London Police Foil Cyber Bank Robbers

— The Minnesota Vikings gathered people from across the organization, including team vice president Lester Bagley and general manager Rick Spielman, on Friday to talk about all the preparations for their trip to London this month. There were plenty of interesting factoids about plans for the trip (the Gjallarhorn is coming, as are some American TV channels for players’ hotel rooms and training table staples like Southern spices and Bisquick for breakfast biscuits; the inflatable Viking ship is staying home). But I wanted to focus briefly on a question that some of you have been asking today, and one I had a chance to talk with Bagley about after the presentation: Why are the Vikings giving up a home game in the first place if their share of game revenues won’t exceed what they’d make at the Metrodome? Bagley dispelled the notion on Friday that the trip will be a financial windfall for the team, pointing out that the game is technically a NFL event, and the league will reimburse the team for its average revenue for one game this season. But the appeal of a trip like this, from a business perspective, stems more from the marketing opportunities than the direct cash the team will make from the game. According to Bagley, the Vikings have sold more tickets than any team in the seven-year history of the NFL’s International Series, and as the home team, they’ve produced a 10-episode series on Sky Sports (the British network that will air the game) introducing British fans to the team. It’s tough for the Vikings to get much more popular in Minnesota, but if they have a chance to woo some fans in a new (and affluent) market, it could give them a boost — especially heading into two years where they might see a dip in their revenues playing at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus. “It’s an opportunity to expand our brand, and to provide a great experience for our fans,” Bagley said, “and to be a team player for the NFL (by hosting a game in the series).” The teams that have played home games in London in recent years — St. Louis, Jacksonville, San Diego, etc. — have largely been ones whose home-game revenues likely aren’t as high as other teams in the league; in other words, they’re teams with less to lose by moving a game overseas. Bagley didn’t necessarily support that theory when I floated it by him today, but he did reiterate that the Vikings were in talks with the NFL about a deal to play games in London for three straight years, and wound up revising it to a one-year deal when the Jaguars agreed to move a home game to Wembley Stadium for each of the next four seasons. The Vikings will have the opportunity to go back to London the next two seasons while they’re at TCF Bank Stadium, though they’ll have to make the decision whether the trip is worth it from a financial, logistical and competitive perspective. But if you’re looking for a business incentive behind this trip, focus more on the marketing potential than the direct boost to the Vikings’ bottom line from the game.

Why London Is the Red-Hot Center of Fashion Right Now

This story first appeared in the Sept. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. our editor recommends ‘Mademoiselle C’: Carine Roitfeld on ‘Bringing New Vision’ for CR Fashion Book (Video) Sure, London swings, but the pendulum of the British capital’s fashion influence has swung as many times as Elton John has changed eyewear. During the 40-plus years since the U.K.’s shagadelic ’60s heralded Twiggy, London and its biannual Fashion Week have gone from hot to fashion flyover zone (to be skipped on the way from New York to Paris) to hot again. Bright new British design stars — Roksanda Ilincic, Mary Katrantzou, Erdem, Peter Pilotto, Christopher Kane and Antonio Berardi — are lighting up the London firmament, along with Americans who show there such as Tom Ford and L’Wren Scott. Returning prodigal prodigies include Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, Vivienne Westwood, Temperley London’s Alice Temperley and Matthew Williamson. PHOTOS:Cat-Eye Shades for New York Fashion Week Factor in stalwarts Paul Smith, Julien Macdonald and John Rocha, and London is the new Milan (which has a dearth of young blood), if not the new New York (whose Fashion Week precedes London’s, which takes place Sept. 13 to 17). The Big Apple’s most recent burst of excitement launched a troop of talented young Asian-American designers, from Derek Lam to Phillip Lim — but that was more than five years ago. What has led to London’s shiny moment? Hollywood embracing the clothing helped: Ilincic has been worn by Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett; Katrantzou by Diane Kruger and Keira Knightley; Kane by Chloe Moretz; Erdem by Emma Watson and Rose Byrne. Credit also goes to a British Fashion Council program called London Show Rooms, which began in Paris in 2008. Three years later, young British designers began displaying collections to important stylists in a giant Wilshire Boulevard showroom, resulting in celebrities wearing the clothes. “The BFC team has done an incredible job guiding new and established brands,” says Temperley.

London police and Santander said in a joint statement that 12 suspects were arrested Thursday following an attempt by a bogus maintenance engineer to install a keyboard-video-mouse a device typically used to control several computers at once onto one of the banks computers at a branch located in a south London shopping center. Few other technical details were released, but the statement said that the hardware would have allowed the transmission of the entire computers desktop and allowed the suspects to take control of the banks computer remotely. Writing on the blog of Internet security firm Sophos, John Hawes said it wasnt clear how much damage the would-be robbers might have done even with access to a workstation. If the systems were well controlled, secured and monitored, there should still have been plenty of obstacles to overcome before they could find their way into sensitive parts of the network, and move virtual cash out of the banks systems, he said. Police said they took the attempted robbery very seriously. In their statement, Det. Insp. Mark Raymond described it as a sophisticated plot that could have led to the loss of a very large amount of money from the bank. The force put the potential losses in the millions of pounds although it stressed that no money was ever withdrawn. Its not clear from the statement whether the person masquerading as an engineer was arrested at the scene. Police said that all but one of the 12 suspects, ranging in age from 23 to 50, were apprehended in the same west London neighborhood. The scale of the potential theft is another reminder of the huge amounts that can be stolen by tech-savvy criminals. U.S. investigators say that one gang operating across 27 countries recently managed to steal $45 million in two separate sprees after compromising payment systems used by two Middle Eastern banks. The suspects in the latest heist remain in custody. Police said searches were being carried out in six different locations in the greater London area. Santander said none of its staff were involved in the attempted heist.