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Monthly Archives: February 2016

  • How to find the best safe

    Posted on February 23rd, 2016 0 Comments

    Buying a good safe is practical and wise investment to make. If you have valuables that merit protection, it’s important to find the best possible safe for your budget. If you need to buy a safe, you need a good safe, not a shoddily constructed one. If you’re simply trying to keep your kids out of your property, a cabinet with a lock will do. But if you’re looking for an incredibly secure area to protect essential valuables, it’s important to find the best one possible – this doesn’t mean that you have to completely break the bank. All safe companies will have a range of options at different price points. Here’s some factors to consider when you’re shopping around. Make sure to know what details to look out for and what questions to ask the manufacturer.

    Welding

    The safest, most sturdy and secure safes are made with continuous welding. This basically means that the weld fuses two metal pieces together perfectly, as opposed to a spot weld, in which multiple pieces are welded at multiple binding points. Vulnerable points in spot welded safes can be broken open with a sledge hammer, drill, torch – or even a specific tool made for that particular purpose. This means, not a safe safe. The best option to invest in is the solid, continuous metal provided in continuously welded safes.

    Fire Resistance Ratings

    Look into the official tests that the safe was subjected to – make sure to pay attention to the level of heat applied, and how long the test ran for. A safe that was only tested for a short time at a high temperature could technically be just as weak as a safe that was tested for a long time, at a low temperature. If the company cannot provide the details of the testing that the safe underwent in order to merit its rating, you shouldn’t buy from that company. Don’t you want your secure property to be protected?

    Bolt Work

    The complex design of these internal security mechanisms should be able to provide resistance against the most expert of attacks. If the bolt work is shoddily designed so that the locking bolts are linked to the cam of the safe, simply sticking the bolts might open the entire safe. Look at the steel in the locking bolts – the longer that the bolts move into the door frame, the more security the safe will provide against attack. You want as thick and sturdy bolts as possible – as well as rotating lock bolts which will resist any sort of cutting attempt.

    Warranty

    If a company provides a lifetime warranty for their product, it’s indicative of high quality products. Warranties differ based on the components of a safe – elements of electronic locks for example, are sometimes bought from outside parties by the manufacturer and integrated into their design. A safe’s dial might have a separate warranty from the safe’s door – this doesn’t usually mean that the safe is poorly designed, unless it’s already cheaply made. You should also pay heed to the country that the safe was manufactured in – safes in China might be able to provide lifetime warranties, as replacement is cheap. The best option is to buy an American made safe, as American factories provide a higher level of quality control than the factories in China.

    Steel Content

    Most safes have a body which compares only a half or a third to the metal in the door. You want as high a gauge of steel as possible, 12 gauge steel is the absolute lowest level that can be legally defined as a safe – it can be easily broken with a crowbar or fire ax. The way the gauge measurement system works is that the lower the number, the stronger the steel. Having as many layers of stainless steel as possible will help dispel any heat made by torches, not to mention the physical durability that this steel is known for. Definitely don’t trust composite doors, as although they are thick, they have a low steel content, and are vulnerable.

    Great safes should last forever, and be passed down throughout generations. While prices vary wildly, it shouldn’t determine what safe you buy, as the quality of safes differ rapidly as well. Ideally, you should be purchasing a safe that perfectly fits your needs, as a long-term essential, not a temporary buy. Think of it as an investment.

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  • Biometric Scanning Technology

    Posted on February 4th, 2016 0 Comments

    Biometrics identifies unique physical criteria to verify personal identities. Small differences usually undetectable to the human eye, like retinal and iris patterns, finger and palm prints, and DNA is collected and stored by biometric technology to match people’s identity. By combining biometrics recognition systems and security technology, manufacturers have invented a futuristic way of securing one’s personal belongings – their body is the only way that it can be accessed. There’s a number of novel biometric scanning methods; in this blog entry I’ll detail them.

    Facial Recognition

    This technology identifies users by the structure of their face. This method doesn’t require any physical contact between the user and the scanning device – cameras simply scan the user’s face and run it through a database of information to verify if they are the proper user. This technology doesn’t usually require expensive hardware, however it provides less security than other biometric methods. It collects measurements of a face’s structure, proportion, and shape, taking factors like jaw, ears, eye size and distance, nose, and facial expressions such as laughing or smiling to determine a specific identity. As a user ages and their face changes, they will need to update their profile information. This is one of the disadvantages of facial recognition,

    Iris Scanning

    The iris is a thin circular part of the eye that monitors the size of one’s pupils for purposes of protecting the eye’s retina from light. Iris color varies based on genetic information, from individual to individual. Irises have unique patterns and colors for every person – and iris scanning technology can analyze over 200 areas of the iris, saving the information in a database to compare it against other information in the future. This biometric system is incredibly accurate, expensive, and requires proper installation. However it always works – and can work even if the user has contact lenses or glasses.

    Voice Recognition

    There’s two criteria that render one’s voice unique – a behavioral factor known as accent, and a physiological factor of voice tract. The combination of both these factors make it virtually impossible for one to completely imitate someone else’s voice accurately. Biometric vocal recognition technology analyzes vocal tract by asking users to repeat a passphrase or group of numbers into a microphone so that the system can analyze their voice. It is relatively easy to install without the need for expensive hardware. However, it is somewhat vulnerable as unapproved users can record the voice of the verified user and use it to gain control to the system. This method of entry has been protected against by newer voice recognition systems, by utilizing a fail safe which asks users to repeat randomly generated phrases.

    Fingerprint Reading

    Fingerprints are composed of a unique pattern of convex ridges and concave valleys on the surface of the human finger – completely unique for every individual. The ridges are collected in two points- bifurcations, where they split, and endings, where they, well, end. By analyzing the patterns of valleys, ridges, and minutiae points, ultrasound and visual technology can verify the identification of users. This is known as pattern matching which compares all the finger’s surfaces at one time. Minutiae matching compares highlighted specific areas of the fingerprint. This system is easy to use, relatively cheap, and has been widely used by law enforcement for generations. This technology is widely used by consumers, and is integrated with cell phones, laptops, flash drives, or other access systems. The only drawback is that if the fingerprint is damaged by a cut or scar, the machine will not be able to read it.

    Veins

    This technology is relatively new – it identifies the unique system of veins in user’s hands that carry blood to their heart. Every human has veins with unique physical characteristics – vein recognition biotechnology captures an image of the unique vein patterns inside a user’s fingers with infrared light. This system has a higher level of reliability and accuracy than any of the older methods of biometric scanning – and, luckily, is somewhat less expensive than other methods. As an added bonus, the scanning process takes less time than in other methods as well.

    DNA Biometric Scanning

    Every individual carries their own completely unique DNA. It’s impossible to fake or camouflage one’s own DNA – you simply have your own, a combination of that of your parents. Every cell in the human body has a readable copy of this DNA – and biometric scanning systems can verify one’s DNA by collecting it from a few samples – usually blood, saliva, semen, hair, or tissue. The samples are broken down into small samples into a code known as VNTR (variable number tandem repeat) which repeats at specific intervals – this code essentially makes up the unique DNA profile of an individual. Each DNA fragment is measured, sorted, and captured. This equipment is incredibly expensive and complicated (it’s relatively new) and thus is only used in the most advanced industrial/governmental settings.

    Although relatively new, biometrics technology is quickly gaining a reputation for being one of the best methods of verifying user information for security purposes. It’s being increasingly utilized in consumer settings – as well as by airports, law enforcement, hospitals, militaries, and governments. It eliminates the risk of copied ID cards being used by unscrupulous individuals to gain illegal access to property or data, and reduces the risk of identify theft, which is a growing issue in our culture. As biometrics technology becomes more widely used, it will greatly reduce the amount of thefts in professional, governmental, commercial, and civilian properties.

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  • Questions to Ask your Locksmith

    Posted on February 3rd, 2016 0 Comments

    Picture this. It’s closing time, the last customer is out of the door, everything has been cleaned, swept, and mopped, and you’re ready to lock up and head out. You feel the relief of leaving, and then realize that your key is broken in the lock – now you have to find a locksmith, and quick. Before you employ the services of a locksmith though, it’s important to ask them these specific questions.

    Are you insured and Licensed?

    Why it’s a must-ask: In certain states, locksmiths are required to carry a license, some states don’t have that requirement. However, all locksmiths should be insured. Any reputable locksmith will let you know if their state doesn’t require licensing – but if they’re not insured, you should find another provider.

    What kind of work do you do?

    You should ask this before telling them the project that you need to get done – many technicians will automatically say yes even if they’ve never accomplished that sort of work before. It’s not worth getting mediocre work done.  For slightly more complicated operations, like fixing safe locks or electric hardware, it’s best to verify in advance if the locksmith has experience.

    What is your warranty period?

    Any trustworthy locksmith will offer a warranty period of 30 days – at minimum – in order to cover any unintentional installation or problems with hardware. If they don’t offer this, find another provider.

    What are your rates?

    You want this information up-front. Some technicians will charge a set amount of cash per task – for example, they will charge by the lock, rather than by the hour. Some other locksmiths charge by the hour, with a standard one-hour minimum despite how quick the job takes. Some technicians will even charge according to 30 or 15 minute increments. Many technicians also charge travel fees – make sure to ask what the trip fee will be to your location (these include gas mileage and any applicable tolls.)

    Do you have any applicable certification?

    A professional locksmith will carry themselves according to the top of the industries updates and innovations by completing continual education courses in locksmithing, gathering certificates that verify their experience in specialty locksmith services.

    Do you perform employee background checks?

    Think about it this way. You’re trusting this locksmith with the safety and integrity of your home or business. They will have complete access to your entire property – and it’s essential for your, your family, your employees, or co-worker’s safety that the person that’s being granted access to your space is a trustworthy person and not a criminal. Any technician that works on your location should have undergone an extensive background check – verify this with their parent company to know for sure.

    Do you have an ID / Business Card?

    Before the locksmith comes to your door, ask them to show you ID. This could be a state ID or driver’s license. This is important – any reputable locksmith will be happy to show an identification card to prove their trustworthiness – if they refuse, don’t let them in your home.

    Do you have a physical location / how long have you been in business?

    These sorts of questions help you ensure the professional viability of a locksmith business. Having a physical location, and years of experience will tell you that the locksmith is trustworthy, as well as reliable and skilled through experience.

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