The SSTC Concept

Over the past few years, the increasing threat of terrorism has forced Governing bodies around the world to set up stringent regulations on the way security personnel should be trained and tested.

These new regulations have meant many organisations no longer have the capabilities to provide in house training to their employees and require specialist help from security training companies.

While many security trainers have sufficient security  knowledge to provide the training, many lack the technologies and marketing prowess required to take advantage of these extra requirements.

The SSTC franchise has been developed by Renful Premier Technologies in order to develop a worldwide framework for superior security training.

It is designed to enable security trainers to take advantage of the expertise, know-how and technology Renful has developed since its inception in 1994 so that they can provide a multi level security training service to their clients and increase their business opportunities.

Following the Renful Concept

All SSTC’s are able to follow Renful’s concept of providing training, testing and certification products and services that meet the needs of security screeners throughout their job cycle.

The concept is built on the belief that screener’s require a high level of initial training and testing before they are ready for their job.

For example, Pre-M enables security managers to analyse whether a candidate has the correct aptitudes to become a successful security screener while the use of our security X-ray simulator; Simfox together with our range of Simulants enable new personnel to familiarise themselves with the look, texture, functionality and x-ray signature of explosives.

At Renful, we also believe that security training should be pro-active rather than re-active and have therefore developed products and services that enable security personnel to get regular training on current and emerging threats.

For example, our Infogence publication provides monthly reports on emerging terrorism trends that can be used to update security personnel and build replica IEDs for Red Team Testing that are relevant to the current threat.  These threats are also placed into Simfox; which should be used on a monthly basis to improve the detection skills of x-ray screeners.

As well as providing services that meet every training and testing requirement of an x-ray screener, Renful provide a range of security courses, accredited in partnership with Middlesex University.

The courses last 3 days; are taught by experts and cover subjects such as Profiling, Document Verification, Terrorism Awareness, and more. Participants are then able to continue their studies via e-learning before enrolling at Middlesex University where they can earn academic qualifications designed to improve their earning potential and job prospects.

 Contact us for more information about providing secuirty training services through the SSTC>>

 

 


The Rise of Cyber Terrorism

Q: Where are you most likely to find a Terrorist? A: Wherever there’s a good Wi-Fi connection.

Author: 

For most, the internet has become an indispensible part of modern life. We Tweet about our lives, Facebook with our friends and shop till we drop.

Just like you and me, Terrorists spend a lot of time on the internet. However, their reasons for clicking “like” will be a lot more sinister.

Communication

YouTube channels and Facebook pages of Al Qaeda supporters are used to radicalise Western-based sympathisers, and also provide a means for communication between these “lone wolf” actors and larger organised networks of terrorists.

Recently, a 20 year old Moroccan was arrested in Brescia, Italy and accused of making a detailed plan for a terror attack on a Synagogue in Milan. A 40 year old Yemeni woman was also arrested in London over links with this group showing the global reach of many of these sites.

Police claim the accused used “exceptional” computer skills to create secret groups on Facebook.

A statement from police claimed “In this online arena, members could share instructions on how to assemble explosive devices, what chemical ingredients could be bought and the use of weapons”.

Propaganda

Terrorist organizations use the Internet to raise awareness for their cause, to spread propaganda, and to inspire potential operatives across the globe.

Websites operated by terrorist groups can contain graphic images of supposed successful terrorist attacks, lists and biographies of celebrated martyrs, and forums for discussing ideology and methodology.

Al-Quaeda distributes audio, video and graphics via The As-Shahab Institute for Media Production to forums, blogs and file-hosting websites.

Only recently, an English language terrorist publication called Inspire was intercepted by intelligence officials. Many articles within are thought to have come from Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. born radical imam who has been linked to a number of terrorist plots including the attempted Times Square bombing.

Al-Awalki is also thought to have been behind the radicalizing of Nidal M. Hasan, who allegedly committed the November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian suspect accused of trying to ignite explosives on Christmas Day 2009.

Funding

The internet is also used as a way to fund terrorist organisations. Cybercrime has now overtaken drug trafficking as the main source of income for terrorist organisations.

Identity theft, counterfeiting, and other types of computer fraud all provide a higher yield whilst also having the benefit of being carried out under a shroud of anonymity.

The 2002 terrorist bombings in Bali were thought to be partially funded through online credit card fraud.

Explosive Manufacturing

Given the difficulty in accessing military grade hardware, many online discussions will turn to the homemade manufacture of explosive charges.

Anders Behring Breivik admitted he used instructions he found on the internet to build the bomb he used in his terror attacks on Norway in 2011.

The ingredients used by Breivik to build his bomb were all available to the general public. For example, the main charge was made from Amonium Nitrate and Diesel Fuel obtained from fertilizer.

Tactics

Many online discussions often turn to how best to build and conceal an IED in order to get through security checkpoints.

In 2009, Al-Quaeda’s expert bomb maker, Ibrahim Al-Asiri, saw the potential of inserting a bomb in the rectum of a suicide bomber.

The plan was to assassinate Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the head of the Saudi Arabia’s counter-terror operations.

The suicide bomber got through a number of security measures before setting off his IED as he went to meet the Prince. Fortunately, bin Nayef survived with only a few minor injuries.

A few months later, Al-Asiri got his bomb through security at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport, this time concealed in the underpants of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

The IED had no metallic parts, completely cancelling the effectiveness of metal detectors and x-ray machines. Fortunately, the bomb malfunctioned and the plane landed safely.

Recent intelligence suggests Al-Asiri has not given up. Reports tell us he is currently working with doctors on a plan to surgically implant IEDs into the bodies of terrorists.

The next step

While terrorists are very adept at spreading propaganda and communicating online, they have yet to deliver any major cyber attacks on organisations.

At the moment, cyber attacks attributed to terrorists have largely been limited to denial-of service attacks and defacing of websites.

However, as they have shown with their continued innovation in the manufacturing and concealment of bombs, it is clear that they will continue to improve their technical skills in order to deliver a major cyber attack.

Only time will tell.

About Us

Renful Premier Technologies is a knowledge based company that offers security solutions to organisations throughout the world.

Renful believes that working towards compliance is only the first step towards high-quality security and aims to provide a comprehensive solution that enables security x-ray screeners to excel in their job for the benefit of both the individual and the employer.

Our solution provides an integrative approach that includes training and assessment tools for the selection of the right candidate for the job of x-ray screener (Pre-M), computer based theoretical security training (TREFOX), familiarization with prohibited items (Simulated Explosives) and computerized security x-ray simulation training (SIMFOX).

We understand that training does not end in the classroom.  Once a screener has obtained certification following the induction phase, it is the employer’s responsibility to continue challenging his image interpretation skills and monitor his progress.  Renful’s solution is to present each employee periodically with tests and to provide feedback to the employee and employer. The system will allow the employer to take part in the design of the test and will record all results permanently.

During the operation, the employee is challenged by other assessment tools, such as TIP (Threat Image Projection), covert testing and supervisor assessment and routine testing on the SIMFOX Security X-Ray Scanner Simulation system.  This ensures that the x-ray screeners are constantly challenged in their detection abilities by regularly introduction of new threats and concealment methods.

To overcome difficulties with cross-referencing test results from various sources, Renful has developed a readiness management system (OpeReady) which enables the management to identify performance flaws and non-compliance issues on all levels, whether occurring on an individual, departmental or organisational level.

Please visit our website for more information about our security training services. 

The Importance of Security X-Ray Training

Author: 

An increase in terrorism in recent years has forced governments to realise that security measures – although previously believed to be adequate – are failing to keep up with the innovation and determination of terrorists.

Unsuccessful attempts to dispense with the human factor by fully automating security systems have demonstrated the essential role played by qualified security x-ray screeners operating equipment. If we accept that no security operation can be successful unless the employees are properly trained and monitored, the next question to ask ourselves is how to comply with the mandatory high standards introduced by international guidelines in order to improve security.

