HR strategy forumOn 23 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Askour experts. Personnel Today would like readers to send in their strategic HRdilemma. All questions will remain anonymous and will be forwarded to our strategyforum members, two of whom will provide step-by-step advice in the magazine.Send your dilemmas to [email protected] dilemmaCommand and control culture A call centre employing 500 people has been in operation for five years, butforms only one division of a financial services business. It offers a 24/7service to customers and has managed to achieve high levels of customersatisfaction. It has an annual employee turnover of 45 per cent and has difficultyrecruiting the right calibre of staff. It is situated in an area of lowunemployment and faces increasing competition for the pool of available labour.It offers reasonably attractive salaries for a call centre and its terms andconditions are quite generous, when compared to its competitors. However, there are some serious issues around management style and a culturethat is more command and control than empowering. The business environment isbecoming more competitive, putting increasing strains on senior management.This strain is being transmitted down through the very minimal layers ofmanagement and supervision and is resulting in disgruntled employees seekingthe support of a union. However, the company does not currently recognise theunion. There is a shift system in operation and many are employed on part-time andquite flexible contracts. There is a large number of graduates and young mothersand the age profile is low. You are the new HR director. The managing director, who was not happy withthe way HR was dealing with the likely encroachment of the union, squeezed theprevious incumbent out. What are your priorities in your new role? Solution 1 By Ralph Tribe Ralph Tribe is vice-president of HR, Getty Images Step 1 Although the MD’s reaction to the possibility of trade unionrecognition is important, attempting to ‘fight’ the union is almost certainlythe wrong thing to do if your ultimate intention is to avoid a recognitionclaim. You need to mobilise the MD and senior team in devising an HR strategythat addresses the employment issues and work environment that are causing theworkforce to seek the support of an external body in preference to themanagement team. Step 2 So forget the trade union, and get the management team focusedon the rather more important issue of how much money you are losing by being atbest, an average employer. How much could the business could be making if it becamethe best employer in the region? Concentrate on the costs associated withturnover, retraining and low productivity. Identify the revenue andproductivity gains associated with high workforce loyalty, engagement andcommitment. Step 3 Having secured the senior team’s commitment to improving yourorganisation’s employment proposition and brand, you need to start talking tostaff quickly. Avoid falling into the trap of corporately defining what theorganisation’s new, compelling employment proposition will be from a ‘top down’perspective. The employees need to define it – your role is to provide a methodor tool that allows the organisation to capture and prioritise its feedback. Step 4 Having done so, you need to lead the process of building aplan that quickly delivers improvements in the four to six areas the workforcehas defined as being most important. If your objective is to differentiateyourself from other employers in the region among a young workforce, you mustkeep the plan simple and obvious, as they are likely to have little basis forsubtle comparisons. Step 5 If empowerment (or the lack of) comes up as an action item, aquick win with obvious bottom-line benefits might be to engage staff inidentifying opportunities for simple cross-selling or outbound selling in thecall centre environment. An improvedsales model offers the opportunity for more challenging and interesting work aswell as improved, affordable financial rewards for employees in the form ofsales incentives. Solution 2 By Paul Kearns Paul Kearns is director, PWL The solution offered here is based on an assumption that you have carriedout your own analysis of problems facing the business. Like most call centres,this is still a relatively young business and, as such, has had little or nostrategic HR input. Step 1 The first task is to bring the board up to speed from astrategic HR perspective. This will include taking a longer-term view, so thatsome of the underlying management issues (that is, management style) can beaddressed. You should also link whatever you plan to do directly to businessperformance indicators. Any HR strategy should be able to articulate how itwill impact on costs, efficiency and customer satisfaction in the medium to long-term.This is crucial for board commitment and buy-in. Step 2 The priority will then be to get an agreement from boardmembers that the union is not a welcome development. You must add, though, thatthe union, per se, is not the real issue but a symptom of it. The real issuesurrounds loss of trust and motivation in the workforce, which is having adamaging effect on the business as a whole. HR strategy is always about dealingwith root causes. Terms and conditions are already at an acceptable marketlevel, so the underlying issue will not be related to pay or conditions.Nevertheless, these may well become issues if employees achieve unionrecognition. Step 3 Once the board is behind you in principle, you need toidentify the key strategic steps. This might include identifying sections wherethere are serious cases of employee disengagement. These should be identifiablethrough inefficiencies or deteriorating levels of service, absenteeism orhigher turnover. A big strategic question is: do the managers who helped setthe business up have the right skills for managing in a much tightercompetitive environment? Step 4 One advantage you have as the new HR director is that youcould address a meeting of all employees to give your personal commitment andthat of the board to trying to resolve their problems. This may buy you sometime so that the big question of union recognition can be delayed long enoughfor you to be able to put your strategy into effect. How the forum worksThe HR Strategy Forum, which is supportedby some of the industry’s most experienced people (see below), is PersonnelToday’s major new initiative to help readers become more strategic in theirday-to-day operations. Over the coming months, Personnel Today will give a unique,developmental opportunity to hone your strategic skills using a wide range ofHR scenarios submitted by senior HR professionals. Each week, our panel ofexperienced practitioners and consultants will provide solutions to a typicalstrategic HR dilemma. You can get involved by sending in your own problems,marked ‘strategic dilemmas’, to [email protected] Brown, Assistant director general, CIPDPaul Kearns, Director, PWLJim Matthewma,n Worldwide partner, MercerHuman Resource ConsultingAndrew Mayo, Director,MLILouise Allen, Director, LAPartnersPenny Davis, Head of HR operations,T-MobileMarie Gill, Head of organisationaldevelopment, AsdaNeil Roden, HR director, Royal Bankof ScotlandRalph Tribe, Vice-president of HR,Getty ImagesDilys Winn, HR director,Gloucestershire County CouncilMargaret Savage, Head of HR strategy,BT Comments are closed.
Zoopla’s new marketing chief has revealed that the property portal is to significantly change how it presents itself both to estate agents and consumers, although its TV crabs are not to be ditched.But the portal is to shift from building industry and consumer awareness of itself to persuading agents to use its services more often. Zoopla now claims to have 92% brand awareness and says that, therefore, getting people to recognise the portal’s name is “no longer a problem”.Gary Bramall, who recently arrived as its new Chief Marketing Officer from taxi firm Hailo, says one of his focuses is to persuade more agents to sign up to its service and begin using its CRM tools.Valuation toolTo achieve this Bramall has told Marketing Week magazine that he hopes to use its data capabilities to attract and retain agents with its new valuation tool and also help house sellers and buyers decide when and where to move.The business also plans to continue keeping its comparison business , which is dominated by uSwitch, separate from its property portal, Bramall says.“If people feel more confident and comfortable in making smarter property decisions then we should be a catalyst for change and get more people to do more things more often in terms of moving and making property decisions,” he says.Bramall also reveals that Zoopla will be battling for more traffic from ‘natural’ searches on Google – i.e. unpaid traffic – and that therefore improving the website’s ranking and SEO is “fundamental”.Gary Bramall property portal Zoopla February 20, 2019Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » New Zoopla marketing chief reveals fresh strategy for portal previous nextProducts & ServicesNew Zoopla marketing chief reveals fresh strategy for portalCrabs are not for the chop but fundamental shift is to take place in the way portal presents itself to agents and consumers.Nigel Lewis20th February 201901,599 Views
Samantha Sullivan (above, left), a recently-departed Purplebricks territory owner in Wales, has crossed swords online with the co-founder of the hybrid agency Kenny Bruce (above, right) after she criticised her former employer for its change of direction under CEO Vic Darvey.Sullivan, who is based in Swansea and left Purplebricks late last year to set up her own local estate agency and who is also a local representative for lettings platform Accommodation.co.uk, made the comments in reply to industry recruitment consultant Iain White after he revealed that his inbox was crammed with Purplebricks LPE job applicants.White then asked the Twittersphere why this might be, to which Sullivan replied that a “change of management, no care for agents on the ground and that [territory owners] were never looked after”, were the three key reasons.