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  • Countersurveillance Training

    Criminals (at least, the sophisticated ones), industrial spies, internal thieves, business competitors, investigators for "hostile entities" (such as opposing parties in a pending lawsuit), terrorists and even government agencies all might conduct surveillance against facilities that we protect. Last month, I recommended a book by Ira Winkler, Spies Among Us dealing with this (and other subjects). I would also recommend The Art of Deception by Kevin Mitnick.

    We really need to develop a much greater appreciation of the OPSEC and counterintelligence function that is implicit in almost *all* security positions. It is not emphasized nearly enough in most "security training" programs, and that is sometimes why security officers are so easily surprised when something goes down on their watch. There WERE signs...but they weren't trained to spot them because "counterintelligence" is either viewed as "cloak-and-dagger" stuff, or as only applying to "military" or high-sensitivity targets.

    Regardless of who might be conducting the surveillance ("legitimate" or not), and regardless of what type of facility you protect, all security officers should be trained to look for surveillance activities, and know what to do if they should observe or suspect that surveillance is being conducted.

    Here is a link to an interesting Web page entitled "23 Signs You're Under Surveillance" as a starting place for discussion on this topic, of which several would have applicability to security (others are more about electronic surveillance, which requires real expertise to deal with, or personal surveillance, and a few might even seem a bit paranoid). As I say, it's just a "jumping-off" point.

    Any and all contributions, comments, experiences and thoughts are invited, especially from those members who might have worked in intelligence in the military, etc.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 05-02-2007, 12:33 PM.
    "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

    "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

    "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

    "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

  • #2
    SecTrainer,
    As you are aware security awareness is one of the more important topics that should be taught to our front-line security professionals but rarely is. A few thoughts come to mind:

    There are weaknesses in terrorists’ planning cycles. Security professionals can exploit these weaknesses to deter and prevent suicide/ terrorist attacks at their facilities.

    Security Control Center (SCC) operators need to understand the threats to their organization and know the “pulse of the facility”- where and when their pedestrian and vehicular traffic is concentrated at different times of the day (For example, at 0900 there will be many more people in the lobby entries than at 1030).

    We must also perform an analysis of potential targets for surveillance locations (by a potential terrorist), surveillance methods, and timelines. This allows us to better perform counter-surveillance.

    We must provide SCC operators and security officers with operational policies and procedures for all scenarios.

    Position CCTV cameras to view likely surveillance locations and position cameras to view beyond the perceived perimeter- it is unlikely that they will be on your property but will be next door.

    John
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." G. Orwell

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    • #3
      Originally posted by john_harrington
      SecTrainer,
      As you are aware security awareness is one of the more important topics that should be taught to our front-line security professionals but rarely is. A few thoughts come to mind:

      There are weaknesses in terrorists’ planning cycles. Security professionals can exploit these weaknesses to deter and prevent suicide/ terrorist attacks at their facilities.

      Security Control Center (SCC) operators need to understand the threats to their organization and know the “pulse of the facility”- where and when their pedestrian and vehicular traffic is concentrated at different times of the day (For example, at 0900 there will be many more people in the lobby entries than at 1030).

      We must also perform an analysis of potential targets for surveillance locations (by a potential terrorist), surveillance methods, and timelines. This allows us to better perform counter-surveillance.

      We must provide SCC operators and security officers with operational policies and procedures for all scenarios.

      Position CCTV cameras to view likely surveillance locations and position cameras to view beyond the perceived perimeter- it is unlikely that they will be on your property but will be next door.

      John
      OPSEC and countersurveillance methods are very important concepts (and skill sets) for all security personnel.

      You mention CCTV cameras...it always amuses me to visit sites and see the cameras pointed at the asset (safe, computer room door, etc.) instead of at the approaches to the asset. This is one reason post-incident video review is so often disappointing.
      Last edited by SecTrainer; 05-08-2007, 02:40 AM.
      "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

      "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

      "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

      "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

      Comment


      • #4
        SecTrainer,

        I agree completely- whenever I perform CCTV design projects I spend a great deal of time with the client discussing what they are concerned about and how to mitigate those concerns.

        Too often a cookie cutter approach is taken.
        "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." G. Orwell

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