External and Environmental Threats to Your Access Control System

Posted by Kevin Cameron on Jun 12, 2020 9:15:00 AM

access control systemAccess control systems are an effective way to validate visitors and keep out unwanted guests, but they’re not invincible. Even if you perform regular maintenance, there are still some things that can cause your system to fail. Here are some external and environmental threats to your access control system to watch out for.

Sharing Access Control User Credentials

Imagine you’re walking into the office. You press your credentials to the entry device and the door opens. You hear a voice behind you asking to hold the door. Being the polite person you are, you wait for your follower to walk through and then enter yourself. Are you sure the person you just let in was authorised to be there?

Sharing user credentials is one of the biggest security threats to access control. It’s easy for users to share passwords, PINs, and keycards or, like in the example above, simply let others follow after them—also known as tailgating. It might be polite to hold the door open for a fellow coworker, but when it comes to access control, it’s safer just to let the door close behind you and let them use their own credentials.

Demagnetization of Keycards and Fobs

Certain credentials, specifically magnetic keycards or RFID fobs, can be damaged if exposed to an outside magnetic field. While that might sound like an uncommon occurrence, magnets are more common than you may think. Objects that can cause demagnetization include magnetic phone cases, wallets, decorative keychains, and even some credit cards. All it takes is close proximity over a short period of time to erase the data or interfere with the RFID transmissions.

To prevent demagnetization of your cards, store them in an RFID-blocking wallet or keep them in a separate case. To erase data, they need to be almost touching another magnet. Leather or even some paper cases can provide enough distance between the credentials and most weaker magnets to prevent damage. You can also wear your credentials on your clothing like an ID badge. Then, it’ll be easy to access too!

Hackers and Thieves

Access control systems are an effective way to ward off burglars, but just because you have a security system doesn’t mean they’re going to give up. Hackers and thieves can pose a threat to your system in several ways.

The most common way that thieves can break through your access control system is by stealing or finding user credentials. It’s not uncommon to find a sticky note hiding behind a keypad with the code. Dumpsters and trashcans can also be a treasure-trove of information. Hackers can also use password-cracking applications or devices called “packet sniffers” to steal login credentials and gain access to your property.

The most effective way to prevent hackers and thieves from cracking your access control system is to not leave sensitive information outside for anyone to find (this also applies to hiding your keys under the doormat or in a fake rock)! If you need to discard credentials, make sure they’re properly destroyed so no one can read them. Also remember to frequently change your logins and passwords.

Severe Weather

Weather can also be a threat to your access control system. Most exterior entry devices are designed to be water and shock proof, but some weather can be so severe that it can still hinder their functionality.

  • Heavy Rain – If you use CCTV security cameras or video intercoms as a part of your access control system, heavy rain can distort video feeds and make it difficult to validate visitors.
  • Harsh Winds – Equipment that’s not properly secured can be blown down and damaged.
  • Freezing Conditions – Ice can build up on keypads and card readers making them impossible to use (not really a problem in Brisbane).
  • Power Outages – If you’re using a wired access control system that doesn’t have a battery backup, severe weather can knock out the power and disable your system.

The best way to protect your system against weather related threats is to prepare in advance. If you see severe weather in the forecast, check the batteries in your devices and make sure they’re securely fastened to the wall. It also wouldn’t hurt to think of some alternative security solutions in the event something goes wrong despite your precautions.

Access Control with Four Walls Security

If you’re looking to protect your access control system from these external threats or need to make repairs after a bout of severe weather, we’re happy to help. Four Walls Security is one of the leading security experts in the Brisbane area and have years of experience working with local home and business owners. Contact the professionals at Four Walls Security to answer any questions or for a free, no obligation quote today.

Topics: Access Control System, Access Control, Access Control Systems, Access Control for Business


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