Security Digest

Physical Security and the Internet of Things

By Kevin Thomson, Senior Product Manager
May 22, 2018

Download our free ebookPhysical Security and the Internet of Things: A Cyber security Guide, to learn: 

IoT devices, specifically network cameras, are a frequent target for hackers.  

Why is this?

Cameras are often installed with factory default administrative passwords, which are published on the Internet.  If passwords are changed, they tend to be weak and static (never changing).  This makes them vulnerable to brute force attacks or unwanted sharing by contract technicians, former employees and through social engineering.

Network cameras also tend to have vulnerabilities due to open well-known listener ports for services such as Telnet, UPnP or factory-installed administrative backdoors.  These network services and backdoors are innate in the camera firmware, yet are typically not accessed by users or administrators.  They often may have published passwords that are separate from the camera’s global or web administration password.  Camera vendors rectify these vulnerabilities over time through hardening guides and firmware updates.

For an IT manager, addressing these vulnerabilities by changing camera passwords and updating firmware across a multi-vendor fleet of geographically dispersed surveillance cameras can be complex, time-consuming and expensive.

To learn more, download our free ebookPhysical Security and the Internet of Things: A Cyber security Guide.

Is your VMS ready for GDPR?


May 15, 2018

On May 25, 2018, the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes enforceable. The GDPR applies to all EU members as well as foreign companies that process EU resident data. The GDPR aims to harmonize data privacy laws throughout the member states and provides EU residents with the right to learn how their personal data is used as well as the right to view their personal data.

Video surveillance operators are directly affected by these regulations as recorded video of identifiable people is considered personal data. Organizations must ensure the collection, use, and storage of recorded video is compliant with the new regulations.

Senstar can help! The Symphony intelligent video management software (VMS) provides a set of privacy-related features that assist organizations with GDPR compliance while maintaining situational awareness and operator efficiency.

Click here to download an application note to learn more about Symphony’s privacy-related features.

Using analytics with your VMS can save you money

The costs of implementing and running a modern video management system (VMS) include more than just the surveillance cameras and software. The following infographic breaks down total cost of ownership (TCO) and provides insight into how video analytics can generate savings. 

Affordable perimeter protection in six easy steps

Detect intruders before they get inside

May 1, 2018

By itself, an expensive security fence is only a minor deterrent for determined intruders – they can cut-through or climb it in seconds! By the time a building’s alarm system detects them, they could already be stealing or damaging property.  

FlexZone® is an affordable, easy-to-install fence-mounted intrusion detection system that enhances an existing fence by detecting and locating any attempt to cut, climb or otherwise break through.  

Detection at the perimeter means alarm systems can be triggered, cameras cued, and deterrence devices such as security lights or sirens, can be automatically engaged while intruders are outside a building or protected area. 

 FlexZone enhances an existing security system, reduces both operational costs and nuisance alarms, and above all, provides peace of mind for those with unmanned properties. 

 To protect a perimeter with FlexZone, only six basic steps are required: 

  1. Collect basic site requirements  
  2. Identify security issues and risks 
  3. Determine equipment requirements 
  4. Install equipment 
  5. Configure and test for optimal performance 
  6. Configure alarm outputs 

Download the FlexZone How-To Guide for more detailed information, including a sample site survey. 

Nuisance Alarm Rate, Smuisance Alarm Rate.

Not even “windpocalypse” can rattle Senstar products

April 24, 2018

clips of online news stories about the wind storm

News story examples of the damage Windpocalypse caused in Ottawa and other parts of Ontario.

Ottawa, Canada. April 4-5, 2018.

It was a dark and stormy night.

For over 12 hours, the winds roared up to 91 km per hour
(56 mi per hour).

The power went out, trees went down and roofs went flying… but not a single nuisance alarm was generated from either the FlexZone or Senstar LM100 fence-mounted intrusion detection systems affixed to the perimeter fence of a critical infrastructure site! 

All fence-mounted perimeter intrusion detection systems (PIDS) are susceptible to weather-related nuisance alarms. High Nuisance Alarm Rates (NAR) can be incredibly frustrating for property owners. At high security sites, nuisance alarms can become a real danger if security personnel become complacent and assume real alarms are false.  

Senstar’s environmental discrimination technology allows our products to differentiate between point disturbances caused by real intrusions and spatially distributed
environmental disturbances like wind and rain. This keeps NAR low, security personnel on alert, and customers happy. 

To learn more about our market-leading fence-mounted PIDS products, click here.

The only alarms received during Windpocalypse were generated by gate usage (as programmed to do) during business hours

The only alarms received during Windpocalypse were generated by gate usage                                      (as programmed to do) during business hours



Wrong way detection for airport security

April 17, 2018

Preventing unauthorized passenger movement between secured/unsecured areas is a fundamental part of airport security. Unlike entry points, most exit points do not require the explicit checking of passenger credentials and are often meant as points of no return. At times, passengers may go in the wrong direction by mistake, hindering foot traffic flow and impeding general operations. But there is also the threat of wrongdoers using these access points to enter certain areas with malicious intent.

To prevent passback or “wrong way” travel, most critical points of no return are monitored by security personnel or protected by uni-directional auto-gates. Auto-gates can be cost-prohibitive (especially for smaller airports) while the cost to staff a single controlled access point 24/7 with a dedicated security guard is a minimum of $175,000 USD per year. These costs are justifiable for high security areas like immigration or main exit lanes but are unfeasible for the multitude of walkways and doors traversed upon arrival. In addition, security guards, being susceptible to human error, may inadvertently let people pass in the wrong direction undetected or unchallenged.

