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Nuclear Safeguards Education Portal

Upgrade Analysis for Insider Scenarios

The activity we just completed demonstrates how insider collusion can significantly decrease the effectiveness of a physical protection system in guarding against an attack from an outsider.

So how can we upgrade the PPS to improve our probability of interruption for this insider collusion scenario?

The standard answer to the question of improving system effectiveness would be to improve detection up to the CDP or to add more delay elements, which would move the CDP back closer to the target.  

However, insiders may be able to bypass detection through knowledge of the security system in place.  They may be authorized access past many delay barriers or have knowledge that gives them the ability to defeat these elements.

In the case of an insider, we need to consider how a person with access, authority, and knowledge might work to disable those protection elements as well.  Because of this, upgrade analysis for insider scenarios may be more focused on increasing the capability to detect tampering with sensors or protection, events that take place before the actual attack. 

Therefore, the acquisition of tools, access, or knowledge by the insider should also be considered as an action in the scenario.  In the example scenario from the activity, detection can occur before an insider disables the locks on doors at the facility, or during the act.  This effectively adds tasks, and associated opportunities for detection and delay, to the scenario timeline.

In evaluating the PPS, we can increase the probability of detecting the insider's actions, for example, by installing covert sensors known only to select employees at the facility. The new probability of detection at these locations would be a combination of the existing and the covert sensors. We can also take steps to make delay elements more difficult to defeat by a single insider.

It's not just about the equipment

While these upgrades to the PPS are helpful in detecting the more visible actions of insiders, insider protection usually relies more heavily on non-technical means of detection. It also relies on the preventative layers in place at the facility, including its human reliability program, that work to stop malicious insiders from gaining access, authority, and knowledge in the first place.

In the next section, we will cover the preventative and protective measures that comprise the system approach to countering insider attacks.


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