“It’s now turned around to be all about the profits and not about the people,” she said.But her online comments prompted ire from her former boss Kenny Bruce, the co-founder of Purplebricks with brother Michael.This persuaded Kenny to break his self-enforced silence since leaving the firm in June last year, saying publicly to Sullivan that: “Strange tweets and comments coming from you post leaving PB when you should maintain your legacy of being a magnificent territory owner & agent for PB”.The 44-year-old former Purplebricks director and ardent football fan also replied to White, suggesting that claims of increased churn of LPEs recently may be down to a ‘change in recruitment policy’ since Bruce left the company.“Maybe I recruited a different type of agent to what the leadership want today,” he said.Samantha Sullivan Accommodation Purplebricks Kenny Bruce January 16, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » Purplebricks co-founder warns former territory owner over critical tweets previous nextAgencies & PeoplePurplebricks co-founder warns former territory owner over critical tweetsKenny Bruce has told recently-departed Swansea representative Samantha Sullivan to ‘maintain her legacy’ as star LPE and territory owner.Nigel Lewis16th January 202003,908 Views
In February 2018 the department published ‘Securing cyber resilience in health and care: February 2018 progress update’, which set out the actions taken by the department and its arm’s length bodies to improve the cyber security of the health and care system both before and after the May 2017 WannaCry cyber attack, as well as our plans for the future.This document provides a further update on progress and development of our future plans.
Bath Bakery is asking customers to come up with the new name for its healthy diet bread.The wholesale and retail baker has created the bread for consumers looking for healthy alternatives in the new year.The person with the best name suggestion will also win a Bath Bakery Christmas hamper, worth £40.A shortlist of the best names will be posted on its Facebook page with people asked to vote for their favourite by clicking ‘like’.The bakery said it will also be make a donation, with the amount to be determined by the number of people who vote in the competition.
We know that smoking causes cancer, yet we still light up. We know that overeating causes obesity and diabetes, yet we still overeat. We know that exercise makes us healthier, yet we can’t resist the couch’s siren song.We all want to be healthier, and we know how to become so. Yet we just don’t do it.S.V. Subramanian, associate professor of society, human development, and health at the Harvard School of Public Health and a researcher at the Center for Population and Development Studies, has heard all of the theories explaining why living a healthy lifestyle is so difficult. We’re predisposed to pack on pounds to survive the famine that, in olden days, was certainly coming. We’re addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes and the fat in burgers, which get their hooks into us. Convenience is key: Who can drag themselves to the gym every day and cook healthy meals of nuts, fruits, and vegetables when the golden arches beckon?Subramanian understands that those theories may help explain our resistance to things that are health promoting. Indeed, explanations based on the idea that we are programmed to be who we are and do what we do appear to be returning with some force in recent years with an explosion of genetics research.But he feels that this has often come at the exclusion of other factors. In particular, the idea that our environments — the places where we live and work and play — may also be important.“If it’s environment, then there are levers we can pull,” Subramanian said.Subramanian has embarked on a study that will examine the link between health and location. The study will utilize several longitudinal nationwide data sets to get to the roots of the linkages between neighborhoods and health.In doing so, he’ll compare health statistics such as those gathered by the Framingham Heart Study, which recorded health outcomes of three generations and followed people as they moved around the country. He’ll probe the age when healthy behavior is formed in the National Longitudinal Study for Adolescent Health, which examines 9- to 16-year-olds. The third data set is a national health and retirement survey of those 50 and older who were recruited in 1992 and revisited several times since then.Subramanian also plans to use data from national geographic information systems (GIS) and plot the locations of businesses that might be detrimental to health, such as liquor stores and fast-food restaurants, as well as those that might be helpful to maintaining a more beneficial lifestyle, such as health clubs and parks. He can overlay that information with data from the studies and census data on income, race, and ethnicity, creating a rich picture of health and location.“There’s a thought that poor neighborhoods are underserviced, but we don’t know if that’s true,” Subramanian said.Subramanian, who received an investigator award in health policy research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to pursue this work, said the effort is like finding hot spots, places that are both socially and resource disadvantaged. In addition, he said, instances when these two aspects do not appear together may also offer interesting insights.Though medical science often looks to intervene at the personal level — helping a patient to make healthy choices — the research may show that there are also effective interventions that can be made at the neighborhood level, such as tax cuts for health-related industries to move into a neighborhood, or incentives for nonprofits to conduct activities that encourage better health.