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The 8 most significant ways physical security has evolved

Grant Hatchimonji | Jan. 22, 2014
Physical security has come a long way since the advent of the lock and key. But for all of its changes, the greatest aspect of the evolution of physical security is how it has begun to mesh with our digital world.

6. Security linked to mobile devices
It's not uncommon these days to have security systems especially home security systems linked to a mobile device. Smart sensors, wireless deadbolts, and remote control security/utility systems can all be controlled be a user's mobile device. But some say with such convenience comes compromised security.

"While these are all nice convenient ways to keep your house 'safe,' at the same time, it's all through a cell phone, a major target now of thieves, hackers, malware writers, etc.," says Ryan Jones, managing consultant at Lares Consulting.

Though attackers can physically get their hands on your phone to get the keys to the castle "People can't seem to help thsemselves but lose their phones or have them stolen," says Jones they may not even need to. "I see there being a problem in the future with spooking someone's phone and unlocking their house and shutting off their alarm," he adds.

In the near term, Jones suggests that people take simple security measures to protect their security systems, like using phone locks in case their phone is lost or stolen. But in the long run, better quality control is the key. "You have these executives and celebrities who don't lock their phones because it's an inconvenience, but people need to actually use [phone locks]," he says. "In the long more people buy in, there will hopefully be more proper testing done before they are released to the market."

7. Fingerprint scanning
Fingerprint scanning not only ups the level of security at an access point by requiring identification that is unique to each person, it also allows security systems to keep track of who is entering the facility. "It's just being able to say that [this person] went through this door at this time&there's a huge difference between that and, 'It's a key. I really have no idea who the owner was,'" says Nickerson. "It's the biggest advancement we have."

Fingerprint scanning technology is far from perfect, however; fingerprints can be lifted and copied through the use gelatinous materials, for example. But as Nickerson points out, makers of security systems that use biometrics have, for whatever reason, made greater advances in ameliorating their flaws. "Manufacturers have started putting heat sensors...and pressure and heat mapping behind the scanner," he says. "So now, the scan also has to match the person's vein structure. It's those multiple factors of authentication that have made biometrics so great."

8. Facial recognition
Part of the advancements that have been made in video surveillance is facial recognition coding. Facial recognition has become so advanced that it can not only be used to verify that somebody is who they say they are, it can also be used to pick a person out of the crowd and even determine if they're up to no good.


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