Physical Security Threats

Mark Michael, Research in Motion Ltd., Canada


Fundamental Threats to Sustaining Information

Loss of Resources

Inappropriate Forces on Media and Hardware

Power Anomalies

Foreign Substances

Inappropriate Humidity and Temperature


Disasters and the Threats They Bring




Geological Events

Physical Means of Misappropriating Resources

Unauthorized Movement of Resources

Unauthorized Connections and Use


Social Engineering and Information Mining

Acceptable Use



Cross References


Further Reading


For our purposes, information is digital, represented by zeroes and ones in storage or transmission media. Those ones and zeroes can be threatened by unauthorized changes or use incited by other ones and zeroes; cyberthreats may arrive as basic digital commands or as malware, such as viruses. The concern in this chapter is all other threats to information. This takes us into areas sometimes classified as environmental security, personnel security, or administrative security. The corresponding countermeasures are discussed in the separate chapter on physical security measures in this Handbook and numerous additional chapters cited in that chapter.

The first area of concern here is physical threats to the continued existence of information in uncorrupted form, for they endanger the integrity and availability of information. Those threats can be to any part of the physical support structure ...

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