasingly more automated and future-proof.

By removing the need for heavy human intervention and repetitive tasks being entrusted to intelligent algorithms, security in commercial properties and residential environments looks set to be enhanced.

NSW Fire Safety Regulation 2022

In December 2022, a significant amendment was made to the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021, known as the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Amendment (Fire Safety) Regulation 2022 or Fire Safety Regulation 2022. This amendment aims to address fire safety concerns in Class 1b – 9 buildings and will be implemented in stages from 2023 to 2025. The changes introduced through this amendment have important implications for building owners and regulatory bodies involved in fire safety compliance.

Healthcare Fire Safety and Engineering Services

This article explores the regulations and guidelines related to fire safety engineering services in hospitals across different states in Australia. While hospitals are typically subject to Crown Construction Certificates and must comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA), each state has its own specific rules and guidelines regarding fire safety and engineering services. The article discusses the different guidelines and approaches in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland.

Navigating the Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Program (CIRMP): Understanding and Compliance

The Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Program (CIRMP), which commenced on 17 February 2023, is a comprehensive risk management approach designed to identify and mitigate potential threats to critical infrastructure assets. The goal is to ensure the availability, reliability, integrity, and confidentiality of these assets while minimising the risks and their impacts. CIRMP must include processes for hazard identification, risk minimisation, and mitigation.

How to Train Employees in Cybersecurity Best Practices

In today's digital age, cybersecurity is a critical aspect of protecting businesses and their customers from cyber threats. As cyberattacks become more sophisticated, it is crucial for companies to implement effective cybersecurity training programs for their employees. This article outlines the necessary steps to create a well-structured employee cybersecurity training program, emphasising education on cybersecurity basics, encouraging stronger security habits, setting clear goals, and creating comprehensive policies and procedures for maximum protection.

Building a risk management program for critical infrastructure

In Australia's bustling cities and vast remote regions lie the critical infrastructure assets that are fundamental to people’s lives: electricity, water, health care, telecommunications, transport, food and more. Critical infrastructure is vulnerable to an array of hazards, including threats from people with malicious intent, and needs to be protected.

Changes to regulated buildings 2023

Class 2, 3 and 9c buildings are currently regulated in NSW. From 3 July 2023, the DBP Act expanded to include class 3 and 9c buildings (in addition to class 2 buildings). This expansion applies to the construction of new buildings only. Alteration or renovation work for existing class 3 & 9c buildings will come into effect on 1 July 2024. The Act continues to apply to building work on new and existing class 2 buildings.

Warning to correctly dispose of vapes, lithium batteries after increase in garbage truck fires

Garbage truck drivers are calling on residents to dispose of lithium batteries correctly after an increase in rubbish fires across Sydney.

Lithium batteries are found within e-waste components such as vapes, phones, laptops, electric toothbrushes, power tools and solar power back-up storage devices.The disposal of these devices in general waste is sparking fires in trucks across the city daily, putting drivers and the public at risk.

Part time works scam, AI and audio deepfakes: how to survive cyber crime?

In 2022, LockBit was the most deployed ransomware variant across the world and continues to be prolific in 2023. Since January 2020, affiliates using LockBit have attacked organizations of varying sizes across an array of critical infrastructure sectors, including financial services, food and agriculture, education, energy, government and emergency services, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation.

EV charging - Making it easy. Making it safe.

To support Australians making the switch to electric vehicles (EV), the National Construction Code (NCC) is requiring new buildings to be ready for EV charging. To help industry, the ABCB has published a new advisory note.

The global experience of EVs to date indicates they have a lower likelihood of being involved in a fire than internal combustion engines, but the characteristics of battery fires are different to liquid fuel fires.

Part time works scam, AI and audio deepfakes: how to survive cyber crime?

Ritesh Bhatia, Cybercrime Investigator & Consultant, says until now, if you would be receiving emails, you might be ignoring it because of the language it was in. Now just take the same text and put it in ChatGPT and rephrase this to make it like a formal mail to be sent to an Indian. The language will be in Indian English and the phishing mail that comes now is quite believable. It has no mistakes. It has no language or grammatical mistakes also.

Artificial intelligence bolsters public safety & security in smart cities

A growing number of cities, transit organizations and public-facing businesses are adopting artificial intelligence (AI)-enhanced technologies to identify and respond to security risks more effectively. In particular, advances in video surveillance technology can be an affordable force multiplier that delivers effective results.

Encryption: The Necessary Tool For U.S. National Security And The Intelligence Community

A key need for the intelligence community to prioritize the advancement and adoption of encryption technologies to bolster national security arises from the escalating use of digital repression strategies by authoritarian regimes. China, for example, leads the world in applying surveillance and censorship to monitor its population, repress dissent, and strengthen its surveillance and security apparatus. The rise of digital authoritarianism and the increasing sophistication of surveillance technologies pose substantial threats to democratic values and individual privacy.

Australians lose record $3.1 billion to scams in 2022, as ACCC calls for tougher measures

Doris McAllister spent her whole life working hard to support herself. She started working when she was 15. She saved to buy a house on her own after a divorce. She fought breast cancer and all the other problems life threw her way.

So, last year, when the 75-year-old saw an international bank offering a good return on deposits, she decided to transfer her life's savings of $260,000 across to help secure her retirement.

