Hackett Security Receives Top UL Listing

SecurityInfoWatch.com features our Top UL 2050 Certificate in the following article:

Hackett Security Receives Top UL Listing

St. Louis-based security dealer lands first UL 2050 certificate

Hackett Security

ST. LOUIS, MO -- October 25, 2007 -- Hackett Security, the St. Louis area’s leading security systems company, today announced the firm has received one of the highest designations possible from Underwriters Laboratories. The firm is the first in the nation to receive the prestigious 2050 National Industrial Security System monitoring certificate.

The certificate is part of a new category established by Underwriters Laboratories. It is designed to cover facilities operated by government contractors and others engaged in monitoring security systems for which a National Industrial Security System certificate has been issued. Entities eligible for this listing include monitoring stations not only operated by government contractors but also by commercial central stations.

“This new listing enables Hackett Security to provide security monitoring, products and services to businesses, defense contractors, and government entities at the highest levels,” said Michael J. Hackett, CEO & President. “It will help us expand the firm into different areas as we continue to increase market penetration on a regional and national basis.”

Underwriter Laboratories Inc. is the leading third party certification agency for security and signaling products and systems. A UL certification provides the quickest and surest route to product acceptance by regulatory authorities, insurers, law enforcement organizations, government, retailers and consumers. The new standard is based on several requirements for central monitoring stations to include sound engineering principles, research, records of test and field experience, and an appreciation of the problems of installation, operation, maintenance, and use derived from consultation with and information obtained from system operators, users and others having specialized experience.

Hackett Security, Inc. has been installing and monitoring burglar and fire alarm systems in the greater St. Louis and Southwestern Illinois areas since 1977. The firm has evolved into a total security systems integrator with expertise in card access, gaming, CCTV, high-def photo ID badging, and the latest digital video recording and transmitting technologies. Hackett’s home office is a 24/7 UL listed central station located in St. Louis, MO. The firm operates branch offices in Southern Missouri, Alton, IL and Chicago, IL. For additional information contact Hackett Security online, www.hackettsecurity.com, or call 314-432-4200.

- The Hackett Security Team


Fargo HDPii Financial Card Printer Announced at CARTES

Fargo HDPii Financial Card Printer Announced at CARTES

Fargo HDPii Financial Card Printer Announced at CARTES article image

In Paris at the CARTES trade show, Fargo introduced the HDPii Financial Card Printer. This re-transfer dye-sublimation printer based on the HDP5000 platform enables the instant issuance of debit, credit and prepaid cards in financial and retail markets worldwide.

The HDPii sets a new standard in instant financial and retail card issuance. With High Definition Printing™ (HDP®), cards no longer need to be preprinted, embossed or indent printed.

The HDPii will ship in February 2008. Two configurations will be offered, with anticipated MSRPs of U.S. $8595 and U.S. $9594.

- The Hackett Security Team

Change your access system passwords regularly!!!

From Security Products
Tip of the Week

Our Tip of the Week is from James R. Black, senior security consultant from TRC Solutions in Irvine, Calif. "Most companies never bother changing the default passwords on alarm and access control system software, leaving the systems more vulnerable than necessary. Companies should understand how readily available this information is. Type your system name and the phrase 'default password' into Google and you?ll likely to find the administrators password. You?d be surprised how many hacking Web sites exist specialize in gathering security passwords. Unfortunately, thieves exploit these vulnerabilities more often than you think. Every business owner should confirm these defaults or administrative back doors have been changed. Consult the manufacturer directly if you cannot get confirmation that this has been done."

If you have a tip of the week or a question to share for publication, please e-mail it to tips@1105media.com. Please include your name, title, company name, city and state with your submission. Due to security concerns, we are unable to accept tips sent in the form of an e-mail attachment

For more tips, visit Security Products online.


Tips: Protect Your Identity While Holiday Shopping Online

Security Products (www.secprodonline.com) has put together a really good list of tips to protect yourself this holiday while shopping online.

Online holiday sales are projected to increase 21 percent in 2007, according to Forrester Research. But while consumers continue to increase their use of holiday shopping, there is also widespread fear that they will be the victims of identity theft. That's why Huntington Bank has developed 10 tips that shoppers can follow to make for a safe and secure holiday season whether consumers are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.

