Intruder alarm communicators - Expert commentary

Cybersecurity: What We Can Do As An Industry
Cybersecurity: What We Can Do As An Industry

In 2017, IoT-based cyberattacks increased by 600%. As the industry moves towards the mass adoption of interconnected physical security devices, end users have found a plethora of advantages, broadening the scope of traditional video surveillance solutions beyond simple safety measures. Thanks in part to these recent advancements, our physical solutions are at a higher risk than ever before. With today’s ever evolving digital landscape and the increasing complexity of physical and cyber-attacks, it’s imperative to take specific precautions to combat these threats. Video surveillance systems Cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind When you think of a video surveillance system, cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind, since digital threats are usually thought of as separate from physical security. Unfortunately, these two are becoming increasingly intertwined as intruders continue to use inventive methods in order to access an organization's assets. Hacks and data breaches are among the top cyber concerns, but many overlook the fact that weak cybersecurity practices can lead to physical danger as well. Organizations that deploy video surveillance devices paired with advanced analytics programs often leave themselves vulnerable to a breach without even realizing it. While they may be intelligent, IoT devices are soft targets that cybercriminals and hackers can easily exploit, crippling a physical security system from the inside out. Physical security manufacturers Whether looking to simply gain access to internal data, or paralyze a system prior to a physical attack, allowing hackers easy access to surveillance systems can only end poorly. In order to stay competitive, manufacturers within the security industry are trading in their traditional analog technology and moving towards interconnected devices. Due to this, security can no longer be solely focused on the physical elements and end users have taken note. The first step towards more secured solutions starts with physical security manufacturers choosing to make cybersecurity a priority for all products, from endpoint to edge and beyond. Gone are the days of end users underestimating the importance of reliability within their solutions. Manufacturers that choose to invest time and research into the development of cyber-hardening will be ahead of the curve and an asset to all. Wireless communication systems Integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future Aside from simply making the commitment to improve cyber hygiene, there are solid steps that manufacturers can take. One simple action is incorporating tools and features into devices that allow end users to more easily configure their cyber protection settings. Similarly, working with a third party to perform penetration testing on products can help to ensure the backend security of IoT devices. This gives customers peace of mind and manufacturers a competitive edge. While deficient cybersecurity standards can reflect poorly on manufacturers by installing vulnerable devices on a network, integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future. Just last year, ADT was forced to settle a $16 million class action lawsuit when the company installed an unencrypted wireless communication system that rendered an organization open to hacks. Cybersecurity services In addition, we’ve all heard of the bans, taxes and tariffs the U.S. government has recently put on certain manufacturers, depending on their country of origin and cybersecurity practices. Lawsuits aside, employing proper cybersecurity standards can give integrators a competitive advantage. With the proliferation of hacks, malware, and ransomware, integrators that can ease their client's cyber-woes are already a step ahead. By choosing to work with cybersecurity-focused manufacturers who provide clients with vulnerability testing and educate end users on best practices, integrators can not only thrive but find new sources of RMR. Education, collaboration and participation are three pillars when tackling cybersecurity from all angles. For dealers and integrators who have yet to add cybersecurity services to their business portfolios, scouting out a strategic IT partner could be the answer. Unlocking countless opportunities Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organization is the first step Physical security integrators who feel uncomfortable diving headfirst into the digital realm may find that strategically aligning themselves with an IT or cyber firm will unlock countless opportunities. By opening the door to a partnership with an IT-focused firm, integrators receive the benefit of cybersecurity insight on future projects and a new source of RMR through continued consulting with current customers. In exchange, the IT firm gains a new source of clients in an industry otherwise untapped. This is a win for all those involved. While manufacturers, dealers and integrators play a large part in the cybersecurity of physical systems, end users also play a crucial role. Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organization is the first step. Commonplace cybersecurity standards Below is a list of commonplace cybersecurity standards that all organizations should work to implement for the protection of their own video surveillance solutions: Always keep camera firmware up to date for the latest cyber protections. Change default passwords, especially those of admins, to keep the system locked to outside users. Create different user groups with separate rights to ensure all users have only the permissions they need. Set an encryption key for surveillance recordings to safeguard footage against intruders and prevent hackers from accessing a system through a backdoor. Enable notifications, whether for error codes or storage failures, to keep up to date with all systems happenings. Create/configure an OpenVPN connection for secured remote access. Check the web server log on a regular basis to see who is accessing the system. Ensure that web crawling is forbidden to prevent images or data found on your device from being made searchable. Avoid exposing devices to the internet unless strictly necessary to reduce the risk of attacks.

Security And Safety Drive Smart Building Strategies For The Future
Security And Safety Drive Smart Building Strategies For The Future

Johnson Controls recently unveiled the findings of its 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey that examined the current and planned investments and key drivers to improve energy efficiency and building systems integration in facilities. Systems integration was identified as one of the top technologies expected to have the biggest impact on the implementation in smart buildings over the next five years, with respondents planning to invest in security, fire and life-safety integrations more so than any other systems integration in the next year. As advanced, connected technologies drive the evolution of smart buildings, security and safety technologies are at the center of more intelligent strategies as they attribute to overall building operations and efficiencies. SecurityInformed.com spoke with Johnson Controls, Building Solutions, North America, VP of Marketing, Hank Monaco, and Senior National Director of Municipal Infrastructure and Smart Cities, Lisa Brown, about the results of the study, smart technology investments and the benefits of a holistic building strategy that integrates security and fire and life-safety systems with core building systems. Q: What is the most striking result from the survey, and what does it mean in the context of a building’s safety and security systems? The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems Hank Monaco: Investment in building system integration increased 23 percent in 2019 compared to 2018, the largest increase of any measure in the survey. When respondents were asked more specifically what systems they we planning to invest in over the next year, fire and life safety integration (61%) and security system integration (58%) were the top two priorities for organizations. The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems to improve overall operations and bolster capabilities beyond the intended function of an individual system. Q: The survey covers integration of fire, life safety and security systems as part of "smart building" systems. How do smarter buildings increase the effectiveness of security and life safety systems? Hank Monaco: A true “smart building” integrates all building systems – security, fire and life-safety, HVAC, lighting etc. – to create a connected, digital infrastructure that enables individual technologies to be more intelligent and perform more advanced functions beyond what they can do on their own. For example, when sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems, if abnormal activity is detected on the building premise, key stakeholders can be automatically alerted to increase emergency response time. With integrated video surveillance, they also gain the ability to access surveillance footage remotely to assess the situation. When sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems abnormal activity on the premise can automatically be detected Q: How can integrated security and life safety systems contribute to greater energy efficiency in a smart building environment? Hank Monaco: Security, fire and life-safety systems can help to inform other building systems about how a facility is used, high-trafficked areas and the flow of occupants within a building. Integrated building solutions produce a myriad of data that can be leveraged to increase operational efficiencies. From an energy efficiency standpoint, actionable insights are particularly useful for areas that are not frequently occupied or off-peak hours as you wouldn’t want to heat or cool an entire building for just one person coming in on the weekend. When video surveillance is integrated with HVAC and lighting systems, it can monitor occupancy in a room or hallway. The video analytics can then control the dimming of lights and the temperature depending on occupant levels in a specific vicinity. Similarly, when access control systems are integrated with these same systems, once a card is presented to the reader, it can signal the lights or HVAC system to turn on. In this example, systems integration can ultimately help enable energy savings in the long run. Security and life safety systems contribute to help enable greater energy efficiency and energy savings in the long run Q: What other benefits of integration are there (beyond the core security and life safety functions)? Hank Monaco: Beyond increased security, fire and life-safety functions, the benefits of systems integration include: Increased data and analytics to garner a holistic, streamlined understanding of how systems function and how to improve productivity Ability to track usage to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs Enhanced occupant experience and comfort Increased productivity and workflow to support business objectives Smart-ready, connected environment that can support future technology advancements Q: What lesson or action point should a building owner/operator take from the survey? How can the owner of an existing building leverage the benefits of the smart building environment incrementally and absent a complete overhaul? Lisa Brown: Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator found that 77% of organizations plan to make investments in energy efficiency and smarter building technology this year. This percentage demonstrates an increased understanding of the benefits of smart buildings and highlights the proactive efforts building owners are taking to adopt advanced technologies. There is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected As smart buildings continue to evolve, more facilities are beginning to explore opportunities to advance their own spaces. A complete overhaul of legacy systems is not necessary as small investments today can help position a facility to more easily adopt technologies at scale in the future. As a first step, it’s important for building owners to conduct an assessment and establish a strategy that defines a comprehensive set of requirements and prioritizes use-cases and implementations. From there, incremental investments and updates can be made over a realistic timeline. Q: What is the ROI of smart buildings? Lisa Brown: As demonstrated by our survey, there is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected. The advanced analytics and more streamlined data that is gathered through systems integration can provide the building-performance metrics to help better understand the return on investment (ROI) of the building systems. This data is used to better understand the environment and make assessments and improvements overtime to increase efficiencies. Moreover, analytics and data provide valuable insights into where action is needed and what type of return can be expected from key investments.