How can Converged Security Centres contribute to the prevention and monitoring of crime in public spaces

While the benefits of a converged security operations centre for organisational resilience are regularly cited, how can such a solution contribute in a wider sphere? As the growth in interconnected networks and devices in 'smart cities' continues, James Willison and Sarb Sembhi explain how converged security centres, where physical and cyber risks are brought together, can create a more integrated and secure environment.

'I didn't want to die alone': Phone charger warning after tradie suffers significant burns

Cameron Murray talks to industry experts about the physical security risks to battery storage sites, and how the security and insurance aspects of operating BESS sites are evolving.

As battery energy storage technology becomes more widespread and well-known in today's mature markets and, increasingly, new ones, the risk of attack and theft is also likely to grow.

Wärtsilä's GridSolv Quantum BESS gets 'best possible outcome' from UL9540A fire safety testing

Finnish energy technology company Wärtsilä's battery energy storage system (BESS) product GridSolv Quantum has achieved the “best possible outcome” in UL9540A testing.

Wärtsilä said earlier this week that its fully integrated, modular platform, using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells from manufacturer CATL, had met all of the fire safety tests requirements for Outdoor Ground Mounted BESS equipment.

Project Remediate – Cladding Rectification in NSW

The article discusses the issue of combustible cladding on the external façade of buildings, which has become a major safety concern since the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. The article explains what cladding is and why some types of cladding are so flammable. It highlights the fact that the majority of cladding systems used in the construction of buildings comprise non-combustible elements, such as masonry, stone, fibre cement, glass, and solid aluminium.

Building Security and Resilience: Infrastructure Development in Saudi Arabia and Australia

In an increasingly interconnected world, infrastructure security has emerged as a critical concern for both governments and businesses (World Economic Forum, 2022). Two countries, Saudi Arabia and Australia, despite being culturally and geographically distant, have acknowledged the significance of infrastructure development as a fundamental catalyst for economic progress. Consequently, they are actively investing in projects that emphasise security and resilience.

CISA Alerts on Critical Security Vulnerabilities in Industrial Control Systems

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released eight Industrial Control Systems (ICS) advisories on Tuesday, warning of critical flaws affecting equipment from Delta Electronics and Rockwell Automation.

This includes 13 security vulnerabilities in Delta Electronics' InfraSuite Device Master, a real-time device monitoring software. All versions prior to 1.0.5 are affected by the issues.

Google and Microsoft are bringing AI to Word, Excel, Gmail and more. It could boost productivity for us – and cybercriminals

Google and Microsoft are on a mission to remove the drudgery from computing, by bringing next-generation AI tools as add-ons to existing services.

On March 16, Microsoft announced an AI-powered system called Copilot will soon be introduced to its 365 suite apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams.

Growing volume of vape waste a challenge with recycling costly and dangerous

Vapes and e-cigarette cartridges are full of hazardous materials, including toxic liquids, nicotine and lithium batteries that can catch fire, and there is growing confusion over the best way to responsibly dispose of them.

In Western Australia, councils and waste management authorities are responsible for the disposal of most household rubbish but have limited scope to manage hazardous waste from used vapes.

Fire safety is crucial to the growth of energy storage in 2023

The US electricity grid is transforming. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are playing an increasingly significant role in power production, and energy storage has emerged as an ideal counterpart. Battery systems store energy and wait on stand-by, ready to dispatch it into the grid when the wind isn't blowing, the sun isn't shining, or when demand for electricity is particularly high.

Battery storage fire safety requires 'integrated, standardised approach'

The battery storage industry can learn lessons on how to approach fire safety from more established sectors as it works to develop standards.

That was the view of Carlos Nieto, global energy storage division manager at engineering company ABB, speaking at the Energy Storage Summit EU in February.

Speaking on a panel on how technology plays its part in ensuring fire safety for battery energy storage system (BESS) projects, Nieto and fellow panellists were asked by moderator Matthew Deadman, energy systems lead officer at the UK's National Fire Chiefs Council, how safety in the industry is evolving and what sort of lessons it needs to learn.

Buying 'reputable products' and following instructions key to ensuring electrical fire safety

Fire and Rescue NSW Assistant Commissioner Trent Curtin says to ensure electrical device fire safety people should buy “reputable products” and follow instructions.

“Make sure you buy reputable products from good quality brands, that we follow the instructions – we don't overcharge them, use the right charger and don't leave them charging overnight,” Mr Curtin told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

The Meteoric Rise of Cross-Laminated Timber Construction

So what's new? Wood's been around for long enough now, and we've been using it as a building material for centuries. Surely this isn't the first time someone’s realized it gets stronger the more you use it? Well… as you'd expect, the changing popularity of cross-laminated timber in construction does coincide with a greater understanding and focus on environmental causes, but the relationship hasn't always been positive.

NSW D&BP Act (2020) in Practice: A Fire Engineering Perspective

The Design and Building Practitioners (D&BP) Act was enacted in June 2020, and established a new licensing and disciplinary framework for building practitioners involved in the design and construction of buildings in NSW. The D&BP Regulation 2021 details the rules for implementing the procedures of the Act and sets out specific requirements for licensing, registration and ongoing professional development required of building practitioners.

