World’s biggest perimeter security firm gets bigger

With critical infrastructure attacks topping 500 annually worldwide, there’s more business than ever for Magal

A Magal security system around a sensitive infrastructure installation (Photo credit: Courtesy)
A Magal security system around a sensitive infrastructure installation (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Magal Security Systems has sold several new homeland security protection systems, amounting to more than $4 million, for contracts in Israel, Southeast Asia, and the US, the company announced last week. One of the contracts, amounting to almost $2 million, is for a dual technology smart fence, made up of taut wire and vibration sensors, for a homeland security application in a central Israeli city.

It’s all in a day’s work for Magal, which has been in the homeland security business for over four decades, before the subject was even on the national radar of most countries. Since 1965, Magal has been providing solutions for cities, airports, border areas, electrical grids, reservoirs, sporting event venues, and any other place where extra security is required. Today Magal is the largest supplier of perimeter security systems in the world.

According to the Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit group that conducts research on issues related to the electric power industry in US, some 2,500 attacks on critical infrastructure facilities around the world were conducted by terrorist groups from 1996 to 2006, and the number has grown significantly since then, now averaging about 500 a year.

For Magal, that means more orders and an ever-expanding market. The company produces several types of protection systems for different venues, using physical and sensor technologies to alert security officials when a breach is detected.

At an airport or seaport, for example, the company would install a system like DTR, a taut wire system equipped with an array of detectors, each connected to a pair of barbed wire strands with multiple sensors per zone, with the redundant sensors ensuring a high level of sensitivity. In addition, the setup includes fail-safe features such as a mechanism to adjust for soil movement and temperature changes. The sensors are unaffected by electromagnetic interference and radio frequency transmissions, preventing false alarms.

For homes and institutions, the company would install the InnoFence, which includes most of the same features, using fiber optic sensors, but in a decorative layout suitable for residential areas.

Other solutions include the MagBar, an intrusion detection solution that combines a massive physical grid with an embedded intrusion detection sensor that is used to protect physical equipment associated with infrastructure, such as pipes, drains, open tunnels, canals, and air ducts; TunnelGuard, which can recognize the seismic footprint of a variety of activities — digging, drilling, scraping, jack-hammering — and measure their intensity and duration. The proprietary detection algorithms intelligently filter out non-threatening vibrations, like from traffic on nearby roads and underground subways, in order to minimize false alarms. The Ranging Fiber Sensor, a long range detection system using fiber-optic technology that can accurately locate intruders along perimeters, and hybrid cyber-security and perimeter solutions to prevent hackers from disabling the sensors.

Typical of how Magal’s technology can be utilized is the zone perimeter security installed in Ramat Hasharon, which detects intruders and sets off alarms at schools and other institutions. It has the ability to distinguish between “real” intruders and false alarms, like cats and dogs. In addition, the city of about 40,000 near Tel Aviv has set up a fiber-optic communication system to ensure the fast transfer of video images from cameras that provide surveillance of most of its neighborhoods.

The system also includes a series of “panic buttons” in key spots, such as in kindergartens and day care centers. In the event of a threat, teachers can push the button to quickly summon help without having to look for a phone. All computer systems relating to security are backed up at all times, and an emergency “reserve” computer security system and network, unused during normal times, is ready to go immediately in case the main system goes down. Also, the city has set up its own Wi-fi system, designed chiefly for use by police and rescue workers, but due to be expanded to provide connections to 80% of the city’s area.

To manage it all, Ramat Hasharon has set up a special security department, one of the few cities in Israel to do so, to deal with all the data and deploy equipment to deal with specific problems or threats.

Commenting on the Ramat Hasharon project, Eitan Livneh, president and CEO of Magal, said the company was “proud to be the main contractor in this visionary project. We perceive the safe city application as part of a holistic paradigm to improve the quality of life in cities. Magal has extensive experience in implementing projects in cities and critical sites and it is natural for us to expand our solutions into adjacent areas.”

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