"At Huntington we understand how time-starved our customers are and how convenient online shopping can be," said Timothy J. Scholten, senior vice president responsible for Huntington's online banking. "Huntington's online banking site continues to be one of the top 10 sites in the country. We want to share our expertise with shoppers to give them peace of mind about their online transactions."

1. Check your accounts daily for any activity you did not initiate. This is especially needed during the busy holiday shopping season. You should be able to log on quickly and check to see if there is any unusual activity in your bank or credit card account that you did not initiate. If there is, contact your bank immediately.

2. Do business with companies you know and trust. Research a company before revealing personal or financial information online. Confirm an online seller's physical address and phone number in case you need to get in touch with them. If you get an email or pop-up message from the seller while you're browsing that asks for financial information, don't reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via e-mail or pop-ups.

3. Watch out for fake "look-alike" sites. Some con artists disguise their Web site as a well-known company's site. Check your browser's address bar to make sure you're always using the correct Web site address. If the Web site seems suspicious, leave it immediately and call the company.

4. Check a company's privacy policy before doing business with it. A company should allow you to know what personal information its Web site is collecting, why and how it will be used. If you can't find a privacy policy -- or if you can't understand it -- consider taking your business to another site that's more security-conscious and accommodating to customers.

5. Only provide personal information if you're on a secure Web site. Once you are logged in, make sure the Web address starts with "https" ("s" means it's secure). For added safety, check for a site certificate before submitting information on a secure page. Confirm the owner of the certificate by clicking on the padlock icon at the bottom of most browsers. You should see the owner listed as well as the site address. This address should match the Web site address at the top of the page; if they do not match, you may be at a fraudulent Web site and should not enter personal data.

6. Never respond to emails asking you to "confirm" recent transactions after you shop. These likely are "phishing" scams sent to lure private information from you.

7. Maintain a paper trail. Print and save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online confirmation/receipt, and copies of any e-mail(s) you exchange with the seller.

8. Do not share your passwords with anyone and never provide your Social Security number, birth date, or mother's maiden name in an e-mail.

9. Make sure all of your security software is up-to-date before you do your online shopping. That includes anti-virus software, anti-spyware and firewalls.

10. Use a separate e-mail account for your online shopping. You can set up a free e-mail account online through several different services.

- The Hackett Security Team


Wave of Home Invasions Puts the Wealthy on Alert

Wave of Home Invasions Puts the Wealthy on Alert
(Taken from The Wall Street Journal)

Lax Security Often Opens Door
To Increasingly Brazen Crimes;
The Buffetts' Uninvited Guest
November 15, 2007; Page D1

In the past year, billionaire investors Warren Buffett and Ernest Rady, socialite Anne Bass and professional basketball players Eddy Curry and Antoine Walker all have joined a group to which they would rather not belong: victims of home invasion.

In affluent enclaves across the country, from Beverly Hills, Calif., to Scarsdale, N.Y., these high-profile cases and others -- many of them unsolved -- have set nerves on edge amid what law-enforcement officials and security experts say is becoming an alarming trend. One particularly gruesome case in July underscored the dangers for many, when a home invasion in Cheshire, Conn., ended in the deaths of a doctor's wife and his two daughters. Two men have been arrested and charged in the case.

In home-invasion robberies -- unlike burglaries -- thieves hope to confront the occupants, often intending to force victims to open a safe or divulge bank-card PIN numbers. Home invasions aren't separately tallied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or by most state and local police. According to the most recent FBI data, residential robberies, which include home invasions, rose nearly 13% in 2006 from 2002, even as violent crime overall decreased 0.4%. Last year, 64,000 residential robberies were reported.

Experts believe home invasions are underreported. Security experts who serve high-profile clients say their clients often don't report attempted robberies to the police because of privacy concerns. And local law-enforcement agencies only keep track of incidents within their jurisdictions, making it difficult to establish a national picture for these crimes.

The Connecticut State Police handled two high-profile home invasions recently, including the Cheshire case. Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance says, "It hasn't reached epidemic levels, but certainly we are very aware of this type of criminal activity and behavior."

The impact on victims is profound. When Mr. Rady, the 70-year-old Wachovia Co. director and principal shareholder, his wife Evelyn, 66, and their housekeeper were assaulted by a Taser-wielding intruder in their La Jolla, Calif., home in February, "it was a life-changing event for the family," says their attorney, Robert L. Grimes. Since the robbery, members of the extended Rady family have hired personal armed bodyguards and installed elaborate home-security systems, the attorney says.

