Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Manage up to 96 Doors with this Access Control System

DMP is one of our leading and trusted manufacturers. They offer an access control system that has the ability to manage up to 96 doors to help keep unwanted people out of certain areas of your business.

The XR550 Series Access/Burglary/Fire Panel is the most capable panel in the DMP lineup. And now it's even better, with the ability to manage up to 96 doors.  You have the option to offer security and access control as a managed service, or you can give your customer complete control.  With the XR550’s built-in Network communications customers can monitor and manage their panel from anywhere via or the DMP Virtual Keypad™ App.

For more information on access control click here.

Article originally published by DMP.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

IP 2000 Family Video Cameras for Residential Customers

We believe in keeping your personnel and property safe and secure at all times. This is not only a question of installing the proper hardware, but also the assurance that alarms are triggered when needed, and video data is recorded and safely stored. This means you can always review what happened, regardless of time and place.

The IP 2000 family offers models for either more visible or discrete indoor video surveillance. By smartly combining cameras and recording solutions you can tailor and scale your IP video solution to perfectly fit your needs. With the IP 2000 family, we offer a cost-effective solution especially designed for small retail businesses and homes.

For more information about the IP 2000 family click here.

Article originally published by Bosch.

Friday, February 05, 2016

The 5 Trends that Could Make Your Security Operation More Cost-Effective in 2016

These top five operational security trends will help deal with emerging security threats, extreme weather conditions and endless operational challenges in 2016.

Lean operations are in, more so than ever. Heightened security threats, extreme weather conditions and a tough macro-economy environment are all putting a significant burden on public sector organisations such as airports, public transport, the DoT and others.
These organisations will be tasked with performing significantly more activities in 2016.
Alas, budgets will not rise at the same rate – making lean operations more imperative than ever. In order to achieve leaner operations, many organisations are likely to adopt the following operational trends this year.
1. Power to the people
One of the most effective ways to empower personnel to make the right decisions is to provide situational awareness and situational management mobile applications to field employees.
These types of applications streamline the flow of information among field personnel and control room operators and facilitate a faster, more effective response to unfolding events, while ensuring that the handling of any situation is guided by the organisation’s best practices. In turn, this mitigates risk and potential damage.
2. Zero-latency organisations
Executives and managers need the capability to gauge performance in real time. The term ‘zero-latency organisation’ was coined to describe real-time visibility of an organisation’s operation at any given time, specifically an unfolding field situation via a dashboard.  With it, management can view a situation and intervene immediately so that it can be mitigated and remediated.
3. KPI visualisation
Together with the immediate detection of SLA (service level agreement) violations, KPI visualisation complements the zero latency trend.
Management not only better understands what is happening thanks to KPI visualisation but is also empowered to better handle the situation by knowing whether current performance is within the normal range. The KPI visualisation trend ensures that management has a comprehensive view of operational performance across multiple domains and geographies.
4. Monitoring leading indicators
With the accelerated expansion of IoT (Internet of Things) organisations will accumulate far more data in 2016 than they did previously. A recent Gartner report predicts that IoT devices will encompass more than 6.4 billion connected objects in use by 2016, a 30% rise from 2015, and will reach nearly 21 billion connected devices by 2020.
AoT (Analytic of Things) will further gain momentum this year, bringing with it the ability to detect the deterioration of infrastructure and assets such as roads, railway tracks and runways, as well as building management machinery such as pumps, pipes, escalators, elevators and much more.
The ability to proactively detect sensor anomalies, which often serve as a precursor to failure, will allow organisations to reduce maintenance costs while minimising service disruptions.
5. Return on Learning (ROL)
This trendy term augments the classic ROI model, by mining an organisation’s performance data. This allows organisations to detect things such as process/SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) inefficiencies and identify teams or individuals that exhibit sub-optimal performance when compared to an organisation’s benchmarks.
This analytical approach is based on proven continuous improvement methodologies such as Six Sigma.  This approach takes the guessing game out of resource and funding allocation, ensuring that resources are yielding maximum effectiveness.
Running lean and doing more with less are trends that never go out of fashion – in 2016 these business needs will be as dominant as ever. Public sector organisations such as airports, public transport and the DoT will continue to see strong public demand for better services, while at the same time the complexity of the events and possible threats that they need to be prepared for are significantly greater than what we’ve seen in previous years.
The trends outlined here will allow organisations to establish lean operations that are more cost-effective. And as a result, every dollar saved will go straight to the bottom line.
Article originally published by IFSEC Global on January 18, 2016.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

The Security, Operational and Financial Benefits of Upgrading Access Control Infrastructure

The security landscape is changing at a rapid pace.

