Thursday, November 15, 2018

How Secure Are Your Law Enforcement Department’s Radios?

Police officer speaks on radio
Imagine a scenario where one of your officers is pursuing a criminal and needs backup, but something is disrupting their radio signal and the call isn't being heard by anybody on your network. Without backup, this officer is facing even higher risk than normal in an already dangerous situation.

That scenario could have been a frightening reality for two law enforcement departments in Ohio. A recent series of raids on several homes in northeast Ohio resulted in the seizing of multiple cloned police radios that criminals had used to hack into the public safety radio system.

This wasn't simply a case of criminals being able to listen in on all department radio traffic, much of which someone can listen to with publicly available scanners if the traffic is unencrypted. When multiple radios are registered to the same system, a well-timed button push on a cloned radio can disrupt communication coming from the original, officer-held radio.

Radios play a critical role in everything your department does. Even a temporary breach of your ability to communicate — whether between dispatch and officers on patrol or SWAT officers coordinating a raid — can have serious consequences for your officers and deputies.

It's critical that you take steps to secure and account for your radios, especially when they're not actively being used for law enforcement purposes. Are you confident that none of your radios have gone missing or been cloned?

Here are some ways you can better manage your radios and keep your officers safe in the field.

Keep Radios Secure When Not in Use


Keep all radios in a secure location or in containers any time they are not in use. It's important to remember that your department's facility might not be as secure as you think it is. A radio left unattended on a desk or even a back room can be discreetly taken by anybody with access to the room, including any members of the public who have reason to be there.

To keep radios from landing in the wrong hands, keep them in secure lockers away from open areas, while still allowing the radios to be quickly and easily accessed by the officers who need them.

Hold Officers Accountable


However you chose to secure your radios, access should be restricted and tracked so the right people can easily retrieve the radios they need and so you know who took them and when. Tracking access also holds officers accountable for what they do with radios in the field since they'll know the radios need to be returned by certain times.

An electronic method of tracking access to lockers containing radios reduces the chance for mistakes or outright omissions in a manual log by recording transactions securely and automatically. It also cuts down on the time officers spend checking out a radio.


Secure Radio Charging Stations


After being stolen or going missing, the next worst thing to happen to a department radios is for the battery to go dead. You're probably well aware that a dead radio in the field is about as useful as a sidearm without ammo. However, how secure are the radio charging stations in your department?

You certainly want to keep your radios secure, but what good does that do if they must be transitioned to and from insecure charging stations? Consider moving your charging stations to the same secure area or lockers in which you store your radios. An even better solution would be to wire individual lockers with charging cords so plugging in a radio every time it is checked in is part of your department's processes.

No matter how you decide to store and secure your radios, be certain that you can trust the method to serve its intended purpose. Even assets secured by traditional locks and keys might not be as secure as you think if access is abused or the keys fall into the wrong hands.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Three Ways Healthcare Providers Can Prevent Security Breaches

Man's hand reaching for medical records on shelf
Updated October 30, 2018

The healthcare industry is no stranger to data breaches. In a two-year period, the OCR's Breach Reporting Tool, or "Wall of Shame," recorded 414 incidents involving 500 or more people. What's notable is that, according to the Verizon 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, healthcare was the only industry where more data breaches were caused by insiders (56 percent) than by external threats (43 percent).

To reduce the risk of employees abusing their access privileges, digital security is crucial. However, those security efforts must be combined with physical security measures, such as strict key control. Think about how easily unauthorized key use could cause a data breach. One hospital, for example, lost control of the keys used to access locked bins holding patients’ information sheets waiting to be shredded. Only three employees were supposed to have access to these keys, but an audit revealed that more than 53 employees had key copies, with no record of how they'd acquired them.

If you're a healthcare provider, below are three steps you can take to tighten your facility’s key security.

1. Train employees.


One of the biggest security threats healthcare institutions face are staff members' mistakes. The 2018 Global Cost of a Data Breach Report by Ponemon attributes 27 percent of data breaches to human error alone. To help avoid costly errors, regularly educate your employees — especially those who have access to patient information — on privacy and security best practices. If a potential breach occurs, ensure they know the proper procedure for reporting it.

2. Find a key control system that holds employees accountable.


Your facility may have a key control policy in place, but if it's not enforceable, it's not effective. When it comes to key control, digitizing as many of those procedures as possible helps ensure employee compliance. It's important to find a key control system that minimizes manual steps. Instead of requiring staff members to issue keys, you can reduce the possibility of human error and manipulation by automatically tracking keys and user access.

3. Maintain a verifiable audit trail.


Keeping a verifiable record of employee key access helps you identify potential security breaches (e.g., an employee who regularly returns keys late or attempts to remove keys when they're not on the clock). If an incident does occur, the audit trail demonstrates that you've taken measures to protect patients and their information.

