Airports, power plants, and data centres house mission-critical assets essential to everyday life. Without adequate physical security, these operations are at risk of intrusion and sabotage. The shutdown of any one of these critical infrastructure facilities would affect hundreds of thousands of people.

Securing these entities from a physical breach starts by protecting the perimeter. While critical infrastructure sites pose their challenges for perimeter intrusion detection systems, new technologies, and solution integrations are addressing these pain points and enabling better detection, deterrence, and real-time response in the case of a threat.

Trending technologies amplifying perimeter security

Here are six trending technologies amplifying perimeter security for critical infrastructure:

  • First-class thermal cameras - FLIR thermal cameras continue to remain the industry standard for 24-hour perimeter monitoring and are seeing strong adoption throughout the critical infrastructure sector. Greater thermal resolution, longer detection ranges, sophisticated edge analytics, and ONVIF compliance continue to distinguish premium choice FLIR thermal cameras from low-end options.
  • Radiometric thermal cameras for business intelligence - Thanks to the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies, critical infrastructure customers are looking for a return on investment beyond the traditional functionality of their security cameras. Electrical substations, for example, are deploying thermal cameras for intrusion detection and predictive maintenance. These sites are installing radiometric thermal cameras, integrated with temperature trending software, to identify issues with assets before a component malfunctions, overheats, or fails. Being able to prevent even one electrical fire can save the customer thousands if not millions of dollars in damages, liabilities, and insurance claims, well worth the cost of the solution.
  • Radar for redundancy - Critical infrastructure facilities are deploying radar solutions to expand coverage beyond the fence line. Providing continuous coverage, a radar conducts a full 360-degree scan of a property every one to two seconds. Radio waves are undeterred by rain, fog, or other adverse weather conditions that hinder standard surveillance cameras, making them an ideal solution for rugged environments. Users are also increasingly pairing radar with thermal cameras to ensure redundancy and reduce false positives. If both the radar and thermal camera are alerted to the same event, remote operators can see it is likely a true alarm.
  • Cyber-hardened features - Because network cameras and sensors are now standard for enterprise-class deployments, the need for perimeter security has extended beyond physical security to edge devices. In this digital age, it is imperative that cybersecurity precautions are put in place to safeguard the network and devices from cyber breaches. FLIR has focused its research and development in cybersecurity. Today, all new lines of FLIR cameras are built with cyber-hardened features. Standard cybersecure protocols for FLIR cameras include running penetration tests, eliminating backdoor accounts, removing default passwords, and enforcing end-to-end encryption through secured TLS connections.
  • 4K and UHD video - While thermal and radar sensors improve detection, other devices are needed for threat assessment and identification. The emergence of HD, Ultra HD, and 4K cameras offers end users a heightened level of detail, optimal for evidence capture and investigation procedures. Critical infrastructure customers are beginning to upgrade their visible cameras for higher resolution models, and for this reason, are opting for the latest FLIR Quasar and Ariel cameras. These cameras are attractive options, as they offer low predictable bit rate, improved wide dynamic range, and enhanced image stabilisation features that enable crisp video quality, ideal for video analytics and suspect identification.
  • Drones - For critical infrastructure sites like oil and gas refineries, dispatching security personnel to respond to an intrusion alert isn’t always easy, as these sites are often either remote or difficult to access. In order to improve response times, critical infrastructure sites are integrating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, with their overall security system. Upon a verified alarm, the drone is dispatched to the area of interest to provide additional surveillance. By equipping a drone with both an optical and thermal payload, operators can quickly get eyes and ears on the scene to assess the threat.
Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

What is the role of higher education to create next-gen security leaders?
What is the role of higher education to create next-gen security leaders?

Traditionally, security industry professionals have often come from backgrounds in law enforcement or the military. However, the industry is changing, and today’s security professionals can benefit from a variety of backgrounds and educational disciplines. The industry’s emphasis on technology solutions suggests a need for more students of computer science, engineering and other technology fields. The closer integration of security with related disciplines within the enterprise suggests a need to prepare through a broad array of educational pursuits. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the role of higher education to create the next generation of physical security leaders?

