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Killexams : CheckPoint Prevention learner - BingNews Search results Killexams : CheckPoint Prevention learner - BingNews Killexams : Check Point Software tops fourth-quarter earnings expectations

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. generated higher net income and revenue in the fourth quarter than analysts had  projected thanks to strong demand for its cybersecurity software.

The company reported financial results today. Israel-based Check Point is a major player in the cybersecurity market, with more than 100,000 customers, including a fifth of the Global Fortune 500. 

Check Point’s revenue grew 7% year-over-year, to $638 million, in the fourth quarter. That’s slightly higher than the $636 million the Refinitiv consensus estimate projected. It generates revenue by selling physical firewall appliances for data centers and cybersecurity software.

The company’s Security Subscription Revenues revenue segment, which covers sales of its subscription-based products, grew at a faster rate than its overall sales. The segment increased 13% year-over-year, to $213 million, in the fourth quarter. Its Infinity offering, which enables customers to purchase multiple cybersecurity products through a single subscription, achieved triple-digit growth.

Historically, companies have bought cybersecurity software from several different suppliers. Check Point’s Infinity subscription enables companies to purchase multiple cybersecurity tools from a single provider. This arrangement simplifies procurement and, according to the company, also lowers costs: The company claims Infinity can deliver a 20% reduction in security expenses. 

Infinity provides access to all four of Check Point’s core product lineups. 

The company’s Quantum product lineup includes tools for blocking malicious network traffic. Check Point also offers the CloudGuard and Harmony software suites for securing cloud environments and employee devices, respectively. A fourth product lineup, Horizon, includes tools that administrators can use to investigate breach alerts.

The increased customer demand that the company logged in the fourth quarter also benefited its earnings per share. It generated adjusted net income of  $301 million in the quarter. That translated into adjusted earnings of $2.45, more than the $2.35 per share analysts surveyed by Refinitiv had projected. 

“We delivered solid fourth-quarter and 2022 full-year financial results despite a volatile year-end macro-environment,” said founder and Chief Executive Officer Gil Shwed. “Revenue and non-GAAP earnings per share came in at the top end of our projections. We continued building the future of cyber security with the prevention-first Infinity architecture and realized triple-digit growth in Infinity revenues.”

Check Point’s strategy for continuing its revenue growth places an emphasis on product development. The company has expanded its cybersecurity portfolio several times in the past few quarters.

Last year, Check Point introduced a new firewall appliance called Quantum Lightspeed that runs on Nvidia Corp. silicon. The company claims Quantum Lightspeed is the world’s fastest firewall with the ability to scan to 3 terabits of network traffic per second.

The Horizon software suite, one of the four product lineups that underpin Check Point’s fast-growing Infinity subscription, also launched last year. The suite promises to help administrators more quickly detect complex cyberattacks. One Horizon application, Horizon Events, makes breach alerts from its other product lineups available in a centralized interface.

Check Point detailed today that it has implemented more than 40 machine learning-powered threat detection engines across its various products. According to the company, it also aggregates millions of breach indicators per day to track cyberattack patterns. 

Across its product portfolio, it expects to generate revenues of between $545 million and $585 million in the current quarter. The company is projecting adjusted earnings of $1.65 to $1.78 per share. 

Image: Check Point Software

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Mon, 13 Feb 2023 06:22:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Checkpoint Software Helps Cyber Security Stocks Bottom
(MENAFN- ValueWalk)
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    Checkpoint Software had a better-than-expected quarter but gave light guidance. The company is still forecasting growth but earnings may take a hit. Analysts' support is helping to drive the stock higher. 5 stocks we like better than check point software technologies

While 2023 is not shaping up to be as strong as the analysts had initially hoped, results from checkpoint software (nasdaq:chkp) confirm news released by f-5 networks (nasdaq:ffiv) and cloudflare (nyse:net) : 2023 won't be as bad as it could have been.

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Gates Capital Management's ECF Value Funds have a fantastic track record. The funds (full-name Excess Cash Flow Value Funds), which invest in an event-driven equity and credit strategy, have produced a 12.6% annualised return over the past 26 years. The funds added 7.7% overall in the second half of 2022, outperforming the 3.4% return for read more

The takeaway from all this is that analysts have been hesitant to alter their long-term forecasts without the latest news from the underlying companies.

The news from the companies is that growth is still on the table, albeit at a slower pace than before. This means that there will be some revisions to the earnings outlook, but the market for these stocks is bottoming because the absolute worst was priced in, and that's not what we're looking at.

