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>>

 

 


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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. 

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.

Pre-M presented at International Test Comission Conference

This year marked Renful’s first participation at the International Test Commission conference in Amsterdam.

The conference featured a number of interesting presentations from top psychologists on Modern Advances in Assessment including Testing and Digital Technology and recent Developments in Theory of Testing.

Our resident Psychologist, Yehuda Esformes, provided a very well received lecture about his work on Pre-M; Renful’s Pre-employment testing software for security screeners.

The presentation provided a demonstration and explanation of the simulation tests available on Pre-M and the advantages over conventional testing it provides to managers when recruiting security personnel.

Here’s the abstract from Yehuda’s lecture:

Simulation tests for Aviation Security Staff: Incremental validity over conventional psychometric tests.

Simulation tests, like other similar assessment methods, are deemed to have a higher face validity and greater fairness than conventional tests. They are also considered to be more reliable and more valid. Given the continuing threat to civil aviation, and with the aim of improving the selection of aviation security personnel, we developed a computer based test battery tailored specifically for selecting X=ray baggage screeners (BAT-XR).

The battery includes both conventional visual perception tests  (colour perception, mental rotation, visual closure and sustained focused attention), and simulation tests (basic image interpretation, object recognition-superimposition, attention to anomalies).

All tests were designed on the basis of job task analysis. The objective of our study was to determine whether the simulation tests offer additional advantages over conventional tests in terms of incremental validity.

The BAT-XR and a set of four cognitive tests commonly used in Israel for primary selection were administered to 206 candidates for the position of X-ray baggage screener. The criterion was the participant’s ability to quickly detect threat articles in X-ray images of bags.

A series of hierarchical regression analyses revealed that after controlling for age and gender, the simulation tests were significantly more powerful predictors than conventional tests.

And finally…

Our minds thoroughly prodded and probed by a number of the world’s top psychologists, we’ll need to rest our brains for a few days.

Fortunately, we’ve come back brimming with a number of new and exciting ideas and technologies that you can expect to be implemented into Pre-M, Simfox and a number of our other computer based security training and testing packages.

We’ll keep you posted.

OpeReady – A Quick Overview

OpeReady is an operational readiness management system that allows managers to track their employees’ training and testing performance and readiness.

OpeReady is a completely customizable system that can be configured in a way that meets your organisation’s exact training and testing requirements.

The system is therefore able to match your expectations and notify you each time an employee does not reach the required levels of performance and readiness.

Have your employees taken the required amount of training to be compliant with local regulations?

This is a question that must be asked every week. Especially in industries that are heavily regulated like Airports and Cargo/Mail Forwarders.

It is also a question that is not always obvious, especially when the employee has a number of training courses to attend and certifications to achieve.

You’ll often have to look through a number of files or even hire a data analyst to make sense of all the numbers.

As all your employees’ key information is stored on OpeReady, it is able to tell you, at the touch of a button, whether or not an employee or department within your organization has achieved all the training and certification required to work within their job role.

OpeReady will also provide reasoning for anyone that has not met the required level of training and certification. This ensures managers are able to quickly schedule any training that may be required.

How well are your employees performing in training and on the job?

While ensuring your employees are meeting the expected readiness levels, it is also important to get an understanding as to whether they are performing at an above average standard.

OpeReady delivers an extremely useful Employee Performance Monitoring Tool that provides a number of graphs and tables that can be configured based on the criteria you want them to be.

So it is possible to see the average score from one date to another on a specific module within a training course or find out the average readiness level of a specific employee over time. The later is obviously extremely useful in identifying those that are always behind in their certification and training and should be looked into in more detail.

OpeReady is also able to syncronise with any of the technology you use to test or train your employees. For example, we have developed OpeReady to be syncronised with London City Airport’s S.E.M.S. and T.I.P. systems.

This ensures City Airport is able to view the throughput speed and detection skills of each of their x-ray screeners over time as they work within the security operation.

For more information about OpeReady, our employee readiness management software, please visit our dedicated website.

If you would like to attend a demo of OpeReady, please feel free to email us at info@renful.co.uk or call on +44 (0) 208 457 9111.