Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Totally Awesome DIY Security Project - Raspberry Pi Face Recognition Treasure Box

As you know, I'm currently working on a few DIY security projects to share with you guys. My favorite place to go for inspiration has been, Make. These folks do some seriously awesome DIY projects. Most of them beginner to intermediate-level DIYers can do themselves. While perusing their site, I found this gem:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

If I Had To Design A Parking Lot, This Is How I'd Do It

The other day, I noticed in a discussion group someone asked about designing a parking lot access control system. This got me to thinking about why security officials are often tasked with designing and deploying these systems and why they are flawed many times. Here's the response I gave.
There is no technological answer for this. This would be dependent upon METT-TC (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops—Time, Civilians). The best parking plans I've seen first started by looking at the mission of the facility.
  • This immediately beckons you to ask if any of the vehicles parked are or will at some point need to be mission critical. In other words, if this is a hospital, would it be prudent to have access control measures which take into account emergency vehicles? Will you have sufficient room in the lot to accomodate them and an emergency egress? I would also determine who NEEDED to be able to park in this lot. Not everyone needs to park in your lot though they may want to. This should create a decent entry authorization list wherein you can identify who will need an expedient, yet effective means of gaining access. How critical is the facility? Tech is great but sometimes having a guy at the gate is more prudent, with respect to handling visitors, LEOs/first responders without access control tags, etc.
  • It is also really helpful to not interfere with the mission of your facility, when designing your access control system whether for the parking lot or anywhere else. Seriously. I can't overstate this enough. DO NOT make your system so cumbersome or strict that it impedes on the mission of those who do the work that pays you and your personnel. I have seen parking plans so restrictive that mission-essential personnel have been denied access to their facilities for things such as day-old expired vehicle tags and hours-old expired vehicle passes. Make sure your plan is flexible enough to accommodate those who need access right away but need to get their credentials in order.
  • Be wary of making it susceptible to social engineering, though. I find the best way to mitigate this is through codification of your policies with exceptions allowed to accommodate those whose credentials may be lacking but can be verified. NEVER allow anyone access without verification. Ensure your access control system has authenticators, whether it be electronic or solely paper-based. However, ensure your authenticators are never discussed with anyone. I'd suggest making this a definitive terminable offense. 
  • I'd also consider your threat profile. Who has an interest, as a nefarious actor, to gain entry to this lot or through this lot to your facility? How can you mitigate this, bearing in mind how they could obtain entry feasibly? Seriously. Don't plan on ninjas and SOF to make entry if that's not your threat. Plan physical measures with this in mind.
  • What's the size of your lot? Has your lot grown to an extent where it requires fencing? If it does, how often do your security officers check that fence? No sense in having a fence if you're not checking it. Remember fences are a demarcation AND a detection piece of your plan. Also determine if your lot is situated with any physical obstructions wherein you can't observe who may have circumvented your parking plan. Consider CCTV or even a roving patrol to help if needed. Also, I find that if you use stickers, a few things tend to happen. One, people tend to park illegally and need to be towed. This takes up precious time and resources. And it could create confusion depending on how "creative" your sticker plan is. If you use stickers, keep it simple and wheel lock. Give each of your patrolmen a wheel locks and authority to deploy on cars illegally parked in select spots. Also address parking violations on a stakeholder basis as well. Talk to them about the potential loss in revenue should responders be delayed because of illegal parking in their reserved spots. Also describe what you're trying to accomplish and how a sound parking plan can be a force multiplier (Boss, if our plan works, I can reduce the number of patrols and increase security efficiency and efficacy by x-amount).
  • Start thinking about how you want to accommodate vehicles in terms of their egress and entry. How long should it take them to leave and get in? Are there any chokepoints in the plan that can cause congestion and make for additional security heartaches?
  • Finally, consider the impact your plan could have on civilian or non-business related entities such as neighbors. Will you have to consider parking off campus? Will your plan cause congestion that impacts them? Will your plan address neighbors and their parking plans? Will your plan have a demarcation for neighbors to know where your property extends?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DIY Security Projects For This Year

Winter is sort-of, almost, hopefully over soon. Every summer, I set about teaching my son the various ways of my craft. Last summer, I did a DIY security project where me and my son built a booby-trap of sorts. We used Dollar Store magnetic window alarms, fishing line, and two-sided tape to create an audible tripwire alarm.

$3.00 Set-up Cost
Over the course of the last year since then, I have also created an audible duress alarm. I will post a video as well as a how-to later on.  Suffice it to say, this was an EXTREMELY fun project.

This year, I have several DIY security projects I'd like to build and deploy.
  1. A motion sensor alarm using Raspberry Pi. I haven't decided whether I want the alarm to be just be audible or if I want it to be audible and tweet or send a text message when there's been a breach.
  2. I created a duress alarm in my home, previously, using NFC tags in my car to be triggered when my phone made contact. This summer I'd like to expand on this with an NFC-enabled video surveillance system. More on this later.
  3. I'm also interested in putting together a much more comprehensive security system in my home using basic battery power, online-purchased sensors, control panel, and monitoring station. I have a rough idea as to what I want. I may do a series of articles about this.
  4. I'm also in the process of completing a covert surveillance project that has been demonstrated online.
  5. Next year, I will embark on my biggest project - my very own DIY drone. This will take considerable time but I think it could be well worth it.
  6. I also plan on doing a series of small but inexpensive (some FREE) DIY security projects. Look out for stories on DIY security containers and other cool stuff.
All of my projects are to help teach my son the ways of using inexpensive tools to provide sound mitigation and response to actual emergencies. I hope it will also demonstrate for him the value of doing things for yourself and how when done for providing protection for your family and yourself, it can be richly rewarding. Wish me luck and stand-by for a killer year.

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