According to San Diego police, Mr. Rady was stunned with the Taser, bound with duct tape, and cut with a sharp object as the intruder tried to force the couple to produce cash and valuables. The robber, who is still at large, escaped with less than $100, police and Mr. Grimes say.

One reason for the rise in home invasions is demographic: The numbers of rich people with homes to plunder has risen fast in recent years. But police and security experts say robbers are hitting homes more because their traditional targets -- banks, stores and offices -- have been hardened with closed-circuit video surveillance, alarms and guards. By comparison, security at many private homes remains lax, they say.

Indeed, in several high-profile crimes, assailants gained access through unlocked doors. In other cases, home-alarm systems apparently weren't turned on. Security and alarm experts say this is a surprisingly common mistake: Many homeowners lock their doors and set alarms only when they are away.

Increasingly, wealthy and high profile individuals must step up security at home and be vigilant in their cars to avoid becoming victims, security experts and police say. They may also need to reduce the amount of information they reveal about themselves on the Internet in places like Facebook, and in the media. And perhaps most importantly, they should thoroughly investigate the background of anyone who has access to their home, because many robberies are inside jobs.

"I have gone out to estates that are absolutely magnificent and have been shocked that they have the same level of security as for a rowhouse in Queens," says Paul Michael Viollis Sr., chief executive of Risk Control Strategies of New York. The firm does complimentary "personal risk assessments" for high-net-worth clients of the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos.

In some areas, that is beginning to change. Around the stately homes of Greenwich, Conn., many of the low, meandering stone borders typical of New England are being replaced with thick, shoulder-high walls and densely packed treelines to block any view from the street. Local real-estate agents say they've also seen an upswing in the number of people putting in driveway entrance gates with touchpad security systems, even for relatively modest homes.

Gideon Fountain, vice president of Cleveland, Duble & Arnold, a Greenwich real-estate firm, says investor Edward Lampert's kidnapping there in 2003 was a watershed event. Mr. Lampert was held at gunpoint for two days and talked his captors into letting him go. "People think what are the odds it could happen to them? Not good, but possible," Mr. Fountain says.

Inadequate security may have played a part in what happened to Anne Bass, the 65-year-old ex-wife of billionaire oil investor Sid Richardson Bass, and her friend, painter Julian Lethbridge, 60, in April, when several robbers entered her 1,000-acre estate in rural Litchfield County, Conn. Bass's preschool-age grandson also was home at the time.

The robbers put a gun to Mr. Lethbridge's head and held the two captive, their eyes blindfolded and their mouths taped shut. At one point, Ms. Bass and Mr. Lethbridge were injected with a blue liquid the men claimed held a lethal virus, hoping to scare the captives into handing over millions in cash for an antidote. They left about 10 hours later, apparently convinced there wasn't a lot of cash in the house.

A case containing a gun, knife and syringes, including one with a blue fluid, washed ashore days later about 90 miles away in Queens, N.Y. A Jeep stolen from the property also was recovered in New York City, but no arrests have been made, according to Connecticut State Police.

Several security and alarm experts say crimes like these can be prevented with a perimeter motion-detection system that sounds whenever someone drives or walks onto a property. Many alarm systems wire only the doors and windows of a home; the problem with that, security experts say, is that by the time someone trips the alarm, it can be too late. Moreover, any alarm system has to be armed to work, and often, they aren't.

Home-invasion robbers also pick their victims by staking them out in public and following them home. That is what may have happened to Messrs. Walker and Curry of the National Basketball Association in separate incidents in July. Police believe the men were trailed to their multimillion-dollar homes in Chicago, where they were surprised by armed masked men. In each case, the robbers stole thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry, as well as the victims' cars, police say. Four men, alleged gang members, have been charged in connection with those robberies.

Police and security experts say that to avoid this type of robbery, people should be alert to whether they are being followed before driving onto their property, and if they are, to call the police or drive to a police station. Houses should be well-lighted with automatic exterior lights. Additionally, security experts advise clients to avoid drawing attention to money and possessions while they're out and about. They also recommend reducing the amount of detailed personal information that can be found on the Web.

While at home, it is a mistake to open the door without verifying the identity of a visitor first and to accept unscheduled deliveries. Security experts say homes should be equipped with a voice-video intercom system with cameras trained on the doors and the grounds, and deliveries should be sent to a post-office box or family office instead of to the residence.