Verifying Audio Alarm Notifications: Why Secondary Source Verification Is Vital
Verifying Audio Alarm Notifications: Why Secondary Source Verification Is Vital

Across the country, law enforcement officers are finding it increasingly difficult to respond to the near overwhelming number of calls coming from security alarms. Police departments commonly define a false alarm as a call, which upon investigation, shows no evidence of criminal activity, such as broken windows, forced doors, items missing, or people injured. While false alarms bog down police, they can also negatively impact customers and integrators. End users can expect hefty fines for false alarm responses, and when these customers receive large bills from the city, many turn to installers, dealers, and even manufacturers expecting them to accept the responsibility and pay the check. What First Brought The Issue Of Alarm Verification To Your Attention? It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight I’ve been aware of the problem of false alarms for about 5 years. I believed audio capture, through microphone deployment, could be an active part of the solution when used as a second source for indicating ‘out of the norm’ activity and as an equal component with the video surveillance technology. In 2015, I found similarly minded security professionals when introduced to the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response. After reading PPVAR’s paper on ‘Audio Verified Alarms Best Practices; [April 2015],’ I knew that the Partnership was on to something important. In our lives, two of the five senses we count on day-in and day-out are sight and sound. It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight. What Is The False Alarm Rate? In 2016, the International Association of Chiefs of Police reported that over 98 percent of all alarm calls in the United States were false. This number is obviously staggering, and something we need to work towards correcting. Why Did This Issue Resonate So Strongly With You? When I first investigated this issue, I was sure that the security industry would have already recognized this and was acting to ensure improved alarm verification, preferably through a combination of audio and video technologies. However, I quickly saw that this was not the case, or even close to the norm. I have questioned the rationale behind the lack of adoption and found the deployment of audio is often hindered by the concern of privacy. I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio As CEO of Louroe Electronics, I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio. I’ve had to reassure many security personnel and customers how the law supports the use of audio in public places as long as there is no expectation of privacy. By dispelling fears with facts around deploying and implementing audio sensors, customers can confidently include audio in their surveillance systems and gain a more effective security solution. Who Is Affected By This? Truth be told, everyone from the end user to the manufacturer is affected by this issue. Not to mention the strain this puts on law enforcement who are tired of ‘wasting time’ and effort out in the field on these nuisance alerts. When an end user receives a check for their false alarm, many of them will immediately blame the integrator and or the monitoring center for a faulty set up and management and expect the integrator to remedy the situation, including carry the burden of paying the fines. The integrator, on the other hand, will turn to the manufacturer, assuming faulty equipment and installation instructions; therefore, looking for reimbursement for the cost. What Is The Average False Alarm Fee? It depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for responseIt depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for response. According to the Urban Institute, fees generally range from $25-$100 for the first offense, rising as high as a few thousand dollars per false alarm if a location has a large number in a single year. What’s worse, in extreme cases, alarm systems may even be blacklisted by the police dispatch center if they have raised too many false alarms in the past. Why Do You Believe Audio Is The Ideal Technology For Secondary Source Verification? Video surveillance has been the main option for security monitoring and alarm validation for decades, however industry professionals are realising that video alone is not enough. Video only tells half of the story, by adding audio capture, the responsible party gains a turnkey solution with the ability to gather additional evidence to verify alerts and expand overall awareness. In reality, audio’s range is greater than the field of view for a camera. Sound pickup is 360 degrees, capturing voices, gunshots, breaking glass, sirens, or other important details that a fixed camera many not see. How Would A Secondary Source Verification System Work With Audio? Using a video monitoring solution equipped with audio, the microphone will pick up the sounds at the time a visual alert or alarm is triggered. If embedded with classification analytics, the microphone will send alerts for specific detected sounds. The captured audio, and any notifications are immediately sent to the monitoring station, where trained personnel can listen to the sound clip, along with live audio and video from their station. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response From here, an informed decision can then be made about the validity of the alarm, along with what the current threat is at the location. If the alarm is in fact valid, the information is then passed along to the law enforcement within minutes. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response. It also provides more information in a forensic evaluation. Are There Any Additional Resources You Would Suggest Looking Into? Yes, we would suggest looking into the following to see a few different perspectives on the matter: NSA Support For 2018 Model Ordinance For Alarm Management and False Alarm Reduction Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response Support for the Term “Verified Alarm” and Prioritising Verified Alarm Responses Urban Institute Opportunities for Police Cost Savings without Sacrificing Service Quality: Reducing False Alarms

