As banking moves online and people worry about using cyber-secure passwords to protect their savings accounts, it’s easy to forget that all banks are physically secure. Some financial institutions are ridiculously secure, making the prospect of organizing a bank heist very daunting indeed. Of all the treasuries in the world, these three have gone to great lengths to ensure that their contents remain safe and sound.
1) Fort Knox – The United States
A US Army post located in Kentucky, Fort Knox is a fortified vault used to store the United States’ gold reserves. Thieves hoping to steal American gold bullion must scale four surrounding fences-two of which are electric-sneak past several armed patrols, and avoid video cameras to make it to the vault’s exterior wall. Once inside, the safe itself proves to be the largest obstacle. No one on the planet knows the entire combination to the Fort Knox safe. The only way in is to gather several staff members that know portions of the combination. Even after breaking in and gathering loot, 30,000 American soldiers will be waiting to meet thieves on their way out.
2) Svalbard Golden Seed Vault – Norway
Located 430 feet below sea level, the Svalbard Golden Seed vault is built to survive Armageddon. This facility houses 500,000 plant species in a temperature-controlled environment, which acts as a safety net in the event that the Earth loses vital plant species. Its location deep underground protects it from natural disaster, and its remoteness prevents any potential human saboteurs from reaching the facility, let alone breaking into it. Its concrete structure and four steel doors can even protect the facility from a direct nuclear strike. In addition to the armed patrols, air locks, and video cameras, the area around Svalbard is occupied by 3,000 polar bears-a natural defense against any intruders.
3) Bahnhof Underground Center – Sweden
Who knew that an Internet provider could construct and monitor one of the most impenetrable facilities in the world? Swedish Internet provider Bahnhof converted an old nuclear bomb shelter into a data bunker that now houses the servers for WikiLeaks and other important information. It’s located 100 feet below a mountain in Stockholm, and it boasts a 1.5-foot thick steel door to keep out any unwanted visitors. In the event of a power outage, the facility is equipped with enough backup generators to keep the bunker running for weeks.
It is unlikely that any local banks can boast the same security measures, but customers can rest assured that every financial institution is equipped with enhanced security.