By increasing your key security, you can reduce your odds of an insider data breach and hopefully avoid a spot on the Wall of Shame.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tricks to Look out for This Halloween

Man holding gorilla mask
Updated October 23, 2018

It's long been rumored that crime rates increase on Halloween. Some cities, like Boston, have stats to prove it. Other sources say it depends on the type of crime. For example, property crimes are more common on October 31 than on any other day of the year. Tampering with candy, on the other hand, isn't as common a crime as you might think.

Either way, it's important to remember that crime does happen on Halloween, so you need to take measures to protect your business. Here are a couple of "tricks" to look out for this Halloween.

Crimes in Costume


Kids aren't the only ones who like to dress up. For some criminals, Halloween provides the perfect opportunity to disguise their identity by donning a costume without looking out of place. Here are just a few examples:

Fortunately, there are ways to prepare your business for the threat of burglars in disguise.

What to Do: To protect your business this Halloween, double check your physical security measures, such as securing the premises by locking every entryway that isn't used regularly, restricting access to nonpublic points of entry and storing keys in an electronic key control system. Also make sure you educate your employees on how to prepare for and respond to armed threats.

Vanishing Vehicles


Halloween is one of car thieves' favorite holidays, with more than 2,500 cars stolen on Halloween alone in 2016 (the latest data available). Between trick-or-treating and costume parties, Halloween presents plenty of distractions, which criminals use to their advantage.

At one house party in Pennsylvania, for example, a thief tracked down a partygoer's unattended car keys, located the vehicle in the home's driveway and drove off. In Athens, OH, a thief simply hopped into an idling car and drove off in it.

Are you confident your employees are taking precautions to avoid these scenarios when driving company vehicles?

What to Do: Make sure your company's fleet vehicles are locked and, if possible, stored out of sight from the public. If you have employees who are using company vehicles on a long-term basis, remind them of vehicle safety tips such as not leaving the car unattended while idling, keeping track of the keys and storing valuables in the glove box or trunk.

By planning ahead, you can experience more tricks than treats this Halloween.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

How Electronic Key Control Attracts Millennials to Your Service Department

Car in Front of Two Gates to Authorized Certified Auto Service
Millennials are about to reach a new milestone: the largest living adult generation. If your service department isn’t targeting this demographic, you risk losing millennial customers to independent mechanics.

It’s important to be aware that millennials are more cost conscious than older generations give them credit for. In fact, 73 percent of millennials say they create a budget and stick to it. This dedication to budgeting can be challenging to the service drive, since 64 percent of millennials are surprised at the cost of vehicle maintenance. However, the fact that millennials aren’t spendthrifts doesn’t have to be bad news — consumers of all ages are willing to pay up to 16 percent more for a quality experience. To get more millennials coming back to your service drive (and telling their friends and family about your dealership), you have to prioritize customer service, and key control is a big part of that.

What Is a Quality Customer Experience?


Speed and efficiency are the top factors that contribute to a good experience. On the flip side, lack of trust significantly contributes to a negative experience. For a service department, building trust is especially important because millennials are more emotionally attached to their vehicles than any other generation — 40 percent have even named them.

Why Key Control Affects the Customer Experience


Key control plays a pivotal part of the customer experience since it affects speed, efficiency and trust alike. If you keep keys to customers’ vehicles in an insecure place, such as on a pegboard, without an effective way to track who has them and when, that’s a customer experience disaster waiting to happen. Ask yourself the following questions about the key control practices in your service department:

  • How much time do you spend looking for lost keys?
  • Do employees handle keys responsibly (e.g., never leaving them unattended or inside the unlocked car)?
  • If an employee removes a key and drives a customer vehicle for non-work-related purposes, will you ever know about it?
  • How easy would it be for someone to get hold of keys and steal a customer vehicle?

If you don’t treat millennials’ vehicles with care and respect, you’ll lose their trust and they’ll never return.

How Mismanaging Keys and Vehicles Damages Customer Trust


Not having the proper controls in place is inefficient, and you risk breaking the customer’s trust in your dealership. Imagine having to explain to a customer why she saw a service employee speeding by in the customer’s own car or why a thief was able to steal the keys to a customer's vehicle while it was in service and total it. These are real scenarios that happened because the dealerships involved didn’t have the proper key control practices in place. As a result, they lost trust not only with the customers whose vehicles were stolen but also with other customers who read about the incidents in the news.

If you can provide a quality customer experience built on trust and accountability, however, you can win over millennials as loyal customers — even if you charge more than the independent mechanic down the street.

To learn how to solve customer experience issues related to key control in the service department and beyond, download our white paper “Three Unexpected Ways Your Dealership Alienates Next-Generation Buyers.”

