July 24, 2015

High-Tech Crime Stoppers

Filed under: News — csadm @ 2:50 am

In 1956 a short story called “The Minority Report” by Philip K. Dick was published, later adapted into a Hollywood sci-fi movie called “Minority Report” by Steven Spielberg in 2002.

The story-line is that in the future crime-fighting agencies will be able to predict crime before it actually happens.

Crime prediction raises some interesting ethical questions such as how can someone be convicted of a crime that has not yet been committed?  The Minority Report has a central character called Anderton who is the chief of a law enforcement agency called Pre-crime.

According to Anderton “in our society we have no major crimes…but we do have a detention camp full of would-be criminals.”

In a way, science fiction has become fact. For instance, we now live in a world where terrorism is a real threat and Government law-enforcement agencies do in fact maintain constant surveillance of would-be criminals. With enough hard “soft” evidence, in some developed countries you can now be arrested on suspicion or intent based on your “digital footprint.”

In the United States a company called Persistent Surveillance Systems has built a “pre-crime” surveillance system. By flying a cluster of video cameras over an area that can be the size of small city – using an airplane or even a drone – the activities of the entire city can be transmitted – every second – to a computer on the ground. When a crime is committed, a system analyst can scrub the video forward and backward in time to find out more about the crime and the perpetrator. Ideally, this happens minutes and even seconds after the crime is committed allowing for a fast arrest of the perpetrator.

The system provides vital information to law enforcement regarding events before and after a crime.

If you think that this is an elaborate and perhaps expensive exercise then you need to think twice. The system was road-tested in Dayton, Ohio where there are an estimated 27,000 crimes reported each year, 70 to 80 per day, at an estimated cost of $US3400 per person each year.

In the Dayton, Ohio experiment, it was estimated that a “pre-crime” aerial surveillance solution would prevent crime by 20 to 30 percent, on top of its intended function of solving crime. That worked out to be a saving of $US96 million to $US144 million.

Surveillance is undoubtedly the way of the future in crime prevention.

Even in Port Moresby we are now seeing the advent of CCTV cameras at strategic points in the city. At the recent Pacific Games police used two Israeli-supplied surveillance balloons to monitor venues and coordinate responses in a bid to thwart potential criminal or terrorist activities.

In June this year, in the lead-up to the Games, the PNG Police Commissioner said “they (the surveillance balloons) are like the eyes in the air and it gives us real time surveillance on every incident that happens within the games.”

Some would see the move towards a world of “pre-crime” as a threat to civil liberties and privacy. However the biggest losers are the criminals. CCTV cameras and video monitoring are not only a great tool in solving and predicting crime, but they are a great crime deterrent. Most law abiding citizens would be comforted and not confronted by the presence of surveillance cameras – after all, if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear – while criminals may need to look for a more honest way of earning a living.

Similar “pre-crime” style video surveillance is now being used in the workplace and the home. In fact, most systems now come with smartphone applications enabling the user to check in on real time video of the workplace or home from any point in the developed world. Of course, by the developed world I mean one with adequate internet capability.

In short, video surveillance is now more accessible and more affordable than ever. And so it seems, the odds are getting stacked up even higher against the bad guys. Technology so it seems, is finally being used for good in the fight against crime.



Cybersecurity is a term more commonly associated with workplace computer protocols such as protecting data by using strong passwords, deploying antimalware utilities and antiviruses, and keeping workplace computers safe with the latest patches and updates.

However the term also includes physical security to prevent theft of equipment and information security to protect the data on that equipment.

Those terms generally do not refer to physical security, but a common belief among computer security experts is that a physical security breach is one of the worst kinds of security breaches as it generally allows full access to both data and equipment.

In this context, the focus of cybersecurity is on premises security, or protecting your business’s physical assets from burglary and vandalism. The best cybersecurity measures in the world are useless if a thief breaks into your office and makes off with your computers.

Part of workplace cybersecurity is also having ID cards for employees that comply with your security system – a topic I covered in detail in my last Technology editorial (National, Friday July 10).

But by far the most effective form of workplace cybersecurity are video surveillance systems, which are now more affordable than ever and capable of multi-tasking. These systems can be installed in the workplace to not only monitor your physical assets but also to alert you to a break-in, trigger an alarm and dispatch law enforcement.

As I said earlier, the video feeds from surveillance cameras can be accessed even by your smart phone, dependent on having a robust internet connection. In a pre-crime context, such footage is a vital crime deterrent and a useful log of pre- and post-event forensic data.