“What are the things that we can change about a place without having to move the people?” Subramanian said. “It’s an interesting public policy question: Should interventions be at the person level or a higher level, a school or neighborhood?”One unusual wrinkle that Subramanian is planning to investigate is the extent that free will plays in people living in unhealthy neighborhoods. People generally choose the places where they live, and while some seek parks and good schools, others may select for other factors. Though there is a myth of social mobility in this country, Subramanian said it is actually quite difficult to change social class, and most people end up in neighborhoods like the one they left out of constraints or choice.“We can learn about health-seeking behavior,” Subramanian said. “I want to quantify how much health and health-related conditions drive the choice of neighborhoods.”Subramanian said examination of that last factor is important because it has been raised in critiques of other studies, and Subramanian wants to bring data to bear on it.It’s important, Subramanian said, to understand that exposure to neighborhood landscapes doesn’t equate to taking a fast-acting pill or poison. Instead, effects of neighborhood conditions may lag exposure or accumulate over time. In addition, the life stage at which one is exposed may also matter. When the three-and-a-half-year study is completed, Subramanian plans to write a book on health and disadvantage in American neighborhoods.“If you have an environmental exposure in a neighborhood, it’s not going to show up for a long time,” Subramanian said. “If you’re exposed in utero, it may not show up for 25 years.”
7:00 PM Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chandler Center for the Arts, Randolph, VT Noon to 1:30 PM Luncheon for invited guests, under the tent, Randolph Center Sept. 30th, Friday 10:30 AM to Noon Diversified Agriculture Symposium “Carbon Literacy” Red School House, Randolph Campus 2:00 to 3:30 PM Induction Ceremony Judd Hall, Randolph Center 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM Inaugural Celebration Luncheon Morey Dining Hall Sept. 27th, Tuesday 1:30 – 3:30 PM Nursing Education Symposium “Educating Nurses in the 21st Century” Room 401, Williston Campus Sept 26th, Monday 9:00 AM Sustainability Commitment Event The Allen House, Randolph Center 3:30 to 4:30 Reception for attendees and participants Campus Center, Randolph Center Philip A Conroy, Jr, EdD, will be inducted as the 18th president of Vermont Technical College on Friday, September 30, 2011 at 2 pm in Judd Hall on the Randolph Center campus. Delegates representing colleges and universities from all of New England will join VTC faculty, staff and students in the academic procession and investiture ceremony.Dr. Conroy comes to Vermont Tech from Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts, where he served as vice president of enrollment management and marketing, responsible for admissions, financial aid, marketing, publications, the web site, public relations, and retention related activities.President Conroy, who has served in a variety of roles at Mount Ida since 1997, is an internationally recognized expert on higher education management, particularly in the areas of strategic enrollment management and institutional advancement. “I am excited for Vermont Technical College and the Vermont State Colleges,” said Gary Moore, Chair of the Vermont State Colleges (VSC) Board of Trustees. “I believe Phil Conroy is the right person to take the college to new levels. He is an inspiring educator and leader who will be an asset to the college and to the state.”VSC Chancellor Tim Donovan echoed Moore’s comments, adding “When you look for a next president of a college, you seek the right person for the time and circumstance of the institution. The college community, the Board of Trustees, and I all agree that Dr. Conroy has the skills and character to lead Vermont Tech to an expanded role in Vermont’s economic and educational future. I anticipate that we will see Vermont Tech’s value to Vermont reach even greater heights under Dr. Conroy’s leadership.”Prior to his service at Mount Ida, Dr. Conroy served as the director of development for the College of Food and Natural Resources at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Director of Development and founding Executive Director of the Bridgewater State University Foundation, where he also served as a faculty member, financial aid counselor, and alumni relations director.Dr. Conroy has more than thirty years of teaching and management experience in higher education, including resource development, endowment management, volunteer and constituent management, strategic enrollment management, financial aid, integrated marketing, international and multi-cultural education, transition to