Physical security is an essential part of keeping your premises safe, whether a home, business, or gated community. Unfortunately, intruders can always find their way into a facility with sufficient resources and time. Still, proper security measures make intrusion expensive and out of reach for all but the most dedicated criminals. In practice, standard security measures, such as gates, fences, and security cameras, make intrusion impractical. Combining these tried and tested security measures with modern proptech can make it even more difficult for intruders to gain entry. 

The gate is almost always the weakest point when breaking into a home or business. In medieval times, armies trying to break into a castle would have to focus their efforts on breaking through the main castle gate. Of course, there’s not going to be an army outside your home in the morning with siege towers and battering rams, but it illustrates how the gate has and will always be the focal point of forced entry. Technologies, especially property technology, have changed, but the gate remains the point that primarily determines whether intruders can succeed at breaking in.

Unfortunately, many facilities are lax with gate security. Some of the most significant gate security issues stem from people using 4-digit pins that provide easy access for criminals. 4 digit codes are a real problem. 

The Shocking Truth About 4-Digit Codes

Nimbio, who has developed a smartphone-based gate access control system, frequently speaks with many property managers and delivery drivers. The drivers mention how they never have a problem getting past gates “secured” with 4-digit codes. The gate code is written on the pin pad in a permanent marker. Some property managers try to scratch off or scribble over the code, but another driver or resident soon writes the code down again.

The code is also often shared between delivery drivers and those who often need to come and go from the business or property. At the same time, gate managers won’t change the code leading to the security of the property becoming further compromised. 

Written Codes Are Hard to Remove

Eventually, most gated community security managers give up on trying to hide the code. In larger gated communities, it’s easier to do this than let large queues form at the gate, causing other access problems. In addition, most 4-digit pin pads are encased in stainless steel materials that are difficult to clean and expensive to replace. In the minority of instances where property managers attempt to do something about plainly visible access code, they almost always fail to remove the code. 

A motivated intruder can almost always read through scribbles. Removed codes can also often be visible when light is reflected at a particular angle or under UV light. Security will be compromised no matter where the code is inscribed, scribbled, or written down. 

Shared Codes Are Inherently Insecure

Even if you have the discipline and patience to remove pin codes as soon as they are written down, 4-digit pin pads are still inherently insecure. There are often hundreds of people in a community who have the access code. These community members often pass out their code to friends, family, helpers, and delivery drivers. If any non-residents are criminals, or if a non-resident shares the code with criminals, serious problems could occur. Worst of all, 4-digit codes are a nightmare to change. They’re rarely changed in a gated community at all. 

Although a code change makes sense, it’s easier said than done with larger communities. When hundreds of residents (plus friends and family) suddenly get a new code. Even if you have a 4-digit pad on your individual gated property, it can be frustrating to program a new code. 

Pin Codes Are Easily Discoverable

There are simple techniques available to criminals who can easily access a pin-protected gate. If thousands of people have been given the code to your community over the years, all a criminal has to do is invent an excuse to get the code from one of these people who has access. For example, community members have probably shared their email addresses or phone numbers online. As such, criminals can then use social engineering to convince one of these members to give them the access code. Once they have the code, the electric gate will swing open as if for a resident. They only need to act as delivery drivers or family members to get the code in this way. 

In the impossibly rare case when no community member will reveal the code, dedicated criminals can simply use binoculars or set up a camera to watch the code being input. Most pin pads have a large LCD screen that reveals numbers as they are input. Pin pads often display digits entered for up to a minute after entry. Therefore, to get the code, criminals often just read the keypad’s display after someone goes inside. They only need to watch a few people gain entry to piece the code together. Even if they’re one-digit short, trial and error will see them into the community. 

No Way of Revoking Access

When everyone uses the same code, there is no way to remove access for a particular individual. You can’t untell them what the code is. Instead, property managers can only warn individuals not to return. But, of course, faces are quickly forgotten in large communities, and criminals have no problem using disguises. As a result, it is vital to control access electronically on an individual basis. Cellular property technology allows you to do this, but older 4-digit pin pads won’t let you dictate individual entry unless you change the gate entry passcode for absolutely everyone.

No Ability to Access Logs

The lack of access logs is another serious problem with all 4-digit codes. When everyone uses the same code, there is no way of keeping electronic records of who entered and exited your business, home, or gated community. Logging access is essential for conducting an investigation. Since access logs cannot be kept, significant opportunities for closing security gaps are missed when using 4-digit pin pads. Even if you use good cameras, if you can’t see the person’s face, you aren’t going to know who they are or who gave away the code.

Anyone investigating a crime or wrongdoing will have to check the CCTV of every person on a respective day to see if anyone unknown gained access to the property. It’s a lot of work, and most modern-day police departments wouldn’t have the hours to do it unless the crime was serious. 

Using a Modern Solution

Thankfully, modern technological solutions are available to solve the problems inherent with 4-digit pin pads. For example, cellular technology allows residents to enter and exit via their electric gate—no more 4-digit codes. In addition, property managers and business owners can easily give and retract access, which means access is controlled with ease. As pretty much everybody owns a smartphone, it’s like giving out keys. However, when lost, smartphones are still protected by codes and biometric security; keys aren’t.

Nimbio is an app that provides secure keyless access for gated community residents while giving property managers oversight of precisely what’s going on. In addition, members can easily add or revoke access privileges for tenants, helpers, friends, and family.

The Nimbio blog is full of more advice to those interested in electronic gates or property technology. You might want to check out a modern cellular entrance system’s features or even recent testimonials. If you are interested in a cellular access system for your property, please visit the contact page.

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