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Dealership Craigslist Scam: Is Someone Selling Your Cars out From Under You?

Scam Alert graphic
How would you like to sell more vehicles off your dealership’s lot? This proposition sounds like a no-brainer, but what if your salespeople aren’t the ones selling them? And what if you don’t even know the vehicles have been sold?

Online marketplaces such as Craigslist, eBay Motors and Facebook Marketplace give you more ways to reach potential customers before they set foot in your store, but they’ve also given scammers a whole new way to take advantage of unsuspecting victims — including your dealership.

Fraudulent online vehicle sales have become so common and costly that the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center issued a warning to consumers. The warning describes how scammers will post photos of vehicles that aren’t in their possession and trick consumers into sending the money by providing a seemingly legitimate explanation of why the transaction is time sensitive. Of course, after the victim sends the money to the scammer, they never receive the vehicle they’ve purchased.

Now, some thieves are going to even greater lengths to carry out online vehicle scams.

How Thieves Sell Vehicles Right off a Dealer’s Lot


A man in Dallas, TX wanted to buy a truck. He started his search online and ended up purchasing a
truck he found on Craigslist. Unlike the victims of the scams described in the FBI’s warning, this man actually received the vehicle he’d purchased. The problem was it had come from a dealership in Huntsville, TX, and the dealership wasn’t aware the truck had been sold to the Dallas man.

The vehicle was one of several that had gone missing from the dealership’s lot, so the police conducted a surveillance operation. During the investigation, police uncovered the scam that led to the dealership’s vehicles being sold on Craigslist. Here’s how the scam works:

  • A thief lists vehicles from the dealer’s lot for sale on Craigslist.
  • The thief fields inquiries from interested parties.
  • After finding a buyer, the thief steals the vehicle from the dealership’s lot and sells it to the victim.

While this type of scam requires more effort on the thief’s part, it’s also easier for the scheme to go undetected. If a buyer never receives the vehicle they’ve paid for, they’ll know immediately that they’ve been scammed. If they receive a stolen vehicle, they often don’t realize it until later.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Dealership From Online Scams


There are two primary ways to protect your dealership from online vehicle sale fraud.

Protect Your Images

When consumers are searching for vehicles to buy, most prefer photos of the actual vehicle rather than stock photos. If thieves are able to steal photos of your inventory from your website or social media sites, that helps their listings look legitimate. There are a few steps you can take to prevent and detect photo theft:

  • Watermark your images.
  • Add a copyright notice.
  • Disable right click to prevent someone from downloading images (granted, this only works on your website, not on social media).
  • Do reverse image searches using Google Images to see if your photos are being used online without your permission. (To search by image, click the camera icon and either paste in the image’s URL or upload the file.)
Screenshot of Google Search by Image feature
Google Reverse Image Search

Of course, some of these steps are time-consuming and impractical. For example, your time is better spent selling vehicles than doing frequent reverse image searches of all your inventory.

Protect Your Keys

Key attached to key tag
Key Attached to Key Tag With Steel Ring
The most effective way to avoid vehicles being stolen from your lot is to make it more difficult for thieves to take the keys. Some thieves familiarize themselves with where your keys are kept or wait for someone to leave them unattended on a desk or counter, swiping them when the opportunity arises. Others use the key-swap scam, where they ask for the keys to a vehicle under the guise of inspecting or test driving it. They then hand the salesperson a dummy key and return later to steal the vehicle.

To thwart thieves, use an electronic key control method that allows only authorized users to access keys. Look for a system where keys are attached via a stainless steel ring to a system component such as a key tag to prevent a thief from swapping the key with a dummy key.

By taking these steps to secure your inventory, you can save your dealership thousands in inventory loss and help protect unsuspecting buyers from scammers.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Five of the Most Insecure Places to Store Your Business’s Keys

Keys hanging on hooks on wall
When you get home after a long day, what do you do with your keys? Do you toss them on a table near the door? Hang them on a hook in the entryway? Leave them in your purse or briefcase? Place them in a locked safe in a closet? If you’re like most people, your answer is probably one of the first three options. The reason is simple: Those places are convenient. Not many people take time to think about the most secure place to put their keys because they feel safe at home.

Unfortunately, that attitude of prioritizing convenience without regard to security often carries over into the workplace, and it’s risky. Failing to seriously consider where you keep your organization’s keys and how you control access to them — and by extension, the facilities, assets and data they protect — is asking for a security breach or theft.

If you’re wondering where you shouldn’t keep your keys, we’ve compiled a list of places organizations have stored keys that were later stolen. By learning from their mistakes, you’ll save yourself time, money and headaches.

