Not all PACS are Made the Same

After the impact of the world’s biggest ransomware event, WannaCry, the world is not only questioning the defense behind cyber security, but also the stability of modern, smart technology. While WannaCry was an attack that inflicted massive turmoil throughout dated Windows software, the same kind of infiltration could potentially happen to access control platforms that are not up to date with the times or are thoroughly lacking in strong encryption algorithms. With modern technology there are now new opportunities in physical access control that can make our security stronger and smarter than the outdated systems many businesses are still using.

For starters, a piece of access control technology that’s quite ubiquitous throughout businesses is the RFID or mag stripe key cards. Most of us have used these credentials for years in order to access hotel rooms, offices, inventory and more. RFID, dating back to the 1970’s, has been around for decades, and as a result has left plenty of time for people to learn its vulnerabilities and what it takes to duplicate the credential. Moreover, this piece of technology only offers its users a superficial amount of protection, as it only requires a security card reader to pick up the emitted signal from the cards in order to grant a person access. Only one step for credential authentication is created throughout this exchange of signals, and as such makes it a lot easier for anyone to use these key cards. When it comes to user security, companies should keep in mind dual-factor authentication, which will keep everyone more secure.  

Dual-factor authentication means a security system must go through two layers of verification: “What you have and what you know”.  Applications such as RFID key cards only take into account what a credential holder has (the key), while another form of access control, keypads, only takes into account what we know (a pin code). Since the emergence of such technology there hasn't been many updates as traditional “PACS systems, once installed, are by nature resistant to change. PACS tend to be capital intensive – i.e., expensive and complex to install, requiring specialized training to operate, and proprietary in design.” Thankfully, there has been explosive growth in other pieces of technology since the production of RFID, pincode, and mag stripe technology, which can strengthen the security of access control everywhere. 

Tremendous expansion in the power and presence of IoT technologies, coupled with the flexibility, ubiquity, and lower cost of easily-integrated software, AI, mobile devices, and cloud computing are bringing about smarter, stronger, and better connected access control systems. The smartphone, found in nearly everyone’s pocket, is a huge driver for innovation and change across all technology markets, since its bluetooth technology creates such an easy channel of communication for smart devices that can enhance security and can be managed under one umbrella.

In addition to bringing in more cost-effective security integrations, mobile access control also offers its users that dual-authentication, the “what you have and what you know,” double-layered barrier this day and age is demanding. By using mobile access control, users’ smartphones will act in a similar fashion to an RFID/ proximity card through the use of a heavily encrypted eKey. And with today’s smartphones offering the ability for its owners to enable a fingerprint reader, passcode or pattern lock screen to their phones, smartphones effortlessly create dual-authentication that comes natural to users. With more and more advancements coming each year to  smart phone and IoT technology, this form of access control will only strengthen in its ability to ward off threats and be an unparalleled service to its users. 

To learn more about the benefits and opportunity in mobile access control check out our new white paper and visit us at www.unikey.com.