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Today’s security industry technology standards create a common framework for achieving predictable performance. Systems are made more secure and easier to install, use and integrate with other devices. Standards are also intended to be living documents, open to continual refinements to benefit manufacturers, integrators and end users. An excellent example is the Open Supervised Data Protocol (OSDP), which is now the industry’s gold standard for physical access control installations. It was designed to offer a higher level of security with more flexible options than the aging defacto Weigand wiring standard. Updating OSDP-readers simultaneously One recent addition enables end users to push firmware and software updates to thousands of OSDP-enabled card readers simultaneouslyOSDP, first introduced in 2011 by the Security Industry Association (SIA), continues to evolve with significant manufacturer input. One recent addition enables end users to push firmware and/or software updates to a few or thousands of OSDP-enabled card readers simultaneously. Weigand technology requires updates to be made one at a time at each reader. Regularly changing reader encryption keys is an excellent way to enhance facility security. It’s easy using the OSDP file transfer capability and the latest DESFire EV2 credentials containing multiple encryption keys. You can transfer the next code on the card to all readers and the job is done. And there’s no need to create a new card for each user or reprogram each individual reader. AES-128 encryption ensures cybersecurity It’s time to migrate entirely away from Weigand technology. If greater security, convenience and reduced labour from the latest OSDP updates isn’t reason enough, here are a few more things to consider. The 40-year-old Weigand protocol provides no signal encryption, making it easy for hackers to capture the raw data transmitted between cards and readers. OSDP readers support AES-128 encryption while providing continuous monitoring of wires to guard against cybercriminals. Weigand reader installations require homerun cable pulls from the control panel to each peripheral device. OSDP readers can be daisy chained, providing additional savings on cabling and installation time. Weigand technology is simply too slow to work with today’s most versatile and secure card technologies. OSDP readers work with virtually all modern access control cards. The OSDP standard also works with biometric devices; Weigand does not. Meeting requirements of FICAM guidelines SIA is pushing to make the latest OSDP version a standard recognised by the ANSI, a move to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. security businessesAlso, OSDP is becoming a must-have standard for organisations demanding the highest security levels. The standard meets requirements of the Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management (FICAM) guidelines that affect how the access control industry does business with the federal government. SIA is pushing to make the latest OSDP version a standard recognised by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), a move to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. security businesses. There’s still a large worldwide reader installation base that works solely with the Weigand protocol. Admittedly, changing them all at one time may be prohibitively expensive; however, standards should be viewed as a journey, not a destination. That’s why a measured migration is the right choice for many organisations. Begin by securing the perimeter. Replace only the outside-facing Weigand readers. As long as the walls are secured, the inside can remain a softer target until OSDP-compatible readers can be added indoors. The case for moving to OSDP as a standard is compelling. It offers our industry the opportunity to design access control software and products that provide what end users want most – greater security, flexibility and convenience.
It’s not surprising that people are nervous about the security of newer technologies, many of which are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). While they offer greater efficiency and connectivity, some people still hesitate. After all, there seems to be a constant stream of news stories about multinational corporations being breached or hackers taking control of smart home devices. Both of these scenarios can feel personal. No one likes the idea of their data falling into criminal hands. And we especially don’t like the thought that someone can, even virtually, come into our private spaces. The reality, though, is that, when you choose the right technology and undertake the proper procedures, IoT devices are incredibly secure. That said, one of the spaces where we see continued confusion is around access control systems (ACS) that are deployed over networks, particularly in relation to mobile access, smartcards, and electronic locks. These technologies are often perceived as being less secure and therefore more vulnerable to attacks than older ACS systems or devices. In the interest of clearing up any confusion, it is important to provide good, reliable information. With this in mind, there are some myths out there about the security of ACS that need to be debunked. The fact that these devices communicate with an ACS via Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) leads to one of the main myths we encounter Myth #1: Mobile