Transport security: utilising the cloud to manage passenger flow and improve health & safety
Transport security: utilising the cloud to manage passenger flow and improve health & safety

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the safety of passengers and staff aboard public transport has been an ongoing concern. The scenes of underground trains, still packed with commuters as infection rates soared, will have raised alarm bells with bus and train managers, transport officials and government representatives alike. Now, as infection rates hold steady and people slowly return to the workplace, a rise in commuter levels, coupled with a need for strong infection control protocols, is putting a strain on an already overburdened transport system. Managing passenger flow through bus terminals and train stations, while ensuring adherence to social distancing and mask-wearing policies, can be a difficult task. On buses and trains, staff have the unenviable task of challenging any individual who flouts the rules, while attempting to maintain safe operation for the benefit of all passengers. This is where advances in digital surveillance technologies can play an important role in enhancing security, improving operations and supporting the customer facing teams in their day to day roles.  The power of the cloud Keeping businesses afloat and people connected throughout the pandemicCloud or hosted technology has played an important part in keeping businesses afloat and people connected throughout the pandemic. When it comes to physical security such as video surveillance and access control, today’s cloud-enabled systems are far removed from the outdated CCTV and manual access control technologies employed in the past. Cloud connectivity brings with it many benefits, from a security, operational and also business intelligence point of view, thanks to the powerful data that these solutions produce which can be used to inform decision making. The advantages of cloud-based physical security technologies are many, and have wide ranging applications for all areas of the transport sector; across stations, transport hubs and vehicles. When used to support staff and complement existing processes, such systems can prove invaluable for transport professionals in helping to create a safer working environment, promoting confidence among personnel and passengers, and assuring passengers who are fearful about the current pandemic that all possible precautions are being taken during their journey. Managing occupancy across bus and rail Monitoring the movement of staff and passengers is an essential part of being able to maintain a safe operation. Through the utilisation of surveillance cameras at entrances and exit points, as well as at key areas within transport terminals and on the transport mode itself, occupancy thresholds can be determined to ensure passenger numbers do not exceed safe limits. Network surveillance cameras, accessed via mobile device, can enable transport officials to check passenger flow in real-time, while live alerts to warn that health and safety protocols are being breached, enable swift drafting of security or operations personnel to address the situation. Live alerts to warn that health and safety protocols are being breached Through internet of things (IoT) connectivity, additional devices can be easily added to complement the surveillance solution and unlock further benefits. Network audio speakers can be triggered to play pre-recorded messages to alert or inform passengers. Similarly, frictionless access control, enabling customers and staff to move ‘hands-free’ through gateways and ticket checkpoints to avoid viral spread, is made possible by having an access reader which is activated, for example, via QR codes on a mobile phone. And when access readers are integrated with surveillance cameras, this will act as a second layer of authentication to grant or refuse access based on valid staff credentials. Improving security in challenging times Such technologies, interconnected and able to share data, can be used to more effectively report in real time on activity that threatens to have an adverse effect on passengers, staff and the transport environment. Significant parts of the rail network are relatively unmonitored, and inevitably these areas are more vulnerable to vandalism. Similarly, on bus services, abuse of passengers and staff, and acts of criminal behaviour remain a concern. By alerting security staff to a developing situation before it occurs, an incident can be dealt with quickly, minimising disruption to transport services. Cloud based technology can be relied on Cloud based technology can be relied on to not only help improve current services, around passenger occupancy in the current pandemic, but also to help transport officials plan for the security challenges of the future. Simple customisation and easy scalability, plus software upgrades and firmware updates to ensure the system is always up to date and operational, form essential components of a future proof solution which is capable of bringing peace of mind to the transport industry. Additionally, predicted future benefits include the potential for customers to check transport occupancy levels via a mobile app. This would inform them of particularly busy times of passenger transit, allowing more choice over when and where to travel based on real-time data, and ultimately helping to even out passenger numbers to balance journeys and greatly improve efficiency and flow. In a busy world where the demands on our rail and bus networks are now impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and indeed the possibility for further related challenges in the future, such cloud-connected technologies represent a worthwhile investment.

In a cybersecurity 'wild west', look for the sheriffs!
In a cybersecurity 'wild west', look for the sheriffs!

