How Gate Codes Can Be Used to Control Access in Gated Communities
Residing in a gated community is a preference for many urban dwellers. This is due primarily to the good reputation that gated communities have. The residents in a gated community are perceived to be of high-status and affluence. Gated Communities add to the guaranteed privacy, security, and safety that you get when you live in a gated community.
Modern gated communities control entry into their areas of residence using access codes at the main access control point of the gated zone. The access codes work by restricting entry and prompting you to enter a code before entering the gated community. When you enter the correct code, the gate opens and you are allowed to enter. This article explores the security and management of gate codes in gated communities.
How entry restricting codes are managed
Different gated communities have different methods of handling their access codes. These codes, which allow a person or vehicle into the community, are vital information that only authorized persons should be able to access.
One way of managing entry access codes is giving each resident of the community a unique code that he or she uses to access the premises. This method is effective because it limits sharing of the code among residents. Should a case of an unauthorized person gaining access to the building arise, the code that was used can be identified easily and the security breach sealed without affecting the other residents of the community.
A challenge with unique codes for every resident comes when one resident has frequent guests around his or her home. Since the gate code is only given to residents, you have to open the gate for each of your guests. Sharing the gate code with visitors beats the point of having unique access codes and creates an access vulnerability where unauthorized persons can gain access to the property.
The other method involves having one gate code that is shared to all residents of the gated community. Shared entry codes are not very secure and can be easily breached since a lot of people use the same code. Tracing a security breach where the gate code leaked to outsiders will also prove difficult when you use this method to manage the gate code.
Are gate codes secure?
The purpose of using codes to limit entry into a gated area is to improve security. Many gated communities operate unmanned gates, which mean that unauthorized people can breach their access easily. The gated community news article on tailgating outlines one of the most common ways that access to gated communities is breached.
When used correctly, entry access codes greatly improve the security of a gated zone. Correct usage implies that all the rules regarding sharing of the gate code as set by the property manager or owner are strictly followed. Trivial negligence in managing the gate code could result in it leaking and opening up your gated community to outsiders.
To ensure that the codes remain a secure and effective method of limiting entry to a gated community, it is important that the residents are made aware of the part that they have to play in ensuring that the code does not leak to outsiders.
The residents should enter the code inconspicuously at all times, especially when they are in the company of a non-resident. Failure to do this will enable the person accompanying the resident feeding the gate code to memorize it and gain access to the premises later.
The residents should also refrain from sharing the gate code with their guests. Should a guest be entertaining visitors to his or her home, he or she should take the time to open the gate himself to allow the invitees to enter or have an authorized guard open the gate for them.
Gate access codes need to be changed after they have been in use for some time. Using one access code to open a gate for a prolonged period opens room for outsiders to acquire the gate code you use. Switching the gate code after a period of 3 months is ideal.
A problem with frequently changing the gate code is experienced because all the residents have to be made aware of the new code. The changeover period between codes is bound to be filled with complaints of forgotten code and residents being denied entry because they are using the expired code. This, however, is necessary in order to maintain a high level of security.
Property managers also should ensure that the codes are a bit complex. Using easy to guess combinations, such as 1234 or 3333, as the code makes unauthorized access to the gated community easy. Access control devices also have default passwords that are used for testing. After installation, the default password should be changed or disabled to limit cases of illegal entry.
Possibility of hacking entry access codes
Making systems that enhance security proves to be a difficult task because no security system guarantees security to a hundred percent. A balance between allowing access to authorized persons and restricting access to illegal persons also needs to be maintained by a competent security system.
It is important to note that criminals keep devising new ways of beating security systems and gaining access to areas where they are not allowed.
Entry codes in particular have been exploited and hackers have found ways to cheat the systems. Hacking into gated communities is possible because different weaknesses exist in gate code systems that one can exploit to gain unauthorized access.
According to the hackers’ blog, for instance, some gate code systems do not limit the number of attempts that one could try to enter the code. This gives ample time for the hacker to guess the four digit code that is commonly used until he gets it right. Other systems have default passwords that allow the hacker to log in the systems with administrative rights. With such access, he or she can read the usernames and passwords of the listed users, thus being able to gain access.
Hacking is also made possible by users setting easy to guess passwords or using passwords for a long period.
Entry access codes are useful to gated property owners because they enhance security. However, only correct usage of the gate codes by the owner, property managers, and residents can achieve the desired levels of security.
Inconveniences are also part of using access codes in gated communities. For instance, residents have to bear with the need to open the gate for guests. In case of emergencies, the access limiting codes could also hinder fast access of the properties to response teams such as ambulances and fire fighters.
Evidently, these access codes need to be used in a manner that balances access and restriction to be able to work effectively.