July 15th, 2019

In most offices – ours included – the coffee maker is standard operating equipment, and the biggest hazard it poses is running empty before the caffeine-dependent among us are fully awake.

But this recent post caught our attention and raised our awareness about the threat posed by IoT (internet of things) connected devices. The pros at Professional Security Magazine put their skills to work hacking a “smart” coffee machine.

A smart coffee machine may sound fairly innocuous, but it’s not. The risks of a compromised device stretch far beyond a subpar cup of morning joe. Compromised connected devices can open up networks and all devices associated with a network to all manner of risk.

In 2016, hackers were able to launch a DDoS attack that took down sites like Twitter, Spotify, Reddit and more by infiltrating and compromising networks through connected devices like DVRs, baby monitors and IP cameras.

Let’s go back to that coffee pot.

The white hat hackers at Professional Security Magazine were able to manipulate the coffee machine itself to do some fairly annoying and perhaps even dangerous things.

“We infiltrated the coffee maker via Wi-Fi, then set up malicious software updates that made the coffee maker do unexpected and potentially dangerous things. We made the burner overheat, potentially starting a fire. We made scalding water pour onto the burner. We even made the coffee maker send ransomware messages demanding payment,” they said in the post.

But the hacking had more serious and sinister implications. The compromised coffee machine was now a gateway to the network. Hackers would be able to see emails and payment information on purchases made online. They would be able get into security systems, see video cameras, and muck around in other sensitive places.

The proliferation and utility of IoT devices means they are here to stay. At ECT Services, we certainly believe in the power and potential of integrated systems.

So what can you do to safeguard your home and business? Here are a few tips:

Keep connections minimal. Only network and connect to the internet when necessary, and in those circumstances work to minimize exposure and secure connections. If a device needs internet access, understand how it needs to be accessed and take steps to protect remote access channels. One example would be to require use of VPN type services.

Don’t reuse passwords.  Especially on your network or wireless router. Remove or disable default accounts if possible and always change default account passwords using strong password standards. Use two factor authentication if a product or service allows.

Know what’s connected. Understand all the devices connected to your network, and why they must be connected. Keep an inventory and audit regularly.

At ECT Services, we approached smart devices very carefully and custom tailor solutions to meet your security needs. Contact us today at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation about your building security and integration.

June 19th, 2019

Kentucky has taken significant steps towards implementing some of the changes mandated in the school safety legislation passed by the General Assembly earlier this year.

This week, Ben Wilcox was named Kentucky school security marshal, a role created by the School Safety and Resiliency Act, which passed in March 2019. The legislation was crafted in the wake of a deadly school shooting in Marshall County in January 2018. Wilcox, who will be headquartered at Eastern Kentucky University’s Department of Criminal Justice Training Center, will oversee the work of two compliance supervisors, 12 compliance officers and one program coordinator. The team will offer guidance and accountability to school districts across the state as they seek to comply with the law’s other mandates.

In addition to creating Wilcox’s and other roles, the act also urges schools to hire resource officers and work with local law enforcement agencies to develop safety policies and track violent incidents.

Districts are also encouraged to make upgrades to facilities to make them more secure. All schools must restrict access before July 1, 2022, and buildings and renovations/expansions must comply with new safety guidelines.

How can ECT Services help schools achieve compliance and improve safety and security for students, faculty, staff and families? Here are a few ways we are able to support these efforts:

Access control. ECT Services partners with HID, the worldwide leader in access control. HID solutions are robust and feature strong integration capabilities.

Automatic shot detection. The Guardian indoor shot detection system offered by Shooter Detection Services uses acoustic and infrared sensors – no bigger and no more obtrusive than smoke detectors — to automatically detect and instantly report shots fired. Guardian can integrate with systems to automatically lock doors the moment a shot is detected, limiting a shooter’s movement and/or keeping potential targets out of harm’s way. Guardian has been successfully integrated into security solutions in several school districts around the country.

Interested in learning more? Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

April 16th, 2019

Security goes far beyond regulating who can enter and exit your facility.

As the world grow increasingly complex and more and more of our interactions take place online, controlling access to cyberspace has become at least as important as controlling physical space. Consumers are more aware than ever of privacy concerns, and regulators are enacting rules aimed at protecting their digital lives.

Organizations, particularly those in heavily regulated industries like finance and healthcare, have struggled to keep up. In most cases, they have cobbled together a patchwork of access systems that determine who can go where in both physical facilities and online networks. Those systems are often not integrated, which makes maintenance far from seamless.

HID is hoping its new cloud-based authentication service will help organizations take a big step forward in building and maintaining fully integrated, seamless identity and access management systems.