The emergence of new threats as new channels are introduced and the increasing sophistication of criminals has forced organisations to re-evaluate their security strategy. Nevertheless, many avoid or delay change, commonly due to concerns over IT budgets or disruptions to productivity and workflow.
But change can also be interpreted as an opportunity for proactive improvement.
There are also other factors besides anticipating and preventing increased threats and improving existing (and often inadequate) card-based security. Increased user demand for more convenience and a seamless user experience creates a compelling argument for a platform that supports multiple applications on a single smart card or, in the future, a mobile device.
Simultaneously, organisations must also cope with infrastructural IT changes that increasingly impact the physical access control infrastructure.
But no organisation has a crystal ball to tell them what their needs might be in five or 10 years time. Thanks to growing interoperability between applications, however, end users increasingly have the ability not just to meet today’s security requirements but give their systems the agility to adapt to future needs.
While migration from legacy to today’s technology does require some investment, there will be a return on that budget commitment. From lower insurance premiums due to better risk management to the costs saved by preventing disasters, which could impact both the workforce and customers, the benefits are numerous.
One major concern for organisations is preserving earlier infrastructure investments as they move to new technologies and capabilities. The issue is that legacy security solutions are vulnerable in today’s threat landscape; their proprietary, static technology makes them easy targets, and they can’t support new technologies and capabilities.
Organisations could end up with a weakened defence, costly maintenance on older systems, and frustrated users who demand a better experience.
Organisations need dynamic solutions that are adaptable to their changing needs and industry best practices, with these three factors paramount:
Interoperability and leveraging standards:  Organisations such as the Security Industry Association (SIA), The Smart Card Alliance, Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) and Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF) are addressing the challenge of ensuring that access control components and the ‘connections’ between them continue to function and deliver the intended functionality.
A prime example is the SIA’s Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) and companion Secure Channel Protocol (SCP) for reader communications. These protocols replace legacy, unsecured Wiegand technology to provide bidirectional, multi-dropped communication over an RS485 link, extending security from card reader to access controller. At the same time, users are able to reconfigure, poll and query readers from a central system, thereby reducing costs and improving reader servicing.
Adaptability: Earlier technologies such as proximity-based cards are static in their evolution, making them easier for criminals to target. Newer, high-frequency contactless smart cards exist within a larger identity ecosystem that is significantly more dynamic. Unlike their predecessors, contactless cards are not anchored to obsolete software, devices, protocols and products, therefore they ensure the access control infrastructure’s ability to facilitate change.
Simplicity:  The latest open and adaptable access control platforms deliver a single, media-independent and mobile-ready solution for all applications and environments.  This makes is possible for organisations to support different types of smart cards and readers and migrate users as needed. Multi-technology encoders also ensure minimal disruption when moving from incumbent cards and onto contactless cards.
When it comes to physical access control, change needn’t be an interruption, distraction or reaction to an attack; instead, it can provide a leadership opportunity. With the right approach, organisations can meet today’s needs and easily and inexpensively expand and upgrade their systems to adopt new technologies when they are needed in the future.
Article originally published by IFSEC Global on December 14, 2015.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

What you need to know about chip-embedded credit cards

Banks have been sending millions of Americans credit and debit cards equipped with computer chips to improve the security of in-store purchases.

Meanwhile, banks and credit card companies are pushing merchants to upgrade their payment terminals so they can read the chips on the cards and bring the U.S. in line with credit card security used in much of the rest of the world.

The conversion process from older magnetic stripe cards to chip cards has sped up in recent months because of an Oct. 1 deadline. That's the day when liability for credit card fraud will shift from banks to merchants or the party using the least-secure technology. Credit card users, who won't bear liability for fraud, are unlikely to notice the deadline at all.

However, card users might want to know what's happening so they'll be ready when lines form at checkout lanes this holiday shopping season because merchants will have begun deploying chip-card readers. Some industry analysts say chaos will ensue because chip cards take a few seconds longer to read than magnetic stripe cards, and some customers and store clerks will be unfamiliar with how to use them.

The following is information you can share with other shoppers (after Oct. 1) if you happen to be (patiently) waiting in line at the checkout counter.

What's a chip card?

A chip card, also called a smart card, is a credit or debit card with a computer chip embedded in the face of the card. That's the only difference in its appearance. Nearly all of the chip cards that banks are sending their customers still have magnetic stripes that will be used by stores that don't have chip-card readers. Magnetic stripe technology is decades old and is still widely used in the U.S. even though it is relatively easy to hack.

According to industry estimates, about half of the 12 million card readers at payment terminals in the U.S. will be converted to support chip cards by the end of 2015. Meanwhile, there are about 1.2 billion debit and credit cards in circulation among the 335 million people who live in the U.S. Eight major banks account for half of the U.S. card volume; they estimate that nearly two-thirds of their cards will be reissued as chip cards by the end of the year.

There are 3.4 billion chip cards in use worldwide, primarily in 80 countries, according to the EMV Connection website. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the companies that originally developed chip cards.

The numbers are important because there won't be a complete conversion to chip cards for many years. It took Canada about eight years to reach 90% conversion to chip cards. Major retailers like Wal-Mart have been converting payment terminals to support chip cards for years.

How do I use a chip card?, a website supported by major banks and credit card companies, posted a three-step illustration for how to use a chip card. Step 1 is to insert the card at the bottom of the terminal, with the chip toward the terminal facing up. That's instead of swiping the magnetic stripe along the side of the machine.

Many new terminals will support both methods, as well as NFC payments via smartphones and smart watches such as the latest iPhones or the Apple Watch, which use Apple Pay. NFC payments are usually done by just touching, or nearly touching, a device to a payment terminal and entering a confirmation on the phone. In addition to “touch and pay” with a smartphone, some retailers like Rite-Aid will support the ability to touch the terminal with a chip card to pay.

As the GoChipCard graphic notes, a key detail of the first step is that users should not remove the card from the reader "until prompted." Analysts have noted that, on the first few tries, U.S. shoppers who are accustomed to swiping magnetic stripes may be likely to remove their chip cards quickly. Sales clerks will have to be ready for this -- and patient enough to remind users to leave the cards in place until the terminal beeps or a light goes on, or until the clerk gives the customer the thumbs up. There are more than 20 vendors of payment terminals, and they have varying methods for confirming that a sale is complete and that a card can be removed.

There are a wide variety of chip card payment terminals, but they mostly look alike, as indicated in the illustration. Some will be attached to a pedestal, just as older magnetic-stripe card readers are today. The terminals will almost all have a keypad to capture a PIN (personal identification number) and a screen and a digital pen to capture a signatures.

Step 2 in the graphic is to "provide your signature or PIN as prompted by the terminal." Many retailers won't require either, especially if the transaction is for a small amount, usually under $25. There's disagreement in the industry about whether a signature or a PIN will be required for larger purchases, but the decision will be made by the banks issuing the cards. (More on that below.)

Step 3 is to remove your card when the transaction is complete. As mentioned above, different terminals may have different ways to indicate that it's OK to remove the card.

Are chip cards really more secure, and are they necessary?

Yes. Chip cards are light years ahead of magnetic stripe cards in terms of security. The main thing to know is that the chip in the card is communicating with the network behind the terminal to enhance security instead of just forwarding your card number and related data to the network, as with the magnetic stripe approach.

The chip can communicate a unique encrypted token (or an alias) with the network with your actual credit card number. When the token reaches your bank, it is decrypted so the bank can verify your account and then authorize payment. This all happens in a few seconds or less.

As to whether the security is necessary, the answer is again, yes, especially for banks, but not necessarily for card users. Obviously, it is in everyone's interest to reduce fraud where possible, and banks have long said that customers aren't held liable for fraud. That policy of keeping customers harmless will continue with chip cards. Enhancing security helps banks reduce the cost of paying for stolen card numbers and stolen merchandise, which theoretically keeps costs in check for average bank customers. In countries where chip cards have been used for years, as in Europe and Canada, fraud rates have dropped dramatically.

So if the chip makes the card so secure, why do I need a PIN or a signature?

The main reason for a PIN or signature is to provide the merchant (and the bank behind the card) further evidence that the user of the card is the actual owner of the card. If your card is lost or stolen, even with a chip, it can still potentially be used by someone else.

There's an ongoing debate as to whether a signature will really provide that added layer of security, since chip terminals don't verify in real-time that a signature belongs to the person using the card. The signature used by somebody committing fraud could be helpful in a subsequent investigation of fraud (using handwriting analysis), or a fastidious sales clerk might ask to see another card or form of identification to compare signatures.

