Gated Community Security – The Problem with 4 Digit Codes

Gated Community Security - The Problem with 4 Digit Codes 1
4 digit code entry

Physical security is an important part of keeping your premises safe. Intruders can always find their way into a facility with sufficient resources, but proper security measures make intrusion expensive and out of reach for most criminals. In practice, common security measures, such as gates, fences, and security cameras, make intrusion impractical.

When breaking into a facility, the gate is always the weakest point. In medieval times, armies trying to break into a castle would have to focus their efforts on breaking through the main castle gate. Technologies have changed, but the gate remains the point that primarily determines whether intruders can succeed at breaking in.

Unfortunately, many facilities are lax with gate security. The most significant gate security issue stems from facilities using 4-digit pins that provide easy access for criminals. Therefore, it is important for people who are responsible for gated community security to understand why 4-digit codes are a serious problem.

The Shocking Truth About 4-Digit Pins

Our friends at Nimbio, who have developed a smartphone based gate access control system, tell us that they frequently speak with a wide range of property managers and delivery drivers. The drivers all tell them that they never have a problem getting past gates secured with 4-digit codes. In nearly all cases, the gate code is written on the pin pad in permanent marker. Some property managers try to scratch off or scribble over the code, but another driver soon writes the code down again.

Written Codes Are Hard to Remove

Eventually, most gated community security managers give up on trying to hide the code. The problem is that most 4-digit pin pads are encased in stainless steel materials that are difficult to clean and expensive to replace. In the minority of instances where property managers attempt to do something about their access code being plainly visible, they almost always fail to fully remove the code. A motivated intruder can almost always read through scribbles. Removed codes can also often be visible when light is reflected at a particular angle or under UV light.

Shared Pins Are Inherently Insecure

Even if you do have the discipline and patience to play the cat-and-mouse game of removing pin codes as soon as they are written down, 4-digit pin pads are still inherently insecure. There are often hundreds of people in a community who have the access code. Each of these community members often passes out their code to friends, family, helpers, and delivery drivers. If any of these non-residents are criminals, serious problems could occur. Worst of all, 4-digit codes can almost never be changed since transitioning to a new code is a serious hassle for both property managers and community members alike.

Pins Are Easily Discoverable

Another major problem is that criminals can easily find out almost any code by using simple techniques. If thousands of people have been given the code to your community over the years, all a criminal has to do is invent an excuse to get the code from one of these people who has access. The phone numbers of community members can easily be found online. Criminals can then use social engineering to convince one of these members to give them the access code.

In the impossibly rare case when no community member will reveal the code, criminals can simply use binoculars to watch the code being input. Most pin pads have a large LCD display that clearly reveals numbers as they are input. Pin pads also often continue to display digits that were entered for up to a minute after entry. Therefore, to get the code, criminals often just read the keypad’s display after someone goes inside.

No Way of Revoking Access

When everyone uses the same code, there is no way to remove access for a particular individual. Instead, property managers can only warn individuals not to return. Of course, faces are quickly forgotten, and criminals have no problem using disguises. As a result, it is important to control access electronically on an individual basis. Unfortunately, 4-digit pin pads offer no way of revoking access for a single person.

No Ability to Access Logs

The lack of access logs is another serious problem with 4-digit codes. When everyone uses the same code, there is no way of keeping electronic logs of who entered and exited your facility. Logging access is important for conducting an investigation after a crime occurs and for noticing suspicious activity. Since access logs cannot be recorded, significant opportunities for closing security gaps are missed when using 4-digit pin pads.

Using a Modern Solution

Thankfully, there are modern technological solutions available to solve the problems inherent with 4-digit pin pads. Nimbio is an app that provides secure keyless access for gated community residents, while giving property managers full control. Members can easily add or revoke access priveledges for tenants, helpers, friends, and family.

The app provides community members with enhanced convenience while making gates safer and more secure. The solution can be easily installed on any existing gate, and technicians will be sent to your facility to install the necessary equipment at no charge. This year, the company is giving away the first year of service for free. Check out Nimbio’s gate access solution to learn how your premises can be secured with a modern digital solution.

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