Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Using Information Security Detection Technology to stave off a Possible Pandemic

Using Information Security Detection Technology to Stave Off a Possible Flu Pandemic

You may have heard of Intrusion Prevention/ Intrusion detection Systems (IDS/IPS) used to detect or prevent unwanted hacker activities or viruses from entering into a corporate network. Airports in major cities around the globe have started using infra-red thermal scanning systems to detect foreigners arriving who have higher than normal body temperatures, which could be a sign of the contagious swine flu. The average human generates 37 degrees Celsius of heat, any foreigner passing through the thermal scanner who has a body temperature higher than normal is pulled to the side, tested and if diagnosed with the flu quarantined. The Swine Flu cases that are appearing around the world have cities in Thailand and Bangkok installing thermal scanners in an attempt to stop the swine flu from spreading and becoming a pandemic.

What the thermal scanner can’t do.

  • The Swine Flu is most contagious when a person is not showing any symptoms, making the thermal scanner useless.

  • Most people take over the counter medication which helps to temporarily reduce a persons fever.
  • The thermal scanner is more accurate by being able to scan the tear ducts of a person’s face, if glasses are being worn the scanner may not detect someone with a fever.
  • The price tag for such a device is around $20,000 per installation, which would need to be in place at every ticketing gate of an airport; not very cost efficient for the rate of Swine Flu detection.

Imagine if your mother had one of these thermal scanners back when you played sick in order to stay out of school for the day?

Julius Clark, MBA, CISSP, CISA

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