Table of Contents show
    1. checkpoint software has strong quarter, issues light guidance 2. checkpoint software increases capital returns 3. the technical outlook: checkpoint is bought on the dip
Checkpoint Software Has Strong Quarter, Issues Light Guidance

Checkpoint Software ended 2022 on solid footing and is guiding the market for growth in 2023. The problem is that outlook for revenue, which is above the consensus, is offset by a weak EPS forecast that may keep the shares moving sideways over the next quarter or so. The Q4 results, on the other hand, were strong on the top and bottom lines and are underpinning the price action now.

The $638 million in revenue is up 7% YOY and driven by a 13% increase in subscription revenue coupled with a 10% increase in deferred revenue. The best news is that margins expanded versus last year, leaving the GAAP operating margin at 40% and the adjusted margin at 45%.

This produced $2.45 per share, up 9%, and outpaced the top line by 200 basis points. As for the guidance, the company expects to see revenue growth of 8% for calendar 2023, which matches the growth in 2022. The bad news is that adjusted EPS is expected to be near $7.40 versus the $8.13 consensus estimate, but the figures may not be directly comparable.

Checkpoint Software Increases Capital Returns

Checkpoint Software's cash flow and FCF were lower this quarter than last year, but this is due to 1-off factors, including acquisition costs and FX-hedging transactions that do little to impair the company's financial standing. The company has a leverage ratio below 1 and triple-digit coverage, so it is among the best-positioned tech companies from the balance sheet perspective.

The company does not pay a dividend but wants to repurchase shares and announced a new $2 billion authorization to keep it buying shares for at least the next 5 quarters. Under the plan, the company can buy $0.325 billion worth each quarter.

The share repurchase plan is only one tailwind supporting the stock price, and the analysts are another. The 21 analysts tracking the stock have it pegged at a firm Hold that has not budged in the last 12 months, but the price target has. It should be noted that sentiment is impacted by 2 recently initiated targets that come with Neutral ratings.

Without those, the bulk of latest activity is bullish and would have the consensus sentiment at a Moderate Buy otherwise. The price target implies only a 10% of upside for the stock, but it has been trending higher all year and may continue to do so in the near to short term as well.

The Technical Outlook: Checkpoint Is Bought On The Dip

The price action in Checkpoint Software fell back to support at the $125 level following the Q4 release, but this move has been used as a buying opportunity by the market. The stock price has been moving steadily since the open and crossed into positive territory less than 2 hours after the market opened.

If the stock can maintain this momentum and close at or near the highs of the day this stock will most likely move sideways within the established range. If not, the market may retest support at $125 and move even lower.

Other cybersecurity stocks like datadog (nasdaq:ddog) and palo alto networks (nasdaq:panw) will report later this week and month and may lend additional support to the entire complex.

should you invest $1,000 in check point software technologies right now?

Before you consider Check Point Software Technologies, you'll want to hear this.

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MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on... and Check Point Software Technologies wasn't on the list.

While Check Point Software Technologies currently has a 'Hold' rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys.

Article by Thomas Hughes, marketbeat


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Tue, 14 Feb 2023 15:05:00 -0600 Date text/html
Killexams : New Check Point Horizon XDR/XPR: A Collaborative Solution for Preventing Cyber Threats on all Fronts

NEW YORK, Feb. 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CPX 360--Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. CHKP, a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions globally, announces the launch of Check Point Horizon XDR/XPR, a collaborative cybersecurity solution that effectively defends organizations against evolving cyber threats by intelligently correlating data and stopping attacks across all vectors, minimizing the impact of threats and providing a simple experience for administrators and analysts to understand and respond to incidents.

With the ever-evolving threat landscape, organizations struggle to effectively defend themselves against cyberattacks. Traditional security solutions focus on detection, leaving the responsibility of managing incidents, hunting, and investigating on the security operation center. This can lead to a reactive approach to cybersecurity that leaves networks vulnerable to threat. Check Point Horizon XDR/XPR changes the game by being the first XDR solution to prioritize prevention. This solution integrates with both Check Point and third-party security solutions, preventing cyber threats from affecting the entire network. With intelligent correlation of data, the platform stops attacks across all vectors, including email, cloud, networks, and endpoints. By doing so, it minimizes the impact of cyber threats and supplies a simple experience for administrators and analysts to understand what happened and the related entities.

"The extended detection and response (XDR) movement was fundamentally driven by the growth of a more advanced, multi-vector threat landscape. Yet prevention solutions remained siloed, often falling short in their ability to ward off advanced threats", said Dave Gruber, Principal Analyst, ESG. "The introduction of Check Point's extended prevention and response introduces a more integrated approach to threat prevention, following principles already proven by XDR solutions. This advancement in collaborative prevention technology looks promising and could potentially drive change across the broader security industry."