HID Authentication Service offers multi-factor authentication for users across the entire organization, from users who require only minimal access to those who must have access to the most sensitive areas and records. HID Authentication Services integrates with existing platforms seamlessly using APIs. Reports are centrally gathered, making auditing for compliance issues much simpler.

“HID Global continues its move toward cloud solutions with the addition of new IAM services, expanding the offering with a unifying technology platform for our millions of users,” Brad arvis, vice president and managing director of Identity & Access Management Solutions (IAMS) with HID Global, said in a company press release.  “HID is among the only IAM solution providers that can offer authentication for high security use cases all the way down to basic enterprise multifactor authentication. With this breadth of solutions, we believe that organizations in regulated markets, in particular, will gain the most significant benefits from the HID Authentication Service.”

Interested in reviewing your access and authentication requirements? Call ECT Services for a consultation.

March 11th, 2019

The hospital can be a dangerous place for healthcare professionals.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, approximately 24,000 working adults are the victims of workplace violence on average each year. Of those, an astounding 75 percent are healthcare workers.

Even worse, healthcare workers injured as a result of violence on the job are four times more likely than other types of workers to be seriously injured and require days away from work to recover.

The nature of healthcare work, particularly hospitals, elevates risk of violence. Nurses, aides, physicians and other staff are caring for people at their most vulnerable. The vast majority of assaults against take place at the hands of patients. Many are in physical pain and may be emotionally or psychologically unstable.

Direct patient care – the time when hospital staff are most vulnerable to attack – often takes place in private or semi-private areas, which could make it challenging to quickly summon help.

But thanks to HID Global, a recognized industry leader in trusted identity solutions, help may be as near as the ubiquitous staff ID badge. HID Global recently announced the launch of their new BEEKs™ Duress Badge Beacon. Staff members or clinicians can simply press the back of their badge to trigger a duress alert that identifies zeros in on their location wherever they are in the facility or grounds and summons security teams for help. The badges feature a Bluvision enabled BLE beacon that makes it possible to locate the wearer anywhere inside a configured area. The beacons are accurate within six feet of the wearer.

The technology is also suitable for other use cases where employees might be at elevated risk of assault, such as the hospitality industry, according to a press release by HID Global.

Interesting in learning more about how to enhance safety and security at your facility? Call ECT Services at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

February 20th, 2019

It might seem fundamental, but controlling access to doorways into and through your facility might just be the most important security decision you make. Doors are the primary way people and goods move through your building, and the ability to control when, where and how people move through doorways is key to security.

How have you chosen to secure the doors in and through your facility? Let’s review some basic tools:

Keycard access.

Physical keys. Humans have been securing doorways with rudimentary pins and locks since the technology first emerged in ancient Mesopotamia around 4,000 years ago. Physical keys are simple and reliable; you must have the correct key to fit into a correct lock to gain entry.

Some of the problems with keys are as old as the technology itself. Keys can be lost, leading to costly replacement of both locks and keys. Keys can also be duplicated fairly inexpensively, making it easy for access to quickly become uncontrolled.

Other problems are fairly new. Keys don’t enable any level of sophisticated tracking, which is a feature we’ve come to expect in the modern world. They don’t reveal exactly who operated the key, when they accessed the door, or when they left. They only allow a door to be locked and unlocked.

Even so, a traditional key and lock may be an adequate solution for doors which require some access control but don’t require a great deal of sophistication.

Keypads. Keypads work much the same as a physical lock and key, but rather than require a physical key to open the user must enter the correct code to gain entry. Codes can be shared among many users, making it simple to allow access to a number of people. Codes can also be changed regularly, maintaining some level of access control without the expense of changing locks and keys.

These same features can also be a drawback. Codes can be distributed too widely, allowing access to the wrong people. Changing codes can cause people who should have access to suddenly not have access.

Much as with traditional locks and keys, keypads don’t necessarily track who has entered and exited a doorway.

Even with the limitations noted, keypads may be an adequate solution for areas that don’t require a significant level of security but do require broad access.

Keycards. Keycards step up the sophistication considerably and solve a number of challenges posed by traditional and keypad locks. Users present a unique keycard before a reader at the door way. The reader scans the information encoded in the card and verifies whether or not the holder of the card should be allowed access.

Keycards tighten access considerably and are easily activated and deactivated without disruption to other keycard users. Keycard systems also enable sophisticated tracking, allowing managers to gain valuable insights into how people move through a facility.

Biometric access. Fingerprint scanning and facial recognition take security to an even higher level, and overcome some of the challenges posed by loss, theft or damage of other access control systems.

