Dr Sally Leivesley
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Biological Threats: Overview

Newrisk Limited and its principal adviser, Dr Leivesley, have advised organisations and governments on biological threats, including anthrax attacks and pandemic risks - specifically in relation to avian influenza.

Pandemic protection advice has previously been provided by Newrisk Limited to cover risks posed to those at home and in the workplace as well as specialist advice for critical infrastructure teams and critical function departments in government and defence units.

In 2005-2006, workshop exercises were conducted for corporations on pandemic survival and business continuity under extreme pandemic threats (including exercises on threats to critical British infrastructure from anthrax and other forms of biological threat). Newrisk Limited's principal adviser, Dr Leivesley, has provided research papers on biological threats to the Permanent Monitoring Panel for the Mitigation of Terrorist Acts for the World Federation of Scientists. Dr Leivesley has also provided media commentary on threats to businesses and practical measures which individuals can take to self-protect when faced with a biological threat.

For previous lectures, conference papers, workshops, publications and commentary on biological threats, please click here.

Newrisk Limited is able to provide a variety of services to organisations and governments in connection with biological threats, including risk assessments, continuity planning and employee preparedness training. To request one of these service, please contact Newrisk Limited directly.

Other Areas of Expertise

Newrisk Limited's areas of expertise cover the preparation for, and response to, catastrophic and extreme risk events as well as major incidents and business continuity.

Dr Leivesley is, on behalf of Newrisk Limited, ideally qualified to provide advisory services to organisations and governments and her practice background, publications, presentations and media are listed under the following areas of expertise:

Audit Assurance Risk Aviation Expertise Catastrophic Risk CBRNE Expertise Chemical Threats Continuity Planning Expertise Criminal Justice Expertise Cyber Security Expertise Defence and Policing Expertise Disasters Expertise Education Expertise Emergency Services Expertise Explosives Incidents Financial Threats Expertise Insurance Expertise London in 2012 Nuclear Incidents Radiological Incidents Reputation Management Expertise Risk Management Expertise Terrorism & Security Expertise Transportation Security Expertise

To request Newrisk Limited's assistance in connection with any of these areas of expertise or to discuss a tailored package of services, please contact Newrisk Limited directly.


Sally Leivesley



  • cyber

Nuclear threats from North Korea and the potential for an escalation of conflict between Israel and Iran require new assessments of high altitude electromagnetic pulse effects on much of the non-resistant electronic infrastructure in these countries and across borders in the event of a high altitude air burst with a nuclear weapon (HEMP). Nuclear blast effects on cities have been re-assessed in US scientific studies along with radiation effects and measures to shelter populations in expedient underground locations and cell phone radiation plume maps provide a better survival outcome for dense urban areas.   Biological risks may remain significant in Syria until there is confirmation of safe movement and destruction of any bio-weapons feedstock such as anthrax and smallpox and toxins such as ricin.  Attacks on shopping malls in any Western city are an emerging threat following Westgate Mall in Nairobi in October and in December a ten hour copycat in a large mall in Kirkuk, Iraq by terrorists from a number of nations. Sochi’s Winter Olympics has attracted high profile attacks outside the location’s secure ring of steel with suicide bombings of a bus, rail station, trolley bus and bombs found near four vehicles with bodies.  The terrorist’s use of publicity and psychological operations to create fear and an economic and reputational impact on the Russian State indicate a sophisticated understanding of global and social media communications. 

Aviation and critical national infrastructure may be subject to catastrophic failures through interconnectedness of infrastructure with the internet and dependence on computer based systems that lack manual or hard wired systems backup or sophisticated systems sustainability design.  The Malaysian Airlines Plane MAL370 missing on 8 March 2014 is reported to have had systems ‘turned off’ and to have followed a deceptive flight path confusing to search and rescue authorities.  Smart planes dependant on computer systems and with increasingly more open architecture between systems designed to provide services to the cabin as well as aircraft critical systems are subject to the same vulnerabilities as smart buildings, smart cities, smart power grids and systems designed with many points of connection, convergence of operations and centralised control, all of which increase efficiency and performance of infrastructure, reduce cost and meet the appetite of consumers.  Back-door windows to maintenance, use of easy to hack software and failure to use encryption, fire walls, air-gap separations or to build defences against malware triggered by mobile phones and other portable devices, and dependence on cloud services in the upstream or downstream cyber connections for services all contribute to an open world and catastrophic risks to total loss of systems through attacks by nation states, organised crime, hackers and also the effects of natural hazards such as solar storms.  See Resilience and Cyber Security of Technology in the Built Environment which is the first study on cyber requirements for highly interconnected smart cities & is essential knowledge for companies and managers of intelligent buildings, energy, water, communications & other interconnected critical infrastructure.   Ten organisations have participated on the Technical Committee to develop the Resilience and Cyber Security Guidance - the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL), the Centre for the Protection of Critical National Infrastructure (CPNI), Transport for London, the Corporate IT Forum, Dr Sally Leivesley from Newrisk & experts from global companies.