In 2010, a serious “wrong way” incident at Newark caused flights to be grounded and the terminal shutdown for several hours when officials could not identify the individual. If a wrong way detection security procedure had been implemented, airport security could have been automatically notified when the event occurred, and would have been able to respond appropriately.

Using video analytics to detect wrong way movement

Senstar’s Indoor People Tracking video analytic can detect passengers entering areas from the wrong direction

Using video analytics for wrong way detection is an inexpensive way to leverage existing camera surveillance infrastructure while reducing security personnel requirements and providing a second level of defence at manned checkpoints. Available with the Senstar Symphony™ video management system (VMS), Senstar’s Indoor People Tracking (IPT) video analytic can track the direction of people moving across virtual fences or tripwires. If a person enters into an area from the wrong direction, an alarm is generated in the control room. Nearby security personnel can receive the alarm on a mobile device via an SMS text message (or other communication method), view a captured image of the event, and take immediate action.

Wrong-way monitoring works independently of the presence of checkpoint personnel and can be used in any area monitored by an airport security camera.

Example: Detecting entry via an exit point

In this example, the Indoor People Tracking video analytic is configured to detect people entering an area via an exit-only point. A virtual fence tripwire event is used to detect the direction of movement across the threshold and generate an alarm.

Screen shot of indoor people tracking video analytic

Symphony VMS configuration for wrong-way tracking

 Generating wrong way alarms

The Indoor People Tracking video analytic can be used to trigger alarms in the Symphony VMS. In addition to displaying the associated camera and an on-screen message, Symphony can:

Symphony VMS showing wrong way tracking

Symphony VMS showing wrong way tracking

Optimizing security personnel resources

Automating the detection of wrong way travel frees up limited personnel resources to focus on other security responsibilities. In a time when many US airports are under increasing pressure to reduce operational costs, implementing wrong-way detection via Senstar video analytics makes perfect sense – it costs only a fraction of that of a single security guard. By leveraging the existing surveillance network investments and being natively supported by the Senstar Symphony VMS, wong way detection is easy to deploy and provides an immediate return on investment.

For a pdf version of this article, click here.

Five key factors to consider when selecting a VMS 

April 10, 2018

With so many options available, selecting a video management software (VMS) platform that is right for your business’ security needs can be daunting.   

Here are five key factors to consider when selecting a VMS:

1. Total cost of ownership (TCO): This is a concept that considers all the factors of a security system, not just the upfront purchase price. Make sure you understand potentially hidden costs, such as:

2. Ease of use  

If a VMS is complicated to use, you will ultimately lose time and money through lost productivity and repeated user training. Make sure the system has an intuitive, user-friendly interface. Know what your most common operation will be, and make sure the VMS can handle it easily. Understand how operators will use the system and ensure that workflow is straightforward.

3. Security  

The security of the system is of utmost importance.  As a starting point, ask the vendor for results of “PEN tests.

4. Extensibility  

A VMS that doesn’t take future growth into consideration will be obsolete before you know it. Ensure the VMS is scalable and integrates (easily) with 3rd-party vendors for such things as access control and video analytics.

5. Support options and responsiveness  

Make sure the VMS supplier offers the necessary technical support to help you maximize up-time. If available, consider purchasing a maintenance and support package that provides you with priority service.

With the above five key factors in mind, you are ready to start looking for a VMS!  

To learn more about Senstar’s VMS – Senstar Symphony™ – click here.  

Security Digest is dedicated to providing useful information about physical security. Written by Senstar’s industry experts, the posts will cover a range of subjects related to perimeter intrusion detection, video management and analytics, personal duress, and cyber security. Questions and/or comments? Email [email protected]. 

Multiple Senstar systems installed to protect major US airport 

Multi-layer intrusion detection solution creates one of Senstar’s largest ever single-facility projects

April 3, 2018

Senstar delivered an effective perimeter intrusion detection (PIDS) solution to protect the perimeter of one of North America’s largest cargoAirplane in airport airports. Due to the facility’s unique perimeter security requirements, Senstar combined multiple technologies to form a comprehensive system that effectively protects the airport and keeps the nuisance alarm rate (NAR) low. 

“With a busy road running along one side of the airport’s five-mile perimeter, and people using the airport’s fence to lean on while waiting at bus stops, a fence-mounted solution alone would have been an NAR nightmare,” said Nancy Marshall, Senstar’s Executive Director of Business Development. “By combining multiple technologies, we created a system in which a single alarm is not enough to trigger a response, but, if multiple alarms are received, the threat is deemed to be real and a response is initiated.” 

Working with A&E firm Faith Group LLC and installer Standard Electric, the multi-layer intrusion detection system has been up and running for several months and the airport is very pleased with the results. 

“It was an excellent experience,” said the airport’s project lead. “Standard Electric was very confident in the (Senstar) products. They told us to ‘Relax. We are going to do this right and you’re going to be extremely satisfied.’ And we are.” 

Click here to read the case study. 

Security Digest is dedicated to providing useful information about physical security. Written by Senstar’s industry experts, the posts will cover a range of subjects related to perimeter intrusion detection, video management and analytics, personal duress, and cyber security. Questions and/or comments? Email [email protected]. 

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