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Evaluating Crowd Control Event Wristbands Security

By Mike Ferring Subscribe to RSS | June 21st 2012 | Views:
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The bottom line is this: No one has made a wristband that the “bad guys” cannot beat. But by using wristbands, we just make their lives a little more difficult.

If you are like most people buying event wristbands (or armbands or bracelets) for an event, you want to be sure they’ll help you let the right people into a venue and that they’ll keep the wrong people out.

You have to decide how strict you want to be—basically what’s the risk/reward ratio of raising the hurdle for cheaters. If it’s a neighborhood carnival with a $1 admission, the risk is low that someone will try to beat the system. If it’s Disneyland and today’s ticket is $75, or if it’s a beer garden where lots of under-age college kids might be tempted to slip in, then the payoff for cheaters is much higher.

If wristbands can’t be tamperproof, at least they can be tamper-evident. If the bad guys try to cheat, your security people can spot counterfeit bands or bands that have been taken off a legitimate entry and passed to someone on the outside.

Tyvek crowd control bands like those from TabBand can control all but the most dedicated cheats. Each one has several security features:

1. The closure of the Tyvek wristband is scored, which means it should look shredded when someone tries to take it off and put it on again. A quick visual check of the closure will reveal tampering.

2. Each band is sequentially numbered. If the band doesn’t carry the right number range, it’s a fake. If numbers are missing in your sequence, maybe someone snatched them.

3. Each band has a black light image, easily checked at the door.

4. The bands can be printed with your event name, making it easier to spot someone with a generic fake.

If you want to be very cautious about who gets in, we recommend that you take a close look at all event bracelets at the event entry to spot signs of tampering. This simple step will stop most bad guys from getting through and it’s like a policeman with a radar gun by the side of the road. The deterrent effect is potent.

The wristband closure is another story. You’ll see crowd control wristbands and hospital wristbands that use a little plastic snap to close. The snap is often used on a vinyl or plastic wristband and might seem as if it would be a secure way to close a band around someone’s wrist.

Surprisingly, we’ve found that it’s not as secure as an adhesive closure. Next time you receive one at an event, try tampering with it after you’ve used it. Try picking the snap to see if you can open it and re-close it. Also, try tearing the vinyl carefully at the snap and then putting it back in place. Pretty easy, right?

If someone received a legitimate event band, removed it, and passed it to someone outside who hadn’t paid or wasn’t of legal drinking age, the outsider could pass through a security checkpoint without being detected.

A while ago we turned to the country’s foremost security experts to see what they thought of the adhesive-versus-snap decision: Roger Johnston and his Vulnerability Assessment Team at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. These guys have picked more locks and seals than you can imagine and they know their stuff.

After peeling and slicing and picking at the choices, they reported, “While a ‘snap-style’ closure employed by some manufacturers at first may seem more secure, we found it fairly easy to pop the snap or tear the band, making it more vulnerable to attack than the adhesive.”

After the Vulnerability Assessment Team’s tests, we decided to stay with an all-adhesive product line-up at TabBand, believing that it was the safest for all applications, from event bands to hospital patient IDs.

One important thing to know about adhesive: it gets stronger after a few minutes. It’s essentially glue, right? Put any glue on two parts and immediately pull them apart and they’ll come apart. Give them some time to bond and, depending on the glue, you might never get them apart without destroying the parts.

Mike Ferring - About Author:
Article Source: IdentificationBraceletsblog.com

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