Can tech­nol­ogy stop an­other truck at­tack?

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -


The at­tack on a Ber­lin Christ­mas mar­ket showed the dev­as­ta­tion that can be wrought by the sim­ple act of driv­ing a truck into crowds, and the prob­lems in pre­vent­ing an­other mas­sacre.

The at­tack in Ger­many on Mon­day, in which 11 peo­ple were killed by the truck in ad­di­tion to the mur­der of the Pol­ish driver, mir­rored a mil­i­tant raid in the French city of Nice in July that killed 86.

Hauliers in­creas­ingly track their ve­hi­cles in real time but se­cu­rity ex­perts say the tech­nol­ogy can­not be used to stop an at­tack if a lorry has been hi­jacked to be used as a weapon. “(Mil­i­tant) groups have been shout­ing about this sort of at­tack for some time, it’s just that the Nice at­tack was the first re­ally suc­cess­ful one we’ve seen,” said Raf­faello Pan­tucci at the Royal United Ser­vices In­sti­tute de­fence and se­cu­rity think-tank.

“When­ever you see a suc­cess­ful at­tack you will see peo­ple try­ing to copy it.” From a mil­i­tant’s per­spec­tive, the ad­van­tage of a lorry at­tack is its sim­plic­ity: a truck is not dif­fi­cult to ob­tain and move around, as guns and ex­plo­sives are, and it does not op­er­ate in an en­vi­ron­ment that can be se­cured, like the air in­dus­try.

“If you have se­cu­rity forces who are very ag­gres­sively keep­ing an eye on guns and on bomb-mak­ing stuff and you need to ac­quire a cer­tain level of train­ing to do these things, then it raises the thresh­old of launch­ing a suc­cess­ful at­tack,” said Pan­tucci.

“If you are deal­ing with a height­ened se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment you ba­si­cally use what tools you have to hand.” The threat from a lorry at­tack can be re­duced by phys­i­cal de­ter­rents such as con­crete blocks and bol­lards, but this is harder for tem­po­rary events like Christ­mas mar­kets. —Reuters

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