Three-Tier Terror Response System

The system aids in reducing response time during terror attacks.

Sanjay Chavan July 14, 2011 12:48:40 IST
Three-Tier Terror Response System

To take care of security using technology, a 3-tier system is proposed as follows:

1) Early warning system (EWS)
2) Identification friend or foe System (IFF)
3) Execution force or task force

Early Warning System (EWS)

The EWS gives the alarm to the NOC (Network Operations Centre), if there is something wrong with the remote vehicle (ship/plane/etc). To have this alarm a device needs to be present on the remote vehicle, which will be able to communicate with the NOC over a Wide Area Network (WAN). The WAN in the uncontrolled environment can be only a wireless network. This could be satellite or Radar/Sonar.

If it is a satellite network, then every remote vehicle needs to have a device, which can transmit a signal to the satellite that in turn is received by the NOC. The device keeps sending constant data about the GPS co-ordinates of the remote vehicle to the NOC. Thus NOC is able to keep track of each device. These devices are pre-recorded in the NOC database by a registration process. The details of the device are fed into the NOC database when it is delivered to the remote vehicle. The device delivery should be treated as a licence for each remote vehicle and the delivery process has to be stringent. The database for each device should be associated with the contact details and the approval authority.

The device has to be battery/solar/electricity operated and should not have a switch-off button. Thus, whenever the device is delivered to the remote vehicle it should be with the instruction that it is not to be switched off. This device also sends its identification number (which is unique) to the NOC through the WAN network. Today most ships have satellite communicating devices installed on them mainly for voice and forecast communications. However, this is costly so the ships that cannot afford these systems can have hand gazettes installed.

The identification data should always match with the database registered in the NOC. Any unmatched data should generate an alarm. The alarm generation can also be done by pressing a button on the device that will trigger a particular code to the NOC. At NOC, the monitoring devices are needed to have the database of all the devices, which have been imparted to each remote vehicle.

The software application handles the mapping of the device identification number with one particular remote only. All the devices that have been delivered should be available on these displays. The routing of each device can be fixed to a particular display. This will help to keep a track about which display has to show the track of which remote vehicle. Absence of any particular device from display should generate a particular type of alarm.

Thus, on the basis of database the NOC will be able to identify which remote vehicle is missing and begin with further enquiry. The same logic applies in case of any ‘danger alarm’. Once the alarm is received from any of the remote vehicle then the NOC compares the database and is in a position to decide the action plan about routing of the information to the respective task force.

The NOC needs to be operational 24x7 to monitor all the devices/ remote movement. With this principle applied to the incidence of the recent militant attack, the signal could have been received by ‘Amar Tandel’ in time when the ship started from Porbandar and security agencies could have got time for planning the strategy.

Instead of satellite, if the RADAR/SONAR system is used for ‘early warning network’, then the static ships are needed to be anchored in the sea at boundaries whose radar coverage overlaps each other. This detects any object if arriving to the boundary. The SONAR also helps detection inside the water like submarines. However, this is an expensive proposition in case more number of ships need to be anchored. But this is also a foolproof design.

Identification Friend or Foe (IFF)

The IFF stands for 'identification friend or foe'. On receipt of alarm, the NOC is designed to send a particular code that can be decoded only by device located on the remote generating the alarm. This code will be received by that particular device and by not any other device. On the receipt of the code, the device on the remote sends back the answer (again in the form of code), which has a certain convention, mapped in the NOC database.

Thus, the NOC system is able to declare whether the alarm that has been sent is through whom and whether it is a code for friend or foe. The code convention needs to be fixed for this. For further verification, the NOC should be able to establish a voice communication with remote. The IFF communication will have certain convention and based on the results, the NOC will be able to gather more information about the remote vehicle. In short the IFF system is a confirmation of the 'early warning system'.

Execution Force/ Task Force

The last leg is the execution/ task force composed of different agencies like police/coastal guard/etc in the country. The NOC is always connected with all these agencies on various communication links. Because this network is in controlled environment, one can use voice links, fibre links from various service providers or even a network like Doordarshan can be converted for this kind of network to be established. The last leg (agencies) uses the information flow from NOC and decides on its further strategies about the action plan. The action plan made on the basis of information will definitely lead to good control.

Or at times the provision can be provided that in case of ‘danger alarm’ the message can be broadcasted to all remote vehicles so that the nearby remote can immediately send help to another remote vehicle that is in danger.

The NOC infrastructure:

1) Networking components with redundancy wherein various communication links are terminated
2) Database servers, application servers
3) Monitoring devices
4) Analyser equipments that will help to analyse the data by using the system and not using manual interventions.

The Encryption requirement at different layers:

1) Secured communication links at the physical layer
2) Encryption at data link as well as network layer. This can be achieved by using advanced network protocols, which are nonhackable but have the interoperability with existing networking protocols too
3) Link and protocol selection should be scalable easily
4) Application layer encryption, which is basically the software level encryption.
5) Data back-up systems
6) Data replication system

Layer-wise encryption helps as a standby to each other in case if one of them is hacked. The most important is the need for a ‘disaster recovery site’ and smooth handover should be possible in case of any disaster at the primary NOC.

Chavan is CTO, UFO Moviez.

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