There are many products and video surveillance solutions available on the market. One company with a long track record in the business is Rhinoco.

RhinoCo Technology has been an integral part of the electronic security industry since 1978. The company is Australian-owned and with the increased emphasis on “pre-crime” level security it is still growing after more than 30 years in business. Rhinoco Technology has become best known over the years for their world renowned Rhino™ brand of vehicle security systems, the Watchguard™ brand of wireless security and surveillance systems, the Securview™ range of professional video surveillance equipment and EasyPBX™ business phone systems.

The company has been designing their own range of electronic security products in-house since 1978, with a team of dedicated hardware and software engineers that focus on key product areas.

As well as their own designed and produced products, RhinoCo have established long-term relationships with key electronic security and technology suppliers around the world. Due to their vast range and experience in almost all areas of electronic security, they are also often called upon to develop customised solutions.

Their capabilities extend as far as having a mobile video surveillance solution with online GPS tracking, integrated alarm/immobiliser and wireless duress button. Or supplying a completely wireless, multi-channel, solar powered, wireless digital CCTV solution with remote access.

RhinoCo’s video surveillance solutions are powered by VIP Vision™ – a premier IP surveillance solution for enterprise and commercial applications. VIP Vision aims to function seamlessly with existing business operations, offering a total solution to security.

IP CCTV is an acronym for internet protocol (IP) closed-circuit television (CCTV) – meaning that these high-tech surveillance cameras can send and receive data via a computer network and the internet, with high-definition video capability – making it even more difficult for the bad guys to avoid detection.

RhinoCo’s VIP Vision range delivers powerful, scalable IP CCTV systems, with an emphasis on functionality, ease of use and ease of installation across a range of small projects through to large commercial, public sector and government level applications.



As an example of one of the solutions in the RhinoCo range of video surveillance products, the VIP Vision NVR16PRO4 is a 16 channel network video recorder, designed as an immediate and customisable high definition IP surveillance solution. Installation of IP CCTV has never been simpler with the NVR16PRO4. It features a built-in 16 port Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch, supplying camera power, video, audio and PTZ control data across a single Ethernet cable.

The NVR supports up to 160Mbps incoming bandwidth and can record beyond full HD video at 3.0MP resolution (2048 x 1536) across all 16 channels.

Adjusting recording settings, exporting footage and live viewing camera streams are performed through an easy to use user interface.

This NVR supports up to 16TB of internal storage and features continuous recording. When the internal storage is full, the NVR will automatically record over the oldest footage. Accessing footage and changing settings remotely is possible from a local PC or over the internet via the NVR web interface.

Smartphone and tablet remote viewing is available for iOS (iPhone, iPad), Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone via free applications and can be configured in seconds using the remote view QR code tool.

The NVR16PRO4 can backup footage to external USB devices, eSATA devices, and an optional internal DVD-RW burner as well as via the local network.

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July 10, 2015

ID Cards – A High-Tech Fact of Life

Filed under: News — csadm @ 2:47 am

Papua New Guinea is soon to become one of approximately one hundred countries in the world with a national ID card. The Papua New Guinea National Identity (PNGNID) card system is really an extension of what already exists with the PNG passport system – a large database of information containing the names, addresses, dates of birth and so on of every PNG citizen. Well that’s the theory anyway.

It’s nothing new but it does open a whole new set of problems and likely scenarios. Identity theft, identity fraud, loss of cards are just a few likely challenges that will be faced in introducing and managing the new system. Citizens need to be more concerned with these practicalities than worrying about “big brother” having their information. Chances are if you already have a passport, or even a bankcard, there are already large databases that have reduced your identity to a number. A few years ago a very good friend of mine was involved in establishing the Air Niugini Loyalty Program. Guess what? It involves a large database with the names and details of everyone that has ever flown with the national carrier since the program started. At inception, the program already had a rather large database of PX frequent flier members all reduced to a number. In theory the database has details of everyone that has flown with the national carrier along with their flight sectors and dates of travel.

ID cards really are nothing new. But the amount of information they are easily able to capture due to new technology is startling.

The history of ID cards goes like this – photo ID became popular in the twentieth century with the development of photography and by the 1980s, with the advent of the computer age and the ability to easily create massive databases, we had the plastic identity card – otherwise known as the ID card.