Designing Out Graffiti

Graffiti is a form of vandalism that involves marking property with writing, tags, symbols or illustrations, generally without the consent of the property owner (Morgan & Lewis, 2020). Graffiti is perceived as a form of urban decay and a contributing element to the perception of a decrease in community safety and an increase in antisocial and criminal behaviours.

Newsletters from the ICA - Volume 18, Issue 3 September - December 2022

Security begins at the Planning stage. During planning, a licensed security consultant can conduct a crime statistical survey of the neighbourhood and conduct a CPTED review of the proposed development. These CPTED measures include First Generation principles, which are focused on the physical built environment, and Second Generation principles, which focus on securing the site environment through social and community development.

The terrorism risk level in Australia has been downgraded. Does that mean the threat is over?

Eight years after raising the national terrorism threat level, Australia recently lowered it again — from mid-range (probable) to low-range (possible).

Does this mean the threat from terrorism is over?

Few are better placed to answer this than Mike Burgess, Director-General of Security and head of ASIO, Australia's domestic intelligence agency.

Manchester Arena attack: Martyn's Law for venue security to cover all of UK

New legislation will be introduced to tighten security at venues in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing.

The new rules, dubbed Martyn's Law, will cover all of the UK and require venues and local authorities to have preventative action plans against terror attacks, the government said.

Martyn Hett was among 22 people killed in the 2017 attack and his mother Figen Murray has campaigned for the measures.

Draft legislation is due in early spring, the prime minister said.

FRNSW Lithium Ion Battery Fire Safety Study Guideline

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) have released a draft technical information sheet for public consultation outlining considerations relating to a fire safety study (FSS) as per Hazardous Industry Planning Advisory Paper No 2 (HIPAP No. 2) for facilities containing large-scale Lithium-ion battery energy storage systems (LiBESS). The document applies to facilities containing LiBESS greater than 200 kWh rated capacity located externally and not within a building.

Submissions close on 20/01/2023.

Considerations for LiBESS FSS include:

  • Assessment of potential consequences of credible BESS incidents
  • Defining of an appropriate fire safety strategy for the facility
  • Electrical hazards posed to firefighters by LiBESS
  • Fire brigade intervention
  • Adequacy of installed BESS fire safety systems and measures
  • Fire separation of LiBESS
  • Ventilation of compartments and/or containers containing LiBESS
  • Management of environmental factors
  • Clean-up and disposal of BESS involved in an incident
  • Referencing of applicable LIB codes and standards (i.e. NFPA 855, UL 9540A)

Large-scale LiBESS are a relatively new technology with a new risk profile that we have yet to fully understand.

FRNSW has initiated the Safety of Alternative and Renewable Energy Technologies (SARET) collaborative research program to inform emergency services’ preparedness and response to incidents involving these systems.

Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Amendment (Fire Safety) Regulation 2022 under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

The objects of this Regulation are to amend the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021 to— (a) clarify powers and responsibilities of the Fire Commissioner, and (b) make provision for essential fire safety measures for a building to be addressed by a performance solution, and (c) make provision for the reissue of fire safety schedules, and (d) make provision for the Commissioner for Fair Trading to approve certain forms.

Building and Development Certifiers Amendment (Miscellaneous) Regulation 2022

Update to the B&DC Reg regarding practice standards; amendments to some qualification & experience requirements and minor amendments due to repeal of certain legislation.

In particular reference is made to the following Practice Standards:

  • Practice Standard for Registered Certifiers – Volume One - new residential apartment buildings
  • Practice Standard for Registered Certifiers - Volume Two - Class 1a Buildings

Security News This Week: Attackers Keep Targeting the US Electric Grid

Wired have written plenty about the threat that cyberattacks pose to power grids worldwide. But lately, the most significant attacks on electrical systems have demonstrated that hacking is hardly necessary when physical destruction and sabotage are an option: Just as Russia's invasion force in Ukraine has systematically destroyed electrical infrastructure to cause vast blackouts across the country, a mysterious and continuing series of physical attacks have hit power utilities in the American southeast—and in one case, have caused an extended outage for tens of thousands of people.

City program aimed at crime prevention

Initiatives and grants to help revitalize the downtown core was the focus of a talk at Casa Tuesday by the City's Urban Revitalization manager Andrew Malcolm.

Malcolm gave a sparse audience a look at revitalization efforts in downtown with much of his talk focusing on the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design program.

This program, which was recently extended by city council in the 2023-24 budget with $50,000 annual funding, is aimed at supporting businesses in the downtown core that are dealing with costs due to increasing amounts of loitering, vandalism, and theft.

Left to Our Own Devices: The challenges in securing Industrial Control Systems (ICS)

Dale Peterson, founder of the S4 conference, is one of the most experienced individuals on the planet when it comes to industrial cybersecurity. After a few years at the NSA as a cryptanalyst, he spent a decade focusing on financial cybersecurity before becoming fully engrossed in protecting the critical industrial control systems (ICS) in facilities like power plants, pipelines, medical facilities, and freshwater utilities.

The Impact Of Machine Learning (ML) On The Security Market

Machine learning refers to the evolving ability of computer systems to learn and adapt without following explicit instructions. It essentially involves the use of algorithms and statistical models to analyze and draw conclusions from patterns in data.

