Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Global, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
April 21, 2021

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Foiled plot to blow up Amazon data centre highlights growing threat level towards facilities

In early April a man from Texas was charged with planning to blow up an Amazon data Centre in Virginia, highlighting the growing security risks to similar facilities across the globe.

DataCentre-21Seth Aaron Pendley was taken into custody having been investigated by an FBI undercover employee, reported NBC News. After alarming statements were made by Pendley on internet forums, the undercover agent uncovered that he was planning to use plastic explosives to attack Amazon’s data centres, which could “kill about 70% of the internet”.

While such extreme threats may be an outlier, it does highlight the growing threat towards data centres, which are becoming an increasingly vital part of critical infrastructure.

Data centres are essentially where the cloud lives, where a significant amount of the world’s data – both business and personal – is stored. They often include backup components in case of a system failure and various security devices. With so much of business and personal data now stored on the cloud, opportunists may view these as a chance to cause major damage to the economy and business operations.

High level physical and cyber security measures, therefore, have never been more important – both within the buildings themselves and on the perimeter.

Adam Savage, Marketing and Sales Director of Barkers Fencing, part of HS Security, comments: “This story is a stark reminder of the very real threats that data centres face. Real emphasis is put on cyber security and the technology to ensure data is secure virtually. However physical attacks can be a lot less technical but still cause data breaches, downtime and reputation damage.

“Physical attacks can also put people at risk. If this attack had happened and this data centre wasn’t properly protected, this individual could have not only ‘taken down… the internet’ but he would of also harmed people and caused unthinkable damage.

“Whilst this was an attack on a data centre, it also highlights the general threat that still exists from domestic and international terrorists. International lockdowns have provided a respite from terrorism, as people have not been meeting in crowded places, but the threat is still real.”

 

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