Renful’s Solution

Renful believe that working towards compliance is only the first step towards high-quality security and aims to provide a comprehensive solution that enables security x-ray screeners to excel in their job for the benefit of both the individual and the employer.

Our solution provides an integrative approach that includes training and assessment tools for the selection of the right candidate (Pre-M), computer based theoretical xray training (TREFOX), familiarization with prohibited items (Threat object demonstration Kits) and computerized x-ray simulation training (SIMFOX).

We understand that training does not end in the classroom.  Once a screener has obtained certification following the induction phase, it is the employer’s responsibility to continue challenging his image interpretation skills and monitor his progress.  Renful’s solution is to present each employee periodically with tests and to provide feedback to the employee and employer. The system will allow the employer to take part in the design of the test and will record all results permanently.

During the operation, the employee is challenged by other assessment tools, such as TIP (Threat Image Projection), covert testing and supervisor assessment and routine xray simulation testing on the SIMFOX system.  This ensures that the x-ray screeners are constantly challenged in their detection abilities by regularly introduction of new threats and concealment methods.

To overcome difficulties with cross-referencing test results from various sources, Renful has developed a readiness management system (OpeReady) which enables the management to identify performance flaws and non-compliance issues on all levels, whether occurring on an individual, departmental or organisational level.

Renful’s Integrative Solution for the Hiring, Training, Testing & Monitoring of X-Ray Screeners

What does it take to become a successful x-ray screener?

Author: 

The evolving threat and innovation of terrorism over the last 30 years has completely changed the security screening landscape.   It was once the case that all an x-ray screener needed to concern themselves with was the detection of guns and knives.

Now, all types of items have to be considered as threats as they may be concealing an explosive device. Whether it is a pair of shoes, a bottle of liquid, a tennis ball filled with TATP explosive or a pair of underpants; terrorists will try any possible means to get past security,

The easiest way to identify a concealed IED is through the use of an explosive trace detector. However, due to time constraints, security screeners are unable to use these machines on every single item that passes through the security checkpoint.

X-ray machines are therefore still the most common way of screening items that pass through security checkpoints. Although many x-ray machines are configured to automatically identify explosives, they cannot be relied on at 100%. They still lean heavily on the ability of the x-ray screener to identify threats.

For this reason, we have compiled a list of the key capabilities required to identify well concealed threats and become a successful screener.

Personality

Security x-ray screening is a monotonous task that requires deep concentration for as much as 30 minutes.

On busy security checkpoints, screeners only have a few seconds to identify each bag. They must therefore find the right balance between analysis and speed.

The perfect screener needs to have confidence in their ability to detect a threat. Not enough confidence and the screener will send too many items for search or deliberate too long on a bag, creating queues and annoyed passengers.

Attention to Details

If an IED is well concealed within an item, the item may only have small anomalies. In a packed bag these small differences can be almost impossible to detect.

The likelihood that a screener comes into contact with a concealed IED is very low and this only increases the level of attention to details that is required.

It means a screener must treat each bag that goes through the x-ray machine with the same high level of attention. Something that after 20 minutes of screening is very hard to maintain.

Visual Dexterity

An x-ray machine generally only produces two x-ray angles of each bag that passes through it. Items will therefore not always be at the optimum angle for x-ray screeners to identify.

Screeners must possess some visual dexterity in order for them to virtually rotate the items in their mind and identify them correctly.

Threat Knowledge

Without knowing what a threat looks like, it’s impossible to identify it. When it’s an IED that’s been concealed in another item, it’s even more difficult.

Given the evolving nature of threats, screeners need to be given continuous training and testing to ensure they can identify them.

Experience

Experience is not something you can get overnight but if you work at it, you can get it quicker. The use of realistic simulators like Simfox can help accelerate the learning process.

Getting experience isn’t always about spending days on end in front of an x-ray simulator. In this case quality is far better than quantity. It’s all about getting focused training that improves the weaknesses of each individual screener.

