The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Feb. 24-March 2, 2007

March 2, 2007
SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives a weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

Not that video analytics needed any validation as an industry shaping technology, but you're getting some validation anyway. The biggest shakers in the news this week were two companies, one which you definitely know, and another which ran a much smaller profile.

The news I'm referring to, of course, is Honeywell's acquisition of video analytics firm ActivEye into its Systems group. I had a chat with John Lorenty, the president of that Honeywell division, and it was interesting to see how Honeywell looks at the technology. Lorenty said they look at the analytics technology as an add-on that they can put in cameras and recorders (but especially cameras), and said the goal is to be able to deliver customizable "intelligent cameras". Need a camera that can tell if someone is crossing your perimeter? Buy the IR day/night fixed camera with the perimeter security module. Want to turn your retail domes into marketing machines? Replace them with cameras that have an added people-counting module. The list goes on and on.

Oh, and in case you missed the side note to this story, Lorenty said Honeywell is poised to release its own line of IP cameras.

RFID through the News
Cloned, proxed and standardized, RFID doesn't get a break

Runner up as the top news shaker was undoubtedly HID Global, which sought to respond to claims in a video from a small tech firm called IOActive. IOActive, it seems, had made a presentation at the RSA Conference that it could hack and clone HID's proximity cards. HID responded back with an article explaining what prox card security meant. Then IOActive backed out of a Black Hat conference, apparently stemming from a potential intellectual property lawsuit between it and HID over prox card technology.

While the IOActive cloning experiment was more or less just a techie power play, the experiment may have had the unfortunate effect of further convincing many Americans that RFID just isn't safe for identity applications (there are, of course, many different levels of RFID, but that too often gets lost in the shuffle). So you’ve got lots of Americans thinking RFID technology is inherently weak...and then the Department of Homeland Security announces yesterday that RFID will be part of the basis of its Real ID plan.

Not that the Real ID plan doesn't get some detractors anyway. While a barcode-like scheme on the back would make it easy for visitor management platforms of the new IDs to capture visitor information, DHS has proposed that it be unencrypted, which is sure to bring denouncement from privacy advocates. The Real ID program also had some early pushback from states who are concerned about the electronic readability, but the DHS, of course, has an upper hand in that it can simply require Real ID cards for citizens to board planes, thereby forcing states to comply out of necessity to keep their citizens moving.

Selling Alarm Systems to Concerned Neighbors
The kind of thing alarm system sellers dream about

Alarm dealers, tell me if you don't love this story. Neighbors in Chula Vista, Calif., got together at a home recently and invited security companies to come give their pitches and talk security. The neighbors were apparently concerned over crime threats reaching their neighborhoods. Frankly, it's not a bad marketing idea for dealers. If you can get in touch with home owners associations and bring in a security consultant to talk residential security best practices (perhaps something like the tips on "It Takes a Thief"), you may have made in-roads to new sales.

Top Crimes of the Century
From a Boston art heist to the Lindbergh child kidnapping

Time magazine made available online a guide to what it considers the top crimes of the last century. Included in the list of top crimes were the kidnapping (and murder) of Charles Lindbergh's child, the famous Gardner Museum art heist, the Brinks breach, and more. While Time magazine threw in a mix of serial killers, the list should be of interest to any security professional who wants to see the variety of threat vectors that humanity faces. It's well-worth a read.

More in the News
Bosch retools support, Landing the Colts' stadium project, more...

Here's what else was happening this week: Bosch retooled its customer support division, integrating training, tech support and more. ... Modern Fire & Security Systems Inc. from Michigan landed the $2 million contract to provide the security system to the Indianapolis Colts' forthcoming Lucas Oil Stadium. ... Garda got into the U.S. cash handling market in a big way with its acquisition of ATI Systems, creating more competition for Brinks. ... St. Louis has decided to get onboard with a police department-managed fixed surveillance camera network for its downtown areas. ... New York City made it official: dance clubs will need to have surveillance cameras at their entrances.

Finally we close with a look at the most popular stories of the last week: