As 2015 came to a close, the media was awash with a series of devastating and deeply concerning events, ranging from the terrible events that led to the Metrojet crash near Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to the attacks in Paris, France, and most recently, the evacuation of an Air France jet after a suspicious item was found.
The recent attacks have highlighted a number of disparities in security standards across the globe. If we can get everyone to the same standard that would be a massive bonus – at the moment there is a huge disparity in standards between the EU, the USA and some other countries.
With that in mind, in order to guarantee high quality security standards, we need to understand risk. Threat isn’t something we own – it’s owned by the would-be attacker. We own the vulnerabilities, so the risk is a combination of the threat and the vulnerabilities. We need to close down vulnerabilities that could be exploited by the attacker.
These key principles are something I am keen to exercise across the whole business, which has recently expanded into events, critical national infrastructure (CNI), corporate and cyber security fields. Of course, within each sector, some threats are graver than others, and there are a number of dangers we should look out for across each one of them.
For aviation security, the biggest threat is the insider threat – someone who has passed background checks but later becomes radicalized. There are behavioral markers which can be used to great effect to mitigate this.
Meanwhile, for the corporate and CNI sectors, the ‘lone wolf’ or copycat attacker is the biggest threat. The recent knife attack at Leytonstone tube station in London, UK, was a good example of that – someone who may or may not be known to the authorities, who has become radicalized. We cannot stop that from happening, but we can use robust procedures to deal with it effectively.
With large events coming up such as UEFA Euro 2016 soccer championships in France this summer, overt security is the best way to deter an attacker. Armed police, bag and body searches and CCTV are all good deterrents. If you think back to the London 2012 Olympics, even soldiers were used for security.
While we are still working on our cyber security offering, we have already begun expanding our product range in line with recent attacks. When we had the alleged bomb plan from Sharm el-Sheikh, we updated our training products so that in the event of copycat incidents, operators and screeners would have a better chance of recognizing a potentially dangerous device.
Financial constraints have slowed the development of some threat-mitigating technology. As an example, we’re only now getting to grips with effective technology that can deal with liquid explosives, even though a liquid bomb plot was uncovered in 2006.
About the author
Jim Termini is a director at Redline Assured Security in the UK and a former pilot. Redline Assured Security specializes in providing quality assurance solutions that can uncover deficiencies in training, equipment, policies or procedures.
Don’t miss our article on how to handle terrorist threats in the March issue of Passenger Terminal World magazine.
February 11, 2016