These options represent a broad range of solutions available to secure doorways. Options are available along every price point and need, and systems can be integrated and customized to fit your use case perfectly. Need help navigating your way through access control options? We have decades of experience and a expertise in the latest, most innovative products. Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

January 11th, 2019

When it comes time to select a college, you might think that prospective students and their parents focus on factors like academics, cost, beauty of the campus and even the quality of the football and basketball teams. Another important factor? Safety.

Campus safety is a significant factor in choosing a college, particularly for parents. A recent poll conducted by CollegeBoards.com found that 86 percent of parents ranked safety high on their list of requirements, edging out even academics.  

It’s not surprising that 28 percent of colleges and universities highlight their video cameras in their marketing material, according to the 2018 Campus Safety Magazine Video Surveillance Survey.

Video plays a crucial role in campus safety, expanding the reach of campus safety officers into nearly every physical space on campus. A solid 96 percent of survey respondents use video surveillance daily or weekly to keep campuses safe. Top use cases on college and university campuses include theft, crime from community members coming from off campus, and incidents during evenings and off hours.

Video surveillance is used in real time, and for later review. According to the survey, 59 percent of campus security professionals report using video to investigate crimes, while 26 percent report that they are used to deter criminal activity in the first place. Video surveillance is also used by 52 percent of respondents to monitor live events where safety and security issues could arise, like concerts, sporting events and protests. Thirty three percent of respondents find video surveillance to be a force multiplier.

Given those use cases, image quality and reliability are key factors in choosing video surveillance tools, along with integration with other systems and data analytics tools to extend the reach and insights even further.

ECT Services partners with leaders in video surveillance cameras like Axis. We build integrated systems that connect seamlessly with other tools like access control solutions offered by HID and active shooter alert systems like The Guardian by Shooter Detection Systems.

Want to learn more? Contact us at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

October 5th, 2018

Trusted identity solutions provider HID Global recently snagged two awards for new products from Security Today magazine, according to press releases from the company.
Security Today recognized HID’s SAFE™ Analytics solution as its most noteworthy new product for Big Data Security Analysis in 2018. The HID SAFE Analytics solution employs predictive analytics for assessing risks associated with identities in the system. The solution monitors for activities such as tailgating and badge fishing and behaviors such as erratic movement and unusual timing. A risk score is calculated for each activity or behavior, and customized mitigation responses are recommended.

“We are excited to receive this award for a solution that takes customers beyond a purely reactive security stance to one where they can identify and prevent breaches before they occur,” said Julian Lovelock, Vice President, Identity & Access Management Solutions (IAMS) with HID Global. “The critical knowledge and actionable insights our solution delivers give organizations high-value tools for averting security issues.”

HID’s Lumidigm® V400-BX Series multispectral imaging fingerprint sensor was also recognized by Security Today as the New Product of the Year in the Access Control–Biometrics category.

The Lumidigm V400-BX sensor delivers end-point security with biometric authentication in a device that combines multispectral fingerprint technology with on-device encryption, tamper detection and response capabilities. The sensors work for normal, wet, dry or damaged fingers, across a wide range of conditions, and can detect fake fingerprints.

Use cases include user enrollment and verification in enterprise access control applications, especially in financial and other regulated industries.

“This award recognizes key Lumidigm V400-BX sensor capabilities, with superior biometric performance and the first ISO/IEC 30107-3 certified fingerprint sensor to reject faked or stolen fingerprints.  The sensor’s robust, end-to-end encryption and anti-tamper technology processes billions of transactions annually to prevent misuse by fraudsters, while correctly authenticating legitimate users,” said Michael Chaudoin, Vice President of Product Management and Marketing, Extended Access Technologies business unit with HID Global, in a press release.  “We are proud to receive this affirmation of our fingerprint sensor offering and validation of the crucial role biometrics plays in securing enterprise networks and other logical access applications.”
ECT Services is proud to partner with innovated industry leaders like HID Global.

Does your facility need a strong access control solution? Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

August 1st, 2018

It’s a nightmare scenario.

A lone gunman holes up in your facility and uses it to stage a horrifying attack on the public, killing scores of people and striking terror in the hearts of the entire nation.

In the aftermath of the event as the public begins to sort out what happened, questions begin to arise about your organization. Should you have done more to prevent the attack? Were your safety and security measures adequate?

Experiencing the attack was agonizing, but those questions are even worse. Did you miss something key in planning? Would another system or tool have stopped the unthinkable from happening? Could you have foreseen this and prevented it?

Is your facility now liable for the loss and injury of so many innocent people at the hands of a terrorist?
The SAFETY Act might hold some answers to both issues:

1.) how can organizations evaluate their efforts to safeguard their facilities against terrorist attacks and

2.) how can organizations protect themselves against legal action in the event that those efforts fail to stop a terrorist attack.

