replacing compromised biometric authenticators

(forking the thread here..)

Biometrics are still the new hotness out in North America. Cologix whom I deal
with in Canada has a dozen and a half odd POPs in canada/usa and I think has
fingerprinting at all sites.

If the current best operating practice is to avoid biometrics, why are they
still in use out here? Has anyone gotten the message? Is anyone in North America
ripping them out yet?

Other factors include your country's privacy regulations for storing
irreplaceable personal information, the burden of which might not be worth
the security 'benefit'.


Since I'm not squeamish about such things, I do have tin snips and will
happily assist in revocation of compromised biometric authentication


I would definitely not say that it is current best practice not to deploy
biometrics. As part of a holistic approach, biometric systems can improve
security greatly. As a singular approach, using it as a single factor for
authentication and authorization of access/actions, it's as terrible an
idea as any other. The difficult of passing a high-quality biometric
authentication system, even knowing its success conditions, is
non-trivial. The good ones check for basic signs of life, as well, so
simply cutting off someone's hand and trying to use it would fail, for
example. There are, of course, cheap biometric systems that are not as
good, and ymmv depending on what and how you deploy biometrics. Taking the
specific threat level you're up against is always relevant.

All of the facilities I have in production have a three factor approach to
access - "something you know, something you have, and something you are."
Biometrics being the latter, plus a badge or dongle, and a four digit
code. None of my production facilities can be access without all three.

Take care,

I agree that multiple levels are best and, for the moment, I'd frankly
be hesitant to give anything like finger print data since one can
never change that and the harm of it getting loose can not yet be
determined. (Not that the data being taken by these scanners is
necessarily all that grandiose.)

I also would accept a facility that did something like handscan and
pin to access the lobby/security desk and keycard or fob to move
around once inside along with scan in/scan out enforcement. (No tail

I've never really been keen on relying on biometrics though. The
handscanners can be convenient for not having to carry anything around
but when all is said and done, they are really not all that much
better than just a keycard.


(1) for the same reason some idiots still use captchas
(2) new hotness > old and busted, regardless of merits
(3) because they facilitate coerced risk transference away from the
people who are actually responsible (and are paid to be so) to the
people who shouldn't be responsible (and aren't paid to be)


I think biometrics are seen as a means to reduce the possible
errors/corruption of a security guard by shifting responsibility to a

When you have multiple tennants, the DC can't assume all tennants will
keep all access cards secure so has to protect tennant 2 from tennant 1
having cards stolen by some crook intent on damaging tennant 2's cards.

A security guard matching face to picture on card AND picture in his
computer for that card can be very good, and woudl eliminate card
counterfeiting (with match against the DC's database of images) but
would not eliminate security guard making mistakes and allowing people
whose face does not match (corruption or lazyness).

This is very different from a data centre owned by a single tennant who
has full control over staff and knows who is and isn't staff and
authorized to go in.


 1\. captcha\(?\)

 In my millennia of experience I never saw a captcha used as a mean for DC access control\.  Just as a programmatic way to reduce brute force for some website functions\.

 On my network janitor keychain I have \(in order of hackability from easiest to hardest\)

     1\. keycard only

     2\. keycard \+ fingerprints

     3\. keycard \+ face \(2d\)

     4a\. keycard \+ eye

     4b\. keycard \+ top of hand mapping

 But all the DCs, I deal with, have highrez cameras and tailgating controls\.\.\.  Biometrics are just a part of a wider system\.


in the case I mentioned, the datacenter provider (=Level3) removed hand geometry scanners from its facility and switched all users to card + pin. Also the provider is going to run this policy Germany- or even Europe-wide, as being told by Level3 account rep.

The mentioned facility does not have any tailgating prevention, e.g. a mantrap or turnstile access. The outside door, which is visible from the street, and the inside colocation doors are now sharing the same access method (card + pin). So now the card becomes valuable and transferable. Before it was: Parking lot: Card, Outside door: Card + pin, Inside door: Card + hand.

There is a security sub-sub-contractor on this site, but they are not responsible for access or any thing real :-], thats why I am interested how Level3 runs its others facility and I am still looking for feedback. From contract side the access device is not exactly defined, hence you can accept, quit end of term or of course upgrade your suites, racks, … with a custom solution, as long as Level3 staff can enter, too.

To bring things back to the biometric topic:
The hand geometry scanner does not save fingerprints but hand sizes and shapes. From current mailings I understand, that people have a lot of different definition of biometric and may not count the hand scanner as "(full?) biometric" device.

Regards "bionic"