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Addressing The Latest In Fire Safety And Disaster Prevention In Taiwan And APAC At Fire & Safety, Secutech 2020
Addressing The Latest In Fire Safety And Disaster Prevention In Taiwan And APAC At Fire & Safety, Secutech 2020

Fire & Safety, concurrently held with Secutech Taiwan 2020, will have international and local manufacturers showcasing products and solutions for best practices in fire safety for various verticals as well as effective disaster prevention and mitigation technologies. Countries from the APAC region is expected to see an increase in fire safety demands as increase in infrastructure developments requires both in pass and active fire safety equipment. Government regulation also plays a major role in the increase demands as strict laws and regulations will require many buildings to implement certain standards in fire safety technologies. Fire safety and disaster management technologies The smart factory sector will include instrument testing equipment, personal protective equipment and more The global value of disaster and emergency management is predicted to see an increase from USD 107 billion in 2019 to USD 148.5 billion by 2024 with a CAGR of 6.8 percent. The increase will be due to unpredictable natural disasters from climate change as well as potential man-made incidents that could fuel the events. APAC region will be amongst the fastest growing market with governments demand to implement top of the line technologies for disaster managements. When Fire & Safety begins in April, it will have no shortage of products for enhancing fire safety. The smart factory sector will include instrument testing equipment, personal protective equipment, safety and management of plant / park intelligent perimeter protection and plant disaster prevention (earthquake / fire explosion). Visitors will expect to see companies including 3M, Draeger, DuPont, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, LHD, Moxa, Rotarex and UTC. Flood protection equipment Medical institutions will also be a highlight for fire safety protection. Visitors will see a range of products such as waterway sprinkler, fire alarm system, evacuation equipment, ventilation and smoke exhaust, fireproofing material, smoke prevention elevator, building door and window installation sensing system, intelligent bedside care system and personnel safety positioning. Exhibitors will consist of Ching Gu Electronics, HEX Safety, Horing, Red Bridge, RIHSI, SAFE, Sheng Yang and Wizmart. Secutech International will have several sections within the fair for showcasing products and solutions for safe and smart cities Lastly, a number of disaster prevention and mitigation equipment will be on display, including earthquake early warning system, flood protection equipment, disaster relief drone, fire rescue vehicle and fire extinguishing equipment. Onsite there will also be an earthquake simulation zone where visitors can see live demonstration of technologies being utilized for earthquake situations. Showcasing Technologies for a Safe and Smart City Secutech International will have several sections within the fair for showcasing products and solutions for safe and smart cities. The show will consists of Smart Building, Smart Factory, Safe City, Mobility, Fire Safety & Disaster Prevention and Information Security sections. The business matching programs will return to offer a unique and effective one-on-one service to introduce exhibitors to VIP buyers. In 2019, Secutech successfully arranged 319 business matching sessions, connecting exhibitors with key distributors, systems integrators, property developers and contractors in the APAC region.

Our Top-10 Click-Worthy Articles in 2019 Highlighted Changing Industry Trends
Our Top-10 Click-Worthy Articles in 2019 Highlighted Changing Industry Trends

