3M Cogent, Inc. White Paper. Beyond. Wiegand: Access Control. in the 21st Century. a 3M Company

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1 3M Cogent, Inc. White Paper Beyond Wiegand: Access Control in the 21st Century a 3M Company

2 Unprecedented security features & capabilities Why Wiegand? The Problem with Wiegand In 1970, John Wiegand invented a wire that could quickly Wiegand is plain text. Wiegand data is not encrypted and switch its magnetic polarity when exposed to the magnetic follows a simple and well-known format, making it very easy information on wires embedded in a card and then accurately to copy. transmit this information electrically as a series of on and off signals through the wire to an electronic sensor. In a Wiegand system, the key is not the card, but the binary number magnetically written on the card and transmitted through the Wiegand reader and wires as a series of 0 s and 1 s. Attached to the other end of the Wiegand reader was a control device, which could check the number against authorized numerical keys for that door. In the 1970 s and 1980 s, this was the hottest technology in In the first decade of the 21st To better understand this, take out century, physical security your smart phone. You are holding technology, like other technologies, in the palm of your hand more has advanced at blinding speed. technology, more capabilities, more Physical access control, digital software, more memory, and more surveillance, building automation, computing power than the guidance and intrusion alarms now offer computers that sent Apollo 11 to the unprecedented features and moon and back in capabilities in security. 1 Contemporary access readers can In other words, if access control boast the same level of technological technology in the 20th century sophistication. The modern access was about opening doors, it means reader outpaces the average 1970 s something different in the 21st access reader in much the same way century. It means intelligent, as your smart phone surpasses the secure, and scalable biometric rotary phone. readers and data networks as well as open software platforms that can accommodate any number of business applications and changes in standards. However, the typical physical access reader, which is overflowing with impressive computing power, is still tethered to a technology the Wiegand interface that hasn t But despite this, most 21st century changed since the Apollo 11 went access control systems are still to the moon. wired into old technology. The Apollo Guidance Computers (AGC), years ahead of their time, boasted 12K read-only memory, 1K RAM, clocked in at 1 MhZ, and could perform 11 instructions simultaneously. Needless to say, a $20 cellphone handily beats the AGC in computing power. 1 access control. However by the late 1980 s, Wiegand reader technology had been replaced by better and more secure proximity readers such as encrypted credentials, smart cards, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), and biometrics; all of which crowded out the older Wiegand reader technology. Yet the new technologies were still hard-wired into the old Wiegand communications rather than more sophisticated and secure data communications. The reason for this is that the Wiegand wiring was already installed in most people s walls and the majority of access readers still sent data upstream through the Wiegand interface. This is a mistake that has had economic impact in the security and usability of access control systems. Wiegand is easily intercepted. Wiegand IDs read from a Wiegand connection can be easily reproduced and replayed. Wiegand only uses one-way communication. Mutual authentication a cryptographic handshake never occurs between the reader and the access control system. As far as the control system is concerned, any Wiegand ID coming through the Wiegand wires must be from the reader. In the most simplified sense, the technology of secure access control relies on one or more basic components: What you have for instance, a key, a smart card, or a token. What you know as when you use a password or Personal Identification Number. What you are your unique biological characteristics that can be measured and compared, such as fingerprints, facial characteristics, or other biometric information. Technological innovations in access security reader systems over the decades have been designed to lock down the security of these three access control components. (continues on following page...)

