AMPS Sundown Impact On Certificated Alarm Systems

In UL 2007 Issue 3 Steve Schmit has a interesting article on the impact of AMPS Sundown on Certificated Alarm Systems.

In a Memorandum Opinion and Order released June 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denied a Petition for Rulemaking filed by the Alarm Industry Communications Committee.

The petition sought to extend the 2/18/08 “sundown” date on the requirement that cellular licensees provide analog service to subscribers whose equipment conforms to the Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) standard. This effectively means that analog cell phone service in the US will begin to disappear on 2/18/08.

The alarm industry petitioned for an extension because there are a large number of installed alarm systems that employ analog cellular technology as either the primary or secondary backup communication method. Sourcing replacement equipment and retrofitting installed bases will be a challenge for the industry.

This fall, UL will be working with alarm companies that have issued Alarm System Certificates for systems using cellular technology as a required means of communication. An Alarm System Certificate is the issuing alarm service company’s declaration of ongoing conformity with the appropriate Code or Standard. UL’s audit services for systems covered by a Certificate provide an increased level of conformity confidence for alarm system owners, insurance carriers, security managers, fire code authorities and others with a concern for alarm protection.

In order to be in conformity, off-premise reporting systems have to maintain their ability to communicate with a monitoring station at all times. UL will help Listed alarm companies identify Certificated installations that employ cellular technologies and seek their declaration of continued compliance past the 2/18/08 AMPS sundown date. In cases where ongoing conformity cannot be assured, UL will assist alarm companies with the task of canceling the Certificates involved. During the 2008 Certificate Service audit cycle, UL will put an increased focus on Certificated accounts where cellular technology is declared to validate conformity.

UL will work diligently with the alarm industry to maintain uninterrupted certification coverage for alarm systems covered by a UL Certificate. At the same time, UL recognizes the value of the conformity confidence brought by Certificate coverage. We will take appropriate actions to assure that systems covered by a Certificate do indeed comply with the applicable Code or Standard.

By Steve Schmit
For questions regarding Alarm System
Certificates, please contact Steve Schmit
In Northbrook, Ill. at +847-664-2128 or at

- The Hackett Security Team


Survey: Few Doing Basic Steps To Prepare, Prevent Home Fires

Security Products has a nice article on some basic steps to prevent home fires:

Released recently during Fire Safety Month, a new Home Safety Council survey finds the majority of adults rank fires and burns as their leading home safety concern, yet many neglect to take basic safety steps to prepare for and prevent home fire emergencies.

The survey was commissioned by the Home Safety Council and polled adults in 20 metropolitan cities to better understand the home safety perceptions and practices in place across the nation. When asked about fire prevention practices, more than 90 percent of respondents said they had not conducted a home fire drill at night -- a key step in testing each family member's ability to wake up and respond properly to the sound of the smoke alarm. Also causing alarm, the survey found that nearly 80 percent of adults did not know to test their smoke alarms once a month -- the frequency recommended by the Home Safety Council.

"Unfortunately our research shows that families are not taking the steps needed to protect themselves against fire dangers at home," said Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council. "With less than three minutes to escape if a fire occurs, it's critical that every home is equipped with working smoke alarms and every family has a well-rehearsed fire escape plan."

According to Home Safety Council research, fires and burns are the third leading cause of home injury-related death, causing an average of more than 3,400 fatalities each year.

- The Hackett Security Team


Average Cyber Loss Increases For U.S. Companies

Security Products (http://secprodonline.com/) and The Computer Security Institute (CSI) have a great article on increase of company losses due to cyber-crime.

Average Cyber Loss Increases For U.S. Companies

The Computer Security Institute (CSI) recently released its 2007 report with news that the average annual loss reported by U.S. companies in the 2007 CSI Computer Crime and Security Survey more than doubled, from $168,000 in last year's report to $350,424 in this year's survey. This ends a five-year run of lower reported losses.

Financial fraud overtook virus attacks as the source of the greatest financial loss. Virus losses, which had been the leading cause of loss for seven straight years, fell to second place. Another significant cause of loss was system penetration by outsiders.

Additional key findings include:

Almost one-fifth of those respondents who suffered one or more kinds of security incident said they'd suffered a "targeted attack," i.e. a malware attack aimed exclusively at their organization or at organizations within a small subset of the general population.

Insider abuse of network access or e-mail (such as trafficking in pornography or pirated software) edged out virus incidents as the most prevalent security problem, with 59 percent and 52 percent of respondents reporting each respectively.

When asked generally whether they'd suffered a security incident, 46 percent of respondents said yes, down from 53 percent last year and 56 percent the year before.

Click here for the original article

- The Hackett Security Team


Energy Policy Act of 2005

Beginning this year, the Federal Government's Energy Policy Act of 2005 on Daylight Saving Time (DST) went into effect. With this Act, the start time of DST has been changed from the first Sunday of April to to the second Sunday of March (March 11). Also the end time has been changed from the last Sunday in October to the first Sunday in November (November 4). This has been done to save energy and to have more hours of daylight in the evening.

The new end date of November 4th for DST is fast approaching. There is relevant to our customers because you may have older equipment which was programed with the old DST in mind. You may need to take steps to make sure your equipment is set to the correct time. Your systems may be off by an hour for one week unless corrections are made.

The effect could be just a minor one, that is the display is off by one hour for that week to significant, with events that are programmed for certain times, can occur at the wrong time.

Please note that only systems with internal clocks that automatically change time for DST are affected by this. However if you would like help in determining this, give us a call and we would be more than happy to help you. (314)432-4200

- The Hackett Security Team