Aritech Access Controllers(1)
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Considering how much the modern smartphone has become a common everyday tool and cultural icon, it’s hard to believe it has only been with us for a relatively short space of time. The first Apple iPhone was launched in 2007 and yet in a little over a decade the smartphone has become as essential as our keys or wallet. From its conception as a multi-faceted communications device, it has morphed into something far more integrated in our daily lives. Services such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and PayPal have seen the smartphone become a credible replacement for cash and cash cards, but equally, it is possible to replace access cards and keys as well.Smartphones can easily receive authentication credentials remotely and access can be confirmed or denied instantly The ability to accurately authenticate an individual and the applications this offers for security purposes, is something that the security industry needs to continue to embrace and further promote to our customers. Considerable advantages Most security professionals understand the potential benefits of using mobile device authentication, with flexibility being the key advantage. Smartphones can easily receive authentication credentials remotely and access can be confirmed or denied instantly. Equally, smartphones already contain many secure options to ensure they are only used by the authorised user – fingerprint and face recognition, as well as pattern authentication and PIN, being prime examples. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of awareness amongst some security operators, customers and the public of these exciting benefits. Potentially there may also be some reluctance, in certain quarters, to trusting a mobile device with physical security. A lack of trust in seemingly ‘unproven’ technology is not unusual, but the security industry needs to demonstrate reliability along with the considerable security and convenience benefits of using it. Trusted part of security network Many smart devices already securely bind the mobile device with the right person by using 2-factor authenticationMobile device security needs to earn its trust, in much the same way as any other new ground-breaking application. In fairness to the doubters, it’s not hard to imagine how much of a risk a badly protected mobile device could be to any secure network! There are two key obstacles that smartphones need to clear before they can become a trusted part of the security network though. Firstly, that they are secure enough to be trusted as part of a security network, and secondly that they can reliably identify an authorised user in a real-world environment. Many smart devices already securely bind the mobile device with the right person by using 2-factor authentication. For example, this could combine a PIN code with the fingerprint or face of the authorised individual. In areas with particularly high security, you could also implement a wall-mounted biometric reader (fingerprint, facial recognition or iris scan) to add a further level of protection and ensure there is no wrongful use of the mobile device. Security tokens or access cards are typically rigid in their programming, only allowing access to certain areas Security by location With its many and varied functions, undoubtedly one of the most useful systems on any smartphone is its GPS location tracking. It’s also a perfect tool to assist with security systems interaction.A benefit of using smart device authentication is the cost savings over operating traditional tokens Consider any secure facility – it will feature different levels of access. This can vary from a humble canteen and break-out areas, right through to secured doors around potentially dangerous or highly sensitive areas - such as plant rooms, or even a nuclear facility! Security tokens or access cards are typically rigid in their programming, only allowing access to certain areas. A smartphone, however, can be granted or denied access depending on the location of the request by the individual – GPS literally adds a level of extra intelligence to security. Personal items Using QR codes seem to be a simple but reliable identity and access control authentication option Mobile devices tend to be guarded and protected with the same concern as your money or your keys. Many of us literally carry our mobile device everywhere with us, so they are relatively unlikely to be misplaced or lost – certainly in comparison to a key card for example. Also, think about how often you use or hold your smartphone – some estimates suggest 2,600 times each day! With that level of interaction, you’ll be aware very quickly if it’s been misplaced, not least because of the inconvenience and cost to replace it. This level of personal connection makes it perfect for use with security systems. Cost savings Another obvious benefit of using smart device authentication is the cost savings over operating traditional tokens. No more plastic badges, access cards, lanyards, printers and consumables used to administer security. This is something the security industry really needs to shout about! It will come as no surprise to hear that smartphones are exceptionally common too. Figures suggest that in 2015 there were nearly 41m in use in the UK and this is predicted to rise to 54m by 2022. With the UK population being just over 65m, that is a very high percentage of people already carrying this technology. Using a resource that people already have, and which is highly secure, makes unquestionable financial as well as practical sense. GPS location tracking is a perfect tool to assist with security systems interaction Integrated technology Agreeing on common and shared open protocols has unfortunately been one of the stumbling blocks for the security industry in adapting to a predominantly smartphone authentication approach. NFC (Near Field Communications) technology in mobile phones and smart devices has failed to be the universal success it promised.Not everyone has an iPhone, but it is such an important segment of the market for customers Mobile technology trends have dictated to the systems that use it. Apple’s earlier (Pre iOS 11) decision to restrict the use of NFC to Apple Pay on its devices has had a profound effect on the implementation of NFC in other applications too. Not everyone has an iPhone, but it is such an important segment of the market that other manufacturers are wary of how customers will be able to use any new technology. We have seen a much bigger focus on using Bluetooth Low Energy technology on mobile devices instead. With providers such as HID Global, STid in France and Nedap in the Netherlands now concentrating on developing Bluetooth Low Energy readers and mobile credential applications, this seems like a highly credible alternative. Along with NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy options, there also seems to be a lot of interest in using QR codes as simple but reliable identity and access control authentication. These can easily be displayed on a screen or printed if necessary, giving great flexibility over the type of technology that is used in the future. Upgrading existing security systems There are strong arguments for many businesses to continue using MIFARE+ systems if they suit operations well We are steadily seeing the signs of smartphone authentication replacing the cards and tokens we have been familiar with. However, many consumers still want options rather than to just be railroaded down one path. A business that has invested in cards or tokens will want to use that technology investment fully. The changes will come when readers are updated – this is when security specifiers and installers need to promote the advantages of dual-technology readers, which offer options to include smartphone authentication into the mix. There is still considerable diversity amongst smart devices, the operating systems they use, and the security technology employed by each. Android, Apple iOS and Blackberry devices all vary with regards to the biometric authentication available, so security administrators may need to be flexible on the types of authentication they accept. Interestingly, card technology has also progressed at an astonishing speed too – with MIFARE+ proving to be a highly cost-effective, practical and secure system that can easily be integrated. There are strong arguments for many businesses to continue using these systems if they suit operations well. NFC (Near Field Communications) technology in mobile phones and smart devices has failed to be the universal success it promised Hybrid systems A hybrid approach may be the best answer for many security operators. This means those who choose to enjoy the benefits in terms of flexibility and convenience of smartphone authentication can do so, whilst those who are more hesitant can continue to use more traditional methods. A hybrid approach may be the best answer for many security operators Larger organisations may find that the swap over is a slower and more gradual process, whilst smaller start-up businesses may prefer to jump to a smartphone-based approach straight away. If security systems are well integrated but modular in their approach, then it becomes much simpler to evolve as time goes on. Embracing the benefits Using their app-based systems architecture, smartphones are ideally placed to evolve with security systems in the future. There are many benefits for the security industry and our customers, but we need to remember that this move will involve a culture change for many security operators and users. The security industry needs to be mindful and respectful of any anxiety, but also be positive and promote the considerable benefits mobile authentication offers.
Over the past few years, biometrics has rapidly expanded into consumer applications, like the financial market for customer authentication, to payment services and withdrawing cash from ATMs in high-fraud markets. However, its adoption as an additional authentication factor for physical access control systems (PACS) and other enterprise applications, hasn’t been as rapid. But this is changing. Biometrics offers numerous benefits at the door and throughout the enterprise. With the advent of new anti-spoofing capabilities, and its integration into secure trust platforms that protect privacy and support a variety of RFID credential technologies, biometric authentication is poised to deliver a much higher matching speed and better overall performance. This will dramatically improve an organisation's security, whilst enhancing user convenience.Newer solutions are overcoming security and convenience hurdles to help realise the full potential of biometrics Challenges for biometric authentication Biometrics fuses convenience and security while validating “true identity” versus identity that is associated to the possession of an ID card. As an example, biometrics prevents a user from taking someone else’s card and obtaining access to privileged resources. This adds the human element to traditional methods of authentication, strengthening security by combining something the user “is” with something the user “has” or “knows.” According to the firm ABI Research in its May 2018 study, Biometric Technologies and Applications, the total fingerprint sensor shipments for the entire consumer market is “estimated to reach 1.2 billion worldwide for 2018, thus ensuring its market dominance.”It has been far too easy for fraudsters to create a fake fingerprint and present it to a reader Despite the benefits of fingerprint authentication in numerous consumer applications, there have been impediments to its broader adoption in the enterprise. While price has been one big roadblock, there have also historically been other reasons for its slower-than-expected growth. First, many technologies are still vulnerable to spoofs and hacking. It has been far too easy for fraudsters to create a fake fingerprint and present it to a reader. Equally troublesome, older products have not been able to move users through the doors as fast as a simple ID card and reader. In general, all fingerprint capture technologies are not equal amongst older products, and there can be significant differences in performance. Developing Technology Performance