27th January 2021
The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, or CPNI for short, is the government authority delivering advice on protective security measures to the UK’s national framework; accountable to the MI5’s Director-General, its role is to safeguard national security by assisting to reduce vulnerabilities present and protect the UK’s infrastructure from acts of terrorism and espionage among other threats.
To offer guidance and to assist those selecting security solutions, the CPNI has established a rating system for a wide range of products from secure gates to high-security fencing that has been designed to offer the highest perimeter protection levels for sensitive locations like sites designated with critical national importance (CNI) status.
Product evaluations are conducted by professional testers before results are assessed by an expert panel. Following this stage, security solutions that meet with approval are awarded a specific grading to help those requiring protective measures to choose the option they require. Gradings given are either CLASS level, PROTECTION level or in the case of some products, both. CPNI assess protective products for use in environments where high levels of security are required; this means that the standards are exacting and well beyond regular security products available for purchase. A relatively small number of products are approved, making even solutions with low CPNI grades competent options.
CLASS ratings are awarded to security products that have properties that make them able to defend against a covert attack. This type of attack will be conducted by an entity wishing to acquire access to classified material for malicious reasons. For example, the attacker may seek to steal data or install malware while remaining unnoticed, leaving no trace of their activity.
The priority of CLASS security equipment is detection. As the attacker is trying to avoid being caught, the emphasis on tamper indication or compromise detection is emphasised when CLASS rated solutions are evaluated. CLASS type attackers typically undertake campaigns over months and even years proceeding in separate stages such as reconnaissance, planning and preparation followed by the actual attack.
The CPNI PROTECTION Level is awarded to a security solution that proves resistance to a forcible attack. It is calculated based on the attacker’s anticipated skill level and how long a product being tested can remain resistant to attack. The assumption is made that leaving signs of entry is not the attacker’s concern, with their only aim being to beat and bypass the product and penetrate site security.
This attack is mainly connected with terrorist threats. Unlike covert attackers who wish to remain undetected, terrorist organisations openly seek attention from their activities to raise the profile of their campaigns and agendas. This means they are not deterred by the possibility of being discovered.
CPNI grading for protective products designed to withstand a forced attack includes CLASS 1, CLASS 2, CLASS 3, and CLASS 4, encompassing BASE, ENHANCED and HIGH protection levels. In addition, CLASS 4 PROTECTION is awarded to security solutions that offer the highest level of protection.
Grades are established by CPNI tests and evaluations, which measure how long equipment can delay an attacker with varying degrees of penetration skills. However, the time delay isn’t equal for all types of security measures. An example of this is a BASE gate will not delay attackers for the same amount of time as a BASE door.
Whether it involves the theft or destruction of an asset, the assumption is made that attackers will aim to achieve their end goal as swiftly as possible. For this reason, the priority of PROTECTION level equipment is on delay.
Certain products evaluated by CPNI can achieve a CLASS and a PROTECTION level when the solutions prove to be resistant to both types of attack. As a result, such security products offer a strong solution for sites that require safeguarding against terrorism and espionage threats. However, the greater of the two will drive the selection of an optimal solution.
A combination of PROTECTION and CLASS measures will often be required on-site, so a solution that delivers effectively in both categories can be an ideal option. This being said, security solutions will typically only rate in a single area, so multiple products will need to be deployed onsite to acquire the correct level of protection. Layered security is vital for a comprehensive defence against all attacks aimed at a high-profile site.
At Zaun, we currently provide three security solutions that have been approved by the exacting evaluation process conducted by CPNI, ArmaWeave, ArmaWeave Plus, and HiSec Super 6 358 mesh, along with a choice of CPNI rated gates all manufactured to meet stringent security requirements at CNI sites. Contact CPNI for details or ask our expert team today for further details.