On Sept. 5, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett's wife, Astrid, accompanied by a security guard, answered the doorbell at the couple's Omaha, Neb., home, according to police there. They encountered a man dressed in black with camouflage paint on his face who tried to force his way in. The guard managed to wrestle a gun away from the intruder while Mrs. Buffett called 911. The intruder fled, and the gun turned out to be fake, according to Omaha police. No arrests have been made. Mr. Buffett wouldn't comment for this story.

Security experts emphasize that preventive steps can be taken without resorting to extreme measures, such as obtaining firearms without proper licensing and training. Such actions can raise legal problems for people wanting to protect their homes and families, as with Harry Maxwell Rady, the son of banker Ernest Rady.

The younger Mr. Rady, 40, pleaded guilty to illegally receiving AK-47s and other semi-automatic firearms after the robbery to defend his family from potential kidnappers, his attorney, Mr. Grimes, says. Mr. Rady was sentenced on Nov. 2 to 10 months of home confinement and three years' probation. He also was fined $75,000 for violating federal gun laws.

--Sara Schaefer Muñoz contributed to this article.

- The Hackett Security Team


K-12 Surveillance, Privacy, & Smart Systems

Via THE Journal's November 2007 Special Feature, "Does the Eye Spy?", linked here, some up-to-date details about efficient usage of security cameras on school campuses as well as the issues of privacy are addressed. Highlights include the MPEG-7 Standard recording format (artificial intelligence, below), high-definition efficiency over older systems, assessing trouble spots on the campus, privacy, and wisely choosing the system for your school.

Quoted from the above-mentioned article on THE Journal's site:


THERE'S A BRAND-NEW STANDARD FOR VIDEO SURVEILLANCE that incorporates analytics and a technology dubbed "computer vision." Its name: MPEG-7. Unlike better-known video standards MPEG-4 and H.264, MPEG-7 is not about compression, image reproduction, or pixels. Instead, MPEG-7 is a standard for describing multimedia content data that supports some degree of interpretation of the information's meaning, which can be passed on to, or accessed by, a device or a computer code. In the K-12 environment, districts purchase technology that relies on MPEG-7 to automatically detect when and where a school may be experiencing a security breach.

In the industry, the standard is known as the "multimedia content description interface," and it represents information about content, instead of content itself. Because of this metadata approach, the standard is not aimed at any one application in particular, but includes:

  • a set of description schemes and descriptors
  • a language to specify these schemes called the "description definition language" (DDL)
  • a scheme for coding the description

Goals for this standard are clear. Developers at the Moving Picture Experts Group designed it to provide a fast and efficient video searching method, describe main issues about content, index a range of applications, and inform how objects are combined in a scene. For more information, visit this site.

-The Hackett Security Team


Four Steps to Warehouse Fire Safety

From TheHartford:

Fire is one of the biggest threats to warehouse operations. Whether a fire is started by lightning, a carelessly thrown cigarette or a faulty electrical system, the end result is the same - lives could be in danger and your valuable goods could go up in smoke.

The first step in minimizing the threat of fire is to make sure you've taken the proper preventive steps - both inside and outside your warehouse operations.

Step 1. Prevention is the Key
Do you periodically take a walk around your storage facilities to determine the potential for fire? It's worth a few minutes of your time to do so, keeping in mind the following vulnerabilities:

Lightning hazard
  • Consider the value of conventional protection such as lightning rods
  • Incorporate arrestors on sensitive electronic equipment (ref: NFPA 780)
Vegetation overgrowth
  • Keep field or seasonal dormant grasses mowed
  • Cut tree line back 50 feet or more from the building
  • Control access of visitors, including former employees, and provide escort for visitors
  • Use television security, security patrols or both
  • Install and monitor electronic security systems
You should also conduct a similar survey inside your building(s), checking on these common systems and operations:

Lighting systems
  • Keep combustible stock clear of metal halide lamps, which become very hot
  • Routinely inspect florescent fixtures
Heating and electrical systems
  • Keep high rack storage away from suspended heaters
  • Make sure heaters are regularly inspected and serviced according to manufacturer's recommendations
  • Maintain an electrical preventive maintenance program
Hot work and housekeeping
  • Establish a hot work control program in accordance with NFPA 51B
  • Establish and enforce a no-smoking policy
  • Remove trash for safe disposal daily
Material handling equipment
  • Maintain forklifts in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations
  • Refuel lifts outside the building
  • Keep battery charging areas well-vented to the outside and use only explosion-proof fixtures and equipment
Step 2: Storage arrangement can fuel the fire
Once you've taken a look in and around your buildings, consider your storage arrangements. Storage arrangements can range from simple piles of loose material called bulk storage to more organized arrangements placed in different types of racks. Other storage classifications include solid pile, palletized (solid) pile, bin box and shelf.

