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The Most Secure Places on the Planet
Many individuals understandably go to great lengths to look after the security of their family, loved ones and property. Sophisticated networked CCTV systems and alarms were once purely the domain of commercial operations, but have now become commonplace for home users.
But what kinds of measures are used when the fate of nations, economies or infrastructure is at stake? This list highlights some the most secure places on the planet and shows how global security concerns have changed over the years, from the threat of nuclear war, to the modern age of data security!
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Some high security sights rely on a remote location. Not this one! Slap bang in the centre of Manhattan is an imposing 22 story building, at the heart of which lies (what is estimated to be) the world’s largest store of Gold, holding even more than America’s own Fort Knox. The Federal Reserve Bank is one of 11 spread across the USA, and is responsible for storing many nations’ entire Gold assets. The vault and its contents is so heavy that it had to be installed 50ft below the surface on the bedrock, as no foundations could support it!
Getting into the vault requires the cooperation of several guards, each entering a code at a specific time of day. Just in case anyone does attempt the impossible, the bank has its own dedicated force of snipers constantly in operation. Despite all of these measures, the bank actually holds these assets without a fee! These days however, the bank may be best known as the target of Jeremey Irons’ maniacal terrorist in Die Hard with a Vengeance…
Cheyenne Mountain BunkerDuring the height of the Cold War this imposing underground mountain fortress was home to NORAD- America’s nuclear missile and warning command. The bunker was for decades at the heart of the USA’s nuclear defences. It was built accordingly- the main chamber and blast door were built to withstand the blast from a 30 Megaton warhead. Most of the structures inside are mounted on heavy duty springs to insulate from shockwaves, and the entire thing is covered by a 30m thick concrete dome!
The inside of the bunker is designed as a functional community, with massive reservoirs of drinking water and fuels supplies. In case of an attack, all air in the system is filtered for Chemicals, Radiation and Biohazards. If things get too shaky there’s also the division of troopers constantly on guard as well!
This is what we Brits used during the Cold War! Carved out of a quarry just outside of Corsham in Wiltshire, this network of tunnels was designed to hold the entire government and Civil Service during a nuclear attack. Kept secret until the 80s, the complex (in typically British fashion) includes a recreation Pub to help soothe the nerves of ministers in an emergency! The building is now out of use, and was put up for sale by the MOD in 2004.
Pionen Data Centre, Stockholm
Whereas in decades gone by the threat was nuclear annihilation, these days many of the world’s most secure locations are used to store Data. After all, with so much of the planet’s infrastructure and business conducted online, losses of information can be truly catastrophic. Even so, all of this data must still be stored on physical servers, requiring strict environmental controls and maintenance. One of the most secure of these storage centres is Pionen in Sweden, home to Wikileaks’ servers. The site is actually a former nuclear bunker like Burlington, but it’s ‘Bond Villian-esque’ caves now hold the countless gigabytes of sensitive documents collected by the controversial Whistleblowing website.
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