Magal Security Systems, an Israeli electronic protection firm, announced today that it will be part of a program to protect banks. The contract awards Magal to protect six bank branches.
The company's PipeGuard system was originally designed to detect breaches on sensitive pipes, such as oil or natural gas supplies. It uses geophonic signals -- seismic waves that recognize the sounds of underground movement -- to detect illicit activity, such as an attempted tunneling into a bank's in-ground safe.
While most bank robberies are attempted by street criminals who enter the branch, below-ground robberies are not unheard of. In 2005, Brazil's Banco Central in Sao Paulo was struck by tunneling thieves -- to the tune of $65 million. Less than a year later, the construction of a similar tunnel in Moscow, designed to breach Impexbank, was discovered before the crime could be committed. This type of caper got a lot of worldwide attention in 1976 when French master criminal Albert Spaggiari (now deceased) was able to use similar techniques to break into a vault of a bank in Nice, France.