Archive for November, 2012

Future Headline: Security Robot Foils Heist

Yes, it is a future headline, but not that far in the future. Security robots are ready to deploy into art galleries, office buildings, and warehouses like the one operated by Cargo Air Services at JFK airport in New York. This was a warehouse just like thousands of other airport warehouses around the country, and these warehouses are storing literally billions of dollars worth of material.

Site of the November 12, 2012 iPad theft

Site of the November 12, 2012 iPad theft

The theft took place shortly before midnight on Monday, 12 November, 2012.  The warehouse was entered, and two pallets of new iPad Mini Tablets were loaded by forklift onto a waiting tractor-trailer rig. The theft appears to have been organized by an airport worker, who also acted as the ‘look-out’. The thieves got away with 3600 iPads, valued at 1.9 million dollars.  It could have been a bigger heist, the plan was to load three additional pallets of tablets, which would have brought the total value of the haul up to $4.7 million.

The heist was interrupted by some airport workers who, returning from their dinner break, encountered the robbers and challenged them. At this point the robbers fled with the loot that already had been loaded onto the truck.

The alleged heist organizer  was brought to police attention because he had apparently been asking his co-workers about the delivery schedule and about access to a forklift.

So, what does this have to do with robots?

If this warehouse had been protected by security robots, the heist would have come out very differently.  The thieves took advantage of the dinner break, picking a time when the warehouse would be empty, but robots do not take dinner breaks – so the warehouse would not have been unprotected. While the robot is on duty every moment of it’s shift is recorded. Detailed records of what the security robot ‘sees’ are logged off site. There would have been video images of the alleged perpetrators to review, and the robot would have raised an alarm as soon as it detected the movement of the thieves, as well as the forklift. (Not to mention it would have detected the heat of the forklift engine, and possibly the exhaust gasses.)  All of these activities would have generated alarms in the monitoring center, and airport security would have been dispatched to catch the gang in the act.

Mobile robot patrolling garage

The Vigilus Mobile Camera Platform Robot on patrol in a warehouse in Denver, CO. The security robot is manufactured by Vigilant Robots.

Of course, the thieves might have been sophisticated enough to attempt to disable the robot, either electronically, or by physical violence. In the case of violence, the robot would have gone down, but all the way to the floor it would have generated alarms, and made reports, so, again, airport security would have been dispatched. In the case of electronic disabling, the robot would have logged exactly when and by whom it was disabled, requiring the gang to have compromised a security officer in the command center to make the theft possible.

So, all in all, had the robot been at work we would have seen a very different outcome:

  1. The theft might not have even been planned, since the inside man would know that the security robot would be on duty.
  2. The attempt to disable the security robot before the robbery would have raised alarms before the theft could even begin.
  3. The security robot might have generated alarms at the start of the robbery, not after two pallets had already been loaded on to the get-away vehicle.
  4. The security robot would have provided high definition video of the thieves, so that today, almost a week after the robbery, we would know where the iPads were, and who was responsible.
  5. There would have been headlines across the country proclaiming:  “Security Robot Foils Heist!”

And, of course, it is not just warehouses that would be safer. Recall the Rotterdam art gallery theft a few weeks back. Hundreds of millions of dollars in artwork stolen, with nary a security guard in sight. They also should have had a security robot.

Where is your robot? Ours are being made right here in Colorado, by Vigilant Robots.


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Robots Guard the Cloud

“The cloud” calls up images of ethereal, nebulous data that is just out there, somewhere; but every byte in the cloud exists on a hard drive, in a data center, and physical objects require physical security, twenty-first century security.

Inside a data center

Up to 28% of data center breaches involve physical access. Does this person belong here?

You can drive past a data center and not even know it is there. It might be a warehouse-looking building set back from a two lane highway, or an old factory in an industrial part of town still showing a faded sign for “hand crafted furniture”. But inside that building is a part of the cloud. Gigabytes of data flowing in and out every second, petabytes of data on servers in secured computer rooms behind layers of access controlled doors. And part of that layered defense system inside that building may be security robots.

By some estimates there are upwards of 45,000 large to medium size data centers scattered around the US, providing the core of the cloud. And every week we hear about another compromised data system. In the last month, the State of South Carolina, Twitter, and Facebook have been breached. While these attacks involved electronic access, it is reported that 14% to 28% of the data breaches result from physical access to the data center. That is why the cloud needs twenty-first century robotic security.

A robot on patrol

Security robots cannot be ‘socially engineered’

The security job is often a  lonely job, with boring “make work” tasks included to fill the time. People are not at their best doing lonely, deadly dull tasks. We get bored, we get inattentive, and we can be exploited. Of the physical access breaches, about 25% involve some form of social engineering attack, preying on that very human boredom. That is why your cloud data, your critical business information, your modern life needs to be protected by security robots. Security robots never get bored. Security robots cannot be blackmailed, extorted, or tricked into giving unauthorized people access to the computer room. The robots will check every location, every time, time after time – no matter how dull the task is. They also patrol the space and check for over-heating equipment, excess humidity, and other environmental problems – and report these to the humans on duty accurately and consistently.

The cloud operates 24/7 with high reliability and must meet the highest standards of access control and security. It must handle routine transactions as diligently as the life critical transactions. It needs physical security that meets those same high standards. The cloud needs security that is always focused, always alert, always vigilant.

Where is your robot? Ours are being manufactured in Colorado, and sold by Vigilant Robots

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