THREAT Report: European Union

Escape the Wolf THREAT™ reports are the standard. Research ahead, be the Sheepdog!

Technical Threats

ATM machine scams continue to increase and spread throughout Europe. Different techniques are used to collect your ATM card information and PIN number.

In ATM Skimming, a credit card cloning device is put inline with the ATM card reader, which appears to be part of the ATM machine. The device collects all the information on your ATM card magnetic strip. Meanwhile, the adversary is nearby collecting your four-digit PIN as you enter into the machine.

Some will act like another ATM machine user, some will install a video camera onto the signage of the ATM machine so that the key pad is videoed, or they will stand afar and take photos of you enter your for-digit code. Later, the cloning/reading device is retrieved and a new card is made.

We advise our travelers to Nationwide or Global bankers ATM’s that are located in or near the bank. ATM machines attached or inside a bank are a safer choice due to the robust physical and technical security that exists which keeps credit card fraud criminals away.

Health Threats

CDC is currently working with the EU to prevent a repeat of the 2011 E. coli breakout. We advise all clients to take the proper prophylaxis prior to travel but pay special attention and or avoid fresh uncooked vegetables, especially when traveling through Germany.

E. coli doesn’t have a vaccination or drug regime to prevent infection but washing hands goes a long ways.


Organized crime continues to spread which can effect travelers in a myriad of ways. These mob like groups are broken down into hubs in Europe.

The North West hub retains its role as the principal coordination center for drug distribution, due to its proximity to highly profitable destination markets; its well developed commercial and transport infrastructure, and its production capacity.

The North East hub remains a focus for transit of illicit commodities to and from the Former Soviet Union and a base for violent poly–criminal groups with international reach. The rapid expansion in Europe, in the last two years, of the activities of Lithuanian organized crime groups is a notable feature.

The leading role of the South West hub in cocaine and cannabis resin transit and distribution persists despite eastward shifts in some trafficking routes, and it currently serves also as a transit zone for victims of THB for sexual exploitation.

The Southern hub continues to be prominent in criminal entrepreneurship, as a centre for counterfeit currency and commodities, a transit zone for victims of THB and illegal immigrants, and a base for some of the best-resourced criminal groups in Europe

Environmental Threats

This is pretty minimal threat to Europe. The most recent environmental issues relate to the volcano in Iceland, which disrupted travel for thousands.

The last eruption caused a gargantuan ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano, which drifted over Britain and Germany, disrupting air traffic and triggering memories of the massive flight cancellations that stranded millions of passengers last year.

The cloud from the Grimsvotn volcano stretches from Greenland to Russia. But because of new policies governing travel, the cloud appears unlikely to spark a repeat of last April, when the eruption of a different volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, triggered the largest shutdown of European airspace since World War II.

Agency Threats

The FSB, Russian CIA equivalent is aggressively trying to recruit Americans, especially those tied to or work of the US government or fortune 500 companies.

There have even been reports of email campaigns with the subject line entitled “come work for us” specifically targeting US government employees. We recommend while traveling in Europe to be cautious of overly friendly people or those wanting to “practice” English.

Don’t assume that a fellow American is truly an American, the Russians want what we know and they will go to great length to get it.

Terrorist Threats

This will be an issue for years to come. Fallout from UBL’s death is obvious, but the desire of lone wolfs to make their mark while AQ is headless makes Europe a target.

Terrorist attacks typically kill Americans because of wrong place and wrong time circumstances.

Travelers must pay attention to their environments. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably is not right. Be preemptive by researching areas of travel, know your routes, know where you are at all times, and pay attention to the cues and clues that exist but often go ignored.

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