The Passback Problem

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Sep 14, 2016

Every security system has flaws, even high-tech ones. While Electronic Access Control helps keep sensitive areas safe, it is not without weaknesses.

One of the most troubling vulnerabilities is called 'Passback' - the practice of using someone else's credentials to gain entry. In this note, we take a look at the problem and how designers can minimize vulnerabilities, looking at:

  • Passback vs Tailgaiting
  • Software solutions including time limit and reader pattern and flow
  • Other solutions including biometrics, cameras, turnstiles and signange
  • Ignoring it

***** ******** ****** *** flaws, **** ****-**** ****. While ********** ****** ******* helps **** ********* ***** safe, ** ** *** without **********.

*** ** *** **** troubling *************** ** ****** 'Passback' - *** ******** of ***** ******* ****'* credentials ** **** *****. In **** ****, ** take * **** ** the ******* *** *** designers *** ******** ***************, looking **:

  • ******** ** ***********
  • ******** ********* ********* **** limit *** ****** ******* and ****
  • ***** ********* ********* **********, cameras, ********** *** ********
  • ******** **

[***************]

The ******* *******

'********' ** *** ********** term *** '******* ***********', taken **** *** ******* of *** ****** ******* through ** ******-******* *********. Suppose '****** *' ***** their ***** *** ****** through ********, *** '****** B' ** *** ******* access **** *** ****. 'Passback' ****** **** '****** A' ***** ***** ***** to '****** *' ** that ****** *** **** access.

**** ******** ** ******* equivalent ** ******** * door *** ******* ** mail **** ** ** outside ******, ** ******* your ******** **** ******* else. ** ****, ** means **** *** ****** is *** *********** ****** in *** *** ** was ********, *** ** worst ** ***** **** the ****** *** ** knowledge ** * ********* threat.

Less ***** **** **********, ***** * *******

** ***** ** ******** threats,************ * '******' ****, while ******** ** ********* less *******. **** ******** events ***** **** ****** try ** **** **** to ********* *** ****** control ******, ***** ********** typically ****** ******* **. So ** *******, ******** is ****** ** ****** with '****' ******* ** with ****** ********* ** users ** ***** ******* credentials.

****** *******, '**********' ***** that **** * **** has **** ****** ** a **********, ** ** left **** ** **** more **** *** ********** is ******* ** ****-*******. In ******** ** '********', 'tailgating' ****** ******** *** requirement ** **** ********** credentials. ******* '****-********' ********, especially ***** ** *** 'Pattern *** ****' *******, may ** **** ** combat *** '**********' *******.

*** ****, *** ************* - ****** ******* Tutorial.

Basic ******** *********

** ******* *** ****, Access ******* ******* ***** feature '****-********' ********, ***** generally ********* * *** of ******** ******* ** credential ***. *** *******:

**** *****:* **** ****** ** used ** *** **** reader ***** ****** * certain ****** ** ****. While **** ********** * decidedly '***-****' ********, ** is *** ******* ** implement. ****** ******** * card ** ** **** on *** **** ****** for * ****** ** 3 ** * ******* discourages *** *********** ** improperly '*******-****' * **********. However, **** **** ** control *** ** ************ to *****, ** *** occasion **** ************ **** something ***** ******* * card, ****** ********** ** a ************, ** **** some ***** ********** ****** for ******* **-************* ******* an *******.

****** ******* *** ****: **** **** ** control ******** ********** ***** follow * ******* ******* within * ******. *** example, * ********** **** be **** ** ** 'OUT' ****** ****** ** can ** **** *** an '**' ********. ******** a ********** ****** ** used ** ***** '******** B' ** '******** *' has *** ***** **** exited. **** ****** ** anti-passback ** *** **** comprehensive ** *********** *** problem, *** ** ******** the **** ************* *** places ** ******** ** having *** ***** ********** within * ********, **** doors **** *** ************ used.

**** ****** *** ****** Patterning *** ******** ******** that ****, *** *** all, ****** ******* ********** software ********. *** *****, more ****** *********, ********** hardware ********* ******* ********* is ********.

Other *********

************ ******** ******** ********* involves **** **** **** software. *** *******, ** our********* ********* ** ************ and ****************, **** **** ** solution ***** **** *****, and **** **** **% ** those ********* ********* ***** more **** *** ******** method:

*** **** ****** '***** solutions' ******* ***** ******** cited:

  • **********:* **** *** ** prevent ******** ** ** credential ***** ** ********** instead ** '*********' ***********. Tying ****** *********** ** unique ******** ******** ********* stops **** *******.
  • *******:******* ****** ******** ******** using ************ ******* ** record *** ****** ** misuse *** ********* ** access ******.
  • **********:*** **** ****** '******' method **** ***** **********, revolving *****, ** ******** to ********** ******* **** than ** ****** ****** entry ** *** ****.
  • *******:*** **** ****** '****' measure ** ***** **** indirectly ** ********* ******* the **** *** *** use ** ***** ** remind ****** **** ******** the ****** ******* ****** or ********** ******** ********.

Ignoring ************ **** ******

*******, ******* *** ***** identified ** *** ******* was ******** *** *****. About **% ** ********* said **** ****** ** nothing, ******* ********** ** is *** ******, ** it ** *** ****** of * **** ** warrant ***************.

******** ** ****** *** threat *** **** ******* for ****, *** ***** so ********** *** *********** to ********* *** **** invalidate *** ***** ******** that ******* ***** ********** access ******* ****** *********** mechanical **** *** *****.