"The XDR movement recognizes the complexity of modern threats, providing a more holistic, estate-wide approach to threat detection and response. But extended detection and response covers only half of the security equation, leaving prevention in silos", says Maya Horowitz, VP of Research at Check Point Software. "Check Point Horizon XDR/XPR uplevels siloed prevention mechanisms in a similar way that XDR upleveled siloed detection and response, transforming prevention into a collaborative function across multiple threat vectors. Working together with XDR, XPR stops advanced threats, while continuously improving security posture as the threat landscape changes. Developed by the Check Point Research team, Horizon further empowers customers with the data tools and know-how of our specialists."

Check Point Horizon XDR/XPR offers a comprehensive, consolidated, and collaborative approach to threat prevention and offers the following capabilities:

  • Comprehensive Threat Protection: Immediate, comprehensive threat prevention across all parts of the security estate, finding seemingly benign events and correlating them to uncover cyber-attacks. The platform can take immediate prevention actions, such as blocking, ending processes, isolating assets, and quarantining files, and integrates with both Check Point and third-party security products.
  • Streamlined Cybersecurity Management: The Horizon platform provides optimized security posture and consolidated analytics, giving organizations visibility into attack behavior, context, and damage, and detailed analytics on indicators of compromise.
  • Continuous Improvement of Security Posture: Continuously Strengthen security posture with intelligent threat and event correlation, drawing from multiple data sets including indicators of compromise, global threat landscape, Check Point research, and third-party intelligence feeds.
  • Collaborative Security Operations: The platform enables organizations to consolidate and optimize their security operations, improving collaboration between security and IT teams to strengthen threat prevention across multiple vectors.

Horizon XDR/XPR is generally available now. For product specifications or to learn more about functionality, please visit:

Follow Check Point via:

About Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. 

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. ( is a leading provider of cyber security solutions to corporate enterprises and governments globally. Check Point Infinity´s portfolio of solutions protects enterprises and public organisations from 5th generation cyber-attacks with an industry leading catch rate of malware, ransomware, and other threats. Infinity comprises three core pillars delivering uncompromised security and generation V threat prevention across enterprise environments: Check Point Harmony, for remote users; Check Point CloudGuard, to automatically secure clouds; and Check Point Quantum, to protect network perimeters and datacenters, all controlled by the industry's most comprehensive, intuitive unified security management. Check Point protects over 100,000 organizations of all sizes.

© 2023 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Thu, 09 Feb 2023 02:06:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Check Point Software launches Infinity Spark
  • Check Point Infinity Spark delivers industry-leading threat prevention across networks, email, office, endpoint, and mobile devices, in one simple platform

DUBAI, UAE -- Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions globally, has today introduced Check Point Infinity Spark, a threat prevention solution that delivers industry leading AI security and integrated connectivity to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Infinity Spark offers enterprise grade security across networks, email, office, endpoint, and mobile devices. With a 99.7% malware catch rate, it protects SMBs against advanced threats including phishing, ransomware, credential theft and DNS attacks.

“SMBs have shown a willingness to invest in cybersecurity to safeguard and support business growth especially as they adapt to the hybrid working model. However, with a growing shortage of skilled cyber professionals these businesses need a solution that offers full coverage protection without complicated onboarding processes. Infinity Spark addresses this opportunity in the market by consolidating security into an ‘all-in-one’ platform with a simple monthly price plan.” said Eyal Manor, Vice President of Product Management at Check Point Software.

The Check Point Infinity Spark suite delivers:

  • Industry-Leading Threat Prevention: Check Point Infinity Spark provides 99.7% prevention catch rate to protect SMBs against phishing, ransomware, credential theft and DNS attacks. 
  • Enterprise grade all-in-one SMB Security Suite: SMBs are struggling to properly secure their critical assets, making them a growing target for cybercriminals. Designed to protect SMBs across the network, mobile, endpoint, email, and office. 
  • New Quantum Spark SMB Next Generation Firewalls: Infinity Spark features Check Point’s Quantum Spark 1500 Pro Series, the industry’s first gateway with integrated artificial intelligence security, 5G, SD-WAN and Wi-Fi 6. Check Point Quantum Spark Pro delivers 3 times faster Wi-Fi, high-speed 1 Gbps WAN connection with 5G and integrated SD-WAN for better application performance and maximum uptime.

Eyal added: “In some cases, an SMB may turn to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to defend them against cyberattacks, with many paying a premium for their cybersecurity services. Infinity Spark can decrease MSP operational costs by 50% through unified multi-tenant management, integrating four consoles into a single dashboard with zero touch provisioning and scalable cloud services to support an unlimited number of SMBs.”

