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. 

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.

Infogence Incident Brief: The Athens Mail Bombs

Written by: 

This image was captured by an X-ray Operator at Athens International Airport recently. The image is of two IEDs discovered during the routine screening of mail & cargo which forced Greece to halt all international air mail for 48 hours. The IEDs were destroyed by the Greek authorities soon after.

hollowed Out Book IEDsThe IEDs shown are concealed within “hollowed out” books. The explosive has shown up as green under x-ray, suggesting a Gunpowder explosive such as black powder or other variant which could have been taken from Fireworks. The detonator appears to be a light bulb filament (glass cap cut-off) possibly from a strong 12V light bulb. The power supply is provided by eight 1.5V batteries which under x-ray appear as small dark blue cylinders. The larger blue metallic cylinder is thought to be a can of aerosol which would have added flame and pressure to the charge and even provided shrapnel.

Both IEDs appear to have simple booby trap mechanisms consisting of a clothes peg connected to the cover of the book and to the electrical circuit. While the book is closed, the peg holds a non-conducting material which stops any electricity flowing from the power supply to the detonator.  Once the book is opened, the non conductive material is removed, the circuit is closed and the electric current causes the light bulb filament to heat up which, in turn, would burn or detonate the explosives.

There is a good chance that this explosive would not have achieved detonation, mainly because it is a slow-burning explosive which needs to be packed in a closed container to achieve detonation. Having said that, it could have caused serious burn injuries to the person who would have opened the “book”.

The terrorists have been declared “Amateurs” by Greek authorities, and indeed there is no attempt to conceal the IEDs in any way. However, the IEDs were fully functional, and were apparently capable of causing death or serious injury.  There is even the possibility that they could have accidently triggered mid-flight causing damage to an aircraft. According to Greek investigators, the two IEDs were destined for the International police organisation Europol in the Netherlands and the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Co-ordinated Campaign of Terror

These explosive devices are thought to be connected to the string of mail bombs sent to several embassies in Athens and foreign leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the beginning of November. All the explosive devices sent out are thought to retain similar characteristics including concealment within books and the use of gunpowder.

Although no-one was seriously harmed in any of the attacks, two of the parcel bombs did detonate at their intended destination.  One parcel, left outside the Swiss embassy, burst into flames when its external packaging was removed while another exploded shortly afterwards at the Russian embassy. Another parcel, addressed to the Chilean embassy, exploded in the offices of a private courier company.

One IED successfully managed to breach Air Mail security checks, making it all the way to the German chancellery’s mail room. Fortunately, the containing package was detected by mail room staff as having marks that indicated the possibility of explosives and was deactivated by security forces. Mrs. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said “the package contained sufficient explosive to have caused harm to people”.

Another package, addressed to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was detected at the Bologna airport in northern Italy and caught fire when it was searched. Nobody was hurt, but the airport was temporarily closed down and several flights got re-routed to other Italian airports.

The Suspects

Two young Greeks, Panayotis Argyrou, 22, a chemistry student, and Gerassimos Tskalos, 24, have been arrested in connection with the wave of attacks after being found in possession of a package addressed to President Sarkozy and another destined for the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

They are believed to be linked to the radical group “Conspiracy of Cells of Fire,” which has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against government buildings and banks. The group is thought to be linked to the urban guerrillas who have killed police officers and a prominent journalist, and vowed to turn Greece into a war zone.

The anarchist movements are fuelled by popular anger over harsh austerity measures passed by the Papandreou government in return for an EU-IMF bailout earlier this year.

Both men refused to recognise the court when they were charged with committing acts of terrorism, belonging to a criminal organisation, possession and use of bombs and explosives, as well as lesser offences including refusing to give their identities and fingerprints.

Analysis

Although it is arguable whether these IEDs were part of a serious terrorist attack aimed at killing or seriously injuring their intended recipients or just a way of gaining publicity ahead of upcoming Greek local elections, it is clear that they provide more proof that the mail and cargo industry is extremely vulnerable to the threat of terrorism.

The explosive devices used in these attacks were not expertly concealed and should not have been difficult to identify, especially by an experienced x-ray screener. The bomb maker used books to conceal the IEDs which under x-ray are simple and clear and therefore do not provide the necessary complex or dense shield that can provide effective concealment. It is therefore worrying that two of these types of devices were able to make it through security checks, onto aircraft and all the way to the German Chancellery’s office and Bologna Airport.

Know the Threat with Infogence

Although they proved unsuccessful, these attacks, together with the recent discovery of IEDs concealed within printer toner cartridges on Cargo planes, provide another reminder that terrorists are extremely imaginative when it comes to the concealment of explosive devices.

Infogence offers a range of tailor made monthly terrorism intelligence reports each providing valid, up to date and relevant information, analysis and videos on terrorist activities throughout the world. They provide the type of information that is invaluable to screeners; opening their eyes to the possibilities of the different types of threats, concealments and methods of delivery that terrorists have used and are currently experimenting with.

For example, in December 2009, Infogence’s Insight Report uncovered a similar concealment of 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.

