Definitions and Glossary
In its literal definition, an airlock is a device which permits the passage of people and objects between a pressurised vessel and its surroundings while minimizing the change of pressure in the vessel and loss of air from it. The airlock consists of a small chamber with two airtight doors in series which do not open simultaneously. In physical security, the term has been borrowed to describe a secure room with two or more doors in which no more than one door can be open at any time. This configuration prevents opening a "breach" into a secure area, and in the case of fraudulent access allows retaining the person(s) inside the airlock, hence airlocks are also termed "mantraps".
A common airlock configuration used in modern physical security installations takes the form of a small lobby with two sets of doors such that the first set of doors must close before the second set opens. Identification is typically required to enter the airlock (e.g. access badge) but more importantly identifcation
In a lower-security variation of a man-trap, banks often locate automated teller machines within the dead-space between the entrance doors and the interior lobby doors to prevent ATM robbery and night-time walk-up robberies. Entry access by ATM card to the dead-space offers additional customer protection.
In physical security, the term "access control" refers to the practice of restricting entrance to a property, a building, or a room to authorized persons. Physical access control can be achieved by a human (a guard, bouncer, or receptionist), through mechanical means such as locks and keys, or through technological means such as a card access system or biometric identification. There are three main means of identification:
An access control system determines who is allowed to enter or exit, where they are allowed to exit or enter, and when they are allowed to enter or exit. In order to avoid that unauthorised persons follow for whatever reason an authorised person, a modern integrated access control system needs a means of anti-tailgating (also known as single passage control system, singularisation system, mantrap, airlock control).
In the context of building security, the term "tailgating" is used to describe the situation where one or more people follow an authorized person through a secured door or other entrance when the authorized person opens the door legitimately., in general without the authorized person's knowledge and/or consent. A "tailgater" can be an unauthorized intruder, but can also be a normally-authorized person who has forgotten or lost their access key, pass or token, or finds the access procedure inconvenient. High-security buildings typically use secure revolving doors in order to prevent tailgating. Such doors may have smaller segment space between the door leaves, and can also be fitted with electronic sensors which cause the door's powered rotation to reverse if more than one person is detected in a segment space.
In security, piggybacking refers to when a person tags along with another person who is authorized to gain entry into a restricted area, or pass a certain checkpoint, in general in collusion with the authorized person.
Tailgaters and piggybackers have various methods of breeching security. These may include:
Biometric verification is any means by which a person can be uniquely identified by evaluating one or more distinguishing biological traits. Unique identifiers include fingerprints, 2D & 3D face geometry, hand geometry, earlobe geometry, retina and iris patterns, voice waves, DNA, and signatures.
Biometric information can be used for identification (1-N) or verification (1-1). When used for identifcation a record of a person's unique characteristic is captured and kept in a database. Later on, when identification verification is required, a new record is captured and compared with the previous record in the database. If the data in the new record matches that in the database record, the person's identity is confirmed. Due to similarities in biometric data the identification methodology is limited to a relatively small user base, depending on the technology used. Additionally it can raise privacy concerns around the storage of personal biometric data. To address these concerns biometrics can be used in verification mode: the person asserts their identity and the biometric measurement simply needs to be compared to the person's recorded template. Not only does this allow for an unlimited user population, it is also possible to alleviate privacy concerns by allowing the users to keep possession of their own template (typically stored in a smart card) instead stored it in a database. When access is requested, the person simply presents their card to the biometric reader, which then verifies that the person's biometric measurement corresponds to that stored in the card.
In physical security, authorization is the concept of allowing access to areas only to those permitted to use them. More formally, authorization is a process (often part of the access control process) that protects security areas by only allowing those persons to enter who have been granted authority to use them. Authorization (deciding whether to grant access) is a separate concept to authentication (verifying identity), and usually dependent on it.
Physical security describes measures that prevent or deter attackers from accessing a facility, resource, or information stored on physical media. It can be as simple as a locked door or as elaborate as multiple layers of armed guardposts.
Single passage control
Singularisation is the process of ensuring the presence of a single person in a specific area or zone. Different singularisation technologies exist: optical barriers and weight mats are the most common systems but are not very discriminating and due to the large variability in human weight and morphology don’t allow the detection of small people tailgating closely. The SMACS system uses multi-dimensional sensor technology to generate an individual BioVisual signature for each person, guaranteeing the highest possible level of security.
Flow management in terms of physical security is the goal-oriented management of the flow of persons and/or material for example in airports, to obtain an optimal compromise between security and comfort.
Anti-tailgating and anti-piggybacking describe the mesures taken and methods used to avoid tailgating and piggybacking situations (see definitions above).
Tiger kidnapping is the informal term for an abduction done in order to aid in a robbery. It is called a tiger kidnapping because of the predatory stalking that precedes it. A person of importance to the victim will be held hostage as collateral until the victim has met the criminal's demands. Tiger kidnappings are most prevalent in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Belgium.
In most electronic access control systems the door controller is an interface between the access control server and the door hardware. Badge readers are connected to the door controller which relays the user ID to the server. If the person is authorised to access the particular door (possibly time-dependent) the door controller unlocks the door. It is also typically responsible for detecting doors held open too long as well as forced doors (opened without authorisation). When coupled with a SMACS system the door controller is only responsible for telling SMACS whether the person is authorised to use the door or not: the actual unlocking of the door is performed by SMACS following its singularisation analysis.
SMACS is an acronym for "SMart Airlock Control System". SMACS is an optical singularisation and empty space control system for airlocks. SMACS uses multi-dimensional sensor analysis to detect people and objects in security airlocks, primarily to ensure that an authorised person enters a secure area alone, thus ensuring that every person inside the secure area is entitled to be present.
SMACS multi-dimensional algorithms analyzing different aspects of persons and/or material to extract a signature representative of the person. This BioVisual signature (as it is termed by Fastcom Technology) allows SMACS to tailor the singularisation analysis to each individual. The BioVisual signature is not a true biometric mesurement in that it is not necessarily unique to each individual. It can not be used to replace conventional biometric identification systems, but complements them as it yields a highly precise singularisation measure, independent of body morphology. In particular BioVisual technology should not be considered a solution to persons swapping badges: biometric identification is required.
Original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, is a term that refers to containment-based re-branding, namely where one company uses a component of another company within its product, or sells the product of another company under its own brand. OEM refers to the company that originally manufactured the product.