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Using fingerprint door locks in a network environment

Identity management and access control expert Joel Dubin discusses fingerprint door lock technology, and unveils whether or not they can be controlled through a network.

Can you recommend a company that uses fingerprint readers or scanners of home door locks? I'd like to be able to network the locks to a main server, which will ideally manage individual biometric data and set access levels. Do you know of such a product?
There are actually quite a few fingerprint door locks on the market. The idea of merging a biometric device with a home door lock isn't new. But, if you're looking for a system that can be controlled through the network, there are a few products.

One of the most interesting is the ACTAtek Biometric Access Control System. The ACTAtek system is a standalone biometric lock attached to a door. Unlike either a lock or a biometric device, however, it's also a computer, complete with built-in software. The device can be connected to a network with a standard Ethernet cable. Since it's actually a small computer, it doesn't require any additional hardware or software for operation.

Once hooked up to the network, the ACTAtek device can be controlled from a browser, either at a desktop inside the locked office or anywhere across the Web. The Web interface uses SSL encryption and allows for management of individual biometric data, including access logs and access level settings.

One thing to keep in mind -- since the management console can be accessed via the Web, you'll have to harden the server connected to the lock. The last thing you need is for someone to find the Web console through Google and then hack it, as has been done with online video surveillance cameras.

Two other products of note are the NAC-3000 Fingerprint Access Controller from Raviraj Technologies and the Adel Fingerprint Lock. The NAC-3000 can also be connected to a network but, unlike ACTAtek, can only be connected to LAN and not the Web. Its Access Manager software handles up to 255 devices per server. The Adel product can also be used as a standalone or on a network, but it doesn't have the remote access and control features of the other systems.

For more information:

  • Learn whether or not privacy regulations protect biometrics information.
  • In this tip, security expert Joel Dubin explains why organizations can benefit from authentication of network devices.
  • This was last published in October 2007

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