YouTube Headquarters Perimeter Security Questioned
By Lilly Chapa
The ability of the shooter to gain access to YouTube's office courtyard via the parking garage raises questions about the building's physical security. ASIS International Physical Security Council secretary David Pedreira, a Distinguished Architectural Openings Consultant (DAOC) and door opening consultant for ASSA ABLOY, tells Security Management that when it comes to Deter, Detect, and Delay security principles, the role of perimeter security is to deter—and that didn't happen at YouTube headquarters.
"I wonder why there wasn't more electrified locking access control doors to keep people out at the parking garage," Pedreira says. "Why was it free entry, why was she able to get right in?"
With properly-function fail-secure electrified locking devices at perimeter points of entry, authorized personnel would gain entry through an access control card or their mobile device, and visitors would be rerouted. Pedreira notes that many companies leave doors unlocked during normal business hours to cater to visitors.
"In this day and age, we don't need to do that," Pedreira says. "There's video doorbells, there's so much that could be done with intercoms and video surveillance cameras that could easily be set up so that a visitor could be at any location and be allowed in via the remote unlocking of a door."
Pedreira advises organizations to make sure all points of ingress are locked regardless of business hours, but to make sure points of ingress are never blocked, which would prevent the quick escape of people during an incident like Tuesday's shooting.
After the shooting, YouTube released a statement saying that the shooter entered through the parking garage to the outside courtyard, and committed the violence there. "Thanks to the security protections in place, she never entered the building itself," the statement said. However, one employee tweeted after the shooting that he had seen blood stains on the floor and stairs of the building.
The shooter exhibited unusual behavior in the days following up to the incident, leaving her home in San Diego and staying in her car in Mountain View. Her family filed a missing person report in San Diego on Saturday, and when officers found her sleeping in her car, she told them she had left home due to family issues. Mountain View police said they contacted her family to let them know she had been found. She also visited a gun range prior to carrying out the shooting Tuesday afternoon.
Pedreira notes that when it comes to these types of events, hindsight is 20/20 and the police appear to have acted appropriately. "So she was sleeping in her car, how would they know of her intent unless her handgun was visible on the dash or something?" he asks. Even then, "who would think that all of a sudden, just because she has a grudge against YouTube, she's going to take out a handgun and attack their office?" he asks.
What We Know So Far:
A shooting at the YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California, occurred on Tuesday morning around 12:46 p.m. local time.
The assailant has been identified as Nasim Najafi Aghdam, 39, of San Diego. The Iranian-born woman blogged about veganism and made heated claims online that YouTube was limiting viewers of her videos, CNN reports.
"We know she was upset with YouTube, and now we've determined that was the motive," San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said.
Aghdam had an encounter with police in Mountain View, California, in the early hours before the shooting when they found her sleeping in her car, "but did not set off any alarms during their interaction," the Washington Post reports. She then went on to a gun range to practice shooting.
Using a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, Aghdam critically wounded a man and seriously injured two women. Two of the three victims been released from the hospital. The shooter appeared to target her victims at random at the campus that houses about 2,000 employees, according to police.
Her family says they warned police before the shooting. "Californian media reported that Aghdam's family had warned authorities that she could target YouTube prior to the shooting," according to CNBC. "The San Jose Mercury News quoted her father, Ismail Aghdam, as saying he had told police that she might go to YouTube's headquarters because she 'hated' the company."
FBI Data: Female Shooters are Rare
As CNN reports, FBI data shows that female active shooters are rare. Only 220 U.S. active shooter incidents identified by the Bureau between 2000 to 2016–roughly four percent–were carried out by women.
"The women in those shootings were usually armed with handguns and opened fire inside colleges, businesses, their current or former workplaces, according to the list," the article states.
In addition, 2016 FBI data shows only 7.6 percent of murder offenders that year were female.
The YouTube shooting may not end up being classified as a mass shooting, as one victim has been released and two remain in the hospital.
Photo: San Bruno Police Department
Google Announces Security Increases at YouTube Offices Around the Globe
Google announced on Twitter that it will increase security at its YouTube offices around the globe after the shooting at the video platform's headquarters in San Bruno, California. The attack, which took place around 12:46 p.m. local time, left three people wounded. A female assailant–identified as Nasim Najafi Aghdam, 39, of San Diego–entered the campus's courtyard through a parking garage. Soon after police responded, she was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Internet giant Google, which owns YouTube, said in a statement that Tuesday evening's events were "shocking and disturbing," and also praised San Bruno law enforcement as well as YouTube employees for "acts of heroism" during the attack. The company is also encouraging employees to take time off work to recover, and ensures that "wellness services are readily available."