In this blog series, our Executive Director Ben Taylor highlights a selection of cybersecurity, physical security, health or natural threat related stories relevant to the cannabis industry.

Cybersecurity

Cracking Down on Ransomware: Strategies for Disrupting Criminal Hackers and Building Resilience Against Cyber Threats | Federal Bureau of Investigation

As a follow-up from last week’s blog where we detailed a ransomware incident in the cannabis industry, we wanted to share recent comments made by the FBI’s Cyber Division Assistant Director Bryan A. Vorndran  before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on 16 November. He noted that “Ransomware is a growing threat to the health and safety of the American people and our national and economic security, with no shortage of recent examples of ransomware’s wide-ranging effects.”

“As a member of both the law enforcement and intelligence communities, with domestic and international reach, the FBI is focusing our unique authorities, and our ability to engage with international law enforcement, domestic victims, and key technology service providers, to identify and disrupt adversaries before they compromise U.S. networks, and hold them accountable when they do.” Vorndran noted that in conjunction with the Department of Justice’s recently-formed Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force, the FBI’s strategy for countering ransomware and other complex cybercriminal schemes is focused on pursuing and disrupting the actors, their infrastructure, as well as their money.

“We are pushing important threat information to network defenders, and we are making it as easy as possible for the private sector to share information with us. For example, we are emphasizing to the private sector how we keep our presence unobtrusive in the wake of a breach, how we protect information that companies and universities share with us and commit to providing useful feedback, and how we coordinate with our government partners so we speak with one voice. A call to one federal agency is a call to all federal agencies, and I hope we are sending that message by sitting as a unified front here today. At the same time, we need the private sector to do its part. We need to be warned—quickly—when they see malicious cyber activity. We also need companies to work with us when we warn them they are being targeted. The recent examples of significant cyber incidents—SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange, Colonial Pipeline, JBS, and Kaseya—only emphasize what Director Wray has been saying for a long time: The government cannot protect against cyber threats on its own. We need a whole-of-society approach that matches the scope of the danger.”

The FBI has been successful in retrieving paid ransoms after some recent attacks, so we do recommend contacting your nearest FBI field office should your organization become a victim of an attack. 

Physical Security

Cannabis Delivery Driver Robbed at Gunpoint in Martinez

A brazen daylight armed robbery of a cannabis delivery driver is causing concern along Alhambra Avenue in Martinez. The armed robbery went down as the delivery driver was dropping off a cannabis shipment at the Embarc cannabis dispensary a few minutes after the noon hour Wednesday.

Martinez police say the 36-year-old male delivery driver was robbed at gunpoint by three male suspects wearing masks — two of the armed with semi automatic weapons. A source told KRON4 this was an unscheduled delivery and when the security guard came out to investigate and learned that a robbery was underway, store employees were alerted and the dispensary went into lockdown.

We recently reported on a new program by DoorDash to help provide additional security for their delivery drivers, which could be a good case study for the cannabis industry. The new in-app security toolkit is aimed at helping its delivery providers feel safe while they work. SafeDash is rolling out in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Users on the delivery side of the platform across the U.S. will get access to SafeDash by the end of the year.

The company has partnered with ADT to launch two new features within the toolkit. The “safety reassurance call” feature lets users connect with an ADT agent through the Dasher app in instances where they may feel unsafe. The ADT agent will remain on the phone until the individual feels safe. If the incident escalates, and the person is unresponsive for a period of time, ADT will contact 911 to request an emergency response to their last known location, based on GPS from their smartphone.

Surveillance Cameras Capture Thieves Breaking into Tulsa Dispensary

Security cameras were rolling when three men broke into a Tulsa cannabis dispensary  on Nov. 8 at C’Level Cannabis Dispensary on 15th Street. Footage shows three men breaking a glass door to enter the business. In just two minutes, the group stole about $1,400 in cannabis products.

Natural Events

How the Supply Chain Crisis Impacts Cannabis

The global supply chain crisis has impacted nearly every market on earth that relies on international shipping. Everything from clothing and turkeys to cars and computer chips is in short supply, causing prices and wait times to increase. The cannabis industry is no exception; the supply chain crisis very much so impacts cannabis products getting to consumers. According to John Hartsell, CEO & co-founder of DIZPOT, a cannabis packaging distributor, the worst, when it comes to the supply chain affecting the cannabis market, may still be on its way. “Supply chain issues will continue to be challenging and may even become more challenging for cannabis companies over the next several months due to the holiday season coming up with many packages coming for Christmas, Hanukkah and other holidays,” says Hartsell. Many of those gifts arriving during the holidays are coming from overseas, which further exacerbates any current supply chain backlogs.

While the current supply chain crisis has been primarily driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather events can also cause major disruptions. British Columbia’s cannabis industry is bracing for difficulties with getting products to distributors and stores after storms, massive floods and mudslides hit the province this week. Several cannabis companies say portions of their facilities are submerged in water, communities where their pot shops are located have been evacuated and some major roads they use to transport products have been completely wiped out.

How to Protect Cannabis Grow Facilities from Catastrophic Power Failure

Weather, forest fires, other natural events, and human error all can lead to losses of power. However, planning for the unanticipated will remove the risk from power emergencies. Controlled environment agriculture strategies that implement various emergency and security arrangement systems can help avoid disastrous consequences on overall yields. 

A variety of emergency power system options exist, based on the individual facility characteristics and needs. These options include: 

  • Specifically sized generators to provide power for code-required and critical systems during an outage 
  • Generator connection cabinets that allow connection of a mobile generator. This could be coupled with an agreement with a rental company that could guarantee a generator within a certain amount of time (e.g., 24 hours). 
  • Full emergency generator back-up. This can ensure no operational interruption but can be costly and take up significant space. 
  • Hybrid options that include multiple generators sized for more than the minimum required backup power and for prolonged usage  
  • Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) for security systems and C1D1 booths to maintain operation for multiple hours (many C1D1 manufacturers offer optional factory UPS backup systems for up to two hours) 

Be sure to check back every Tuesday as we publish our Library Card Series where we highlight one of the resources available in our library!

Check out the latest blog highlighting issues important to cannabis security!

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