A PIN is considered unique, but it can be stolen, even by a thief who watched a cardholder type in a PIN on a terminal before stealing the card. (That kind of theft is rare in the U.S. ) Some merchants want to avoid the added cost of terminals that have keypads, but nearly all the terminals being installed will have them. Another potential problem is that people who have never used PINs might have trouble remembering them.

Several industry officials said that MasterCard has indicated support for chip-and-PIN security with credit cards, while Visa has supported the chip-and-signature approach in various public remarks. However, an official at Visa recently told Computerworld that Visa has no official preference, and some analysts consider MasterCard neutral on the matter. Some banks that issue both types of cards have been issuing MasterCard chip cards with a PIN requirement and Visa chip cards with a signature requirement.

The jury is still out on signature vs. PIN, and banks will be weighing preferences of consumers in coming months. In other words, it is entirely possible that come Oct. 1, average customers might not know if their cards require a PIN or a signature unless they're informed by their banks. It's possible that some may not find out until they're in line to make a chip-based purchase for the first time.

What about when I shop online with a chip card?

The chip in the card offers no improvement in security when you're using your credit card number to shop online. It will be the same as if the card were a magnetic stripe card. If you happen to have a small portable chip card reader, then the enhanced security could come into play, assuming the seller on the other end could accept that kind of data. An artist selling paintings or a small merchant using chip-reading technology provided by Square or another vendor would still need to read an actual chip card in person, even though the transaction would almost seem to be online.

What's the significance of this Oct. 1 deadline?

Banks and card companies set Oct. 1 as the day when the liability for losses from card fraud will be transferred from banks to merchants, or the party with the least-secure technology.

The liability shift means that if a someone tries to buy a $500 espresso machine with a stolen card that doesn't have an embedded chip, and the merchant accepts the card, the merchant would take the loss, not the bank.

There's really no deadline for consumers, who will continue to be protected by banks against liability due to fraud. Consumers will still need to report lost or stolen cards, of course.

Major merchants that are making the conversion and are worried about their new found liability will likely require shoppers to use chip cards after Oct. 1. It isn't clear how much backlash will come from customers who aren't prepared. People who have only magnetic strip cards will probably be permitted to complete their transactions with a normal swipe. In such situations, the liability would fall back onto the bank that issued the non-compliant card, according to Jordan McKee, an analyst at 451 Research.

It's possible that some small merchants who have been accepting magnetic strip cards but don't have the ability to process chip cards will stop accepting cards and will insist on payment by cash or check. A number of companies,like Square, sell chip card readers for small businesses, and PayPal is expected to offer one this fall.

Come on, isn't this conversion to chip cards going to be a breeze?

The process of converting to chip cards would seem to be easy, but perhaps only to technically minded people. Americans have used magnetic swipe cards for decades and the practice is entrenched. And store clerks might, or might not, be trained to help customers use the new chip card payment terminals.

"Never underestimate how difficult it is to change entrenched behaviors," said McKee of 451 Research. "Card issuers are already uneasy about the change in the process from swiping a card [with a magnetic stripe] to dipping [inserting]" a card with a chip.

To show how the transaction process could work with chip cards, Computerworld recently attempted to make a large purchase using a Bank of America MasterCard debit card with a chip at a new chip-enabled terminal in a Wal-Mart in Harrisonburg, Va. After three failed attempts to pay by inserting the card into the chip reader, the transaction was successfully completed with a swipe of the card's magnetic stripe. The clerk said it should have worked as a chip card.

Wal-Mart and Bank of America didn't respond when asked to comment about the incident in the Virginia store, but there are still about seven weeks until Oct. 1, when theoretically Wal-Mart expects to be ready for chip transactions and meet the liability deadline. Or, perhaps, that simple test is a foreshadowing of problems to come.

"The U.S. is transitioning to chip cards during the onset of the holiday shopping season," McKee noted. "The combination of long queues, impatient shoppers and a new process for card transactions will not be pretty. Chaos will ensue ... It will be messy."

In interviews, officials at both Visa and MasterCard have indicated that they hope their public information campaigns through and other venues will enhance public understanding of the conversion.

Carolyn Balfany, senior vice president of U.S. product delivery at MasterCard, said in an interview in late June, "We certainly don't think that the consumer should fumble through" using a new chip card.

The site was designed to provide clear, simple instructions -- such as the caveat to resist the impulse to remove the card quickly, she said. Variations in the way chip card terminals work should be apparent. "Hopefully that stuff will be minimized, but we'll still have variation," she said.