"Hybrid work has complicated SMB security and created demand for a simplified and consolidated security platform.  Check Point Software offers a unique comprehensive security suite specifically built to enable SMBs and MSSPs to protect networks, devices, and applications against cyber-attacks, while reducing the complexity of deployment and management. The Infinity Spark security suite is designed to provide SMBs with a simple, affordable, and integrated security solution right out of the box. This solution spans network, cloud, mobile and endpoint security, including advanced threat prevention to make it easy to protect SMBs from security risks.”, said Pete Finalle, Security Research Manager, IDC   

“Infinity Spark is a great and affordable way to offer end-to-end security for our small and midsized business customers. It provides complete protection for their employees both in and outside of the office. We have seen a significant reduction in our operational overhead with Check Point’s unified management console.” Said Emiel Harbers, CTO at Harbers ICT, The Netherlands.


Check Point Infinity Spark and Quantum Spark 1500 Pro are available today for order. For more detailed information visit:


Follow Check Point via:

About Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. ( is a leading provider of cyber security solutions to corporate enterprises and governments globally.  Check Point Infinity´s portfolio of solutions protects enterprises and public organisations from 5th generation cyber-attacks with an industry leading catch rate of malware, ransomware and other threats. Infinity comprises four core pillars delivering uncompromised security and generation V threat prevention across enterprise environments: Check Point Harmony, for remote users; Check Point CloudGuard, to automatically secure clouds; and Check Point Quantum, to protect network perimeters and datacenters, all controlled by the industry’s most comprehensive, intuitive unified security management; Check Point Horizon, a prevention-first security operations suite. Check Point protects over 100,000 organizations of all sizes.

MEDIA CONTACT:                                                     
Zayyen A.Haider                                                       
10 Communications LLC                     

Wed, 15 Feb 2023 16:47:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Check Point Software Announces Essential Local Data Residency Of Check Point Harmony Email And Collaboration Solution For Indian Market
(MENAFN- ForPressRelease)

New Delhi, February 7, 2023 -- Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, announced the launch of its India instance of Check Point Harmony Email & Collaboration Security Solution, underscoring its commitment to the Indian market. Check Point Harmony Email & Collaboration is the most advanced email security solution in the market, leveraging a unique and patented technology to be the only API-based email security solution that is also inline. Using advanced AI/ML engines, Harmony Email & Collaboration also detects and prevents compromised accounts and is able to protect a variety of Collaboration applications, such as Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, Google Drive and many more.

The solution will also address an essential requirement of data residency requirements from RBI, SEBI, IRDAI and more, whose compliance is vital for the Government and organisations in the BFSI and Pharmaceutical sectors, which are required to maintain records of data locally. This new capability will now enable native customers to comply to their data sovereignty requirements, in line with the stipulated local compliance norms for critical data to be stored within India's geographical boundaries, to keep their data safe locally. Aligned with this commitment, Check Point Software has already made Check Point Software 's other solutions such as Harmony Mobile, Harmony End Point (EDR), Threat Cloud and Threat Emulation available in India.

The Check Point Harmony Email & Collaboration Solution (HEC) detects and blocks phishing attacks across inbound, outbound and internal communications in real-time, before they reach end-users. This patented technology reduces phishing emails from reaching the inbox by 99.2%, leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to analyze over 300+ indicators of phishing and ingesting data from ThreatCloud, Check Point;s service based on a global network of sensors. HEC also gets embedded seamlessly within O365/GSuite to provide multi-layered security architecture as well as provide post-delivery protection. It not only secures O365/GSuite, but also secures data moving through SaaS based collaboration tools such as MS Teams, One Drive, SharePoint, Google Drive, Slack, Dropbox, Box etc.

'India is an absolute strategic market for us within the Asia Pacific region. With the alarming cyber security concerns in the India's digital transformation journey, the new product offering will provide users widespread and advanced level of phishing and malware protection for emails without worrying about emails or data moving outside the country, thus staying compliant to local laws,' Mr. Sundar Balasubramanian, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Check Point Software Technologies

He continued, 'According to our Threat Intelligence report, an organization in India is attacked on an average of 1787 times per week in the last 6 months, compared to 983 attacks per organization globally, with 80% of the malicious files in India, delivered via Email in the last 30 days. With the pandemic outbreak, the majority of enterprises which migrated to SaaS-based Email Platforms such as Microsoft 365 and Google GSuite struggled with the current limited options of legacy Email Gateway solution or could only adopt the native security provided by SaaS based email platforms. As enterprises eagerly look at adopting the next-generation Cloud API based email security amid the new data sovereignty laws, our Harmony Email & Collaboration (HEC) powered by highly effective AI/ML engines will help bridge the demand and will significantly strengthen our customers' cyber security posture.'

The Check Point Harmony Email and Collaboration Solution joins other Check Point solutions hosted locally like Check Point CloudGuard, Check Point Harmony Endpoint and Check Point Harmony Mobile through the Infinity Portal which provides unified management, as well as unprecedented protections, visibility, control, and insights for IT and security teams. Furthermore, Check Point has deployed multi-tiered India PoPs on AWS and Azure infrastructure to provide stable and practical Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution to the Indian customers.

About Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. ( is a leading provider of cyber security solutions to corporate enterprises and governments globally. Check Point Infinity ́s portfolio of solutions protects enterprises and public organisations from 5th generation cyber-attacks with an industry leading catch rate of malware, ransomware and other threats. Infinity comprises four core pillars delivering uncompromised security and generation V threat prevention across enterprise environments: Check Point Harmony, for remote users; Check Point CloudGuard, to automatically secure clouds; and Check Point Quantum, to protect network perimeters and datacenters, all controlled by the industry's most comprehensive, intuitive unified security management; Check Point Horizon, a prevention-first security operations suite. Check Point protects over 100,000 organizations of all sizes.

User :- Mansi Rawat

Email :

Mobile:- 96675 56035


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Tue, 07 Feb 2023 06:25:00 -0600 Date text/html
Killexams : 5-year-old boy, AR15-style gun involved in latest school incidents

Duration: 08:09

An exclusive Scripps News investigation found increasing numbers of guns at schools. Cases involved teens and kids as young as five.

Wed, 15 Feb 2023 12:23:00 -0600 text/html
Killexams : Scripps Investigates incidents of guns in schools

A Scripps News investigation found hundreds of incidents in which students brought guns onto public school campuses during the first half of the school year, including a Missouri kindergartner who brought a loaded handgun in his backpack, and an Ohio teenager who bypassed a security checkpoint with an AR-15-style rifle in his bag.

"It's heartbreaking," said Taylor Lemieux, the father of the 5-year-old boy who packed his mother's handgun in his bag before attending his kindergarten class at Robertsville Elementary School, outside of St. Louis, in October.

Taylor Lemieux (right) and his family at Silver Dollar City, an amusement park in Branson, Missouri. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Lemieux)

Lemieux believes his son took the gun out of the glovebox in his mother's car.

"He easily could've ended up killing another innocent person just from having a handgun that he shouldn't have had," he said. Lemieux said his son told him he put the gun in his backpack, so his younger brother could not access it.

When a teacher found it, the 9mm weapon had a full 10-round magazine loaded. "One round was in the chamber, and the safety was in the off position," according to the statement of probable cause used to arrest and charge the boy's mother, Erica Lemieux, with child endangerment.

The 9mm handgun Taylor Lemieux's five-year-old son brought to Robertsville Elementary School in October of 2022. (Photo by Franklin County Sheriff's Office)

The boy was suspended from attending classes for the rest of the school year, according to Lemieux.

"If you're not responsible to keep your firearms and to keep them locked up, you shouldn't be in possession of them," said Lemieux.

Scripps News Investigation Finds Increase in Gun Incidents 

A Scripps News analysis of data collected by the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit research organization that tracks gun incidents based on government, commercial, and media sources, found a steady increase in cases of guns being found on school campuses over the past several school years.

Our analysis determined at least 426 students younger than 18 brought guns to campus, nationwide, during the first half of the 2022-2023 school year.  During the same period in 2021, 338 children were found with guns on school properties. In the year prior to the pandemic, 2019, there were at least 217 cases.

During the pandemic year, many schools closed their buildings, so the data is not reliable.

SEE MORE: Police: 2 students dead, teacher hurt in Des Moines shooting

Student with AR-15-style rifle bypassed security 

In one of the 2022-2023 cases, an 18-year-old student with a dismantled, semi-automatic AR-15-style rifle in his backpack circumvented a security checkpoint at a Cleveland school’s main entrance in October.

An AR-15 style rifle found in an 18-year-old student's backpack at East Technical High School, Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Cleveland Metropolitan School District Safety and Security Department)

According to a Cleveland Metropolitan School District Safety and Security Department report, the student said he forgot about the gun. He also reported, "he was allowed by school administration to enter through the rear entrance of the school that does not have a security checkpoint."

The report said the school principal "stated [redacted name] is a special education student, and all special education CMSD bus rider students are dropped off in the rear parking lot and are allowed to use the rear entrance."

But in a later statement to Scripps News, a Cleveland Metropolitan School District spokesperson, Roseann Canfora, said the student was not part of the special needs group. Security officers noticed the teen because he entered the school with a bookbag which was "atypical for him."

"The student was spotted by officers as not being part of that group; hence, the apprehension and search of the student," said Canfora.

"Since that attempted breach, none of our special needs students are permitted to enter through any door but the main door and security check point," Canfora added.

A few examples of what we found 

Our Scripps News investigation focused on nearly 40 large school districts in 11 states plus a few other districts where there were publicly reported incidents of firearms on school campuses during the first half of the 2022-2023 school year.

We filed open records requests for photos, videos, and details of campus gun incidents involving students to shed light on who is bringing the guns to campus, how, and why.

Several districts we reached out to, including Loudon County Public Schools in Virginia, Cincinnati Public Schools in Ohio, Rockwood School District in Missouri, Springfield Public School District in Missouri, studying School District in Pennsylvania, Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, and Newport News Public Schools in Virginia (where a six-year-old is accused of shooting his teacher in 2023) said they discovered no firearms on their campuses during the first half of the school year.

However, our investigation uncovered dozens of incidents across the country in which students brought weapons – some of them loaded - into school buildings.

In Wake County, North Carolina, a twelve-year-old fired a gun inside a Fuquay-Varina Middle School classroom, damaging a building window, in December. However, an investigation found the student did not appear to be threatening any students or staff when he fired the gun.

A 12-year-old student fired a gun inside, hitting a classroom window at Fuquay-Varina Middle School in North Carolina. (Photo by Fuquay-Varina Police Department)

In Fresno, California, administrators said a sixth grader was carrying a gun in his backpack at Norseman Elementary School in August, so they expelled him. A ninth grader had a pistol in his pocket in September and was also expelled.

In the Houston Independent School District, officials documented 12 cases of children with guns at school, including incidents at two middle schools.

In the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston, the district recorded one incident in October.  According to a report the district provided, the campus administrator "found a backpack with a gun in a locked stall in the girls' restroom." Three children, ages 15, 16, and 17 were expelled.

In Kansas City, Missouri, district officials at North Kansas City Schools reported two incidents, including one involving an 11th grader who had a loaded firearm in his waistband.

In another case, an 8th grader from Antioch Middle School flashed a gun at a high school football stadium.  He told authorities "he got the gun from his dad's safe."

Columbus City Schools in Ohio reported 13 incidents involving firearms being found at various schools in the district during the first half of the school year, including a September case at Westgate Elementary School in which administrators found a loaded gun with "one bullet in the chamber and full loaded magazine."

And in Tampa, Florida, the Hillsborough County Public Schools reported at least six incidents, including one at Hillsborough High School in which a female student was carrying her boyfriend's loaded gun in her backpack and one at Thonotosassa Elementary school in which a student "brought an unloaded gun to the school inside a backpack," and an observant classmate spotted the gun and reported it to a bus driver.

Several districts are still compiling data or have yet to provide it.

Department of Education Data 

For context, fewer than seven percent of schools that receive federal funding reported having a firearm incident on campus in latest years, according to data collected by the Department of Education as part of the Gun Free Schools Act.

The most latest data are from the 2019-2020 school year, collected at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Department of Education said the data are "not comparable to prior school years of reporting, because of widespread school closures that occurred nationally."

Only 6.6 percent of schools said they experienced firearm incidents during the school year prior to the pandemic in 2018-2019. In all, they reported 2,894 students possessed a firearm or brought one on to school campus.

A firearm may include "any destructive, device, such as an explosive, incendiary device, or poison gas," as well as "any firearm muffler or firearm silencer," according to the Department of Education's State Report on the Implementation of the Gun Free Schools Act, published in March 2022.

Solutions involve reducing access 

"A lot of times, when kids do bring firearms to school, it's because those firearms are available at homes and in families. Parents have not secured those devices," said Dr. Odis Johnson Jr., a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University who serves as the Executive Director of the university's Center for Safe and Healthy Schools.

According to a January report from the RAND Corporation, there is supportive evidence that Child Access Prevention laws with specific language requiring gun owners to safely store their firearms, reduce firearm injuries among young people, including youth firearm suicide, homicide and assaults.

Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence study published in 2004 also concluded "there is evidence that Child Access Prevention laws are associated with a modest reduction in suicide rates among youth aged 14 to 17 years."

Why kids are bringing guns to schools 

"Often times kids are from backgrounds where they feel a gun is needed, whether it's the type of neighborhood they're in, the type of school that they go to, or even their social media lives could, at times, provoke a feeling of threat and the need for a firearm, and that's unfortunate because there are ways to make kids feel safe at school," said Johnson.

At Mergenthaler Vocational Technical School in Baltimore, where a student was shot to death in a school parking lot this past fall, Principal Tricia Lawrence is especially sensitive to what students might carry with them on their way to and from school.

Principal Tricia Lawrence greets students as they arrive at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical School in Baltimore. (Photo by Zach Cusson / Scripps News)

She helped disarm a student with a knife last year.

Districtwide, Baltimore City Public Schools reported confiscating ten guns from students this school year, including three at Lawrence's school.

"Their travel from home to here is a gray area, and it's the reason for why they might feel the necessity to arm themselves with even just the smallest thing," she said, explaining that parents sometimes empower their children to carry weapons, including mace, for protection on their way to school.

SEE MORE: 5 years after Parkland shooting, families find their own ways to cope

A pilot program 

Students at Lawrence's high school are required to go through a metal detector when they arrive to campus, but soon, the school will participate in a pilot program that will test a more advanced weapons detection system, made by Evolv Technology.

Evolv Express is "an advanced weapons detection system that uses AI and sensor technology to pinpoint threats and distinguish between everyday objects and weapons (or components of weapons) while people move through security screening at the pace of life without having to remove items such as cell phones or keys," according to Alexandra Smith Ozerkis, a spokesperson for the company.

The technology will not collect biometric data and will not use facial recognition, said Sherry Christian, a spokesperson for Baltimore City Public Schools. "The detectors will be programmed to look for characteristics that match items, not people, to determine if an object is a potential threat," she said.

"It is a double-edged sword because you are disarming a student before they enter," said Lawrence, "but I have to sleep at night that when you're in this (school) environment, I was not a part of the decision to where you do carry a weapon, and now you're going to use it based on your emotional state, and that is what I tell parents. I get it, when you're traveling back and forth, but I can’t condone it when you're in this (school) community. This is not the streets."

The current school security checkpoint gives students like Mark Cloude, a junior, mixed feelings.

He said the metal detectors aren't that effective because they often detect things that are not weapons, but he does often worry about what students may be carrying with them.

Mark Cloude, a junior at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical School in Baltimore, has concerns about classmates bringing weapons to school. (Photo by Zach Cusson / Scripps News) 

"It's like, most kids in (the school) are all fired up, like they got something to prove, like they don't want to take nothing from nobody, like how they try to be all tough and stuff, so you bump into the wrong person…they can just do anything to you, and you wouldn't know what to do or what he has or anything."

Cloude said he thinks the school should have more thorough bag checks.

"I would rather be late to my first period class and have them check every part of everybody's bag than me to be on time and then somebody could sneak like a knife or something in school," said Cloude.

Nehemiah Grogan, a senior, said the security process can be "quite annoying" and an invasion of privacy. "Some kids are really good kids," he said. "They just want to come to school, just learn, and get an education and try to move forward in life."

Lawrence also said the current security checkpoint system is not the most efficient.

It often beeps when students have cell phones or laptops and when they are wearing jewelry, and airpods. Sometimes students are waiting in a security line for several minutes.

"When you come to a school, you're coming to learn, you're not coming to go through a whole 15, 10, or even five minutes of a security screening," she said. “This new machine is really, for me, it's about detecting the right item as well as allowing more students to come through so that the efficiency of time is of the essence to get them into class."

Beyond the physical security measures, Lawrence said her staff has worked to create relationships with her students, so they feel comfortable to come forward if they see something inappropriate on campus.

"We're about learning, and we're also about having an enriched experience. Having a security scanner is just a part of the process to get to the rich experience because we are buffering what is on the streets, and once they come through, we're good."

"It is about the relationship building. It is about making sure, which is the truth, that our schools are safer than being outside, that kids come in, they feel emotionally safe, they feel academically safe, and they feel physically safe," said John Davis, the chief of schools at Baltimore City Public Schools.

Davis said he is hopeful the advanced detection system will make the screening process more streamlined for students.

"We're doing a pilot because we want to hear from (the students) and make sure that they like what their experience is," he said.

What the research says 

Johnson encouraged mental health supports and social media monitoring as effective solutions for preventing children from carrying weapons, and he cautioned against creating a school environment that is too "heavily fortified."

"We've been trying to understand at what point in a school security plan does (physical security) become excessive?  Of course, some of these features are absolutely necessary. I just don’t think we know within research and policy implementation what that threshold is," he said.

His own research, published in the Journal of Criminal Justice in 2022, shows schools practicing eight or more simultaneous security surveillance measures, like metal detectors, clear backpacks, and sniffing dogs, are linked to students with lower math scores, an increase in discipline, and fewer kids going to college when compared to schools with fewer security measures.

"The most important security aspect of a school is its climate. Its ability to make kids feel welcome, to feel invested, to have peers that affirm them and teachers that meet their aspirations," he said.

SEE MORE: Schools are adding strategies to respond to shootings

Wed, 15 Feb 2023 19:23:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Africa faces significant threats from increasingly advanced cyberattacks

With Africa experiencing the highest volume of cyberattacks in the world last year, according to the Check Point Software 2022 Security Report, organisations and consumers on the continent need to be more aware of the threats they face in the digital landscape.

To this end, the security specialist has announced its cybersecurity predictions for Southern and East Africa.

Key sectors

During the past six months, Check Point Research has seen an increase in cyberattacks targeting the government, insurance, and finance sectors in South Africa. On average, there have been more than 1 450 attacks per week in the country. This trend will likely continue over the coming months as more threats start coming from cloud and mobile platforms. Threat actors will not limit their focus to South Africa and will potentially target countries across the continent.

Cloud focus

The rapid adoption of cloud computing in Africa saw supply chain attacks emerging last year with breaches occurring in the Okta cloud-based identity management platform. Check Point anticipates that these supply chain attacks will continue through 2023 with a significant amount of risk coming from the open source community. Typically, suppliers relying on these open source systems have not properly vetted them or have been lax in managing these environments, resulting in cybersecurity weak points emerging.

It is especially South Africa and Kenya that have become key targets around the cloud. In both countries, many companies are moving workloads to the cloud. Hypervisors like AWS, Microsoft, Google, and Oracle have established data centres in these countries. This will result in more businesses and consumers turning to cloud security solutions to safeguard their systems and data.

Remote workers

Furthermore, the expanding remote workforce has resulted in many organisations relying on the collaboration of services and applications on several platforms. Many businesses across southern and eastern Africa allow their staff to access corporate information on mobile devices without ensuring that enhanced security has been implemented.

Top malware families like Hiddad will continue to gain access to Android-based mobile devices, repackaging legitimate apps, and distributing them to third-party stores. These apps facilitate access to key security features built into the operating system. Even more malware alternatives will come to prominence in 2023.

Malware concern

Major malware families like Emotet (Botnet), Nanocore (RAT), and Qbot (Trojan) are expected to cause major disruptions on the continent. This will require organisations to place emphasis on security controls with a threat prevention approach across all their platforms. Doing so will strengthen their defences against ransomware and supply chain threats.

Globally, ransomware was the number one threat in 2022. Uncertainty across the various African economies around service delivery and critical infrastructure will likely see more countries face cyberattacks targeting the government. To mitigate against this risk, both public and private sectors must embrace a robust architecture that provides uncompromised security and unparalleled operational efficiency.

For instance, the number of cyberthreats reported to the Kenyan National Cyber Crime Centre (NCC) in the first quarter of the 2022/23 year rose by almost 200%. According to the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA), the number of cyberattacks detected in the country in the three months ending September 2022 stood at 278-million. This is almost three times the number of threats reported in the previous quarter.

The country has implemented a number of initiatives to strengthen its cybersecurity infrastructure, including the establishment of the National Cyber Security Authority and the National Computer Incident Response Team (National KE-CIRT/CC). Their mandate is to coordinate response and manage cybersecurity incidents nationally and to collaborate with relevant actors locally, regionally, and internationally.

Tech-driven defences

The availability of more advanced technology means organisations can strengthen their defensive stances. For example, Kenyan businesses have embraced the Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) approaches. These combine both the network system and security measures to enable organisations to manage both the network and network security together.

It has become common for employees to connect to a company’s systems via a VPN from home or a coworking space, and use services provided in the cloud to carry out their work. With workplace and data asset locations diversifying, it has become more difficult for a company’s IT department to manage everything under a unified security policy.

ZTNA and SASE bring network services and security services together, making it possible to maintain security without getting in the way of employee work.

Keeping focused

The cyberthreat landscape in the coming months will put pressure on companies across Africa and the rest of the world. With the growth in adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning, attack vectors will increase in ferocity. Organisations and consumers must embrace a comprehensive cybersecurity approach to ensure their environments are kept safe.

“There is simply no respite from ransomware and increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks,” says Pankaj Bhula, regional director for Africa at Check Point. “This puts users under increasing pressure to keep up to date with the latest trends in the threat landscape. We know that these criminals are continually evolving in how they develop and perpetrate attacks. With smaller, more agile malicious groups looking to exploit any potential weak points in company and end user defences, people cannot afford to not take cybersecurity seriously.”

The coming months will highlight the importance of organisations and consumers needing to remain vigilant and ensure their applications and data remain protected.

With malware on the rise, the normalisation of hybrid work, and the need to adopt advanced technologies in a digital world, it is imperative that users across Africa prioritise their cyber defences.

Mon, 06 Feb 2023 18:07:00 -0600 en-US text/html
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