credentials are not secure The first myth we have to look at exists around mobile credentials. Mobile credentials allow cardholders to access secured doors and areas with their mobile devices. The fact that these devices communicate with an ACS via Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) leads to one of the main myths we encounter about the security of credentialed information. There is a persistent belief that Bluetooth is not secure. In particular, people seem to be concerned that using mobile credentials makes your organisation more vulnerable to skimming attacks. While focusing on the medium of communication is an important consideration when an organisation deploys a mobile credentialing system, the concerns about Bluetooth miss the mark. Bluetooth and NFC are simply channels over which information is transmitted. Believing that Bluetooth is not secure would be the same as suggesting that the internet is not secure. In both cases, the security of your communication depends on the technology, protocols, and safeguards we all have in place. So, instead of wondering about Bluetooth or NFC, users should be focused on the security of the devices themselves. Before deploying mobile credentials, ask your vendor (1) how the credential is generated, stored, and secured on the device, (2) how the device communicates with the reader, and (3) how the reader securely accesses the credential information. When you deploy smartcard technology as part of your ACS, you should choose the latest generation, such as MiFARE DesFIRE EV1 or EV2 and HID iCLASS SEOS Myth #2: All smartcards are equally secure The question “how secure are my smartcards?” is a serious one. And the answer can depend on the generation of the cards themselves. For example, while older smartcards like MiFARE CLASSIC and HID iCLASS Classic offer better encryption than proxy cards and magstripe credentials, they have been compromised. Using these older technologies can make your organisation vulnerable. As a result, when you deploy smartcard technology as part of your ACS, you should choose the latest generation, such as MiFARE DesFIRE EV1 or EV2 and HID iCLASS SEOS. In this way, you will be protecting your system as well as your buildings or facilities. Some traditional readers and controllers can also pose a serious risk to your organisation if they use the Wiegand protocol, which offers no security. While you can upgrade to a more secure protocol like OSDP version 2, electronic locks are a very secure alternative worth considering. It is also important to understand that not all smartcard readers are compatible with all smartcard types. When they are not compatible, the built-in security designed to keep your system safe will not match up and you will essentially forego security as your smartcard-reader will not read the credentials at all. Instead, it will simply read the non-secure portion—the Card Serial Number (CSN) —of the smartcard that is accessible to everyone. While some manufacturers suggest that this is an advantage because their readers can work with any smartcard, the truth is that they are not reading from the secure part of the card, which can put your system and premises at risk. Using electronic locks can help protect facilities and networks through various security protocols, including encryption and authentication Myth #3: Electronic locks are more vulnerable These days, there are still many who believe that electronic locks, especially wireless locks, are more vulnerable to cybercriminal activity as compared to traditional readers and controllers. The concern here is that electronic locks can allow cybercriminals to both access your network to get data and intercept commands from the gateway or nodes over the air that would allow them access to your buildings or facilities. The reality is that using electronic locks can help protect facilities and networks through various security protocols, including encryption and authentication. Additionally, because many of these locks remain operational regardless of network status, they provide real-time door monitoring. This means that many electronic locks not only prevent unauthorised access but also keep operators informed about their status at all times, even if a network goes down. Outdated technology and old analogue systems are more vulnerable to attacks When it comes to deploying electronic locks, it is important to remember that, like any device on your network, they must have built-in security features that will allow you to keep your information, people, and facilities safe. Be prepared to unlock future benefits Ultimately, the information in your IP-based ACS is at no greater risk than any other information being transmitted over the network. We just have to be smart about how we connect, transmit, and store our data. In the end, maintaining the status quo and refusing to move away from old technology is not a viable option. Outdated technology and old analogue systems are more vulnerable to attacks. The reason it is so important to debunk myths around ACS and, at the same time, get people thinking about network security in the right way is that network-based systems can offer an ever-increasing number of benefits. When we deploy new technology using industry best practices and purchase devices from trusted vendors, we put ourselves and our networks in the best possible position to take full advantage of all that our increasingly connected world has to offer.
