How to Choose the Right Credential Technology to Prevent Cloning

Why it is crucial to update to the latest access card technologies.

It’s common knowledge that older access control cards have been cloned for years, and with each cycle of replication, companies have released new technology to attempt to halt this activity.

With only a few access card technologies left today that haven’t been cloned, it’s crucial to upgrade to the latest in order to minimize any ongoing risk.

Cloning takes many forms, and for older technologies it is very easy and inexpensive to do. Sometimes, the information can be captured simply by using a long-range card reader, a 12-volt battery and a circuit board – and then remain in close proximity of the building to be targeted.

In 2015, two programmers at Black Hat USA released a $10 device that fit under the faceplate of a normal card reader and captured all of the information that the reader received.

From there, all the information could be uploaded by using a Bluetooth low energy (BLE) transmission without having to be removed from the reader.

Today’s Cards Play Expanded Roles for Organizations

What can be done to protect against cloning? First, find out what system is already in place and determine its vulnerabilities, and from there, research which smart card technology will provide better security and protection for the intended situations.

Determining which smart card technology to utilize is dictated by how the card is to be used within the organization. Besides simply opening doors, increased memory is now available on cards to store additional, sensitive information.

For example, storing (encrypted) credit card or payment information to allow employees to purchase company items or use the cafeteria is a time-effective tool and an easy way to improve employee relations.

On a different track, the card can also store biometric templates when very secure areas need to be accessed. Once the appropriate smart card has been chosen, it needs to be matched to the correct reader, which is available in many options.

A common type is the card plus PIN reader, and now there are multiple readers that add biometrics capabilities. While most typical are the fingerprint, facial and iris readers, each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Iris readers offer the highest level of authentication, especially when scanning both eyes.

Smartphones Are Becoming a Smarter Option

Mobile credentials, of which much of the population has support for via their smartphones, allow for storing credentials on the phone instead of a card.

Smartphones use Near Field Communication (NFC) or BLE to transmit encrypted credentials to a reader; however, both applications have pros and cons.

“With many access control options also able to deliver extra convenience and cost-saving benefits, it is more practical than ever before to implement wireless and mobile security technologies.”

Since NFC is a very short-range radio – and found on most current-generation smartphones – it must come into contact with the reader to make the credential transfer. This can be more time consuming than scanning a badge because it must be retrieved to access the door.

On the other hand BLE, which is available on almost all new smartphones, has a much longer read range – this can be an advantage or disadvantage.

For example, if there are multiple doors within an area, it is likely not necessary to have numerous doors unlocking all at once when only one is required to be accessed.

Studies have shown that if an employee forgets their access card for where they work, most do not attempt to go home and retrieve it, but instead obtain a temporary badge for the day. On the other hand, if a smartphone was left at home, the owner will go back for it.

So, it makes smartphones a viable option that may save time, money and offer added convenience. While no technology is ever bulletproof against hackers, staying current as technology improves will give you additional layers of security and protection.

With many access options also able to deliver extra convenience and cost-saving benefits, it is more practical than ever before to implement wireless and mobile security technologies.

READ NEXT: Hikvision President Chats With SSI About Cybersecurity, Privacy Concerns

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add sales to your bottom line.

A free subscription to the #1 resource for the residential and commercial security industry will prove to be invaluable. Subscribe today!

Subscribe Today!

Get Our Newsletters