3 For example, the latest Personal Identification These technologies make it nearly impossible for Verification (PIV) devices require the following: unauthorized people to hijack, copy, or use any combination Users must present a card that has been issued after they have been checked against an FBI database search. Each card must include encrypted data about the user such as PIN, PKI certification, and biometric information. Users must present the card to the device, input a PIN, and present one or two live fingerprints. The reader must be able to verify the card, match of these components in order to gain access to controlled areas unless the readers are wired into a legacy Wiegand system. When a smart card or biometric reader is wired to a Wiegand interface as most of them are then no matter what the input or how formidable the encryption, the reader will generate an open-format, unencrypted Wiegand ID from the match and send the old Wiegand ID to a controller. In other words, at the credential level, the reader can the fingerprint, and verify access with a Certifying function at the highest, most customizable, and most bullet- Authority. proof security level the technology permits. But once the reader starts communicating with the controller, the technology reverts to the most insecure, least adaptable, and most easily stolen and copied format possible. Wiegand Lives in a Gecko World At the 2007 Defcon 15 Hacker Conference, a local Bluetooth device, thus compromising biometric security hacker unveiled an easily and cheaply devices that do not use access cards. A mobile phone constructed device called the Gecko. This device enabled Gecko allows an attacker to control access required less than $10 worth of parts and 12 hours of systems from anywhere in the world through a cell labor. The Gecko was created and easily wired to the phone or any other cellular device, such as a tablet Wiegand through a card reader. Once connected, the computer. device recorded the unencrypted identification data transmitted through the wires. Using a magnetic stripe replay card, the hacker then signaled the Gecko device to replay the recorded data back into the Wiegand wires so the controller erroneously opened the door 2. Over the years, the Gecko has gained a number of terrifying new capabilities. A newer version of the Gecko includes a flash chip that allows the device to record data from multiple access cards for future download. A Bluetooth-enabled Gecko allows the attacker to access and replay reader data through any Zac Franken, a DefCon staffer, created a hacking device named Gecko at the conference in His presentation exposed the vulnerability of electromagnetic coupling, also known as Wiegand, involving security access control systems. ( 2 With such simple advances, the Gecko has ushered in the possibility that stolen Wiegand IDs may be traded on the Internet black market in the same way as stolen credit card information.

4 Alternatives to Wiegand The issues discussed above can be seen as the true cost of intelligent reader must provide a correct password for that legacy Wiegand systems. The system turns all readers, no challenge for the transmission to be accepted as valid. matter how intelligent, versatile, and secure, into dumb readers that are potentially no more secure than readers from forty years ago. So what is the impact if we dispose of the legacy Wiegand This means: a hacker cannot replay data from some other device and fool the controller or system. :: One Time Passcodes wires? The more advanced data lines such as ethernet, A One-Time Passcode validates a transmission between intelligent readers and access control systems deploy readers and controllers, but for one and only one transaction. technologies that are nearly impregnable to hacking or A new passcode is required for the next transmission or circumvention. This is detailed below: transaction the old one is obsolete as soon as it is used. :: Ethernet encryption This means: a hacker cannot record a passcode and replay Using intricate algorithms, readers and other devices can encrypt the data they transmit through the network and it to fool a controller or other device in the access control system. render the transmission unintelligible to anything but the By being connected to more advanced data lines, intelligent receiving device. readers also offer the promise of developing custom This means: a hacker cannot gain any meaningful information from the data transmitted by a reader over the Ethernet data line. :: Challenge-response protocols When a reader transmits data to a controller or other device, the reader can be authenticated through a challenge code the applications at the reader through software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs). Therefore, integrators and customers can add, remove, Beyond Wiegand replace, or modify a reader s security functions without In access control, the concepts of intelligence sacrificing the security of the system. Most importantly, and security should apply to more than just the reader can adapt to evolving access control security readers and technologies so they encompass standards and improvements in technology. device connections and transmissions as well. To begin this process, the catalyst must come from new, more advanced and intelligent readers that exploit the full security potential of ethernet data connections. An example of this next generation of versatile, intelligent readers is 3M Cogent s Make It Yours (MiY) products, a complete line Connections between devices using Wiegand or of sophisticated and customizable multi-factor similar connections, such as RS232, are simply biometric access control terminals. unintelligent electrical connections. Data network connections, such as ethernet, are logical and intelligent connections. Thus, the same high level of security that is built into smart cards, biometrics, and access control readers can be logically configured into Ethernet transmissions as well. Each 3M Cogent MiY reader provides the highest level of security and fully realizes the security capabilities of ethernet reader connections. The MiY reader communicates over TLS-encrypted Ethernet, has full PKI-compliant solutions, and uses the highest NIST-approved encryption standards. The Wiegand has been a standard in access control but data transmitted from the MiY reader is protected it does not mean that this method should become and secure. a permanent speed bump on the access control landscape. Instead, the Wiegand method as the standard should devolve when customers realize the vulnerability of Wiegand, and Wiegand wires should be replaced with intelligent and secure data lines. These advances require an upgrade from the Wiegand standard. This means that accelerating technological improvements and evolving security requirements from the standard must be the only real change.

5 Security Systems Division 3M Cogent, Inc. 639 North Rosemead Boulevard Pasadena, CA U.S.A Please recycle. Printed in the U.S.A. 3M is a trademark of 3M. Cogent logo is a trademark of 3M Cogent. 3M Cogent, Inc v.αx All rights reserved. a 3M Company

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