We asked this week's Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the impact of machine learning (ML) on the security market?

Cybercrime reports jump as criminal gangs target families and businesses, cybersecurity agency says

Cybercrime is continuing to surge in Australia as gangs use increasingly sophisticated techniques to defraud and blackmail households, governments and businesses across the nation.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has launched its third annual threat report, revealing that it received over 76,000 cybercrime reports last financial year – a 13 per cent increase from the year before.

Vulnerability exploitation is top initial access vector for ransomware

Ransomware remains the primary type of cyberattack targeting organizations, but the ransomware attack vector has shifted in 2022.

The State of the Threat Report from Secureworks found that cyber vulnerability exploitation in remote services has become the primary initial access vector (IAV) in ransomware attacks over the past year, accounting for 52% of ransomware incidents and overtaking the top spot from credential-based attacks from 2021.

What are the fire safety risks of lithium-ion batteries?

With plummeting costs and soaring efficiency, we are going to be seeing many, many more batteries over the next decade – especially big, grid level ones.

There are at least a dozen big batteries operating and dozens more under construction or announced around Australia. Because of their energy density, lithium-ion batteries are becoming much more common – which means that, while rare, battery fires are becoming more common too.

LastPass says hackers had internal access for four days

LastPass says the attacker behind the August security breach had internal access to the company's systems for four days until they were detected and evicted.

In an update to the security incident notification published last month, Lastpass' CEO Karim Toubba also said that the company's investigation (carried out in partnership with cybersecurity firm Mandiant) found no evidence the threat actor accessed customer data or encrypted password vaults.

Stage 2 of NCC 2022 is out now!

We have released the second stage preview of NCC 2022. Development of the 2022 edition of the NCC was split into two stages.

We published the first stage of NCC 2022 on 9 May 2022, but left the energy efficiency and condensation management provisions blank while we finalised those parts.

These new measures have now been agreed to by Building Ministers, so now we’re releasing them as a second stage preview of NCC 2022.

Ransomware: Most attacks exploit these common cybersecurity mistakes - so fix them now, warns Microsoft

Over 80% of ransomware incidents can be traced back to misconfigured cloud services, untested security tools, and the enablement of macros.

The vast majority of ransomware attacks begin with cyber criminals exploiting common cybersecurity errors, which – if correctly managed – could prevent most victims from falling prey to attacks.

Janet Jackson song from 1989 declared a cybersecurity vulnerability for crashing hard drives

It's just been revealed that the song has the power to crash particular models of laptops, and it has now been recognized as a cybersecurity vulnerability.

As reported by The Reg, the strange tale comes from a Microsoft devblog by Raymond Chen. He writes that a colleague shared a story from Windows XP product support about how Jackson's track would crash certain models of laptops when it was played within proximity of the device.

From ugly duckling to Tamarama glamour as $20 million penthouses unveiled

Sydney's newest $20 million-plus beachside apartment penthouses have finally been put back up for sale after they were abruptly pulled off the market eight months ago in a row with the NSW Building Commissioner over fire regulations.

The two penthouses were built on top of a seven-level 1960s building in Tamarama as part of an ambitious scheme for their sale to finance the $50 million renovation and refurbishment of the entire 78-apartment block.

Cybercrime is evolving — here's how a cybersecurity expert recommends you keep safe

Paul Haskell-Dowland has been in the cybersecurity education and research domain for two decades — and he is on a mission to teach the rest of us how to stay safe online.

It's a significant job for the Professor of Cyber Security Practice at Edith Cowan University.

The cost of cybercrime in Australia is incredibly high, though the figure is likely even greater than the reported data suggests.

Helping you prepare - NCC 2022

If you aren't yet aware that there are major changes coming to how you build, or the materials you can use, then now is the time to engage with HIA about what you need to know. We’re at the stage where the majority of NCC 2022 amendments have now been confirmed.

This means you will need to prepare yourself ahead of these taking effect. HIA will be undertaking activities over the next 12-24 months to support members to know what’s changing and what to do with your next building projects.

What do TikTok, Bunnings, eBay and Netflix have in common? They're all hyper-collectors using mass surveillance

You walk into a shopping centre to buy some groceries. Without your knowledge, an electronic scan of your face is taken by in-store surveillance cameras and stored in an online database. Each time you return to that store, your "faceprint" is compared with those of people wanted for shoplifting or violence.

This might sound like science fiction but it's the reality for many of us. By failing to take our digital privacy seriously – as former human rights commissioner Ed Santow has warned – Australia is "sleepwalking" its way into mass surveillance.

Bunnings and Kmart under investigation over information handling linked to facial recognition technology

Australian retail giants Bunnings and Kmart are being investigated over their use of facial recognition technology in stores, amid privacy concerns.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner [OAIC] has confirmed it has launched an investigation after it was revealed the stores were using the technology without the knowledge of customers.

NCC 2022 – Key Changes in Fire Safety

We're providing a series of articles to give you a snap shot of some changes that may impact your work when NCC 2022 is adopted by states and territories.

Open up the NCC, and we'll step you through some of the key changes to fire safety for NCC 2022. Remember, NCC 2022 also has a new referencing system. We've included both the new and the previous NCC 2019 references, to help you identify what has changed.

