Sera4 exhibiting at the CALA TowerXchange 2018 meetup

Come and meet us at the TowerXchange CALA Meetup, June 20-21 at the Boca Raton Resort Resort & Club.

Product Introduction: Armored Padlock

Today, Sera4 announces AP3,  an armoured padlock for easy deployment of keyless security anywhere. AP3 has features which were designed specifically for telecom towers, such as chain link tether points and an internal battery that typically lasts 5 years before needing replacement.  The AP3 body is designed for the abuses of years of outdoor and remote real-world use. The body is chrome-plated, making it very resistant to saws and drills. The AP3 is water-resistant with an IP66 rating, which is good for all non-submersible applications. The silicone cover adds a final layer of protection.

AP3 is sampling now and shipping in volume in the second quarter of 2018.

Sera4 Exhibiting at Andina Link 2018

Sera4 is preparing to participate in the Andina Link conference and expo in Cartagena, Colombia on March 7 and 8. We are excited to extend our trade event participations into South America and look forward to meeting new and existing customers and partners.

Product Introduction: MX5

Today, Sera4 announces MX5, our next generation of telecom cabinet and shelter lock controllers for critical infrastructure protection. MX5 improves on all aspects of the MXv4 controller that it replaces: it is smaller, consumes less power, and can accommodate more lock types. MX5 also comes with independent cable sets to make installation and any future repairs much easier.

MX5 is sampling now and shipping in volume in the first quarter of 2018.

Smart tech is the smart choice so long as it’s well-engineered

A few weeks ago, we learned about Amazon’s ambitious plans for Amazon Key. Amazon Key is a solution that allows Amazon delivery people to leave packages inside the home rather than outside the door. They do this by converting traditional door locks to smartlocks, which can be accessed by Amazon when needed. A camera is included to monitor the drop offs. I expect that Amazon has done their market research; They know that some consumers will prefer the risk of giving Amazon access to their home over the risk that packages could go missing. Additionally, the service avoids the inconvenience of having to wait at home for deliveries  This is the same tradeoff between operational efficiency and security that Sera4 solves for industrial infrastructure.

Smartlock security was put to the test at last year’s DEFCON conference, where hackers try to break security. Twelve out of sixteen tested smartlocks were hacked within 15 minutes using simple digital equipment. I had hoped that this would send a message to our industry to take security more seriously. Unfortunately, Amazon’s newly-released smartlock system has already been hacked. Although the current vulnerabilities don’t show how to unlock someone’s house without authorization, the security holes destroy trust in the video surveillance that is a core component of the Amazon Key system. I don’t feel confident to put this on my front door. I doubt anyone wants a lock on their house that let hackers walk in, no matter how “smart” the feature list appears.

Designing secure smartlocks is not easy. It requires both physical security and logical security. People have been designing for physical security for centuries. We’ve largely figured out how to do that. Designing for secure wireless control is a new area, where many designers are still just learning. It’s not surprising that they overlook things.  Security is Sera4’s specialty. Since we don’t aim to get our products in residential front doors, I hope that someone else brings secure residential smartlocks to market soon. If not, adoption is going to be very slow, or we’re going to have a lot of unexpected burglaries in the near future.

Sera4 Confirmed to Exhibit at MWC 2018

Sera4 is excited to share that we will be exhibiting in Hall 7 at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. MWC is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile telecom industry and takes place February 26 – March 1, 2018.

The Eternal Struggle: Security versus Efficiency

It is a struggle we all know well, we need to decide whether we want to be efficient or secure. Of course in an ideal world it won’t be choice between the two, however it often is. Even something as simple as working with a contractor when you aren’t available can be difficult.

There are a few options, none of which are ideal;

  • You make sure someone is always around or available – secure but time consuming and inconvenient
  • You make a key copy to give to them – efficient, less secure, and then you still need to keep track of that extra key. In many cases you can’t make copies of security keys.
  • You leave your key somewhere – efficient but not safe as anyone could find it, and then you need to worry about how to get it back so you can access the site.

This is also if there is only one level of security, looking at more secure sites with multiple layers you get further inefficiencies. People lose their keys and access cards, and forgo security measures all the time. Reissuing key cards is time consuming and having to rekey multiple sites is expensive. On top of that when something takes 30 seconds without security but takes 10 minutes with security measures, you can guess what a lazy or malicious employee will eventually do.

There is also the added issue that unless someone is always around you have no idea who is coming and going. You also have no idea if they secure the site, when they leave, or how long they stayed. As a result you are losing time and money no matter what option you choose. If you make it too easy to access people can hack into the system and remotely open locks. When none of the options are great it can be difficult to justify spending a lot to receive so little peace of mind in return.

At Sera4 our goal is to eliminate this struggle through modern technology, and to do it for remote infrastructures that face harsh or unique environments. Every time the lock is opened or closed it is recorded in an audit log so you can keep track of exactly who has been where and for how long. Users can reset their own passwords if they forget, the app is password-protected in case your phone gets lost or stolen, and you can only see and open locks if you are near the locks. We provide a platform that works with whatever phone you already have, and doesn’t allow remote access. We believe that anyone opening a lock should be physically present at the lock, just like with a traditional key. Our architecture choice to only open locks on short-range wireless connections radically reduces the risk of a hacking threat without affecting the practical use of a Teleporte system.

Your Wi-Fi Security is Obsolete!

Today, the world came to know that Wi-Fi has a catastrophic vulnerability in its negotiation of security keys.

Unlike the cracking of WEP (over 15 years ago) – this represents a huge concern for individual and corporate “privacy” as:

  • the reliance of Wi-Fi for data transport has become the default standard rather than the exception,
  • without software updates, there is no “alternate” way to configure your network to protect yourself (short of turning it off)

Fortunately, the report of the WPA2 security hole came many months ago – allowing vendors to implement fixes to their products.

Unfortunately, it will take many years to proliferate those fixes to everyone and every device.  I shudder to think how many products will be abandoned as “obsolete” by their manufacturers, meanwhile millions of users will go unprotected.

This Public Service Announcement hopefully highlights your immediate need to seek firmware upgrades for all your Wi-Fi devices (phones, laptops, routers)!

All our customers can rest assured that Sera4 products are not subject to this type of attack. Our current technologies and strict security protocols – prevent “man-in-the-middle” attacks – and we’re staying on top of all security threats to maintain our leadership in high-tech security.

Sera4 exhibits at the TowerXchange Africa meetup

Sera4 entered Africa for the first time, exhibiting at the TowerXchange meetup in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Sera4 New Office

We are excited to announce we have moved to our new office! After a hard morning of moving furniture we grab some pizza and beer to help unpack. We are still getting settled but we have now expanded to accommodate our growing team.