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Halt, who goes there?
March 2019, This Week's Editor's Pick, Cyber Security

This way of thinking may have been relevant many years ago, but times and technology have changed in leaps and bounds and the two separate species have been forced to morph into a new hybrid, ‘FrankenSecurity’ for lack of a better word.

Craig Rosewarne.
Craig Rosewarne.

This way of thinking may have been relevant many years ago, but times and technology have changed in leaps and bounds and the two separate species have been forced to morph into a new hybrid, ‘FrankenSecurity’ for lack of a better word.

Physical security is a critical factor in an organisation’s defences, especially smaller businesses that do not have the vast resources to devote to personnel and equipment. IoT (Internet of Things) devices have stepped into the gap to assist in securing physical security. However, they bring with them their own inherent dangers. As devices become cheaper and more available, suppliers are rushing them into the market place without fully ascertaining any flaws that could be available to hackers and intruders.

Any Internet connected device is a potential point of entry into your organisation’s most valuable asset, data. CCTV cameras are invaluable in monitoring human traffic to restricted areas and are vital in providing forensic evidence during and after an incident where security has been breached. Security surveillance cameras have been used for many years, and early models are particularly vulnerable to a hacking attack. In many cases they are well over their end-of-life phase and there are no patches or updates available to keep them operating reliably.

Securing all entry points is not as simple as it sounds. It would take vast amounts of human resources to achieve this and, as we know, humans are also fallible. Security gates and doors requiring access cards and the like go a long way in alleviating the risk of unwanted guests. Biometrics add an additional layer of protection in protecting your company’s assets.

Again, however, all these devices being wireless and Internet based are vulnerable to attack. When one considers that a motor vehicle can be hacked and taken control of, simple IoT devices are a walk in the park.

An organisation’s sever room is the mind, heart and soul of the business and needs to be especially well protected both physically and using the best cyber defences. Here again, security gates requiring access cards and/or biometrics, CCTV cameras and alarms are crucial in protecting the ‘Crown Jewels’. Access needs to be severely curtailed to only those personnel vital to maintain the system. However, all personnel need to be trained in security awareness and foster an awareness of both physical and cybersecurity.

It’s all at risk

So what is at risk in a modern business complex? Well, basically everything. An innocent looking thermostat in a casino fish tank was recently hacked and access was gained into the system. As we seek to make our lives and running a business easier, people are turning to the Internet to take over many mundane functions.

A building relies on its HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) to keep its workers climatically comfortable. Most are connected wirelessly to a central control panel. Ditto with all video surveillance feeds. Even the humble irrigation and sprinkler systems pose a risk to an organisation from those seeking to gain access into the heart of the company or simply to make life unpleasant for those working there. Unfortunately there are very few standards that these devices are required to meet, making hackers lives a lot easier.

The convergence of physical and cyber- security has been around for a while now since the first attacks started. However, according to Scott Borg, director of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit: “As long as organisations treat their physical and cyber domains as separate, there is little hope of securing either one. The convergence of cyber and physical security has already occurred at the technical level. It is long overdue at the organisational level.” (http://fedtechmagazine.com/article.asp?item_id=512)

• The lack of a comprehensive fusion of both systems can lead to many challenges for businesses and organisations.

• Tampering with systems is more difficult to detect due to the lack of adequate physical and logical devices.

• There is a noticeable increase in the threat of theft of both financial and information assets.

• No single system is available to identify a person’s true identity.

• There is a lack of best practices applied to IT management and physical security devices.

The next time you are attending a company meeting, think of who else could be attending in abstentia and happily gathering future prospects, intellectual property and other company secrets. Your voice, video and data transmissions are not secure! It is estimated that there will be 22 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet by 2020.

Yes, that’s next year folks.

For more information contact Wolfpack Information Risk, +27 11 794 7322, info@wolfpackrisk.com, www.wolfpackrisk.com


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Further reading:

  • 2019 Internet of Things (IoT) Barometer
    March 2019, This Week's Editor's Pick, Integrated Solutions, IT infrastructure
    A majority of businesses that use IoT technology agree that it has either disrupted their industry or will do so in the next five years.
  • From the editor’s desk: IoT is you
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    A search on the Internet for articles and comments on the convergence of physical and digital security shows that the topic was quite popular a few years ago, but then tapered off. Lately it has reared ...
  • iLegal 2019
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    iLegal 2019    12 September Johannesburg iLegal, hosted by Dr Craig Donald and Hi-Tech Security Solutions, returns in 2019 with another full-day event covering insights and advice into a range of aspects ...
  • Ideal operating temperature?
    March 2019, Leaderware, Technews Publishing, This Week's Editor's Pick, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
    Walk into any CCTV control room in South Africa, whether in the middle of a heat wave or mid-winter, and you will probably see a number of operators wearing jackets, some huddled over slightly in an attempt to get warm.
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  • IoT is convergence in action
    March 2019, Gijima Electronic and Security Systems (GESS), NEC XON, Technews Publishing, Axiz, G4S South Africa, This Week's Editor's Pick, Cyber Security, Integrated Solutions, IT infrastructure
    The Internet of Things gains more than enough attention these days, but the IoT demonstrates the reality of the convergence between the physical and cyber worlds, and physical security is part of it.
  • Stop hacking of access control ­systems
    March 2019, This Week's Editor's Pick, Access Control & Identity Management, Cyber Security
    Think someone hacking your access control system not a big deal? Scott Lindley suggests that you think again.
  • Changing the security landscape
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  • New cybersecurity pavilion for Securex 2019
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    Securex South Africa 2019 has announced that 4Sight Technologies, a subsidiary of an international holdings company focusing on investing in Industry 4.0 companies, has signed on as the official sponsor ...
  • MST focuses on projects and skills
    March 2019, Mustek Security Technologies, Technews Publishing, Integrated Solutions, News
    Mustek Security Technologies is a systems integrator doing project work for National Key Points and other clients.

 
 
         
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