Physical Security Prevention Methods – CompTIA A+ 220-902 – 3.2

Some of the most important security prevention methods are those used in the physical world. In this video, you’ll learn about some of the most commonly used physical security prevention methods.

<< Previous: Common Security ThreatsNext: Digital Security Prevention Methods >>

One very common security technique that we use every day are the locks that are on our doors. Our locks may be very conventional like a simple lock and key, or there might be a deadbolt across our doors. If you’re working in a large office building, you may be using a keyless entry system like this. There might be even an ID card that has an RFID key inside of it.

You could also use token-based cards. Things like magnetic swipes or key fobs would be good examples of these, or you might be using part of yourself. There might be not only a key that you’re using or a keyless entry, but also a fingerprint or retina scan. And of course, you might use multiple factors to be able to get in the door. Smart cards, personal identification numbers, and other components can work together to provide access to these locked rooms.

These keyless badge systems are remarkable. Inside of these plastic cards, you’ll see there is a large antenna that’s able to gather the power that’s coming from these card readers, and it’s able to power a chip that’s in the middle that identifies this particular person’s card. Or you might be using one of these key fobs that fit on a key ring, and each one of these has an individual ID associated with it as well. You would walk up to the door, scan your key fob with the little reader that might be in the door itself, and it gains access to this particular lock.

When you’re trying to protect a building or a data center, it’s very common to use a mantrap. A mantrap is usually a small room where there’s a door on one side of the room and a door on the other side of the room, and everybody has to enter this room before they can then proceed further into the building. Depending on how the mantrap is configured, it can work in a number of different ways. Maybe all the doors are unlocked, but as soon as you open one door, all of the other doors lock. That way, multiple people cannot enter the room simultaneously. Or maybe all of the doors are locked, and when you unlock one door, all of the others will remain locked as well.

Once you physically open a door, it may be in the mantrap that all of the other doors are forced closed. You must first close the door behind you before you can then open the door to proceed on through the room. These mantraps are very useful for limiting how many people can progress through an area at a particular time or prevent people from entering and leaving simultaneously through a controlled environment. It’s very common to see mantraps that might even be a larger room where you would authenticate yourself through the first door, and then check in with security before you’re allowed access further through the building.

We have a number of physical items we might need to secure. You might want to use a safe, for instance, to be able to store computers or hard drives or backups of our systems. This would provide also some protection against the elements. If there was a water break or there’s a fire, you can get some level of security by putting things inside of a safe that’s protected from these types of elements. These are also very difficult devices to steal. The safe is going to be very heavy by itself, and often, they’re bolted or physically attached to the floor itself.

These also have to be very carefully managed. You don’t want everyone to gain access to the safe. You want to limit who has that level of information to get in, and then what do you do when you lose the combination? All of these things are important considerations when you’re trying to secure items that might be inside of a safe.

We often forget how valuable our garbage happens to be. A lot of our personal information is contained within documents that we might simply throw out and put into the garbage can. It’s not uncommon in large environments to have a protected area where your garbage bin is contained. There’s probably a fence and a lock with a gate around that. You might also want to consider shredding any document that might contain sensitive information. That way, if somebody did gain access to this, they wouldn’t easily be able to read anything that was on that page.

Of course, somebody who’s very industrious who might have a lot of time may be able to even take all of these small pieces and put them back together again. That’s why in environments where there is high security or government-type environments, you may see that the paper is burned instead of shredded. If you’re unsure as to how secure your garbage might be, you might want to look at your own trash and see if you’re secure information is making it outside in the garbage or if you’re properly disposing of it.

We’re so mobile these days, we tend to take our laptops wherever we might go. But we can’t always keep an eye on our laptop. That’s why you might want to add a cable lock to connect to your laptop. That way, if you do leave for a few minutes, you can be assured that your laptop will not be easily removed from where you’ve locked it down. This cable will work almost anywhere, because you can connect it to your laptop, and then wrap it around something that’s not going to be easily moved out of that location.

There’s usually a reinforced notch on your laptop or your computing device that makes it very simple to connect one of these cable locks and disconnect it when you’re done. This is designed to be something you can use on a temporary basis. As you can see, the cables are relatively small. With the right tools, you can easily cut that cable, which doesn’t make for a very good permanent solution to protect the laptop.

If you’re concerned that other people around you in these public environments may be able to see what’s on your screen, then you might want to use a privacy filter. When you have one of these privacy filters on your laptop, to other people who walk by, your screen is completely black. In fact, it looks like you’re typing on your computer to a black screen. You can only see what’s on the computer if you’re able to get directly in front of the screen of the laptop.

You also want to maintain awareness of where you might be and who might be behind you who could see your screen, so it’s useful to avoid hallways or windows where people can see what’s going on as they walk by. I also find that it’s difficult to maintain privacy when you’re in an enclosed environment like an airplane. That’s where these privacy filters can really help, because the person sitting next to you would have no idea what’s on your screen.

In larger environments, your physical security may be a security guard. The guard would authenticate people to come into and out of the building, and would also be able to process any guests that might arrive. This is why we often have an ID badge so that someone can physically validate a name and a picture. These might also have an RFID chip inside of it, so we can get through keyless entry systems. This is something you often have to wear all the time when you’re on premises so that everybody knows that you’re authorized to be in the building.

In less structured environments, there may simply be a list of names that are allowed access to a particular area. This is called an entry control roster, and it’s often managed by the security guard. You would present identification. It has to match what’s on the entry control roster, and then you’re allowed access to that area.