Newer solutions are overcoming these security and convenience hurdles to help realise the full potential of biometrics. Their development has focused on three key areas: How fingerprint images are captured – if the image can’t be properly captured, the rest of the process fails The implementation of liveness detection to enhance trust – even in the case when the image is properly captured, if it is fake the system cannot be trusted Optimising performance through a combination of new technology and algorithms, whilst ensuring interoperability so the performance can be trusted. The skin is illuminated at different depths to deliver much richer data about the surface and sub-surface features of the fingerprint Optimising capture The quality of the captured image is critical, across all types of fingerprints and environments. Many customers choose sensors that use multispectral imaging because it collects information from inside the finger to augment available surface fingerprint data. The skin is illuminated at different depths to deliver much richer data about the surface and sub-surface features of the fingerprint The skin is illuminated at different depths to deliver much richer data about the surface and sub-surface features of the fingerprint. Additionally, the sensor collects data from the finger even if the skin has poor contact with the sensor, because of environmental conditions such as water or finger contamination. Multispectral sensors work for the broadest range of people with normal, wet, dry or damaged fingers, across the widest range of usage conditions – from lotions or grease to sunlight to wet or cold conditions. The sensors also resist damage from harsh cleaning products and contamination from dirt and sunlight. Liveness detection Liveness detection is the ability to determine that the biometric data captured by the fingerprint reader is from a real living person, not a plastic fake or other artificial copy. An increasingly visible dimension of biometric performance in commercial applications, liveness detection is critical for preserving trust in the integrity of biometrics authentication. At the same time, it must not impede performance or result in excessive false user rejections.While liveness detection optimises performance, it is also important to ensure that this performance can be trusted The most trusted multispectral imaging fingerprint sensors with liveness detection provide a real-time determination that the biometric captures are genuine and are being presented by the legitimate owner, rather than someone impersonating them. This capability leverages the image-capture approach of using different colors or spectrum of light to measure the surface and subsurface data within a fingerprint. In addition to this optical system, the biometrics sensor features several core components, including an embedded processor that analyses the raw imaging data to ensure that the sample being imaged is a genuine human finger rather than an artificial or spoof material. Advanced machine learning techniques are used so the solution can adapt and respond to new threats and spoofs as they are identified. While liveness detection and the underlying capture technology optimises performance, it is also important to ensure that this performance can be trusted. This requires adequate testing to ensure interoperability with template matching algorithms. The first requirement for incorporating biometrics into a physical access control solution is a secure trust platform Trusted performance The top-performing solutions capture usable biometric data on the first attempt for every user. They also speed the process of determining that the biometric data is not a fake, and they quickly perform template matching to reject impostors and match legitimate users.The card/mobile plus finger mode is one of the fastest-growing two-factor authentication use cases for securing access to both physical and digital places To trust this performance, though, the focus must be elsewhere: on interoperability with template-matching algorithms. Extensive interoperability testing must be performed by skilled and independent third parties like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) so that performance data can actually be trusted in all template-matching modes, and not simply a vendor claim. Template matching modes Template-on-card and card/mobile + finger modes using “1:1” template-matching profiles authenticates a person’s identity by comparing the person’s captured biometric template with one that is pre-stored in a database. Template-on-device mode for finger-only authentication using “1:N” matching compares the person’s captured biometric template against all stored biometric templates in the system). The card/mobile plus finger mode is one of the fastest-growing two-factor authentication use cases for securing access to both physical and digital places.Cryptography prevents any man-in-the-middle attacks while also protecting the biometric database As an example of how to deliver trusted performance, HID Global uses the top-ranked NIST certified MINEX III minutia algorithm to ensure interoperability with industry-standard fingerprint template databases. This interoperability ensures that today’s systems, which are based on much more powerful hardware than in the past, will perform accurate 1:N identification of a full database in less than a second. Physical access control integration The first requirement for incorporating biometrics into a physical access control solution is a secure trust platform designed to meet the concerns of accessibility and data protection in a connected environment. The platform should leverage credential technology that employs encryption and a software-based infrastructure to secure trusted identities on any form factor for physical access control, access to IT networks and beyond. Cryptography prevents any man-in-the-middle attacks while also protecting the biometric database. This system also must encompass remote management of all readers and users, spanning all onboarding as well as template loading and enrolment activities for supported authentication modes. Properly