Knowing your weaknesses helps and with Simfox; trainers are able to identify it quickly through an easy to use statistical interface. The information can then be used to create training that will help the screener improve on their weakness.

Click here to get more information about Renful Premier Technologies and the security training products we provide. 

Security Training Essentials – Drill Items

It is important to test xray security screening operations are functioning correctly and that screeners are able to detect threats correctly.

Many organisations have covert tests or red team testing carried out on their screening operation, either from their governing body or internally.

Renful has developed a range of inert replica concealed Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that can be used in security drills such as covert testing and hand search testing.

  • Drill Items are made using CT correct explosives
  • Drill Items are validated by intelligence gathered by our Infogence Terrorism Intelligence Reports.
  • Drill Items are available to rent which enables you to return them after you have used them and rent a new one.

Please contact us to see our library of over 50 different types of inert IED replicas.

The Underwear Bomb

The underwear bomb used during the attempted bombing of flight 253 on Christmas day, 2009 was innovative in that no component within it was metallic. The terrorist was therefore able to walk through the metal detector completely undetected; completely negating the effectiveness of the x-ray machine.

Our replica concealed IED contains 80g of simulant penta erythritol tetra nitrate (PETN) enclosed in a small see thru plastic bag and placed in a pocket within a pair of underpants.

The underwear I.E.D also comes with a syringe containing simulant acid which was intended, when injected into the PETN, act as a detonator and create an explosion. The PETN simulant used to create this concealed I.E.D is ideal for use in airport security training as it remains inert while providing the exact Visual, Tactile, Colour and Texture characteristics and CT and Z effective number as the original.

Replica Concealed Book IED

In December 2009, the Infogence Report uncovered the use of concealed IEDs in hollowed out books by terrorists in Baghdad. In this instance, terrorists used a poetry book to conceal an IED containing 400-550g of plastic explosive wrapped in nylon.

The explosive device used a wireless initiation system, consisting of a Nokia mobile phone, with a safety amplifying system connected to the earphone socket while the charge’s voltage source came from a 9V battery. Pellets were also glued on pieces of cardboard.  Fortunately attempts made to detonate the charge failed due to a malfunction in the initiation system.

The same technique was later used in November 2010 during the Athens mail bombs. In this instance the concealed IEDs were detected during security x-ray screening at Athens Airport.

Contact us for more information about our Inert, Simulated IED Drill Items.

Passenger Profiling

Written by: 

Current security measures

Whenever a terrorist manages to breach the security system designed to protect airports, questions are asked as to why these countermeasures failed. Invariably new regulations are created and money is spent on technologies in the hope that they fill the gaps left by the last security breach. For example, following the Liquid bomb plot, restrictions were put into place limiting passengers to 100ml bottles of liquid in their hand luggage and more recently money has been spent on full body scanners in the hope that they will detect IEDs concealed on terrorists’ bodies.

Continually mutating threat

Although adding new technologies and restricting certain items can help security screeners detect threat items, they are not effective against the continually mutating threat of terrorism.  Infogence, providers of terrorism incidents and activities intelligence reports, are continually gathering intelligence regarding discussions about new IED technologies and concealments on terrorist websites and message boards.

So while the new regulations and body scanners may foil another “Underwear Bomb” style terrorist attack, they may not be effective against whatever the terrorists use next.

Inefficient security measures

Current security measures are extremely predictable usually involving an X-ray machine and a metal detector/ body scanner while slower but more advanced explosives detection technologies are rarely used.

The security measures therefore rely heavily on the ability of x-ray screeners to identify concealed IEDs, weapons and their components that, without the highest level of training, are extremely difficult to detect. Added to this the fact that security companies are under pressure to get passengers through security checks and into duty free shops as quickly as possible means that screeners are not being given the required time to provide an informed decision on each bag.