The unique challenges of securing data centres – “Enterprise risk management and partnerships are crucial to our approach”

As George Dionisopoulos, Head of Security at Australian data centre provider NEXTDC, explains, there is little doubt that the data centre market is witnessing significant growth, in line with the development of cloud-based services. There is also an awareness that data centres are now an integral part of a country’s critical national infrastructure – whether formally recognised or not – and only high-quality security solutions and risk management strategies will suffice.

IFSEC Global was lucky enough to sit down with George, alongside Barkers Fencing’s Adam Savage, at IFSEC International in May, to find out more about the unique challenges that come with securing such facilities and why partnerships are crucial to an organisational security strategy.

Supporting decision-making processes for selecting fire safety measures for road tunnels

Selecting fires safety measures for road tunnels relies mainly on strict regulatory requirements. However, the choice should also be based on many different criteria and ranking of alternatives should take place. Existing methods exhibit lack in dealing rigorously with measures' selection amongst different alternatives. This paper contributes to the body of knowledge by proposing a novel method, named EVADE, which aims to incorporate diverse stakeholders' views and provide a meaningful ranking of alternatives.

Only a small fraction of buildings with flammable cladding have been fixed, and owners are feeling the strain

Australia has more than 3,400 buildings with flammable cladding. In Victoria alone, at least 71 of these buildings have been classified as “extreme risk” and another 368 as “high risk”. Despite the tragic evidence of the risks of cladding fires, rectification work had been completed on only 11 of these buildings by February 2021.

Grenfell: four years after the disaster, are our buildings safer?

The facts and figures uncovered in the ongoing Grenfell Tower inquiry and other investigations, continue to shock. An initial key finding of the inquiry’s first report in 2019 was that the external cladding that surrounded Grenfell Tower was largely responsible for the fire spreading so quickly.

Since the fire, over 400 other high rise buildings surveyed around the country have been found to have external wall materials similar to those used on Grenfell Tower. Several more recent tower block fires also show serious fire hazards in high-rise buildings remain.

Hundreds of smoke alarms to be installed across Pueblo during fire safety event

The Pueblo Fire Department is partnering with the American Red Cross to install more than a thousand smoke alarms in homes in Pueblo, which has been selected as the main city for this year's nationwide Sound the Alarm home fire safety campaign.

The two organizations are looking for around 100 volunteers to help install smoke detectors in homes and spread fire safety information around Pueblo in May.

Security tool guarantees privacy in surveillance footage

Surveillance cameras have an identity problem, fuelled by an inherent tension between utility and privacy. As these powerful little devices have cropped up seemingly everywhere, the use of machine learning tools has automated video content analysis at a massive scale — but with increasing mass surveillance, there are currently no legally enforceable rules to limit privacy invasions.

Why electric scooters could catch fire, and how you can avoid that

A parked Ola S1 Pro electric scooter caught fire in Pune late last week, raising concerns over the safety of electric vehicles. The company said it has launched an investigation to understand the “root cause”.

“We are aware of an incident in Pune that happened with one of our scooters and are investigating to understand the root cause and will share more updates in the next few days,” Ola Electric said in a statement.

NSW Planning Minister scraps order to consider flood, fire risks before building

NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts scrapped a requirement to consider the risks of floods and fires before building new homes only two weeks after it came into effect and while the state was reeling from a deadly environmental disaster.

Mr Roberts last week revoked a ministerial directive by his predecessor Robert Stokes outlining nine principles for sustainable development, including managing the risks of climate change, a decision top architects have branded “short-sighted” and hard to understand.

University of Extrication: Electric Vehicle Fire Suppression

As electric vehicles (EVs) become more prevalent, the chances of encountering an EV (or late-model hybrid) fire incident increase. Many challenges lie in store when an EV that has a high-voltage (HV) lithium-ion (li-ion) battery is involved in fire.

When HV batteries utilized nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) for their internal cells, as all of the early hybrids did, fire suppression was rather similar to what we expect from a burning internal combustion engine vehicle. For more than 10 years’ worth of hybrid vehicle fires, these original small, accessible HV batteries responded well to our conventional vehicle fire attack techniques.

How CPTED is combining hardware with heart-ware

The early concepts of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) were considered in the U.S. in the early 1960s and helped form a new construct for criminologists and architects to work together to create and maintain safer communities. Consistent with this new idea of managing the built environment, architect Oscar Newman set into motion the concept of “defensible space” in the late 1960s. In 1971, building upon the work of Newman, Jane Jacobs, and others, Florida State University criminologist C. Ray Jeffery, originated the term CPTED in his definitive book Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

Practical and Security Implications of BCA D2.22: Re-entry from fire-isolated exits

The BCA Deemed-to-Satisfy (DtS) Provisions stipulate that for Class 9a healthcare and 9c aged care buildings, and for all buildings above an effective height of 25m, the doors from fire-isolated exits must not be locked from the inside. This requirement to allow re-entry into the building from the fire isolated exit imposes considerable challenges with regard to security risks, where re-entry from fire isolated exits could allow anyone to enter any space within these buildings once they have entered the fire isolated exit.

