From the Editor’s Desk: February 2015

It’s been a rather unpleasant beginning for 2015. On the 7th of January, two armed Islamic terrorists belonging to Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly ‘Charlie Hebdo’ in Paris. They sprayed those present with bullets fired from assault rifles and killed 11 people instantly, and injured 11 others. Several more attacks took place at related shootings that followed in France after the Charlie Hebdo shooting, where five others were killed and another eleven wounded, also by Islamic terrorists. This shook Paris, Europe and in fact caught the attention of the entire world! One wonders, when this bloody conflict will end, if ever.

While acts of terrorism continue to surface time and again, in different regions of the world, a newer emerging threat of cyber war is gaining ominous proportions keeping the homeland security cyber soldiers as well as the corporate security heads on their toes, as they are constantly challenged to protect critical information assets. A good part of our cover story this month covers this aspect. And items such as a $10 gadget crafted by a security researcher that looks like a USB wall charger, but is actually a ‘key-logger’ that targets Microsoft wireless keyboards by secretly monitoring any of the wireless keyboards within range and has the ability to sniff, decrypt, log and report all keystrokes, do not make their job easier!

An interesting incident, that caught my attention recently, was the use of a drone for recording a marriage ceremony that I attended last month. Last year, a Mumbai based Pizza outlet delivered food to a consumer using a drone that created waves as the event’s YouTube video went viral, catching the attention of the authorities in India, which later the banned their civilian use. The videographer at the wedding was oblivious of the fact that the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) has banned the use of drones for civilian purposes, till it sets further, specific, rules for their use. The DGCA is the government body which sets rules regarding the use of Indian airspace by civilian aircraft. Presently all UAV flying can only be done with permission from the DGCA and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). This has been done since all the official UAV flying has been by the military and government agencies. Integrating UAVs into civilian air space is a challenging job. Just imagine, if lakhs of them, without any form of collision avoidance apparatus, and flown/controlled by inexperienced and/or unlicensed people, were to crowd the airspace above our cities! There could be utter chaos and much damage and destruction.

The technology has vast potential for use in many areas such as life safety, disaster management, law and order, among others, and it is here to stay. We have seen the use of UAVs with CCTV cameras mounted on them beaming down images to control traffic and riots by Indian police forces such as the Delhi, Mumbai and the UP Police. The sooner the rules for UAV usage get framed and notified, the better.

After a decade of publishing SECURITY TODAY, as indicated last month, we have been honoured by stalwarts from India and abroad who have consented to advise and guide our editorial team with their strategic inputs on how to take the publication to the next level. With security getting to be an increasingly challenging task, we are humbled by their support and are extremely grateful to them and to Mr. GK Pillai in particular, to have agreed to write for us and to guide us. SECURITY TODAY stands committed to contribute towards the professional development of the private security industry in India.

Till we see you next month, cheers and happy reading.


G B Singh

Follow me on @EditorGB
Connect with me on Linkedin