The way you've arranged your storage greatly influences fire behavior. Because fire spreads both vertically and horizontally, it's best not to place material too high or too close together. For example, with the two most common types of storage arrangements - palletized solid pile and racks - the key is to keep the storage height lower than 12 feet and the aisle spacing greater than 8 feet.

Fires in bulk or solid pile (without pallets) storage areas are difficult to detect and, once discovered, are difficult to extinguish. Piles of organic materials may be subject to spontaneous combustion and require the use of embedded heat sensors to detect temperature build-ups. If you're using this type of storage method, you should store only low-hazard commodities in bulk or piles, and make sure the fire protective system for the material has a nearly inexhaustible water supply.

Storage racks are typically arranged to contain pallet size loads in single and double row arrangements reaching considerable heights. The higher the rack, though, the greater the difficulty in controlling a fire. When using rack storage, ti's important to pay attention the the flue spacing between the rows and pallet loads. By keeping these spaces open and unobstructed, water from overhead or in-rack fire sprinklers can penetrate the rack arrangement and control the fire.

If you have unused pallets in your warehouse, you should be aware of the fire threat they pose and store them in a low-value exterior building. A minimal number of pallets can be stored inside if they are stacked flat, no higher than 6 feet per stack, with no more than four stacks per pile, and piles are separated by eight feet of open space or 25 feet of commodity.

Many warehouse managers find they can significantly improve their fire protection by simply lowering the height of the storage or separating it with wider aisles.

Step 3: Make sure your sprinkler protection is on target
If a fire does break out, you want to make sure you've protected your storage facility with the appropriate automatic fire sprinkler designed for your type of commodity and storage arrangement.

All commodities are not the same, and different materials have different burn characteristics. That's why, when designing a fire sprinkler system, it's vital to know exactly what commodity is being stored and how it's packaged. Commodities are classified according to their ability to burn - from the least volatile called Class I, up to Class IV. Beyond the standard classes are plastics and special hazard groups.

All basic fire sprinkler systems begin with a basic ceiling installation design, and additional sprinklers can be brought in to address obstructions, high racks, mezzanines, etc. In-rack sprinklers also may be added if storage racks are higher than 12 feet.

An automatic fire system is judged on three basic tests:
1. Is the system design appropriate for the occupancy?
2. Is there an adequate water supply to support the sprinkler system's demand?
3. Is the entire sprinkler system being adequately tested and maintained?

When a sprinkler system fails to control a fire, it's generally found that the design was improper or the water supply was impaired.

Keep in mind that the use of solid shelves presents significant difficulties for a ceiling sprinkler system and should be avoided, if possible.

Step 4: Have a fire department preplan
One of the best ways to enhance your fire protection efforts is with a fire department preplan - a cooperative effort between the warehouse operator and emergency responders. During this process, fire officials typically visit the facility, identify potential hazards and plan their tactical response.

Fire officials may also:
  • Review both common and special hazards
  • Identify anything that could hamper the fire suppression effort
  • Provide information on procedures for safely evacuating the building in an emergency
All pre-plans should be considered living documents that are updated periodically. If you make any changes to storage arrangements or commodity types - or to the building's fire sprinkler system- you should communicate those changes to all those involved in the pre-planning process. This is especially important when hazardous materials might be involved.

The ultimate goal in the event of emergency is to safely evacuate the warehouse and support and effective fire suppression response. Detailed information on pre-fire planning in normally available from your local fire department.

(The National Fire Protection Association is an international nonprofit organization established in 1896. NFPA serves as the world's leading advocate of fire prevention and is an authoritative source on public safety. The NFPA can be contacted at 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, Massachusetts, USA 02169-7471 Tel: +1 617 770-3000, Fax: +1 617 770-0700 or online at www.nfpa.org)

- The Hackett Security Team