Evolution warns of cyber crime ‘Achilles Heel’ in networked security systems

Poorly procured and designed security systems on a network can significantly increase the threat and likelihood of cyber crime. That’s according to Evolution, the integrated fire and security systems business. Brendan McGarrity, head of risk and design at Evolution, believes that while most think of the threat stems from the integrity of the IT network, few perhaps consider the role that security technology installed on that network can pose in increasing – rather than reducing – the potential damage that may result.

McGarrity informed Risk Xtra: “Rather than being the friend of a given business, a humble CCTV camera could, in fact, be its Achilles Heel. The simple act of failing to change the default password at the point of installation creates enormous risk. Of course, this doesn’t mean that such equipment has no place in the security industry. Risk has to be proportionate, but it does mean that for higher-end enterprise-wide systems, integrators need to be more circumspect in the technology that they specify and in the testing that they undertake.”

Evolution runs its own in-house vulnerability testing facility. “While we only work with high-end manufacturers’ equipment in the first place, we also prefer to test the integrity of the entire system once it has been designed to ensure there’s no possibility of compromise. Crucially, this testing is undertaken before the system is then installed n site, thereby avoiding the disruption this can invariably cause. Working with high-end manufacturers also affords us the comfort of ongoing technical support and allows us to perform a managed process for software upgrades.”

McGarrity feels the greatest risk is within the network itself. “Typically, a security system on its ‘own’ network is preferred from a practical perspective (ie bandwidth), but also from a ‘general’ security perspective. A problem with the corporate network not only compromises the company’s administrative systems, PCs and servers etc, but also effectively ‘disables’ the security installed, leaving a business prone to attack from more ‘traditional’ sources.”

McGarrity urges that there needs to be greater collaboration and understanding across departments. “IT people are not always security experts, while security people tend not to be IT experts. That being the case, it’s vital both parties work together to achieve the outcomes they seek.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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