Screening all passengers and their luggage in exactly the same way, using the same technologies and as quickly as possible seems extremely inefficient given the fact that 99.9% of passengers are not terrorists.  If the current security measures were applied to a doctor’s surgery, the doctor would take an x-ray of each patient, no matter what their complaint was, look at it for 6 seconds and provide a diagnosis.

Fortunately, doctors do not treat patients this way, and instead ask a few questions before deciding whether further tests are needed on the patient or whether they can be diagnosed straight away. The same principle could be applied to security screening through the use of passenger profiling.

 

 

Passenger Profiling

Profiling involves carrying out a risk analysis on all passengers passing through a security checkpoint. It involves passengers being asked a set of questions based on any suspicious signs in their documentation, itinerary, appearance and behaviour. The screener then decides based on the passenger’s behaviour and answers whether they are a threat to the flight they are attempting to board.

Those who pose a threat are put through stringent security measures using complimentary detection technologies like explosives trace detectors, while those who are not seen as threats would ideally go through the normal security measures minus the removal of shoes, liquids and so on.

Profiling therefore provides a more efficient use of both security personnel and technologies.  Security staff can be trained on previous attacks and known terrorist modus operandi enabling them to respond to future threats as well as to those of the past while screeners are given the required time and technologies needed to detect the threat items concealed by terrorists.

An Integrated Security Process

Passenger Profiling should not be seen as a substitute for other screening processes but be integrated into a one stop security checkpoint involving the screening of checked luggage, hand luggage and passengers.

Integrating all security processes allows for security personnel to get the full picture when screening passengers and their luggage. They can identify anomalies and create a more detailed profile of each passenger.

An example of where an integrated security process involving profiling could have been used successfully comes following the recent attempt to blow up flight 253. Abdulmutallab could have been asked why he bought his ticket in Ghana with cash for a flight that left from Nigeria  or why he had not checked luggage for a 2 week stay in the U.S. Had he not provided adequate answers to these questions then he could have been selected for a more thorough check using the various detection tools available.

The need for Training

Although passenger profiling has been implemented in many airports around the world it is often scaled back due to fears that it encourages racial discrimination. There is a worry that screeners can become complacent, see someone and decide that they are a threat due to their religious belief or the colour of their skin rather than through proper reasoning.

The fact is that profiling must be carried out by skilled individuals who have been properly trained to identify terrorists through behavioural analysis, documentation and expert questioning.

Renful Premier Technologies offer a seminar designed to equip all participants with the knowledge, techniques and practical skills required to organise and implement an effective Profiling System at their location.

For more information on our Passenger Profiling please visit us at http://www.renful.co.uk

Advanced Security X-ray CBT

This article aims to highlight the difficulties faced by x-ray screeners in detecting threat items and the importance of investing in quality threat detection CBT to provide the best possible xray simulation training possible.

The Human Factor

Ever since the attack on Pan –Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988, X-ray machines have become a main stay of security checkpoints throughout the world. Although they may look very sophisticated, they are essentially just imaging systems, and cannot be relied on to automatically identify weapons and explosives effectively.

Security X-ray machines therefore  rely heavily on their operators correctly analysing each image that comes through, a task which is made all the more difficult by the fact that they have, in a busy environment like an airport, only a few seconds to carry out their search.

If we compare the tasks required from an x-ray screener in finding a threat to that of a radiologist finding a disease we can clearly understand the difficulties of the job.  For example, a hospital radiologist will examine each medical x-ray image for several minutes and often consult with colleagues before making a diagnosis. Also, a medical x-ray image is viewed in a quiet and darkened room, with no distractions.

On the other hand security x-ray personnel have only about 6 seconds to inspect each bag image.  Within this very short time period the x-ray screener must intensively scan for prohibited articles and make a decision about each luggage item.  X-ray images in airports are also viewed in bright light with noise and a multitude of other potential distractions. The sheer number of bags that have to be screened and the cluttered patterns on each bag image makes it very challenging to identify dangerous items, especially as many objects look different under x-ray to how they appear in reality.

Now imagine you switch those working environments around; the radiologist would make mistakes, patients would be angry and changes would be made to the procedures immediately.