The basic principles of access control are well established: only authorised people should have access to secure areas, only at times that can be defined in advance, and only within a system that can identify exactly who went where, and when. Traditional mechanical lock-and-key systems cannot accomplish this — at least, not without loading a huge admin burden onto security staff. But modern, electronic wireless access control has the flexibility to achieve it. What criteria determine the right sort of access control for your organisation? It makes sense to assess what is desirable against what is affordable or available in the electronic access control market today. Asking yourself these 5 questions will lead to a wise investment in the right technology: Wireless locks like Aperio work seamlessly with existing systems from over 100 different access control providersDo you want to extend your existing system, or begin from scratch? You are not stuck with locks chosen by a previous management team. Security needs change. Wireless locks like Aperio, for example, work seamlessly with existing systems from over 100 different access control providers, integrated online or offline. You will save time and money extending your current system with a technology like Aperio and users can continue with their existing credentials. Going forward, it makes sense to choose locks built using open architecture, for added flexibility and to future-proof your next investment. Who are the site users and what kind of credentials suit their needs? In many industries, access to premises is required by permanent staff and short-term contractors: your access system needs to be flexible. Different systems offer credentials stored on cards and fobs, or on programmable, battery-powered keys. For example, the new Openow app for SMARTair wireless locking converts a user’s smartphone into a virtual key. You issue and revoke user keys using the intuitive software, an efficient, flexible mobile management solution. What is the structure of the site (or sites) you protect? You will need different locks for high-traffic and low-traffic doors, indoor and outdoor use. Almost everywhere, wireless locks are much easier to install and to maintain than traditional wired magnetic locks — and more cost-effective to run. Certified wireless security locks provide extra protection for sensitive areas needing stringent standards. If you have a mobile workforce or manage dispersed sites, consider the credential management practicalities. For example, programmable keys that are easy to update with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone app — like ASSA ABLOY’s CLIQ Connect solution — will save your staff time and money. For outdoor access points, you will need gate locks or padlocks certified for operation in extreme conditions Do you want to secure more than just doors? Some wireless systems have locks for cabinets, machines, windows and even server racks (handy if you want an extra layer of control over co-located servers). There will be workflow advantages in monitoring these ‘non-doors’ — medicine stores, for example, or car parks or lifts — from the same admin interface as your doors. Site users will appreciate the convenience of carrying one credential for every access need. For outdoor access points, you will need gate locks or padlocks certified for operation in extreme conditions. For example, CLIQ mechatronic padlocks are currently deployed outdoors at utility sites in Scandinavia and supermarkets in East Africa. Do you need real-time capabilities? Choose an Online system and you can manage and amend access control doors at any time and from anywhere, using the admin software. You can monitor sensitive areas like medicine stores remotely and in real time, and can revoke access rights if a user credential gets lost. In an emergency, remote locking or unlocking of an entrance could be critical. Aperio wireless locks, for example, are integrated with online electronic access and real-time monitoring systems in hospitals, manufacturing plants and student halls of residence. With some systems, including SMARTair, you can combine ‘Update on Card’ and Online updating for different doors within the same installation. The CLIQ Connect app and programmable keys make real-time control over remote sites or teams possible. Wireless access control offers a compelling mix of audit compliance, easy installation, cost efficiency, and seamless integration. It makes life easier for security managers, and is deployed in premises as diverse as power plants and co-working spaces; museums and care homes; banks, schools and skyscrapers.
Christopher Columbus and his Spanish colonisers brought sugarcane into the Dominican Republic at the end of the 15th century. Today, agriculture is one of the most important sectors of the Dominican Republic’s national economy and sugarcane is the country’s most important agricultural product. The processing of the sugarcane stalk produces sucrose, the main product of sugarcane. Cane accounts for about 80 percent of the world’s sugar produced, while most of the remaining percentage is made from sugar beets. Named after the man who is credited with bringing the crop into the Dominican Republic, Cristobal Colon is the second largest producer of sugarcane in the country based in San Pedro de Macoris, 45 miles east of Santo Domingo. Getting compensated accurately The company produces sugarcane in two regions of the Dominican Republic with the second site about 30 miles west of Santo Domingo. While 95 percent of the company’s revenue comes from sugarcane, Cristobal Colon also produces meats and fruits, including mangos and pineapples. Overall, Cristobal Colon owns about 23,000 hectares (or around 57,000 acres) of land, on which approximately 3,500 migrant personnel work during the harvesting season between December and May. Off-season, the company continues to employ about 1,000 people on its plantations. With such a busy harvesting season and employees that are paid in cash, Cristobal Colon was having difficulty making sure that its workers were getting compensated accurately. The company, like many others that have large amounts of migrant workers, was relying on ID cards and management’s visual verification of each person to make sure that the