It's safe to say that merchants, banks, card companies and consumers will all have their collective fingers crossed in coming weeks as the advent of chip cards approaches.

Article originally published by Matt Hamblen - Computerworld on August 12, 2015.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Burglar-Proof Your Home With These Safe Home Tips

An economic recession affects everyone, even robbers. When money is short, more people turn to crime and those already involved tend to get more desperate.
According to a new survey by the Police Executive Research Forum, nearly half of police departments have reported an increase in certain crimes they say can be attributed to the economic crisis -- including home burglaries.
With more houses sitting empty due to foreclosures, once safe neighborhoods are becoming more tempting to looters.
But there are ways to keep your home safe from even the most dogged burglars without breaking the bank.
"Good Morning America" housing contributor and Wall Street Journal editor Wendy Bounds knows a thing or two about home security and compiled some tips, with the help of Consumer Report's Shop Smart, for burglar-proofing your home on the cheap.

Before Robbers Decide on Your House: Make It Unappealing to Them

"You make it as difficult and frustrating as possible for thieves to break in, so you create multiple layers that a thief must get through in order to gain access to your home," Bounds said. "You want your house to be the least appealing to thieves on the block. And you can do that by dissuading them from even coming up your driveway."
 Don't put out a calling card with boxes of expensive items, like the flat-screen TV you just bought. You're advertising all the great loot that's inside your house. Keep all that stuff in the garage until garbage day.
 Don't leave mail piled up in the mailbox if you're away. Again, you're telling the thieves what's going on, that you're not home.
 Take your name off the mailbox altogether. These days with Google and the Internet, it's very easy to find your phone number online, then the thief can call and see if you're home.
 Finally, light up the house. Scare off those burglars with motion-sensor lights. Look for ones with adjustable sensitivity to avoid getting a false alarm from things like tree branches rustling. And keep the outside of your home illuminated an all sides using energy efficient compact fluorescents.

If They Pick Your House: Make It Hard to Get In

"If they've made it through, then they're wondering how they can get inside. Make it as hard as possible for them to think about that with landscaping," Bounds said. "If they're up at the window and peering in, don't have a calling card for what's inside."
 Shrubs can make a great deterrent to getting into the house, but keep them low enough to make sure burglars can't hide there, and that your neighbors can see what's going on in your yard. Some safety experts suggest the three-foot-by-six-foot rule, keeping shrubs down to three feet in height and keeping tree branches pruned up to six feet off the ground. Consider thorny shrubs or rose bushes to add an extra deterrent.
 Close the blinds when you're not home so they can't peruse the items in your house and decide you have something worth stealing.
 Make sure you don't give obvious clues that you're not home.
 Turn down the telephone ringer, so burglars won't hear you aren't there.
 Make the house seem like someone is home with lamps or a radio on a timer.

If They Try to Break In: Consider Tough Glass, Alarm System

Alarm systems are more expensive than the other tips, but if you live in a particularly vulnerable neighborhood, Bounds said, you may still want to consider one.
"They are one of the best defenses, and you can get a system for about $50 to $100 a month," she said. "But make sure you check with the Better Business Bureau before picking an alarm company. There have been many complaints about companies in recent years, and there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there talking alarm systems."
 Consider installing safety and security window films near windows that are close to door handles, or that you think are especially vulnerable. It makes glass tough to smash, and frustrates intruders by making them hit it again and again. It's more expensive, but very effective.
 You can control some alarms from your cell phone while you're away on vacation. Some models even allow you to have remote live video so you can see your home even when you're not there.

If They Get in Your House: Beat Them in the Treasure Hunt

"You can still protect your valuables even if the intruders make it inside your house, but you have to prepare for the worst case scenario, too. The burglars want to get in and out as fast as they can, so you need to make it hard for them to find anything worth taking," Bounds said.
 Don't put your valuables in obvious places. Get a hollowed-out book or a fake wall outlet. Put your family heirlooms and other precious items in there.
 Video record each room to prove what was in there for a police report. You may think you know what you have, but close your eyes and try to recount everything that's in the room with you. Most people will find that it's very hard to do.
 List all the serial numbers of expensive items on one list, and if you're really concerned, you can etch your name and address on valuables like your TV and stereo. This makes it harder to sell on the black market and is something of a deterrent to thieves.
 Finally, many local police departments maintain something called a "vacant house list" when you travel for an extended period of time, like a week or more. Police will drive by and check on your house when you're gone. If a criminal knows the police are watching your house, most won't want to take the chance of breaking in.

Article originally published by ABC News