The Security Week That Was: A Recap - April 9-15, 2005

April 15, 2005
SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives his weekly surveillance of the news shaping your profession

This has been the season of data theft. Following thefts of computers from SAIC, the San Jose Medical Group and U.C. Berkeley, there were stories of data thefts via network hacks at Cal State, LexisNexis and now a hack of Polo Ralph Lauren's credit card databases. The trend that we've all seen is that the really valuable "stuff" of a company is no longer a printed blueprint or a working model -- it's often the data and personal information we collect. If we treat these databases like open buildings -- no access control, no perimeter security, no intrusion detection -- these thefts will continue to occur.

This trend is also reaching a point where we have to think about the databases that security executives collect. Is the database that hosts all the information on your access control systems and approved personnel lists hosted in such a manner that a hacker could potentially access it? Do you have a back-up plan for re-enrolling, recreating and reassigning access control data if your database was hacked? As we move toward digital systems, we're gaining a lot of security, but we still have to remember that every hardened system still has a weakness. On this topic, read what a former hacker has to say.

On the dealer and central station side of news (as if ISC West didn't give us all enough product news to think about), Milwaukee's council approved an ordinance that requires guards to verify burglar alarms. Everyone knew this was likely to be approved, but here's what it means: an alarm verification has to be performed by a hired guard, because verification by the alarm owner could be dangerous in the event it is a real alarm. Verified-response policies also hit the news again this week with a convoluted case in Salt Lake City where an alarm company's sales manager is suing a variety of persons after feeling like he had been used "as an example" by the police on the issue of false alarms.

Looking forward... SIW's partner magazine Security Technology & Design takes its expertise on the road next week with a new specialty seminar series called Voice of the Expert (VoE). The seminar stops in Philadelphia on April 21, for a day that is designed to keep security end users and executives up-to-date on technological trends. These are held in conjunction with SecureWorld Expo, and the price for the VoE segment is a bargain for a full day of education with lunch included. Stops will also include Atlanta (May 17), plus Seattle and Dallas. Use the following link to sign up for the Philadelphia event:

Finally, Charlie Pierce, a regular contributor on topics of CCTV and surveillance to and Security Technology & Design magazine, as well as president of a security/surveillance consulting company, has agreed to moderate what promises to be an informative webinar (a "live" Internet-based seminar) about network video. The free webinar will be held April 20 at 12 noon EST, live via your computer. To sign up, click the following link:

Don't forget to check out the top stories of the week if you haven't done so already: