In 2021 alone, the USPIS and the ATF analyzed 263,000 pieces of suspicious mail and investigated more than 6,300 mail threat incidents.
For many businesses, the concept of security is often associated with theft and vandalism. Security budgets, therefore, are targeted towards surveillance systems, access controls, and alarms.
But herein lies a problem. Some threats require more than the traditional security solutions to detect and manage. One of them is mail security.
According to a recent report from RaySecur, a company that provides mail and package threat detection solutions, in 2021 alone, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) analyzed 263,000 pieces of suspicious mail and investigated more than 6,300 mail threat incidents.
An important point that customers in Asian countries should note is that this is not a phenomenon limited to the US. RaySecur's report showed that 64 percent of international mail threats occurred in Western Europe or Asia.
Widespread threats across the region
Speaking to asmag.com about the report, Will Plummer, Chief Security Officer at RaySecur, said many threats were seen in places like Hong Kong, India, and Malaysia. Hong Kong's key position in the global logistics business made it especially vulnerable to such threats.
"A lot of the threats that showed up in these regions were last mile, meaning someone would drop a parcel or package and then walked away, and then the device went off," Plummer said. "In Hong Kong, a lot of those were actually seen through the mail because the city does see a lot of mail traffic."
An important point that the report highlighted was widespread mail threats against AstraZeneca in the UK, possibly from antivaccine protesters. Other countries in the region saw such incidents reaching the leadership.
"There were a lot of threats to AstraZeneca, and the company had even to shut down one of their facilities for a day," Plummer added. In countries like Spain and Portugal, mailed threats have directly been sent to their leadership, and these could range from bullets that were mailed as death threats to white powder threats and biological items."
How countries handle mail determine the level of threat
An interesting point that Plummer pointed out was that mails, packages, and parcels in different countries are handled differently. In Korea, for instance, you could send your mail from a convenience store.
"This means that when you talk when you go to countries like that, you have a huge problem because out of convenience, people will mail everything," Plummer said. So you end up with somebody saying, well, I don't really need to worry about things like food coming through. Their criteria are different. As a company that provides mail threat detection solutions, these are some of the nuances we have to work through."
A segment for systems integrators to consider
A lot of the business that RaySecur does is direct to customers, often because many people don't realize the importance of this issue without proper education. But the company also works with systems integrators as it helps them work closely with existing systems and provide valuable data based on which operators can take action. More importantly, the results are quicker and more efficient when integrated with traditional security systems.
"For instance, if a bomb is detected, the system can stop everything - locks doors where required, opens accesses where they need to open," Plummer continued. "Nobody else needs to come into the room. The system sends alerts to the appropriate team, and everybody's on board. It has a live video feed that shows what's going on. Working with integrators, we are trying to collect and provide real-time threat data to take the best possible action."
Mail threats don't often get the importance they deserve, but it's a growing problem that customers and integrators must address. Integrating mail threat detection solutions to traditional security can go a long way in protecting businesses. This offers yet another tool in their kit for integrators to provide better services to customers.