[ISN] MI5 security advice goes online

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Mon May 3 03:26:26 EDT 2004


Friday, 30 April, 2004

The security service MI5 has published its terrorist threat assessment
and safety advice for the first time.

The details, available to the public on a new website, were previously
given only to a few organisations.

But MI5 director general Eliza Manningham-Buller said it was important
to help more people - especially businesses - protect themselves.

The current assessment is that "the threat from international
terrorism remains real and serious".

The warning comes as the US released figures which suggest terrorist
attacks are at an international 30-year low.

MI5 says the main terrorist danger to the UK and to British interests
overseas comes from al-Qaeda and associated groups.

"Osama bin Laden has in several statements publicly named Britain and
British interests as a target, and encouraged attacks to be carried
out against them," it says.

Al-Qaeda cells and supporters of affiliated groups are known to be
active in the UK, MI5 confirms on the site.

It also publishes a top 10 list of safety tips for businesses and
other organisations.

Bomb blast net curtains

These include advice to carry out risk assessments, look at
mail-handling procedures, and check that staff are who they say they

Another section advises organisations on protection against flying

Experts recommend applying transparent polyester anti-shatter film
(ASF) to glass, to reduce fragments and splinters.

Timber-framed Georgian-style windows should also have bomb blast net
curtains, says MI5.

For new buildings blast resistant laminated glass or secondary glazing
should be included in the design.

The new site also lists the methods of attack most likely to be used
by international terrorists, with bombings most common for al-Qaeda.

Shootings, abductions and kidnappings have also been used and although
no such attacks have yet been unleashed on the UK "al-Qaeda may seek
to use chemical, biological or radiological material against the
West," said MI5.

Businesses are urged to protect information as terrorists are likely
to try to get access to details that would be useful to them, by
infiltrating organisations or getting help from an "insider".

Two sections of the website have been translated into Arabic to "build
on the co-operation of the Muslim community" said the security

'Long overdue'

Additional languages will be added later.

Ms Manningham-Buller said MI5 wanted to share some of its information
about the threats.

"For the most part details of our operations must and should remain
secret," she said in a statement published on the website.

"But stopping terrorists is only one part of our collective defences
against terrorism.

"Another part of our work is to use the knowledge we have about these
organisations to provide sensible and practical advice on how best to
protect yourself against these threats."

Dr James Hart, commissioner of police for the City of London, said the
website would be "an enormous advantage" to the counter-terrorism

Conservative homeland security spokesman Patrick Mercer welcomed the
website, but said it was long overdue.

MI5 also lists Northern-Ireland related terrorism, espionage and the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as continuing threats to
the UK.



1. Carry out a risk assessment and seek police advice 

2. For new premises plan security from the outset 

3. Make security awareness part of the culture 

4. Keep gardens free from dense shrubbery 

5. Make sure access points are kept to a minimum 

6. Locks on windows and doors, CCTV, alarms, lighting 

7. Set up mailroom away from main premises and train staff 

8. Ensure new recruits are who they say they are 

9. Use reputable IT people to help protect your information 

10. Plan how you will function if something happens 

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