Tackling threats beyond the usual suspects I The Straits Times (May 2013)

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By Ayesha Khanna ACCORDING to the Oxford Dictionary, the word “security” means the “state of being free from danger or threat”. Traditionally, civilians have relied on the police and military to protect them from the forces that threaten bodily harm and social harmony. These protections have taken on two forms: deterrence and punishment.

But are the traditional forms of security really effective in the 21st century?

Threats in the 21st century are complex and the perpetrators involved are not the usual suspects. We live in a world where, according to the current cover of Wired Magazine (UK), criminals can hack into your DNA and directly target your organs; where two “lone wolves” acting on their own can set off horrifying devastation as they did last month at the Boston Marathon; where the blueprint of the Liberator gun is downloaded 100,000 times in one week and can be used to print guns on demand using 3-D printers; where a gang of cybercriminals can steal US$45 million (S$56 million) from ATMs from Russia to Canada without shedding a drop of blood, as they did recently; and where natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis increasingly wreak havoc.

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