college and the first year of college. In addition, he has earned a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Conroy is a frequent presenter at conferences and workshops in Europe and North America on enrollment management, academic affairs, and institutional advancement issues, and he’s served in a number of volunteer positions, both in higher education and in his local community.President Conroy is “intrigued by the potential for Vermont Tech evolving into an applied university serving the state of Vermont and greater New England region. There are some very exciting possibilities ahead for Vermont Tech, and I am looking forward to working with the faculty and staff and bringing those possibilities to reality.”Conroy earned his Doctorate of Education in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; his Master of Education in educational administration from Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island; and his Bachelor of Science in education from Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He has also completed graduate studies at the University of Tampere, Finland; University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Boston College. Dr. Jo Ann Rooney Keynote Speaker Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to keynote inaugural ceremony. Sept. 29th, Thursday 3:00 to 4:30 PM Sustainable Technologies Symposium “Becoming a Sustainable Energy Community” Randolph Center 1:00 – 3:30 PM Computer Information Systems Symposium “The CIS Dynamic Curriculum” Red School House, Randolph Campus Sept. 28th, Wednesday 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM Summit on the Future of Vermont Tech Sugarbush Resort, Warren, Vermont Inauguration Week – September 26 through October 1 Schedule of Events October 1, Saturday 10:00 to 4:00 PM Open House and Alumni Homecoming Day Randolph Center Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to keynote inaugural ceremonyDr. Jo Ann Rooney, Principal Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, will be the keynote speaker at Dr. Conroy’s induction ceremony on Friday, September 30th.She was sworn in on June 2, 2011. Dr. Rooney is deputy senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense on recruitment, career development, pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel, 680,000 DoD civilians, and is responsible for overseeing the overall state of military readiness. Before assuming her current position, Dr. Rooney was President of Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts, from July 2010 until December 2010 following a successful tenure as the President of Spalding University for eight years from 2002-2010. At Spalding she was credited with leading a successful financial turnaround and implemented a unique block scheduling system, achieved significant academic improvements and expansion of programs, put in place major IT infrastructure initiatives, significantly expanded enrollment and completed both a new academic building and laboratory and health science classroom facility. From 1996 to 2002, she served as chief counsel, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and partner of The Lyons Companies in Waltham, Massachusetts. That firm maintained a national practice specializing in estate planning, capital advising, charitable planning, executive compensation, business succession planning, and benefits planning and administration for corporations, individuals and nonprofit organizations. Prior to the Lyons Companies, she practiced tax law in the Boston area and was a founding partner of the consulting firm of Stearns, Rooney & Associates in Hingham, Massachusetts. In addition to practicing law in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida, U.S. District Court and U.S. Tax Court, Rooney is a member of the Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida and American Bar Associations. Throughout her career, Dr. Rooney has been a leader in education and had a passion for service. Until appointment, she served as Vice Chair of the Jewish St Mary’s Health Care System and was a member of the Board ofTrustees at Regis University, Denver, Colorado, in addition to numerous other civil and community involvement. In 2010, she was honored with the Mayor’s citation for community service and the Lucy Award from Louisville Scholar House – its highest community leadership award. She alsoreceived the Today’s Woman Magazine, 2006 Most Admired Woman in Education Award, the Business and Professional Women/River City, Woman of Achievement Award and the Business First, Partners in Health Care Award for 5 consecutive years. She has been a national speaker and presenter at the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), the CIC President’s Institute,Southern Association of College and Schools (SACS) annual conference and CAP/CAEL Conferences. A native of West Hazelton, Pennsylvania, Dr. Rooney has earned an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in taxation, from Boston University’s School of Law, the Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Suffolk University Law School and the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (summa cum laude) from Boston University.
