From the Expert – LEGIC Identsystems

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LEGIC

John Harvey, Leon Rose and Carl Fenger from LEGIC Identsystems explore exclusively for Security Buyer the ins and outs of access control and encryption

For over 25 years, Swiss-based LEGIC Identsystems has enabled companies from around the world to deploy solutions with demanding security requirements. 

Based on key management, trusted services and secure, contactless semiconductors, the LEGIC Security Platform provides end-to-end security for smartphone- and smartcard-based access, mobility, shared resource and industrial IoT applications. 

All over the world, countless users have enjoyed the benefits of LEGIC hardware, software and services for over 25 years. Flexibility, maximum simplicity, scalable security and high investment protection are the four pillars of the security platform. LEGIC’s products and services help to make your everyday operations secure and uncomplicated. 

In this From the Expert, three specialists from LEGIC Identsystems collaboratively explore how best to secure an access control solution. Everything from installation to encryption. John Harvey, Leon Rose and Carl Fenger identify where the key learning gaps in the industry are and advise on the appropriate combatting method and technology.  

Access to your access control 

For government buildings, schools, offices, airports and residences, the importance of secure access control is growing to protect against theft and crime, as well as against physical access to sensitive information. In hospitals or care homes, effective and contactless access control is crucial for preventing the spread of pathogens such as COVID. 

Fortunately, with modern IT technology the automated authentication of individuals and their credentials is virtually bullet-proof. Most access control systems employ symmetrical encryption based on techniques such as AES (“Military Grade Encryption”) meaning smartcard (badge) access to infrastructure equipped with this technology is largely secure, once implemented. 

Security is as strong as the weakest link 

We all have daily experience with smartcard-based access – most of us use it when entering our workplaces using a badge as a personal credential. The basis of security is the guarantee that no one can gain access to the encryption key (also referred to as “password”) stored in the door lock’s secure memory. For AES encryption, this is simply a 128-, 192-, or 256-bit number. Modern semiconductor technology in the form of a “Secure Element” prohibits physical or electrical access to this encryption key once it is stored in electronic door locks, even by the most sophisticated hacker. 

One weakness, however, still exists.  

How are encryption keys installed? 

When it comes to managing access to buildings, rooms and storage areas, the most vulnerable point of attack is not the access control system itself, encryption used, nor physical media such as employee badges – it’s how the cryptographic keys embedded in door locks get there to begin with. A breach at this most fundamental level of access security can render the entire access control deployment vulnerable. 

Physical onsite programming 

If door locks are installed in a “blank” state, they cannot be programmed over a network – encryption is only possible once the encryption key is installed. The person installing the key onsite is also a risk – a visible key can be easily copied, remembered or photographed.

To prevent leakage of the key during lock initialisation, LEGIC’s unique “Master-Token System-Control” Key and Authorisation Management solution (MTSC) has been designed to provide companies and institutions with absolute independence and control over their organisation’s access security including cards and readers. 

To read more exclusive features and latest news please see our March issue here.

Media contact

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Security Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922
Email: editor@securitybuyer.com

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