correct individuals were receiving their cash wages. Sometimes workers did not have their ID cards with them, and they were using another individual’s ID card to collect wages that were not their own. Espinal and his team began researching for a fail-proof way to better identify workers for cash payments out in the field Biometrically authentication “It’s a very weak way to identify people; sometimes we just had to trust that the co-worker was identifying himself correctly,” said Edgar Espinal, information technology manager at Cristobal Colon. A few years ago, Espinal and his team began researching for a fail-proof way to better identify workers for cash payments out in the field. A previous failed attempt with one software developer left Espinal searching the Internet for a software company that could help, which is how he came upon HID Global and its credential verification software development division in the United States. Cristobal Colon asked HID Global to develop a custom product that would allow them to biometrically authenticate their employees before handing them their wages, without the use of cards or certificates. Rather than a one-to-many match process to verify if a person has certificates or access to a particular site, Cristobal Colon needed a way to identify a person one-to-one, to ensure they were who they said they were. Development of the software Managers out in the field needed to know if the person giving them his fingerprint was in fact the exact person he claimed to be. “Our basic need is to know who the person giving us their fingerprint is,” said Espinal. “It took about four months to fully develop.” HID Global relied upon the expertise of employee Miriam Celi, a software engineer whose native language is Spanish To develop the solution for Cristobal Colon, HID Global relied upon the expertise of employee Miriam Celi, a software engineer whose native language is Spanish. Celi developed the software to meet the sugarcane producer’s specific needs, and wrote the program in Spanish, which included all of the manuals and graphical displays. “When we received the call from Edgar at Cristobal Colon, we knew this was going to be a unique project,” said Geri Castaldo, vice president, Business Development, Federal Identity with HID Global. “Not only was it an interesting use case for biometric software, but it’s the first time we’ve developed a solution in Spanish.” Handheld mobile readers Once HID Global developed the software to be used without cards for identification, Cristobal Colon’s IT staff built an interface with the company’s human resources and payment systems. They tied it together using handheld mobile readers from Intermec with Edgeline Technologies’ PIV endcap, which includes a Sagem compact biometric module. “It is of great importance to know we are paying the right people, regardless of whether they have a personal ID with them or not,” said Espinal. Employees are first enrolled on a desktop computer at the company’s headquarters by taking their fingerprints and making sure there are no duplicates in the system. The fingerprints are stored in the company’s HR database along with a PIN for each person. Espinal and his team were worried that the system would run into problems identifying people, since many of the workers have worn out fingerprints Problems identifying people That data is pushed to Intermec handheld devices equipped with Edgeline fingerprint accessories for use in the field. Managers on the plantation sites then use the handheld devices to scan fingerprints and PIN numbers before paying the employee. If both steps are exact matches, the worker receives their wages. Initially, Espinal and his team were worried that the system would run into problems identifying people, particularly since many of the workers have worn out fingerprints or calluses on their hands from manual labour. “We were expecting violations and a lower rate of positive ID because of the nature of them working with their hands,” Espinal explained. “We have had a few people try to misidentify themselves, but it hasn’t been possible. We have had 100% validation with no false positives or non-validations. It has exceeded our expectations.” Streamlining business practices The sugarcane producer began with 10 mobile devices and soon after increased its count to 30. Most recently, Cristobal Colon added eight more mobile devices, and more tablet PCs and desktop stations running the software to keep up with new applications that its IT staff continues to develop. One of those new applications that Cristobal Colon has found useful is tying the biometric information it has for employees into its cafeteria payment system. “Employees validate themselves with their fingerprints in the cafeteria and it goes directly into our payroll system,” Espinal explained. “We are very excited about that and it’s something that the software made possible for us to do.” As Cristobal Colon’s needs have expanded, the sugarcane company has found more possibilities to use its HID Global biometric verification software that go beyond paying workers in the field, and they continue to look for ways to use the software to simplify and streamline business practices even further. Company wants to have a way to ensure they are providing the appropriate people with their allotted number of services Expanding biometric enrolment Cristobal Colon is currently in the process of gearing up to use the software to develop a Census application, which will expand biometric enrolment into the company’s database to include family members of employees and people living in the community. The company provides a number of services to community members, such as sanitary services, education and medical services and the company wants to have a way to ensure they are providing the appropriate people with their allotted number of services, as well as making sure services are not duplicated. “We want to know every one’s biometric signatures, and better track what services are being used and who is getting the services,” Espinal said. “These are all things that we couldn’t have developed without the right partner. HID Global really worked with us to find a unique solution for our market that we couldn’t find anywhere else, and together, we developed a terrific product.”