The shape and size of ID cards was standardised in 1985 by ISO IEC 7810. At first these cards simply had the capacity to contain a number and photo. But then the smart card evolved with magnetic stripes and bar codes capable of containing far more information than a name and number. Cards with these devices are also more secure and less likely to be forged. They also opened up a whole new range of possibilities, especially in the workplace where the cards could be used to control access to certain areas, as well as monitoring movements in and out of places such as the office.




Identity cards in workplace situations are very common and these days the technology has developed to a point where employers are able to create and print their own employee identification cards that comply with their security system.

Identity cards today are far more versatile than just a basic photo ID. Today, you can use barcodes, magnetic stripes, RFID, and Smart Card technologies on an ID for greater security and traceability across many applications. Whether your business needs are low-volume office printing or full-scale enterprise and educational applications, there is an ID Card printer that will meet your needs.

The first step in finding a printer is identifying your specific needs.

• What are you printing ID cards for?
• How many cards will you print per day?
• Will you print on both sides of the card?
• Do you need edge-to-edge printing?
• What kind of encoding options will you need?
• Do you need to make durable or secure ID cards?

Knowing how you’ll be using a card printer will help you decide what type, print method, and other features you’ll need. Here are some of the key features and functions.


The first and most important question to ask when buying an ID Card Printer is how many cards will you be making per day? Keep in mind that choosing a printer class is based on a regular print volume. If you have a large batch to print once a year only, you can go with a smaller printer since your continued usage throughout the year is low.


Many printer lines will offer options for single or dual sided printing. Single-sided printers are slightly less expensive but depending on the requirements of your card design (text, images, barcodes, etc…), using both sides of the card may be needed.

Single-sided printers are typically used for simple card applications which contain limited cardholder information. For simple photo IDs or applications where you are using a pre-printed card and simply need to print a name, barcode, or numerical ID, a single-sided printer may be your most economical option.

Dual-sided printers allow for both sides of the card to be printed on at the same time and are typically used when full color is required on the front of the card and black print on the back. Dual sided printers are ideal for situations when a significant amount of data needs to be captured on the card, especially when using barcodes. By moving some of the information to the back of the card, the front remains uncluttered and void of distractions.


Most ID Cards today utilize multiple ways of identifying the user beyond a basic photo. Card printers offer several ways to securely encode information onto the cards. Depending on the application the card is being used for, certain encoding options will be better suited than others. Encoding information on the card itself helps increase the security of the card as it becomes harder to counterfeit and also makes reading the card faster, easier and error free.

Barcodes are the easiest encoding option, since the ability to add to a card is contained in the design software – so no additional features are needed on the printer. With options for 1D or 2D codes, you can encode a variety of information in a common, easy to read format.

Magnetic Stripe
A magnetic stripe is the black stripe on the back of your credit or debit card. Blank cards can come equipped with a magnetic stripe ready to be encoded. This type of card is capable of storing data on a band of magnetic material. The magnetic stripe (also known as swipe card or magstripe) is read by physical contact when swiped past a magnetic reading head.

Contact/Contactless Smart Card
Smart cards are at the pinnacle of card security. Similar to barcodes and magnetic stripes, they provide another means to store data onto the card itself. The big advantage of the smart card is that it can store multiple strings of information, including encrypted certificates. A smartcard provides multiple levels of verification on the card itself for the greatest security possible. Contact smart cards have gold-plated contact pads which a reader touches to read while the Contactless ones communicate via radio waves with a read range of up to around 5 inches.

RFID has become a popular technology in many applications since it provides a means to read information on a card from longer distances. RFID cards store data that can be read without a line of site up to 10ft away. They also allow for multiple cards to be read at the same time and are quite secure. RFID is the most costly option but can be very beneficial to high security and access control applications due to its extended read range and option for automated reading.

The HiTi CS-200e is an example of a robust modern printer with an outstanding design, developed by a company that has made its name in card printing technology.

HiTi is a Taiwan-based company specialising in award-winning digital colour reproduction and print quality. The company has extended its operations in to the area professional image hardware and software for the purpose of passport and photo ID formats.

The HiTi CS-200e features compact design, photo realistic quality and versatile modules. The CS-200e blends HiTi high definition dye sublimation thermal transfer and world-leading colour technologies, resulting in continuous tone and sophisticated photo quality on every print. Fully functional card software included with the printer supports card template design, convenient database connection, and powerful batch printing management including a wide range of encoding options such as RFID, magnetic stripe and contact smart chip.

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