Actionable Intelligence

The intelligence gained from an Infogence report can be tailor made to meet the needs of any organisation. They contain a variety of information that can be used immediately to update and improve security structures, update training plans and increase awareness. These include:

  • trends in terrorist explosive manufacturing including chemical explosives, incendiary devices, powder explosives, liquid explosives, plastic explosives, improvised explosive devices, etc…
  • trends in concealed explosive devices and concealed weapons
  • detailed analysis of recent terrorist attacks throughout the world including bombings, assassinations, hijackings, recent failed terror plots
  • terrorist training manuals

For more information on Infogence Systems’ range of actionable terrorism reports and to get a free trial, contact Renful on 0208 457 9111 or email us at info@renful.co.uk

Detect the Threat with Inert, Simulant Explosives

Renful also provide a range of inert, simulant explosive training aids that provide great non-hazardous tools that can be used to teach security screeners how explosives and IEDs look like visually and under xray. These inert explosives are available as individual simulants, in training kits or as replica IEDs that can be concealed within other innocent items.

All inert, simulant explosives are visually, texturally and CT correct. This means that when placed within an x-ray or CT machine, they will produce the same exact image the real explosive or IED would produce.

This makes these inert training aids perfect for familiarising security screeners with all the different types of explosives they may require to detect as well as test their detection skills through covert testing.

For more information on our Inert, Simulant Explosives, please visit our dedicated website: http://www.simulants.co.uk

Effective Explosives Detection Training Using Simulants

The Need for Better Explosives Detection Training

X-ray screeners and other key security staff are required to detect items such as explosives, Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), weapons, drugs and other threat items. However, many security screeners will have little or no experience or exposure to these types of items due to their lack of availability.

Security screeners may be able to identify guns and perhaps grenades as they have little variation in their geometrical shapes and are easily recognisable. However, explosives, explosive devices, their components and drugs are a lot harder to detect given that they are generally moulded into different shapes in order for them to be concealed in other items thus never maintaining a fixed geometrical pattern.

For explosive screening to be successful operators must understand the concealment potential of items and have the interpretation skills to identify them both with and without concealed explosives. Unfortunately a survey carried out in Airports using the Simfox x-ray training simulator has found that detection of concealed IED, without the adequate training, can drop as low as 12%.

Current Explosives Detection Training

Much of the explosives familiarisation & detection training around the world is carried out sporadically using pictures and real explosives. Showing pictures of explosives is ineffectual as it only provides limited visual training and does not hold the attention of security personnel.

Using real explosives would be ideal, however obtaining and transporting them is extremely difficult, dangerous and inadvisable and therefore cannot be used to provide a regular and effective training plan.

This means that security check point personnel are often forced to rely on limited knowledge and experience to detect items that could cause widespread devastation.

Renful’s Explosives Detection Training Product Suite

Renful has therefore developed an integrated product suite designed to provide security trainers with the tools needed to develop an explosive detection training plan that covers the key factors needed to increase screener x-ray interpretation and detection skills; familiarisation of threat functionality, geometrical patterns and concealment potential.

These are:

  1. Educational Kits
  2. Inert Explosives & Components
  3. Drill Library
  4. Drill Library +

a) Educational Kits

Renful Premier Technologies has developed a range of educational kits that are designed to teach security operatives about the texture, weight and geometrical pattern of different threat items and their components.

Each training kit has been developed to provide familiarisation training on different aspects of explosives, explosive devices, their components and drugs. Each kit contains detailed educational material and his held in a hard briefcase for safe keeping and ease of transport.

b) Inert Explosives and Components

Renful has developed a range of state of the art simulant explosives, explosive device components and drugs for the use in threat detection training and testing, machine testing and the self preparation of concealed IEDs.

As these simulants maintain the correct texture, colour and geometrical pattern of real explosives they are ideal for use in visual familiarisation and hand search training.

As Renful’s inert explosives are made from CT correct materials they retain the correct x-ray signature and can therefore be used by many organisations around the world for the calibration & testing of explosive detection technology like trace detectors and x-ray machines.

These inert explosives and components also allow for the self preparation of drill items by security trainers to control the complexity of the testing object given to their employees.

c) Drill Library

Renful professionals build a simulated IED or other threat item all made from CT correct densities and conceal them in innocent objects. This makes these drill items ideal for both visual familiarisation training, hand search training and x-ray threat detection training and testing.

d) Drill Library +

While all drill items created by Renful are built following consultation from weapon and explosives experts, they cannot be validated. Validation refers to the likelihood that such an item will be used by a terrorist organisation.

Drill Library + offers concealed weapons and IEDs that have been validated by intelligence gathered by Infogence Terrorism Reports.

Infogence Systems (a Renful Company) infiltrates extremist websites and gathers intelligence on terrorist bomb manufacturing activities. Renful’s explosives experts are then able to create drill items based on the recipes and instructions gathered.

For more information or to obtain our free Explosives Training Product Catalogue contact Renful at info@renful.co.uk or via our website

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