The difference between standard and encrypted access cards

by Charles Baker, CEO California Commercial Security

Critical improvements in security technology prevent the duplication of access cards


Standard Access Cards:

The tried & true proximity technology inside standard cards and key fobs is an old method using a unidirectional relationship between an access credential (card or fob) and a proximity reader. When a credential is presented to a proximity reader, an internal chip is energized and sends its data to the reader. The reader then transmits the data to the controller.

Today it is easy and inexpensive to use a 3rd party product or service to read and duplicate standard proximity credentials.

Encrypted Access Cards:

Encrypted access cards employ bidirectional communication between the access credential and the reader that requires mutual authentication. This handshake authenticates the relationship between the card and the reader via an encrypted key before releasing the actual card data,  after which the reader transmits the data to the controller.

This bi-directional verification eliminates the unauthorized duplication described above,  and represents one of the most effective card technologies available today.

Manufacturers are constantly evolving their security technology in response to ongoing pressures in the marketplace from bad actors. At CCS we are doing our part to educate our clients and encourage the adoption of newer and safer technologies. We only install card readers with new encrypted technology.

California Commercial Security has been serving the San Diego community for over 15 years and we have installed hundreds of card readers, serving thousands of users. If you’re interested in learning more about access control in your facility, please give us a call (800-286-2555) or contact us here.

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