Design and Building Practitioner's Regulation 2021 – A Fire Safety Perspective

The proliferation of building defects and issues that owners and owners’ corporations had to deal with culminated in the Shergold Weir Building Confidence Report in 2018, and the subsequent response from the NSW Government led to the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020. With the introduction of a statutory duty of care, the Design and Building Practitioners Act and Regulation, amongst its other objectives, aims to ensure that suitably qualified designers were signing off on the job.

Cyber Talk: Ransomware

Ransom is an old crime that has taken on a new form in ransomware. The Australian Cyber Security Centre defines ransomware as “a type of malicious software (malware)” that gets onto your device and makes it unusable (ACSC). How it works is not too far off the television and movie depiction of the concept of ransom. On an otherwise uneventful morning, you wake up to see that you have lost access to all your data.

Lote Wellness Minute: Interthinking – taking meetings to the next level

A side effect of the pandemic was the mass migration of meetings to online exchanges and the era of back-to-back Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet calls. Meetings can be time consuming and, in many instances, unproductive and distracting from your core job function. But meetings can be where the magic happens, where creativity is sparked, ideas built upon and outcomes achieved. This is where this concept of interthinking can become a powerful tool for managers to employ.

How AI is shaping the cybersecurity arms race

The average business receives 10,000 alerts every day from the various software tools it uses to monitor for intruders, malware and other threats. Cybersecurity staff often find themselves inundated with data they need to sort through to manage their cyber defences.

The stakes are high. Cyberattacks are increasing and affect thousands of organizations and millions of people in the U.S. alone.

Red Cross: State hackers breached our network using Zoho bug

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today that the hack disclosed last month against its servers was a targeted attack likely coordinated by a state-backed hacking group.

During the incident, the attackers gained access to the personal information (names, locations, and contact information) of over 515,000 people in the "Restoring Family Links" program that helps reunite families separated by war, disaster, and migration.

Alzheimer's disease linked to circadian rhythm – new research in mice

A good night's sleep has always been linked to better mood, and better health. Now, scientists have even more evidence of just how much sleep – and more specifically our circadian rhythm, which regulates our sleep cycle – is linked to certain diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. A team of researchers from the United States have found further evidence that the cells which help keep the brain healthy and prevent Alzheimer's disease also follow a circadian rhythm.

Government deregulation and cuts 'hobbled' fire safety group, Grenfell Inquiry hears

The government “hobbled” a group of fire safety experts appointed to spot flaws in building regulations because of a culture of deregulation, the Grenfell Inquiry has heard.

Ministers gave the Building Research Establishment (BRE) “investigation of real fires project” a “contractual requirement” not to make any policy recommendations.

David Crowder, former head of fire investigation at the BRE, told Wednesday’s hearing that the group's reports were limited to pointing out “implications” raised by building fires.

NSW Cladding Taskforce

The NSW Cladding Taskforce was established to identify buildings with potentially combustible cladding and support local councils to address the use of non-compliant cladding materials. The Taskforce audited 185,000 building records and to date 4182 buildings have been inspected.

Not all cladding is dangerous. There are a number of factors which are considered when determining whether cladding on a building may pose a higher risk including the total coverage, vertical coverage, positioning around balconies, windows or doors, as well as the types of building and the way it is used.

Lote's Presentation at the International CPTED Association Conference 2021

The International CPTED Association's 2021 Conference was held in Helsingborg Sweden, inviting guests from around the globe to attend both in person and virtually. While the Lote team was unable to physically attend the conference, we were thrilled to present our ideas virtually. Dr Maher Magrabi and Zachariah Reisch gave this presentation on CPTED and its role in the management of the Australian Development Approvals process - you can watch the full video via the button below.

Cyber Talk: Password Security for 2022

Online activity continues to grow in volume and sophistocation, with internet connectivity being a ubiquitous component of both our business and personal lives. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the efficacy and ingenuity of abusers of the online space also continues to evolve to take advantage of this reality. So what can you do to protect your business and personal information?

You don't need to have a cybersecurity degree in order to keep your information safe - all you need is to be informed and follow basic computer safety practices. Previous columns have addressed issues such as Phishing (so take a look at those too), but this column will focus on effective and simple password management you can use in the coming year and beyond.

Important information for registered certifiers: new regulation to begin in the New Year

As some members will know, the NSW Government has recently released the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Development Certification and Fire Safety) Regulation 2021 (the Regulation).

The Regulation is relevant for registered certifiers and will commence on 1 January 2022, and therefore it is important that all members are across the relatively minor changes made by the Regulation.

2021 Was a Record Year for Data Breaches, But Scammers Now Have a New Focus

2022 is the year of the breach, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), but last year was no prize either, according to the group's 16th annual Data Breach Report for 2021.

The good news is that the number of individuals who were hit by security breaches in 2021 declined for the third year to 293 million, down from a record high of 2.2 billion in 2018.

The problem is that the percentage of breaches that included the theft of sensitive data like Social Security numbers was up from 80% to 83% year over year, though that was down from 2017's stunning 95%.

SysJoker Has Been Attacking Computers for Over Six Months

A scary backdoor is out there right now, targeting Windows, Linux, and macOS. This SysJoker malware is so frightening because it’s very good at evading detection, giving it the ability to do damage without the user noticing.

Basically, variants are designed to target either Linux, Windows, or MacOS. It creates a series of files and registry commands that eventually allows it to install other malware, run commands on the infected device, or command the backdoor to remove itself.

