10. Iron Mountain
On surface, Iron Mountain is a nothing more than a huge storage company.
However, they have one particular crown jewel in their collection: Just a few miles from Pittsburgh lies the Iron Mountain Vault of Butler County. It’s a giant underground complex built in an abandoned limestone mine, and it hosts a truly mind-boggling amount of treasure. Within its confines, the truly powerful people and institutions store the things they want to keep really safe.
The company protects its clients’ confidentiality, but if you think of a really big name, there’s a good chance that they probably have some secrets stowed away here. Bill Gates stores the 27 million physical images of the Corbis Image collection here. The Smithsonian stores many of its records in the vaults, and other clients include several movie studios and, of course, the Government.
9. Gold Lane Car Park (DerbyShire, England)
This multi-story parking lot used to be one of the most notorious spots in Derby with a reputation for harboring anti-social behavior. In 1997 the City Council entered into a partnership with Park safe which put into place a series of upgrades totally changing the aura of the space.
Customers who park their cars here are issued a bar-coded ticket that is specifically linked to one particular parking bay. Each bay has both horizontal and vertical motion sensors that remain activated until the customer returns and paces parking ticket.
Access into the building is only possible using the bar coded parking ticket and an immediate lockdown of all exits is triggered. In the event that a motion sensor alarm goes off in, addition control room operators use a system of 190 CCTV cameras and electronic maps to monitor all pedestrian movement in the carpark.
8. Deltalis Data Center
The Swiss have long had the reputation of having the safest banks in the world or because of the security guaranteed by their privacy laws than any armament and that reputation is all set to be enhanced. Throughout the period of the Cold War, there were many bunkers that were built to withstand nuclear attacks; most of these are Natick repet and in ruins but this particular bunker has been repurposed with post-millennial intent built in 1947 deep inside the alps near adding housing in central Switzerland.
This sprawling subterranean complex once served as the Swiss Army secret headquarters located over 500 feet inside the granite mountain. People seeking entry need to hand over an ID, leave a biometric scan, go through a man trap hyper sensitive security portal and then through an entrance tunnel with anti-nuclear steel doors. The facility has racks and racks of data storage systems and has electronic security measures designed to thwart attacks from would-be hackers and preserve information through power cuts, earthquakes and terrorist attacks.
Perhaps the most secure of all the data in this facility is that of Xapo: the Bitcoin wallet company which is stored inside a cold room steeled as a crime scene and into which no one enters; not even the Internet.
The cold room is surrounded with steel slabs to ensure that an electromagnetic pulse doesn’t lie pout the encrypted data on the hardware and an operator in the facility must receive confirmation from two other vaults and other continents before he or she can approve a transaction with this data.
7. Air Force One
This is the most secure moving location in the world. These Boeing 747-200 B’s were heavily modified and commissioned for service in 1990. There are two of these identical planes and only the one with the President on board is called Air Force One while many of its in-flight security features still remain secret.
The aircraft has bulletproof windows and can fly faster and higher than any regular commercial plane and its range is near infinite. Since it’s equipped with facilities for midair refueling, its electronics and wiring have been shielded so as to protect the plane from the effects of a nuclear blast.
The wings have both Mirrorball defense technology to scramble infrared missile guidance systems as well as flares that can be released to confuse heat-seeking enemy missiles. Its impregnable air defenses are matched by an equally rigorous ground safety protocol.
Each location the plane is due to land is scanned for many hours by sharpshooters armed with high-powered rifles and bulletproof tin arm. Presidential motorcade is transported in cargo aircraft prior to the arrival of Air Force One. Even the food that is to be served on board is subject to a security protocol and the plane is equipped with staircases and luggage ramps so that there is no dependence on the facilities that an airport provides.
The current planes are nearing the end of their service lives and we wonder what other features the new planes that Boeing delivers might have.
6. Svalbard Seed Vault
We’ve all heard of Noah’s Ark saving the animals from a worldwide catastrophe but have you ever thought of something to save plant species. It was with the mission of creating a safety net to protect traditional plants gene banks from accidental loss of diversity that the Doomsday Seed Vault was created.
In 2008, it was built in an old coal mine on the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen, less than a thousand miles from the North Pole and inhabited mainly by polar bears. The area is geologically stable and covered with permafrost, ideal for the long-term storage of seeds a 400 foot long tunnel with airlocks at both ends leads to three refrigerated chambers each 90 feet long 30 feet wide and 16 feet high. Only one of these is currently in use and houses over eight hundred and ninety thousand varieties of seeds packaged in three ply foil packets and heat sealed to exclude moisture.
The concave tunnel head is designed to deflect the force of a missile strike and there are five levels of locked doors between the entrance and the seats. The one metre thick steel reinforced concrete walls together with a negative 18 degrees centigrade temperature maintained in the vault ensure that the structure and the seeds within will remain for thousands of years but had the designers accounted for the havoc that climate change could cause. In 2016 melting of the permafrost caused water to flood parts at the entrance tunnel though the seeds remained unaffected.
The Norwegian government has recently announced that it will be upgrading the vault including service buildings to house emergency power and refrigerating units.
5. Federal Reserve Bank (Fort Knox)
Number six and five of this list are also vaults but of a different nature altogether. These structures having the popular imagination become synonymous with the absolute high security associated with guarding much of the world’s gold, as well as some of America’s most priceless treasures. Fort Knox and Kentucky has nearly 30,000 troops and 300 tanks armed personnel carriers, attack helicopters and artillery available for its protection. As if this were not enough, the building itself is protected by four layers of barriers, motion sensors and electronic surveillance . The walls are made of four foot thick granite lined with cement steel and fireproof material. The foundation is of cement in 10-foot thick granite and the sealed windows are blast proof, fireproof and darkened.
The front door weighs 22 tons and can only be operated when several members of the staff enter their combinations; change daily. The ball inside are 27 inches thick and made of steel and concrete by a company whose vault design reportedly withstood the atomic attack of Hiroshima. The gold vault at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is located at the basement of a building 80 feet below street level and 50 feet below sea level.
A comprehensive multi-layered security system protects the vault. The most important piece of which is the 90 ton steel cylinder that is placed to the only entrance. It is set within a 140 tons steel and concrete frame that creates an airtight and watertight seal when closed. Each compartment within the vault is secured by a padlock, two combination locks and a seal by the other. Further security is provided by the time locks, the massive steel reinforced concrete walls, the motion sensors as well as the constantly monitored surveillance cameras.
In addition to these special measures, the vault is protected by the building’s security system as well as the armed Federal Reserve Police Force.
4. DMZ (Korea)
With defense features so iconic as to make it feature in James Bond’s “die another day”, the Korean Demilitarized Zone is a narrow strip of land two and a half miles wide that separates North and South Korea. It extends for 160 miles from the Sea of Japan in the East to the Yellow Sea in the West. The area is fortified on both sides by chain-link, barbed wire, razor wire and electric fences.
Tens of thousands of landmines and anti-tank mines are placed within and the area is patrolled by hundreds of thousands of soldiers armed with sophisticated tanks and artillery. In addition, there are watchtowers and listening posts every few kilometers and there are electronic surveillance systems in place. These physical measures combined with the political standoff between South and North Korea make no trespassing signs unnecessary and the absence of human contact has led to the creation of a nature reserve with abundant flora and fauna including several endangered animal and plant species.
3. Haven Co Ltd
Have you ever thought of what an offshore Haven might look like?
One of the most intriguing places on this list. This place was built during World War II as a platform to house anti-aircraft guns. This 120 by 60-foot platform is located 60 feet above the North Sea, seven miles off the northern coast of Britain. It was declared as the sovereign Republic of Sealand in 1967 but it remained a place to hatch outlandish schemes on until it was re-purposed in 2000 to create a hyper secure data fortress and the only people who were permitted to enter words investors authorized personnel and members of the British royal family.
In addition to constant monitoring of surveillance cameras, armed guards would blow anyone off the platform which was to be surrounded by mines and gunboats. To safeguard the server’s, they were housed in pure nitrogen and could only be accessed using scuba gear.
In 2008 the haven co website went offline and the facility was apparently shut down with no reason being given and speculation is rife as to what this super secure location is currently being used for.
2. ADX Florence
In Fremont County, Colorado you’ll find the United States penitentiary administrative maximum facility also known as ADX Florence or the Alcatraz of the Rockies. This prison is designed to house those inmates of the federal prison system who are deemed the most dangerous and in need of the tightest control. The soundproof cells and furniture are made almost entirely of poured concrete and the four foot by four inch windows only allow views of the roof in the sky to prevent inmates from finding their specific location within the premises.
The compound is monitored through thousands of motion detectors and cameras and there are 1,400 remote-controlled steel doors that can all close at an instant if the panic alarm is sounded. The perimeter is surrounded by pressure pads in a 12 foot high razor wire fence. With heavily armed officers and attack dogs patrolling the area the prison is currently home to some of America’s most heinous criminals including key figures in the September 11th attacks and the World Trade Center bombing, the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber and many erstwhile al-qaeda operatives. The security measures aim not just to keep convicts within the prison but also Outsiders out.
1. Area 51, US Air Force
At the top of this list of the most heavily-guarded places on earth is no surprises here!
Area 51 the top-secret US Air Force facility in Nevada. Whether it’s cutting edge weapons research, black projects or unidentified flying objects that occupy the region we’ll never know. Owing to the blanket security coverage which shields the area.
At first glance it isn’t much. A chain-link fence security gates, some orange poles to demarcate the area and many no trespassing signs which also prohibit photography but the real security measures lie within the military area which is a no-fly zone for almost all aircraft including those from the nearby air force bases.
Sensors are placed all around the perimeter of the base and it is believed that these are sensitive enough to tell the difference between humans and animals. There is also constant patrolling by pairs of men and SUVs whose role is to act as observers and deterrence and who are sometimes reinforced by helicopters flying low; there are of course security cameras constantly scanning and the Air Force has not made the task of observing the base any easier by withdrawing the surrounding lines from public use especially those with elevated vantage points.
That's our list of the 9 most heavily guarded places on the planet
Do you agree, disagree or have any suggestion for any of these places mentioned above?
Drop your comments below.