Unlocked Box


If you keep important files or assets in a locked file cabinet, it may seem like it makes sense to throw the keys in a box, where the key is out of sight but still easily accessible. Unfortunately, we learned from one Florida police department that this approach comes with a greater risk of theft. The department kept confiscated cash in a locked filing cabinet and stored the keys in an unlocked box. Eventually, the keys disappeared, along with more than $225,000. Police suspected a civilian employee, but there wasn’t a verifiable audit trail to link the employee to the theft.

Plastic Tub


Plastic tubs are helpful for organizing office supplies, but they’re not ideal for storing keys. One university learned this lesson the hard way. While it was rekeying buildings after several keys had been stolen, a janitor reported that a plastic tub containing more keys had gone missing. The university then had to rekey a second time.

Desk Drawer


When you pack up for the night, it’s easy to throw keys in a desk drawer. Maybe that’s not their permanent home, and you reason that you’ll put them back in their proper place in the morning. However, that window of opportunity could be just what thieves need. At one dealership, a group of teens broke in one night and had no trouble stealing seven vehicles because they found the keys in desk drawers.

Cupholder


Putting keys in a vehicle’s cupholder is tempting if you know you’re going to be returning soon or if multiple people need access to the keys. However, drivers leaving keys in the cupholders of unlocked cars is a common reason for auto theft.

If you keep other types of keys on the ring, that puts other assets or facilities at risk as well. For example, a set of master keys was stolen from a university after an employee left the key ring in the cupholder of a golf cart he’d been driving. It was standard for the keys to be kept there so employees could easily access them. Unfortunately, it was also easy for the thief to take the keys without detection, and the investigation had to be suspended due to a lack of witnesses or suspects.

Bag or Briefcase


While it’s acceptable to keep a few business keys — such as the keys to your office, a filing cabinet and the fleet vehicle you’re driving for the day — in your bag or briefcase (assuming you don’t leave it unattended), it’s risky to routinely carry a complete set of business keys. For example, you wouldn’t want to tote around the keys to all the offices in your suite or all the vehicles in your fleet.

However, some people continue to do just that, whether because they prefer to take keys home with them at the end of each day or because they haven’t found a better place to keep them. This poor key control practice led to a nightmare for one dealership manager and an employee after they left a bag of vehicle keys on an office desk while they went to unlock the dealership’s gates one morning. By the time they returned, the keys were gone.

These examples of key control gone wrong are by no means exhaustive — there are countless other places you shouldn’t keep your business's keys. If you’re not sure if your method of managing keys is secure, ask yourself these three questions:
  • Is it difficult for unauthorized people to access keys?
  • Is it easy to prove who has used each key and why?
  • Can you immediately recognize when a key has gone missing?
If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to improve your key management. You might not have experienced a security breach related to lost or stolen keys yet, but that doesn’t mean you won’t. Is the illusion of convenience worth that risk?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Customer Tip: How to Add and Delete KeyTrak Users

Man touching plus and minus symbols on screen
In its 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon reported that 11 percent of breaches involved physical actions, and 28 percent of breaches involved internal actors. Considering that access control and identification are two of the four layers vital to physical security, those are concerning figures. Without proper identity management, there will be security gaps in your access control — the two work hand in hand.

The facts above illustrate why it’s important to manage who can access your KeyTrak system. To add and delete users, your system administrator should follow the steps below. (If you’re not sure how to designate a system administrator, read this post.)

Adding Users


When adding a new user, follow the principle of least privilege. In other words, a user should have the minimum level of access privileges required to do their jobs.

To add a new user to your KeyTrak system:

  • Navigate to "Data Maintenance".
  • Select "Users".
  • Click "Add".
  • Create a user ID and password. You may also add up to two fingerprints and/or a fob for user authentication. Some of the most secure combinations are fingerprint and password (most secure), fingerprint and fob, or fob and password.
Add users screenshot

To make setting up new users more efficient, establish user profiles for specific job types. KeyTrak user profiles can control system access, asset access, power access, checkout reasons and login options. For example, only management should have authorization to power off the KeyTrak system or access drawers with spare keys in them. To control profile settings, login options and other user settings, choose the "Profiles" option in the Administration menu. For guidance on setting access levels for each position, contact KeyTrak support.

Deleting Users


When an employee or contractor ends their employment with your organization, it’s critical that you revoke their access privileges immediately. If you don’t, employees could use their knowledge of your organization’s access control procedures to steal data, keys or money. We’ve seen it happen at hospitals, a dealership, an oilfield service company, a public works organization, an assisted living facility, the postal service and more.

To remove a user from your KeyTrak system:

  • Navigate to "Data Maintenance".
  • Select "Users".
  • Click "Delete".
  • Check "Yes".
  • Click "Remove".
Delete users screenshot

By staying on top of adding and removing users from your KeyTrak system, you’ll improve your physical security and reduce the odds of becoming one of the 28 percent of organizations whose employees caused a breach.