IoT under attack: Security is still not good enough on these edge devices

With IoT botnets continuing to cause problems and attacks on critical infrastructure an ongoing menace, Microsoft has conducted research to find out whether edge network devices are a threat to enterprise systems.

A survey of 615 IT, IT security and OT security practitioners across the United States found that 51% of OT networks are connected to corporate IT networks.

Some 88% of respondents said their business IoT devices are connected to the internet for things like cloud-printing services while 56% reported devices on their OT network were connected for remote access.

Nuclear scientists think they've cracked the key to fighting fire in Australia

The two may seem to have little to do with each other, but deep in the bowels of the Lucas Heights nuclear facilities a team of scientists is building the firefighting uniform of the future, specifically for Australian conditions.

They have fashioned an ultra-light fireproof material that could revolutionise firefighting gear and protect household items with a simple coating, and after nearly six years of research are ready to commercialise their invention.

Warehousing, IoT Robotics and Dangerous Goods – Security and Fire Safety Perspectives

The continued rise of E-commerce, spurred on at least in part by COVID-19 lockdowns, is set to drive another record year of industrial property development – primarily storage warehouses and production facilities. At the same time, transport and storage of Dangerous Goods remains a risk; with these goods causing ~30% of international shipping incidents, and global calls for safety reform.

This article will cover concerns relating to security and fire safety design for industrial developments, including warehouses, as well as concerns arising from Dangerous Goods in these contexts, and considerations for their transport and storage.

Lessons from Manchester: A Review of Volume 1 Manchester Arena Inquiry – an Australian perspective

The June 2021 release of Volume 1 of the Manchester Arena Inquiry Report presents an example of an attack on a crowded place, and with it a number of recommendations and lessons. This article aims to summarise some of these recommendations and draw out action points to asset owners, operators and event organisers.

Cyber Talk: Email Fraud and Phishing

A shift in the attack vectors utilised by malicious parties has occurred, from IT systems to the end user themself. The focus placed on the human element as a target has allowed these bad actors to tap into the power of social engineering – whereby the vulnerability in the system becomes exploitable features of human psychology, rather than technological channels. Businesses need to evolve to counter this threat, as every organisation is vulnerable to a certain extent – and many are critically ill-prepared.

Security and Fire Safety in Dedicated COVID-19 Quarantine Facilities

The challenge of managing quarantine requirements for overseas travellers or returning Australian citizens has created an urgent demand for purpose built COVID-19 quarantine facilities over the course of the pandemic. This article examines some of the Security and Fire Safety considerations necessary for the site, as well as implications for mandatory quarantine related to governmental duty of care responsibilities.

Abstract: The Use of Cavity Barriers to Mitigate External Fire Spread in Multi-Storey Buildings

This abstract outlines a study on the effectiveness of cavity barriers in multi-story buildings. The function of a cavity barrier is to provide a fire blocker in the cavities located within the external walls of multi-story buildings, which assist to mitigate vertical fire spread.

The main goal of the research referred to by this abstract is to determine if the installation of cavity barriers is effective in stopping vertical fire spread on buildings that incorporate combustible building elements along the facade, such as aluminium composite panels (ACP) with a combustible core.

Abstract: Probabilistic Risk Assessments of Occupant Evacuations for Office Buildings

This abstract identifies some of the benefits of conducting a probabilistic assessment of office spaces that are already compliant with the BCA, as well as outlining some shortcomings of this type of approach.

Ultimately the full paper will aim to highlight the value of combining probabilistic assessments with an evacuation analysis to more accurately determine the 'real-world' risk to life in the event of a fire, beyond simple 'yes or no' compliance with BCA Standards.

ISO 22341:2021 — Security and Resilience — the Long-Awaited CPTED Standard

The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) has recently released a new Standard for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), ISO 22341:2021 - Security and resilience — Protective security — Guidelines for crime prevention through environmental design.

While we recommend that anyone involved in development review the information within themselves, we at Lote have gone through the Standard to provide an informal summary of key ideas within, as well as our thoughts on its overall effectiveness as a representative Standard for CPTED more generally.

Security Perspectives in Renewables and Waste Management

Sustainability and Environmental Protection underlie massive shifts in the energy industry and waste management. This article explores these sectors and sheds light on security considerations that need to be taken into account during development projects. It also provides a summary of security and risk considerations for planners and project managers involved in renewable energy and waste management projects.

Fire Safety and Waste Management Facilities – Common Issues Encountered in the Industry

The Federal Government introduced the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020 in early December 2020, banning the export of unprocessed waste overseas. This legislation is expected to provide a stimulus to reconfigure local infrastructure to reprocess and re-manufacture recyclables onshore in Australia. This article sheds light on fire safety considerations for the growing number of waste management facilities being established around Australia.

Disability Upgrades to Existing Train Stations and the Role of a C10 Fire Engineer

The current Transport Access Program (TAP) is a NSW Government project to upgrade public train stations to meet the requirements of the federal Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (DSAPT). The Standards set out the minimum requirements for accessibility on public transport and ensure that people with disability have appropriate access to those public transport services.

Security Considerations for the NSW Rail Infrastructure Network

As NSW becomes more interconnected and densely populated, its needs for transport infrastructure will continue to grow. With numerous road, rail and airport projects being funded in the coming years, many are concerned with the cost, efficacy, or political buying-power of such undertakings. Amidst the storms around these projects lies an issue often overlooked – with an exponentially complex transportation system being developed over the coming years, how should their designers and operators best approach the issue of security?

Safety of Innovative Vehicles in Tunnels

Vehicle technology is evolving quickly, with autonomous cars now a reality, and with an increasing proportion of hybrid and electric vehicles on the road. Such innovation can bring many advantages in the management of traffic flow and the reduction of emissions. However, innovative vehicles can present significant risks to road users, particularly in tunnels. A good understanding of the sources of these risks, and how to mitigate them is essential for manufacturers, designers, tunnel owners and operators, as well as for the fire service.

Fire Safety and Security: Legal Framework in NSW

As a part of Lote's ongoing commitment to the dissemination of information that makes our industry smarter and safer, we have developed a new informational video regarding the legal framework of security in NSW. This short video provides an understanding of the requirements for those providing security services and is useful for anyone who engages with security consultants, or indeed security consultants themselves who may be unclear about licensing requirements and the risks of operating without the appropriate accreditations.

Securing a Data Centre | Why a specialist security approach is a project imperative

Data centre security can be defined as the operational practices and technologies that are employed to safeguard the data centre from external threats and vulnerabilities. The growth of Cloud Computing, Software as a Service, and Platforms as a Service has driven the growth of physical data centres. Being a physical asset, on-shore data centres are also a critical component in national infrastructure. Data centres are the physical facility that houses Information Technology (IT) infrastructure comprising computing, storage, networking, and power resources. As these data centres store sensitive and/or proprietary information that may include customer data and valuable intellectual property, cyber and physical security is paramount to its operation. This article will focus on physical elements of data centre security.

Fire Safety in Data Centres

The reliance on cloud-based data storage and increasing demand for supplying energy from alternative sources has seen a dramatic increase in the use of Lithium-Ion battery based Energy Storage Systems (ESS). One common application for ESS are data centres to help cater for the increased demand for cloud-based data storage. One of the fundamental requirements of a cloud-based data centre is business continuity via zero downtime requirements. ESS are mandatory, to provide continuous data centre operation during a power outage. Lithium-Ion based ESS are prone to thermal runaway leading to the production of flammable gases and subsequent uncontrollable combustion. The additional ESS fire risks are not readily covered by the Deemed-to-Satisfy (DtS) provisions of the Building Code of Australia (BCA), Furthermore, ESS trigger the application of BCA Clause E1.10 - Provision for Special Hazards which prescribes that additional provision must be made if special problems of fighting fire could arise because of the nature or quantity of materials stored, displayed or used in a building or on the allotment; or the location of the building in relation to a water supply for fire-fighting purposes.

Fire Safety and Security Imperatives in light of the new Aged Care Quality Standards

The past few months have seen an already teetering Australian aged care industry go from bad to worse as many RACFs were the site of deadly outbreaks - and given the negligence turned up in light of these outbreaks, it appears regulatory bodies have a long way to go before the industry is at an acceptable standard. This article explores the current state of Australian aged care in July 2020 and outlines a path forward that allows construction industry specialists to benefit from the work in this sector while also healing its broken core in the process.

BCA 2019 Clause of the Year

Building Code of Australia 2019 (BCA) Clause C1.9 put an end to the use of combustible materials on building facades in an explicit fashion. Although this has been an implicit requirement since BCA 1996 or earlier. Recent cladding incidents such as the Grenfell Fire and the Lacrosse Fire have necessitated further clarification and a dedicated clause BCA C1.9. Clause C1.9 has generated considerable controversy and discussion due to its application retrospectively to existing buildings and current projects in construction.

BCA 2019 Clause of the Year

Building Code of Australia 2019 (BCA) Clause C1.9 put an end to the use of combustible materials on building facades in an explicit fashion. Although this has been an implicit requirement since BCA 1996 or earlier. Recent cladding incidents such as the Grenfell Fire and the Lacrosse Fire have necessitated further clarification and a dedicated clause BCA C1.9. Clause C1.9 has generated considerable controversy and discussion due to its application retrospectively to existing buildings and current projects in construction.

Emerging Risks: Lithium Ion Batteries

The expansion in the use of Lithium Ion batteries has become a challenge for attending Fire Fighters. Battery Systems have been introduced into the Building Code of Australia (BCA) 2019 as a defined term with provisions based on a minimum size of system. However, based on the large-scale testing of Energy Storage Systems (ESS) undertaken by FM Global consideration should still be given to ESS containing banks of Lithium Ion batteries in the form of spacing, compartmentation and sprinkler operation. A holistic performance-based fire safety approach approach is warranted taking into consideration Building Code of Australia (BCA), Dangerous Goods Storage & Handling and Special Fire Hazard requirements.

Challenges to Law Enforcement when dealing with Cybercrime

Governments across the world are struggling to keep up with the growing threat of cybercrime and the evolving techniques used by its practitioners. Australian law enforcement faces numerous challenges in its response to the transnational nature of cybercrime, the evolution of technologies in encryption and the widespread distribution of computing and cloud computing.