So why is it we accept the difficulties faced by x-ray screeners? After all, they are both searching for a potentially deadly threat, one to an airport and its passengers, the other to an individual’s well being.

The fact is that every bag cannot be checked thoroughly for much longer than 6 seconds in busy environments. Stopping each and every bag on the conveyor belt for longer would drive check in times earlier and earlier and create longer queues which in themselves would provide an attractive target to a terrorist.

The solution therefore is to train security x-ray screeners to a level that befits the critical job that they carry out.  Just as hospitals invest in the education of radiologists, security organisations need to invest in the training of security x-ray personnel. Perhaps not to the same level as radiologists, who after all require a university education, but at least using the best possible tools at our disposal within an effective and well thought out training schedule.

Simfox – Advanced Security X-Ray CBT

Security X-ray is an extremely specialised subject and requires advanced software that can deliver training that covers all the capabilities required to become an effective screener. For this reason Renful Premier Technologies developed, in 1989, the first ever security x-ray CBT; Simfox. Over the years Simfox has been continually developed, becoming the standard bearer for all other security x-ray CBTs on the market.

Simfox delivers the most accurate computer simulation of an x-ray machine allowing security trainees to use the same image enhancements, zoom functions and control features of the original machine. In fact, Renful’s newest development, Simfox Net, offers an on screen replica of the dashboard of the x-ray machine, so screeners can get themselves quickly acquainted to the x-ray machine’s various functions.

Simfox is currently compatible with all major manufacturers of x-ray machine and, unlike many other security x-ray CBT, offers simulators unique to each. This lack of discrepancies between simulation and reality allows for a seamless move from classroom to on the job training.

Simfox is extremely easy to implement into security training procedures and can be used in all types of applications including Airports, Cargo, Mail, Parliament Buildings, Prisons, Secure Hospitals and other high security establishments. It can be delivered through a number of flexible license options and is available through LAN, WAN and internet connections enabling organisations to provide training both within classrooms and remotely.

Security X-ray training

As most newly appointed x-ray screeners will come to the job having never seen the images that a security x-ray machine produces, Simfox offers a range of readymade, fully editable, x-ray image interpretation courses. These courses consist of items being put through the simulator at different angles enabling trainees to get a better idea of their shape, colour and density under x-ray. The courses include all types of threat items as well as innocent items, especially those that can be easily used to conceal weapons and explosive devices.

Once the x ray image interpretation courses have been completed, the next step is to introduce these items into a bag or container. Unlike many other xray CBTS, Simfox, as well as offering pre-packed bags, allows trainers to build their own bags from scratch using the thousands of individual items within the database. This feature is immensely useful as it allows security x-ray trainers to create an almost infinite number of bags that provide the kind of customised training that is so essential to their students.

The easy customisation of bags means trainers can adapt the training they give to the level of competency of their trainee. At first they may place the threat items within bags so that they are easily identifiable. As training evolves, the trainer can up the difficulty by concealing the threat behind other objects within the bag. In essence, the trainer becomes the terrorist creating the type of intelligent training content that is needed to combat the threat of modern terrorism.

Statistical Reporting

In order to map the progress of each student, Simfox has an integrated statistical module that records each and every student’s test results. As well as providing a useful tool for developing reports for management, it offers a range of valuable training functions. For example, Simfox provides an analysis of each student’s detection rate for each category of threat. Training can then be adapted to suit the needs of the student; increasing the level of training on a certain threat. All in all it allows the trainers to identify weaknesses in their screeners and provide the type of relevant and continuous training that is required.

Summary

The task given to x-ray screeners is extremely difficult. In order to give them the best possible chance to detect threats, they must be given the best possible training available. This can be achieved through the use of high-tech x-ray threat detection CBTs like Simfox that provides a multilevel approach to training enabling x-ray screeners the opportunity to develop the capabilities required to become effective at their job.

Contact us on 0208 457 9111 or at info@renful.co.uk.

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