Are physical threats to the data conduit a major concern?

Are physical threats to the data conduit, such as fiber-tapping and sabotage, a serious issue?

I believe that we must always take care and be concerned about Protected Distributed Systems. This revolves around the area of eavesdropping, identify theft and corporate espionage. The government, in particular the Army Corps of Engineers, develop a good deal of the physical security specifications which the private sector uses today.

Regarding fiber optic cables, what you can protect is limited to your property line. Protecting what crosses on to your property line is relatively easy. Being comfortable with how those cables are protected once it leaves your property is a different ball game. I think the prudent approach is to ask the questions.

Ask questions of your service providers, of your telecomm vendors and providers in order to ensure they are taking precautions to protect your fiber, and other cable, from this very type of threat. What steps are they taking? What standards are they adhering to in order to ensure your cable is protected?

Government standards will usually drive private sector standards, especially if a private sector company is one that is regulated or has global market implications should such an event occur.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thor A. Mollung, CHSII, Managing Director, Security Consultant, has over 20 years of experience in the industrial security industry with companies such as Fidelity Investments, Mellon Bank and State Street Corporation. Mollung is a member in good standing of the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS-International), the National Fire Protection Association International (NFPAI), and the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute.

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