As the media often reports, the world of cybersecurity can be seen like the ‘Wild West’. There’s now a wide range of Internet of Things (IoT) devices connected to the web, making this a hot topic. Among these devices are security cameras. IoT devices are computers that use software that makes them vulnerable. As the famous cybersecurity evangelist Mikko Hypponen says, "If a device is smart, it's vulnerable!" Hypponen is right. On a daily basis, new vulnerabilities are found in software, regardless of the manufacturer. In 2019, more than 12,000 vulnerabilities worldwide were made public and reported as a CVE (Common Vulnerability and Exposure) in the National Vulnerability Database (NVD). Unfortunately, vulnerabilities are a given. What really matters is how a company deals with and resolves vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity vulnerabilities Awareness of cybersecurity vulnerabilities is vitally important Awareness of cybersecurity vulnerabilities is vitally important to protect you, your business and the Internet, but it’s also important to understand that a vulnerability is not synonymous with “backdoor”, and is not necessarily indicative of “cheap quality.” But there are companies out there that are embedding safeguards into their development processes to reduce the risks. You could see them as ‘Sheriffs’, taking steps to make this Wild West a little safer.   Why Hikvision chooses ‘Secure-by-Design’ Security cameras, like all other IoT devices, are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Fortunately, manufacturers of IoT devices can significantly reduce these vulnerabilities during the production of devices, using a process called ‘Secure-by-Design’. Implementation of Secure-by-Design requires a commitment on the part of the manufacturer’s management team and a serious investment in resources and technology, which can result in a longer production process and a higher cost of the IoT device. Cost is often the reason why some IoT device manufacturers do not use Secure-by-Design (and are indeed cheaper).  Hikvision is a producer of IoT devices that takes security and privacy very seriously and has implemented Secure-by-Design in its production process. Management supports this process and has even set up a dedicated internal cybersecurity structure charged with product cybersecurity. This group is also the central point of contact for all other cybersecurity matters. The Hikvision Security Development Life Cycle (HSDLC) is an essential part of Hikvision's cybersecurity program. Cybersecurity checks take place at every stage of product development — from concept to delivery. Cybersecurity checks take place at every stage of product development For example, product testing takes place during the verification phase, the company also regularly invites well-known security companies and public testing platforms to conduct penetrating testing. Does this mean that all Hikvision products are immune to hacking? No, that guarantee cannot be given, but the HSDLC is a testament to a manufacturer that makes every effort to produce products that are as cyber secure as possible.  Source code transparcency centre In addition to the Secure-by-Design process, Hikvision opened a Source Code Transparency Center (SCTC) lab in California in 2018, being the industry’s first-of-its-kind lab to open such a centre. At this centre, U.S., Canadian government and law enforcement agencies can view and evaluate the source code of Hikvision IoT devices (IP cameras and network video recorders). It’s important to emphasise that no product is 100 percent secure. Hikvision has a Vulnerability Management Program in place when a vulnerability is discovered in a product. To date, vulnerabilities that have been reported to Hikvision and/or made publicly known, have been patched in the latest Hikvision firmware, and are readily available on the Hikvision website. In addition, Hikvision is a CVE CNA, and has committed to continuing to work with third-party white-hat hackers and security researchers, to find, patch and publicly release updates to products in a timely manner. These vulnerabilities are collected in the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) and are public. Hikvision recommends that customers who are interested in purchasing security cameras inquire about a manufacturer’s cybersecurity practices and if they have an established Vulnerability Management Program.    Cybersecurity questions to consider  The cybersecurity of IoT devices is a topic that needs to be addressed in a serious way and it should play an essential role in the product development process, beginning at the concept phase of an IoT product. This requires time, investment and knowledge.  Consider the following questions: Do I trust the manufacturer of a low-cost security camera? Does this manufacturer have a dedicated cybersecurity organisation? How does this manufacturer handle vulnerabilities?   These are the questions that everyone should ask themselves when making a purchase, be it a camera or any other IoT product.  There is no absolute 100% guarantee of security, but Hikvision has industry-leading practices to ensure the cybersecurity for its cameras. Cooperation, with its customers, installers, distributers and partners, and full transparency are key elements to successfully secure IoT devices. When you read cybersecurity news, we invite you to look beyond the headlines, and really get to know the companies that produce the IoT devices. Before you buy a security camera or any IoT device, check out the manufacturer’s cybersecurity practices, look for a company with a robust vulnerability management program, a company that aligns itself with Secure-by-Design and Privacy-by-Design and a company that employs cybersecurity professionals who are ready and eager to answer your questions. Remember, there are Sheriffs out there, as well as bandits.