The physical security industry is moving fast. Evolving risks, new technologies and business changes all converged and had a profound impact on the industry in 2019. Looking back at our top articles of the year – as measured by those that received the most “clicks” at our website – provides a decent summary of how the industry evolved this year. Timely and important issues in the security marketplace dominated our list of most-clicked-upon articles in 2019. In the world of digital publishing, it’s easy to know what content resonates with the security market: our readers tell us with their actions; i.e., where they click. Let’s look back at the Top 10 articles we posted in 2019 that generated the most page views. They are listed in order here with a brief excerpt. 1. Schneider Electric to Sell Pelco to Private Equity Firm Schneider entered exclusive negotiations with Transom Capital Group, a U.S.-based private equity firm, to sell the Pelco business unit. Pelco is a security industry stalwart and global specialist in the design, development, and delivery of end-to-end video surveillance solutions and services including cameras, recording and management systems software. 2. High-Tech Drones, Robots and Counter-Drone Solutions on Display From robots to drones to counter-drone solutions, a range of new technologies [was] displayed at ISC West 2019. The Unmanned Security Expo [included] a dedicated complimentary education theater for attendees offering sessions on a range of topics. Also included [were] demos of the best UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), UGVs (unmanned ground robotics and vehicles) and autonomous systems on the market. 3. Hikvision and Dahua Banned from Buying U.S. Exports In effect, inclusion on the “entities” list restricts the export of equipment to the two companies because of their alleged involvement in “human rights violations and abuses” related to a Chinese government campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against minority groups. Hikvision and Dahua have contracts to sell equipment that provides video surveillance capabilities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China. 4. The many faces of today's facial recognition technology Used proportionately and responsibly, facial recognition can and should be a force for good. It has the ability to do a lot more to increase security in the future. From street crime to airport security, all the way through to helping those battling addiction, the technology can take security and operations to new heights. 5. Security Industry Trends to Be Led by Focus on Cyber Security In 2019 With a more open, connected environment come cyber-risk and data privacy concerns – which is why, in the Security Industry Association’s 2019 Security Megatrends, cybersecurity’s impact on the physical security industry ranks number one on the list. Cybersecurity is affecting all areas of the industry landscape, from security implementation to attracting top talent to the workforce. 6. Open Supervised Data Protocol (OSDP): The Gold Standard for Access Control Installations The Open Supervised Data Protocol (OSDP) is now the industry’s gold standard for physical access control installations. It was designed to offer a higher level of security with more flexible options than the aging, de facto Wiegand wiring standard. OSDP, first introduced in 2011 by the Security Industry Association (SIA), continues to evolve with significant manufacturer input. 7. Honeywell Embracing AI, Reinvesting in Video Portfolio Although uses for artificial intelligence (AI) are still emerging in security, Honeywell sees an important role for AI in building a connected system to ensure the safety and security of a building, and more importantly, its occupants. AI allows end users to go beyond monitoring activity on a surface level to really understand the scene – from who exactly is in the area to what they might be doing. 8. A Secured Entrance Is the First Defense Against an Active Shooter What the majority of venues [of recent active shooter incidents] have in common is they all have a front entrance or chokepoint for anyone entering the facilities, which is why any active-shooter plan must include a strategy to secure that entry point. 9. Debunking the Myths of the Security of Access Control Systems One of the areas where we see continued confusion is around access control systems (ACS) that are deployed over networks, particularly in relation to mobile access, smart cards, and electronic locks. These technologies are often perceived as being less secure and therefore more vulnerable to attacks than older ACS systems or devices. In the interest of clearing up any confusion, it is important to provide good, reliable information. 10. At Chubb Fire and Security, Ethics is a Core Concept with Practical Impact Ethics discussions begin for employees at Chubb when they join the company; clear instructions about ethics are included as part of employee induction. There are nine modules of ethics training during employee orientation, and a discussion with an Ethics and Compliance Officer is part of the onboarding process.

Honeywell Expands Reader Offering With OmniAssure Touch Against Credential And Identity Attacks
Honeywell Expands Reader Offering With OmniAssure Touch Against Credential And Identity Attacks

Honeywell is expanding its OmniAssure access control reader product line with the launch of the OmniAssure Touch access control solution. OmniAssure Touch provides advanced security against credential cloning and reader tampering, increases operator productivity when deploying cellphone credentials, and is interoperable with a range of credential technologies and panel communication protocols. The passive intent access control readers help people get into an area faster – just with the touch of a finger – no swiping of a card or a phone is necessary. “Our customers want the latest in security and protection against growing credential and identity attacks,” said Frédéric Haegeman, business leader for Honeywell Commercial Security, Europe and Novar GmbH. Access control solution  “With OmniAssure Touch, users benefit from advanced security and an adaptable platform that strengthens access control in their building. Our goal is to develop a comprehensive access control solution suite so that every user can identify a solution that works best for their business.” OmniAssure Touch provides: Ultra-secure protection: protects against credential cloning and replay attacks with technology that is fully compliant with OSDP Secure Channel Protocol (SCP) and the latest DESFire EV2 encryption standards; readers wipe encryption and certificate data when device tampering has been detected with all form factors available with a capacitive touch keypad for two-factor authentication Exceptional adaptability: features hassle-free, user-friendly cellphone credential capabilities that eliminate the need to present a phone to the reader; easy migration from legacy prox to smart and cellphone technologies; as well as configure reader settings in the field via cellphone app Integrated security suites A comprehensive solution: saves time by deploying cellphone credentials directly through Honeywell’s WIN-PAK, WINMAG and Pro-Watch integrated security suites, revokes cellphone credentials in real-time, and transforms the way people interact with your building using the Honeywell Vector Occupant App Easy to configure: leverages the Honeywell Utility app which allows installers to configure the readers in the field or wherever they use the app making installation and configuration easier and faster Reliable read/write cards OmniAssure Touch is ideally suited for enterprise and critical infrastructure environments across a wide variety of industries including defense, education, pharma, utilities and financial. The Honeywell suite of OmniAssure readers incorporate smart card technology to manage access control, logical (PC) access, storage of biometric templates, parking, ePurse and many other applications requiring reliable read/write cards.