Access control in two parts

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Networked prints

Digitus Biometrics' MSN6100 devices have some unique features that add extra layers of security and harden them against hacker attacks, said Chris Marsden, founder and chief technology officer of Digitus.

The units consist of two parts. Outside the door, a unit contains a numeric keypad, LCD display and a fingerprint scanner. Mounted inside the door, a network-connected controller box contains security software and a database contains the user IDs and fingerprint templates. The electric strike that keeps the door secure only connects to the controller box.

Marsden said the approach is different from similar access control systems, which use a single box sitting outside the door with wires on the back connecting to the network and the lock.

'With single-part units, if I want to get in the door, all I need to do is get access to the wire from the lock and connect it to a battery,' he said.

Because there is only a data connection between the two halves of the Digitus device, that approach is impossible, he said. The company has also taken additional steps to prevent people from hacking the data connection to gain access.

'We have developed a very sophisticated code-hopping system that, each time the two halves of our unit communicate, we encrypt it differently,' Marsden said.

'Even if someone were committed to cracking the system and tapped into the wire to monitor those data packets, they would never see a pattern of communication because of the code-hopping.'

Similarly, the prints themselves are not stored. A template is created that references certain points on the fingerprint and is stored as a long, encrypted binary number that cannot be reengineered to re-create the fingerprint.

The units cost between $750 and $2,500 depending on the configuration, quantity and terms of purchase.


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