By Dialogo October 15, 2009 Fourteen films, thirteen from Latin America and one from Spain, are competing for the top prize at the XXIVth Latin American Film Festival in the Italian city of Trieste, where a prize will also be given for the first time to the work that best promotes coexistence among peoples. The fourteen productions that make up the list of films in competition at the Festival are among more than 160 films that will be shown from 24 October to 1 November at the event, which annually provides Latin America’s largest cinematic showcase in Europe, as its artistic director, Rodrigo Díaz, explained to EFE. “The Trieste Festival is back for another year to show Latin American works that will have their Italian, and in some cases European, premieres. The big new thing this year is the Falklands Prize for the film that best promotes coexistence among peoples and international law,” Díaz explained. This prize, instituted in collaboration with the Argentine Ministries of Justice and Culture and the Argentine Film Institute (INCAA), is the great novelty of a festival with a significant tradition already behind it and in which this time a Spanish film is participating in the official competition, “Hoy no se fía, mañana sí” [Forever Waiting], by Francisco Avizanda. The other competitors include the Argentine films “Homo viator,” by Miguel Mato, “Andrés no quiere dormir la siesta” [Andrés Doesn’t Want to Take a Nap], by Daniel Bustamante, “Días de mayo” [Days of May], by Gustavo Postiglione, and “Desplazamientos” [Displacements], by Pedro Stocki. The Bolivian film “Cementerio de los elefantes” [Elephant Cemetery], by Tonchy Antezana, the Brazilian film “E probido fumar” [No Smoking], by Anna Muylaert, the Chilean films “El regalo” [The Gift], by Cristián Galaz and Andrea Ugalde, and “Grado 3” [Grade 3], by Roberto Artiagotía, and the Colombian films “Nochebuena” [Christmas Eve], by Camila Loboguerrero, and “Yo soy otro” [Others], by Óscar Campo Hurtado, are also participating in the official section. The list is rounded out by the Mexican films “A través del silencio” [Through the Silence], by Marcel Sisniega, and “Morenita,” by Alan Jonsson Gavica, along with the Dominican film “Hermafrodita” [Hermaphrodite], by Albert Xavier, one of the films that will receive its European premiere in Trieste. Once the competition is over, all these titles, which will be judged by a jury including Spanish producer Jaime Boix and Brazilian Antonio Urano, among others, will be shown in theaters in Rome, Milan, Padua, and Verona. In addition to the official section, this year’s Trieste Latin American Film Festival will pay tribute to the Brazilian filmmaker of Italian origin Rogério Sganzerla (1946-2004) with a retrospective in which twelve of his works will be shown and with the posthumous award of the Oriundi Prize, which promotes the memory of Italian immigration in Latin America. More than seventy works, including full-length films and shorts, showing various aspects of Latin American culture, art, and society will be shown in the “Contemporary” section. The XXIVth Festival will also include a retrospective dedicated to the bicentennial of the beginning of the independence of the peoples of Latin America from Spain, which will be commemorated next year.
By Dialogo August 14, 2015 Previously, the OIJ investigated cases of computer networks used for sexual exploitation and child pornography, among other criminal activities, according to Ávila. OIJ agents from the Electronic Crime Unit confiscated computers and other electronic equipment during the operation in which Rivera Sánchez was captured. No trial date has been set for Rivera Sánchez, a student at the National University (UNA) who allegedly used an Internet server to spread malware to infect computers. He’s also suspected of managing a botnet – a network of computers that are connected and communicate with each other to complete repetitive tasks, such as sending spam. Rivera Sánchez and other hackers allegedly used these methods to steal and sell personal information from victims’ electronic devices. The operation resulted in “charges, arrests, and searches involving 70 Darkode members and associates around the world; U.S. indictments against 12 individuals associated with the forum, including its administrator; the serving of several search warrants in the U.S.; and the (FBI’s) seizure of Darkode’s domain and servers,” the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI said. Rivera Sánchez was allegedly part of a worldwide hackers’ network and participated in a hacker’s online forum known as Darkode, an “underground, password-protected, online forum” that served as “a meeting place for those interested in buying, selling, and trading malware, botnets, stolen personally identifiable information, credit card information, hacked server credentials, and other pieces of data and software that facilitated complex cyber crimes all over the globe,” according to the FBI. A worldwide network Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Body (OIJ) and U.S. law enforcement agents recently worked together to capture a college student suspected of participating in an international cyber-crime operation. “We were actually informed by an alert from the FBI … regarding a person who was using an [Internet Protocol] address where he was uploading malicious programs – called malware – for virus dissemination,” OIJ Assistant Director Luis Angel Ávila told Diálogo. “In electronic matters it’s very important to have knowledge, in the sense that electronic proof is recovered and must be submitted to the due process in force in this country in order to open and analyze them,” Ávila added. The OIJ is continuing to investigate Rivera Sánchez, who allegedly was the organization’s lone member residing in Costa Rica, according to Ávila. “During the raid, computing equipment was found, as well as varied information linked to this illegal activity he was involved in, which was affecting not only national users but also foreigners, with virus dissemination,” Ávila said. “When the search was carried out, computers, electronic equipment for (data) storage, and other evidence were found, which now have to be analyzed. An IP address is a unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifies each computer or device using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network. OIJ agents seize computers “And in addition to the FBI obtaining enough evidence for search warrants and indictments in the U.S., we shared information with our foreign partners to help them make their own cases against the Darkode perpetrators residing in their jurisdictions,” the FBI stated. Costa Rican investigators also have broken up a handful of cyber-crimes for profit in recent years. “We’re pretty much making progress there, and cases have been increasing… with regard to sexual exploitation and child pornography,” Ávila said. “We’ve had both locals as well as foreigners involved in this type of activity who have come here to establish their operations and build a crime network.” The FBI infiltrated Darkode, which it described as “a one-stop, high-volume shopping venue for some of the world’s most prolific cyber criminals,” by breaching the forum’s communication platform, enabling agents to collect evidence, and gather the assistance of law enforcement counterparts in other countries as part of Operation Shrouded Horizon. Investigators will seek the proper authorization from judicial authorities to analyze the electronic equipment. Cyber-crime in Costa Rica The suspect, who has only been identified as Rivera Sánchez, was arrested by OIJ agents in July in his home in the popular Barreal district of the central city of Heredia. He was one of 12 suspects captured throughout the world as part of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Operation Shrouded Horizon. For example, in 2013, a Costa Rican court convicted two former employees of a telemarketing center of wire fraud and money laundering in connection with a scheme in which they stole $4 million from victims, many of whom were elderly U.S. residents who believed they were entering a sweepstakes contest. In 2014, a Costa Rican judge sentenced them to 25 and 12 years in prison, respectively.
The money raised will be put towards the Humane Society’s operating costs. The Phone-a-Thon runs until 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, but the Humane Society says they will always accept donations. This year, they’ve partnered with Staffworks for the campaign. Staffworks vowed to match the money raised during the phone-a-thon, up to $30,000. On Thursday, they held their “Save a Life” Phone-a-Thon to raise money to help support the hundreds of animals they have in their care. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — The Broome County Humane Society is looking to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of animals this holiday season. To contact the Humane Society, call 607-724-3709.