Comments (8)

Good article. At least you started out okay. It seems that you are using the terms passback and piggyback as synonyms and then juxtaposing them to tailgating.

In their common use, tailgating and piggybacking are synonyms but passback is entirely different.

The big difference is that passback is an act done by two or more people specifically to deceive the system while tailgating (or piggybacking) is more commonly an act of convenience done by a single person.

I agree they are distinct issues, which is why our tailgating report (Tailgating - Access Control Tutorial) gets separate treatment.

However, the methods of dealing with both issues can be similar (ie: cameras, biometrics, signage) so that is where the lines blur a bit. Especially given the results of how APB is practically addressed, 'tailgating' enters the conversation.

If only dealing with tailgating was as simple as the 'antipassback' settings are!

So is piggybacking "users sharing credentials" or not?

Piggybacking is one form of sharing credentials.

Thank you for this article. The problem may be solved using face verification. Using it an access control management software checks that it's exactly card owner has applied the card. I'm from AxxonSoft and this scenario is frequently used by our partners. It's much more reliable than face recognition itself, may be used at must important access control points only and does not need physical contact like fingerprint readers.

Igor, are you making the point that biometric authentication, unlike possession and knowledge authentication, makes passback much less likely? If so, I agree, but the type of authentication does not impact the likelihood of tailgating or piggybacking as far as I can figure....

Brian, good article, as always. Passback is very different from Tailgating or Piggybacking. Tailgating is when somebody tucks in behind an authorized user without their knowledge or consent. Piggybacking is when the authorized user is complicit in allowing the unauthorized user through the portal.

I have a number of high-security sites I visit that the order we card in and out of areas matters.

I have to enter a secured area after my escort and leave before my escort, ( so I am not in while my escort is on the out).

I am curious how common this is

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports on Access Control

Mobile Access Usage Statistics 2019 on Jul 18, 2019
The ability to use mobile phones as access credentials is one of the biggest trends in a market that historically has been slow in adopting new...
How To Troubleshoot Wiegand Reader Problems - Inverted Wiring on Jul 16, 2019
Wiegand is the dominant method of connecting access readers, but problems can arise for installers. In fact, one of the most difficult reader...
Nortek Blue Pass Mobile Access Reader Tested on Jul 11, 2019
Nortek claims BluePass mobile readers are a 'more secure and easy to use approach to access', but our testing uncovered security problems and...
Poor OSDP Usage Statistics 2019 on Jul 09, 2019
OSDP certainly offers advantages over decades-old Wiegand (see our OSDP Access Control Guide) but new IPVM statistics show that usage of OSDP, even...
Directory of 60 Video Surveillance Startups on Jun 25, 2019
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known. 2019...
HID Mobile Tested on Jun 21, 2019
HID Global is one of the largest access brands, but their mobile access has had challenges. Indeed, the company has already restructured their...
Genetec Synergis Cloud Link - Complex, Costly and Confusing on Jun 18, 2019
Genetec's Synergis Cloud Link is complex, costly and confusing compared to competitor access control architectures. Inside this note, we examine...
Biometrics Usage Statistics 2019 on Jun 17, 2019
While face and fingerprint recognition are used regularly for smartphones, it is not as common in physical security. In this note, we examine...
Farpointe Data Conekt Mobile Access Reader Tested on Jun 13, 2019
California based Farpointe Data has been a significant OEM supplier of conventional access readers for years to companies including DMP, RS2, DSX,...
Dumber Techs, Bad Box Movers, Says Australian Distributor on Jun 10, 2019
Techs today are "dumber" than they used to be, despite better education and training and that makes a typical day "frustrating" for one...

Most Recent Industry Reports

History of Video Surveillance on Jul 19, 2019
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going from VCRs to emerging into an AI cloud era.  The goal of this history...
Mobile Access Usage Statistics 2019 on Jul 18, 2019
The ability to use mobile phones as access credentials is one of the biggest trends in a market that historically has been slow in adopting new...
New GDPR Guidelines for Video Surveillance Examined on Jul 18, 2019
The highest-level EU data protection authority has issued a new series of provisional video surveillance guidelines. While GDPR has been in...
Wyze AI Analytics Tested - Beats Axis and Hikvision on Jul 17, 2019
$20 camera disruptor Wyze has released free person detection deep learning analytics to all of their users, claiming users will "Only get notified...
Anyvision Aims For 2022 Revenue of $1 Billion on Jul 17, 2019
Only 3 video surveillance manufacturers do a billion dollars or more in annual revenue - Hikvision, Dahua, and Axis. Now, Anyvision plans to join...
HD Analog vs IP Guide on Jul 16, 2019
For years, HD resolution and single cable signal/power were IP camera advantages, with analog cameras limited to much lower resolution and...
How To Troubleshoot Wiegand Reader Problems - Inverted Wiring on Jul 16, 2019
Wiegand is the dominant method of connecting access readers, but problems can arise for installers. In fact, one of the most difficult reader...
ZeroEyes Gun Detection Startup on Jul 16, 2019
A gun detection video analytics startup, ZeroEyes, is being led by a group of 6 former Navy SEALs, aiming to "save lives" by using AI to assist...
Motorola Acquires Watchguard, Adds to Vigilant And Avigilon on Jul 15, 2019
2 years ago, Motorola had no position nor relevancy to video surveillance. Now, they own major video surveillance, LPR and body camera providers...
Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Jul 15, 2019
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video surveillance company, ever, ranging from the WSJ, the Financial Times, Reuters,...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact