Grand Jury Verdict Puts Ferguson and Other Business Communities on High Alert


The HUB Risk Services team is continuing to monitor the ongoing situation in Ferguson, Missouri. This is an update to the Crisis Management Center Blog post dated August 20, 2014, Is Your Community the Next Ferguson? 

A grand jury is set to announce a decision regarding the death of Michael Brown on August 9. Regardless of whether a Missouri police officer will face charges or not, it is likely that some individuals will exploit the situation to engage in destructive protests, justify threats, damage infrastructure and target law enforcement officials. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has already declared a state of emergency in order to deploy the National Guard in the case of prolonged unrest.

Disruptive activity is expected to be concentrated near Ferguson and St. Louis, Missouri. However, protests can develop quickly and with little warning in multiple locations around the country. Demonstrators have been organizing in at least 30 U.S. cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Seattle. Owing to the violent activity seen in the aftermath of the shooting itself, officials are taking the situation seriously.

In addition to physical threats, a possible increase in cyber activity is anticipated against law enforcement, government and corporate IT infrastructures from hacktivist groups such as Anonymous. Typical actions can range from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to attempted intrusions.  

This is a good time for organizations to review business continuity plans, provide education to employees and increase situational awareness. Some issues to consider:

  • Encourage employees to avoid large gatherings and maintain alertness of their surroundings.
  • Review contingency plans should a building become inaccessible, or employees are unable to come to work.
  • Ensure supply chain disruptions are identified and managed.
  • Verify that damage from looting or vandalism is covered by existing insurance policies.
  • Designate someone to monitor the news or social media channels for updates, such as transportation disruptions and school closures.
  • Ensure that WiFi networks are locked and password protected. Hacktivists have attempted to gain access to corporate networks by driving around scanning for unlocked or poorly protected networks.
  • Be certain that anti-malware and anti-virus protections are up to date.

For additional information, download our Risk Management Bulletin, Protect your Business from Civil Unrest. And contact us to speak with a HUB Risk Consultant for assistance in developing and implementing solutions tailored to your needs, demographics and location.