SETAF 2016 will bring together military and industry experts to lead focused discussion group SMi Group is delighted to welcome on board Systems Engineering and Assessment Ltd (SEA), the latest speaker to sign up for SMi's 2nd annual Soldier Equipment and Technology Advancement Forum (SETAF) taking place 14-15 March in London. Uniting military & industry experts SETAF 2016 will bring together military and industry experts to lead focused discussion groups and help participants drill down on the latest strategic, technical and scientific research, all designed to allow those at the forum to return to their organisations better equipped to solve the next big programme challenges. Join the following discussion groups with SEA's Land Project Manager Justin Prowse and Senior Principal Consultant Colin Rayment: Situational Awareness: Effectively delivering data to the dismounted soldier for increased situational awareness and decisive decision making (with British Army and BAE Systems) Approaches to enhancing soldier lethality via weapon system upgrades and increased co-operation with supporting arms (with British Army, John H. Northrop and Associates and United States) The science behind the system (with DSTL, Thales and Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology) Confirmed attendees With top-ranking military officers representing 10 nations and leading soldier programmes experts all under one roof, this is the event you cannot afford to miss. Our expert speaker line up 2016 includes key decision makers from the military sector (US Army, DSTL (UK), British Army, German Army, Swedish Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence (Netherlands)) and the industry sector (BAE Systems, Sagem, Rheinmetall Electronics, Thales) and many more. Over 20 hours of informal networking, more than at any other soldier system meeting in 2016! Confirmed attendees include representatives from Ministry of Defence Singapore, Thales Norway, Bundeswehr, Ultra Electronics, MOD Abbeywood, Otis Technology, Bren-Tronics, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Fokker Special Products, and many more. Unique opportunities for discussion, including 2 morning coffee breaks, 2 networking lunches and 2 afternoon tea sessions. Make new contacts and form the relationships you can count on in the future. After the success of our last conference, SETAF 2016 is guaranteed to sell out once again.
Sagem and Thales bring to Sofradir IR technologies originally developed for their internal purposes Sagem (Safran group), Thales and Sofradir have signed an agreement for Sofradir to acquire Sagem and Thales’ infrared (IR) detector technology development and manufacturing facilities. Sagem and Thales bring to Sofradir IR technologies originally developed for their internal purposes. IR detectors are advanced technology components at the centre of multiple military, space, commercial and scientific applications: thermal imagers, missile seekers, surveillance systems, targeting systems or observation satellites. Their performance and price are key to the competitiveness of optronics systems. Under the agreement, Sagem will transfer to Sofradir the Indium Antimonide (InSb) technology. The Quantum Well-Infrared Photodetector (QWIP) and Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) technologies will be transferred to Sofradir from the GIE III-V Lab, an economic interest group with partners Alcatel Lucent, Thales and research institute CEA (the French nuclear energy and alternate energies commission). By consolidating these IR technologies under one roof, Sofradir joins a very small circle of IR detector manufacturers with expertise in all the cooled and uncooled IR technologies. The acquisition will reinforce Sofradir’s leading position in Europe and pave the way to a global leadership position in the imaging market. Sofradir is currently ranked number one for volume deliveries of IR detectors based on its Mercury Cadmium Telluride (HgCdTe) technology. Serge Adrian, senior vice president of land defence at Thales and Philippe Petitcolin, chairman and CEO of Sagem praised the agreement that strengthens a key technopole and further enhances years of research initially carried out by Thales and then by the III-V Lab and Sagem: “We are confident that Sofradir will take these IR activities to the next level and benefit from the synergies between the different IR technologies.” “The technologies from Sagem and the III-V Lab enable Sofradir to have from this point forward the complete portfolio of infrared technologies. These assets consolidate Sofradir’s leadership position,” said Philippe Bensussan, chairman and CEO of Sofradir. “With the new technologies, Sofradir along with its subsidiary ULIS will be able to select the technology best adapted to our clients’ applications. We are in a fortified position to offer IR products with more innovation, performance and compactness in order to respond to any IR market need.”
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