Get the Edge

Intelligent access control has been around for some time – but traditionally, the brains of the operation were actually hidden in a mechanical room, where a controller managed multiple doors via miles of custom wiring. This approach could make adding new doors and upgrading systems costly – particularly since most components of the systems (except cards used for access) were proprietary. Accordingly, facilities wishing to add new features would often have to perform a ‘forklift upgrade’ and completely replace their systems.

Hands-on access

A recent survey of passengers on Scandinavian Airlines, SAS, showed that fingerprint identification has become widely accepted. Over 70% of Swedish respondents who participated in a trial to validate their luggage check-in with their fingerprints were positive and thought that the system should be introduced full-scale to allow ticket-free travel and remote check-in. The respondents felt that convenience was the main advantage. In response, SAS has expanded the trial and is now testing the fingerprinting system on several key domestic routes in Sweden, to ensure that the checked-in passenger is the same person who boards the plane.

Weighing the hacking risks

It’s a story that seems worthy of front-page headlines: A hacker exposes a major flaw in the protocol that underlies many of the world’s access control systems, defeating it in minutes with some clever programming and off-the-shelf components. That’s exactly what happened during the DefCon conference in Las Vegas last August, when Zac Franken demonstrated how to attack the widely used Wiegand protocol.