implemented, biometrics solutions with liveness detection also protect privacy – if you can’t use a fake finger, it is meaningless Other important focus areas include configuration and administration, plus all logs, reports and monitoring.New system architectures and data models have been created to protect personal information and maintain user privacy It should be possible to manage biometric readers as groups or individually over the network, and tools should be available to allow system administrators to manage all configuration settings from time and data to language, security and synchronisation. The system should enable continuous live monitoring of authentication, alerts and system health, and provide a rich set of associated reporting tools. There are also backend implementation decisions to be made, including how a biometric authentication system will be seamlessly integrated into third-party systems. This is another major pain point of biometric technology. To simplify deployment, application programming interfaces (APIs) should be available for direct integration of the biometrics authentication solution with the access control infrastructure. Privacy considerations Properly implemented, biometrics solutions with liveness detection also protect privacy – if you can’t use a fake finger, then even if you did obtain someone’s fingerprint data, it is meaningless. Strong and updatable liveness protection is critical if biometrics are to eliminate the need to use PINs or passwords.Strong and updatable liveness protection is critical if biometrics are to eliminate the need to use PINs or passwords Biometrics data must be handled like all sensitive and identifying information, and properly architected system designs will always consider and protect against both internal and external threats and attacks. New system architectures and data models have been created to protect personal information and maintain user privacy. Beyond the encryption of the data itself, there are now many good alternatives available for building highly secure and well protected systems, including the use of multi-factor and even multi-modal authentication to maintain security even if some identifying data is compromised. Today’s modern fingerprint authentication solutions are on a fast track to deliver a unique combination of ease of use, availability and convenience and higher security to physical access control systems. With their latest improvements in liveness detection, system architectures, performance and ability to be easily incorporated into access control solutions, they seamlessly combine security and convenience to make them a viable option when accessing a facility, networks and services. These solutions deliver a higher confidence of “who” is being admitted through the building’s front door, where it really matters.
Surveillance systems can track the locations of mobile phone users and spy on their calls, texts and data streams. The Washington Post has reported on such systems that are being turned against travellers around the world, according to security experts and U.S. officials. The summer season highlights the need to take extra precautions when travelling. When travelling anywhere in the world, for business or pleasure, citizens need to be aware of and alert to looming physical and cybersecurity threats. To elaborate on expert security tips, strategies and advice for traveling this summer, we presented several questions to The Chertoff Group, a global security advisory firm that enables clients to navigate changes in security risk, technology and policy. Chris Duvall, Senior Director at The Chertoff Group, offers insights into cybersecurity concerns, physical security precautions, and recommends digital resources/apps for consumers while traveling. Q: How are security risks – physical and digital – changing? Why are threats greater today than five years ago? The exponential number of headlines over the past few years is a strong indication that both physical and digital risks are evolving and increasing Duvall: The exponential number of headlines over the past few years is a strong indication that both physical and digital risks are evolving and increasing. The scope, severity and complexity of physical and cyber risks are increasing and becoming more dangerous and destructive. This is especially true for those travelling outside the U.S. On the physical side, threat actors are actively seeking “soft targets” – public events, social settings, mass audience venues, etc. – to communicate their message, sow chaos and inflict catastrophic harm. On the digital or cyber side, we have seen a shift from “thrill hacking,” to an increase of “hacking as a business” (through credential compromise and ransomware), to an increase in “hacking for harm” - with the rise of “nuke ware” and ransomware without a clear financial motivation. Q. What specific precautions should a traveller take to protect their calls, texts and data streams from being spied on? Duvall: When travelling abroad, we recommend to our clients that their personnel and executives should practice good internet and social media hygiene. Some best practices include: Avoid using public Wi-Fi services—unless you use private VPN service for encryption Increase the privacy setting on your technical devices Disable location identifiers on apps Create a new (unlinked) email for internet correspondence Consider purchasing international MyFi devices to decrease the risk of getting your personal identification information (PII) or protected healthcare information (PHI) stolen Use temporary (i.e. burner) phones to protect your data and your contacts Q. What cybersecurity concerns are likely to impact travellers? Are the threats greater outside the United States or in any specific parts of the world? Significant precautions should be taken to protect personal electronic devices (PEDs) and the data connected to PEDs Duvall: The international cybersecurity landscape has grown increasingly dynamic, with threats posed by government authorities (in some countries), terrorists, insurgents, and criminals, requiring travelers to be proactive and vigilant. U.S. citizens, particularly executives of U.S.