Fob Confusion

Work just put in a new secuurity system, which uses keyfobs to unlock doors. I’d think these people would understand it better, but apparently not. I’ve heard about 3 conversations on the origin of the word “fob” in the past couple of days, including the idea of “I’ll just look it up on google” (which renders nothing meaningful). Is the idea that you swipe a little plastic bit in front of a reader that hard to understand?

Now granted, there are two horribly stupid things they’ve done. The first is that for some reason, instead of setting the outside doors in such a way that when you swipe your fob the handle on the door is released, but instead lock the door via magnets until the fob is swiped. Coming into the building this makes no difference, only going out. See, going out if you were able to just push the door open the magnets would have to be disengaged all the time (as there is no pushbar or anything on the inside), and that’s not good at all. So they have a sensor that detects if someone is going towards the door from the inside, and disengages it then.

The first problem with this is that if you have a bunch of people mingling around near the door, they all have to be still so the door thinks that there is no one there, until you start moving towards it. The second is that it’s not as quick as it needs to be. You walk towards the door and it it, pause a half second, then are able to push it open. This really screws up my rhythm. Of course, the whole fact that the door is unlocked simply by walking towards it opens up a whole scheme of social engineering methods, at least on the knowledge that that’s how the door works (easily seen with a bit of observation). Just bang on the door saying you need an ambulance or something, wait until the person walks towards the door, and voila, door open. Heck, someone can’t even go to the door to turn the deadbolt without inadvertantly unlocking it to whomever is waiting outside.

The upside of it all is there are some “fob”ulous puns being thrown around the office, even in the midst of all the con”fob”sion.


One Comment on “Fob Confusion”

  1. Sounds like the same brainless monkeys that did the “security” system at my office have moved to BC. We have the exact same setup, but it gets even worse.
    See, the guy who runs the “security” system software noticed that the outside doors with the motion detectors were actually unlocked more than they were locked during the day. This is a function of the placement of the door near a major hallway, so traffic not destined for the outside inadvertantly trips it. The solution…disable the motion detector and put a little push button on the wall near the door. So now, when you want to go out that door, you have to push the button first, wait that half a second for the magnets to disengage, then open it.
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone (including myself) come at a brisk walk up to that door, hit the release bar, and walk smack into a solid wall because I forgot to push the little button on the wall.