According to a recent article posted on LATimes.com, the SAFETY Act allows companies to seek verification from the Department of Homeland Security that their security products and services are useful. If approved, the verification can limit the liability in the event the company is sued after an attack.

A quick scan of the SAFETY Act list of approved technologies reveals that not only have products received designations, but office parks, entertainment venues and public park systems have received designations, too, for their policies and procedures.

Even if you are not pursuing verification from the Department of Homeland Security for your facility, it’s worth your time to peruse the list and note the product vendors represented there. It’s a good starting place for considering vendors to enhance the safety and security of your facility.

You’ll see that our partner Shooter Detection Systems, LLC is listed there for their Guardian active shooter detection system. Guardian instantly detects gunshots inside a facility, pinpoints the location and notifies authorities, cutting response time significantly.

Want to know more about making your facility safer and more secure? Contact us at (800) 567-1180 to start the conversation.

June 27th, 2018

Axis Communications, a market leading network video provider, is innovating again with new product offerings that build on its core video capabilities.

In addition to announcing the release of two new rugged, fixed-dome outdoor cameras, Axis also recently announced the launch of a new cloud-based monitoring platform and an audio management tool. The new products build on Axis’ extensive line of security video cameras, platforms and more.

Axis has added two new video cameras to its Q35 series, the AXIS Q3518-LVE, the AXIS Q3517-SLVE.

According to a press release from Axis, the two new cameras includes support for Axis OptimizedIR illumination, Forensic WDR and Lightfinder technology, as well as Zipstream technology, which preserves important details in full image quality while significantly reducing storage and bandwidth needs. The cameras also include sophisticated onboard analytics for proactive surveillance; the ability to insert additional condition information into the video feed; external sensors that detect tampering and trigger alarms; relays to light activation and access control; redundant power and Ethernet; and easy installation.

The cameras are designed to operate in extreme temperatures from -50 C to +60 C and can withstand 50 joules of impact, with image stabilization that provides steady video even during intense impact.

The AXIS Q3517-LVE delivers 30 fps in 4K, while the AXIS Q3517-SLVE offers 5 MP. The SLVE offers a marine-grade stainless steel casing resistant to damage from salt, detergents and other chemicals.

Axis Communications also announced the release of its new AXIS Audio Manager C7050 Server. According to a press release from the company, the new Manager offers a complete audio management hardware and software package that allows users to manage and control all their network audio devices – including network speakers, audio bridges, microphones and horn speakers — from a single user interface.

Use cases include multi-site retail and educational environments. The manager allows users to control an entire network system from a desktop, tablet or mobile device.
Axis Communications also announced this week the release of its Guardian cloud-based remote monitoring solution. Guardian enables security vendors to partner more strongly with customers for off-site monitoring. Guardian easily integrates with existing systems, and is easily scalable to meet changing needs. The system allows remote monitors to accurately check alarms and deploy appropriate resources, reducing the need for onsite personnel. The system is fully accessible to customers as well, allowing for efficient collaboration.

Axis Communications has been a long time partner vendor with ECT Services. For more information about Axis’ innovative solutions and how they can meet your needs, call ECT Services at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

May 15th, 2018

With the weather warming up and the Kentucky Derby in the books, many are turning their attention to America’s favorite sport: baseball!

Little league fields across the country are humming with activity, and while the vast majority of the kids playing just dream of making the catch or scoring the winning run, some legitimately have their sights set a little higher.

In mid-August, talented teams of 10-12 year olds will take the field Williamsport, Penn. for the Little League World Series. For ten days, hundreds of thousands of players, coaches, parents, grandparents, fans and dignitaries from around the world will converge upon the small town of 6,500 to watch the action live.

But who will be keeping an eye on them?

Axis cameras will provide security teams with insights into all that’s going on across the 72-acre complex, which includes 2 stadiums, the World of Little League® Museum, parking, concessions, retail shops, sponsor booths, dormitories and other facilities. Strategically mounted AXIS Q60 PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) Network Cameras will allow teams to keep a pulse on crowds and zoom in on any activity of special note. Even activities that take place away from the glaring, bright lights of the outfield will be in sharp view; Axis Lightfinder technology enables the cameras to produce high resolution, colored images in almost complete darkness. Thermal camera and radar capabilities also enhance security around the complex’s perimeter.

Axis delivers these capabilities on a budget, too. Little League International is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the experience as affordable as possible for families to attend. There’s no entrance fee for the games, so there’s no gate to underwrite the security budget. Even so, Axis capabilities are efficient enough to provide maximum coverage and extend the reach of security teams. The cameras are integrated seamlessly with network and access control systems, maximizing coverage and efficiency.

Interested in learning more about how Axis can provide efficient, effective, integrated security solutions for your venue, too? Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.