-based technology companies, must be aware that they are considered high-value targets for nation-state intelligence services and criminally-motivated bad actors. Many countries will go to great lengths and expense to acquire and exploit proprietary information from U.S.-based companies, and views U.S. executives visiting the country as “soft” targets of opportunity. As such, significant precautions should be taken to protect personal electronic devices (PEDs) and the data connected to PEDs. The tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) utilised by bad actors are often covert and nearly undetectable by the affected person. Threat actors routinely access, monitor and utilise Wi-Fi networks at hotels and in public spaces to compromise target devices. Other targeting methods include luggage searches, extensive questioning, and unnecessary inspection and downloading of information from personal electronic devices. There are numerous, high-risk countries for which the U.S. Government warns travellers to be wary of mobile malware, mobile device privacy attacks and hot spots for mobile botnets. The U.S. Department of State has the most recent and up-to-date list. For example, the U.S. Government has investigated numerous incidents in which U.S. travellers’ PEDs (personal and company devices) have been compromised by Russian authorities while transiting Russian airports, left unattended in public spaces and in travellers’ hotel rooms. When travelling to an unfamiliar place, research your destination to understand the local roads and transportation, geography, local roads, culture, etiquette and laws Q: What physical security precautions should a traveller take? Duvall: Here are some useful precautions: When traveling to an unfamiliar place, research your destination to understand the local roads and transportation, geography, local roads, culture, etiquette and laws. Protect your personal information and travel itinerary as much as possible. Limit the amount of jewelry worn, cash, credit cards and electronic devices carried while traveling. Avoid staying on the ground floor of a hotel. Consider choosing a room on the 2nd through 7th floors as these rooms may be more difficult to break into than those on the ground level, but still able to be accessed by fire/emergency response equipment. Never answer your hotel room door for anyone until you’ve determined who they are, why they are at your door, and if it is necessary for you to open the door to interact with them. Carry a rubber door stop/wedge with you to install on the room side of the door before you go to bed. Vary your patterns and routines when venturing out in to a new location, do not become predictable. Politely decline offers of food or drink from strangers (If you do accept beverages, ensure that they are in sealed containers and that there is no evidence of tampering). Never discuss your itinerary, personal, business or other sensitive information where others can hear you. Q: How can companies be proactive in protecting their business travellers? Companies should educate their employees on the importance of maintaining good internet hygiene while travelling abroad Duvall: When travelling on business, companies should provide their employees with clean computers and cell phones before departure. Upon return, the company should immediately wipe the computer clean to prevent any malicious threats from penetrating the company’s internal, cyber-infrastructure. Additionally, companies should educate their employees on the importance of maintaining good internet hygiene and recommend their employees disconnect from social media platforms while travelling abroad. Some general tips to recommend to your employees when travelling abroad include: Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (https://step.state.gov/step/) Visit Travel.State.Gov to view travel related information specific to the country or countries you’re visiting, including local US Embassy or Consulate contact information, as well as current travel advisories and alerts. Always leave a copy of your transportation and hotel itinerary and driver’s license (or passport if travelling internationally) with a family member or trusted friend. Always use a baggage tag with a protective cover Avoid using public Wi-Fi services Q: What digital resources and/or apps might a traveller benefit from (and how)? Duvall: The Chertoff Group recommends researching the below travel-related apps before departing on a trip: TravWell: This app provides destination-specific vaccine recommendations, a checklist of what you need to do to prepare for travel, and a customisable healthy travel packing list. The app can store travel documents, keep records of medications and immunisations, and set reminders to get vaccine booster doses or take medicines. My TSA: This app provides real-time updates on airport delays. It includes how long security lines are at various airports; information about what you can and cannot bring onto an airplane; and a frequently-asked question list, including new advanced imaging technology. Border Wait Time: The app provides estimated wait times and open-lane status at land ports of entry, which may be particularly helpful when in an area with multiple crossings. Mobile Pass: The Mobile Passport app speeds you through U.S. Customs and Border Protection at (1) cruise port and (24) airports Q: As a security expert, what’s your best advice for travellers? Duvall: At the end of the day, travel security is not rocket science. Simply put, travellers need to: Be aware and situationally alert at all times. Be aware and situationally alert to the location of your luggage and carry-ons at all times. Don’t access unknown, unsecured or public Wi-Fi if at all possible. Turn off “auto connect” features and institute stringent privacy controls as much as possible. Try to “blend in” – you don’t have to try to look like a local but travellers should avoid gaudy and expensive attire wherever possible. Use your common sense – if an offer, invitation or opportunity seems to good to be true... it probably is.
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