The Security Week That Was: 11/30/07

Breaking a Nuclear Material Smuggling Ring

Dirty bombs. The phrase, which refers to bombs made with radioactive material that are designed to disperse radiation and contaminate an area but which aren't as powerful as a nuclear bomb, is one that breathes fear into all security professionals, especially those working around port environments, which many have perceived as the most likely location for such weapons to enter our countries.

So, it was especially positive to hear this week that law enforcement in Slovakia had successfully made arrests in an attempt to sell over two pounds of radioactive material -- material that could have made its way into a terrorist's dirty bomb. While details on the arrests are slim (no surprise there, as this was likely a highly secure operation spanning different national security agencies), it's one of those pieces of news that gives you a smile and a shudder at the same time -- you're glad to hear of such a ring broken, but you shudder to think about how many other corrupt individuals are actively trying to move this type of material.

On an added note, it was reported this week that researchers at Sandia Labs are working on a neutron scatter camera that can identify smuggled nuclear materials at greater distances than currently employed systems.

A Well-Designed School
CPTED in Minnesota

CPTED, aka Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, isn't exactly a new concept, and it's certainly well-known by many who work in the field of security. Walk around a large office park or down the streets of a university and you're sure to notice that trees are trimmed, visibility is paramount, and lighting is well-planned. It's no accident by the landscaping crew or the facilities team. CPTED, doesn't however, get the full-billing it should at many locations, but at least one new school has really grasped the value of this crime-reduction theory. Read about how CPTED factored into the architecture and layout of a new school in Minnesota, and when your organization plans its next building, make sure CPTED is a point of discussion.

In other news
EDS works with Veterans Affairs on PIV; Pipeline security in the news; more...

Government technology and services contractor EDS has landed an $11.6 million contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist in its PIV card implementations. ... A vandal's breach of an ammonia pipeline in Florida has re-raised the question about vulnerabilities, and maybe this time pipelines will get the security attention they deserve. ... A GAO report indicates that the DHS-created "fusion centers", which were designed to aid intelligence sharing and emergency coordination, are being mired by redundant info, a changing focus on common crime, and common credentialing problems. ... The U.S. Coast Guard is using handheld biometric scanners in a trial to verify and record identities of illegal immigrants.

Our Upcoming Webinars
Programs this month on sales lead management and video analytics

It's almost December, but the year isn't over for our SIW Webinar Series. Coming up in the next couple weeks are two webinar sessions you can attend. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, we'll be having the folks from Blueroads speak about lead management. While most of our sessions have been focused on security technologies, this one is going to tell dealers, integrators, vendors and distributors about tools for managing hot lead information. You can sign up for that program at Then, on Monday, Dec. 17, we're having the crew from Video IQ (this is a company that was spun out of GE Security) aboard to tell you all about how video analytics fits into infrastructure protection. Sign up for that one at These one-hour programs are delivered entirely over your Internet-connected PC, and are free to attend. We hope you can join us.

Finally, we close with our look at the top read stories making waves on