New Whole Foods Installs Hackable Access Control (Upgraded)

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Feb 21, 2018

Whole Foods has built a reputation for high quality. And their 2017 Amazon acquisition has increased that, plus added deep pockets for buying security equipment to protect their stores.

But do they have the same high standards for access installs? Firsthand observation says 'No', seeing a new Whole Foods store just constructed, has installed antiquated, hackable access control.

[Update: Within 2 weeks of this publication, Whole Foods upgraded the installation but we cannot verify if the issue has been entirely fixed.]

Inside, we examine the install and provide our recommendations for Whole Foods, and others using 125 kHz cards, to correct the risk.

The Risk - 125kHz Credentials

125 kHz credentials are easily copied and insecure as we showed in our test results, video embedded below:

Indeed, a cheap copier, no special knowledge, and a few seconds is everything needed to lift credentials to create undetectable copies of cards that literally unlock and open Whole Food's doors securing high-end groceries.

Such credentials were widely used in the past and are still used by some legacy systems. However, a brand new build with such antiquated and vulnerable credentials is risky given the ease and inexpensive ways of exploiting them.

Whole Foods University Station

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

The image below shows the door at the front of the newly constructed, 40,000 square foot store:

For those unfamiliar, the reader being is used is an HID 6005 , a mini-mullion sized 125 kHz-only reader.

Bad Install Overall

Moreover, Whole Foods was consistently bad with this install, as the highlight below calls out:

Adding to the lack of security is a measure of installer carelessness, due to the reader being installed upside down. Also, an uncovered fire pull box is hung immediately behind the reader just inside the door, which may be mistaken for an RTE device to an unsuspecting shopper or serve as easy access for a prankster.

While neither the function of the reader, nor the system, is likely affected by either poor choice, they indicate either ignorance or disregard for modern security standards and cast doubt on the true 'security' protecting the facility.

Steps To Improve

The most serious issue is certainly the 125kHz readers / credentials. We recommend Whole Foods and others using them to immediately move away from the type and replace with encrypted, higher security 13.56 MHz card types.

We outline three strategies for making this change in our Hackable 125kHz Access Control Migration Guide, essentially detailing approaches that immediately rectify the gap or a phased implementation that costs less immediate money but takes time to migrate:

This Whole Foods is a reminder to be more vigilant about ensuring the security of one's access control system.

Update: Replaced And Upgraded

The reader has been swapped and the new unit hung correctly since this was published:

The new unit is a R10 or RP10 iClass HID reader. Exact specifics on the credential types readable by this unit cannot be pegged down just by the cosmetic appearance of the unit, with either 13.56 MHz only (R10) or combo 125 kHz and 13.56 MHz units (RP10) looking exactly the same. Whether Whole Foods changed to 13.56 MHz cards instead of vulnerable 125 kHz types is not known, and we have not spoken with them for details on this change.

However, given the reader supports encrypted smartcards regardless of which model is installed gives Whole Foods a migration option to address the gap, and removes the obvious weakness the HID 6005 reader conveyed.

Comments (19) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Favorite Access Control Reader Manufacturer 2018 on Sep 25, 2018
Favorite reader votes are in, and it is not close. A global access giant ran away with the votes in a one-sided contest. But for many, the...
Genetec Takes Aim At 'Untrustworthy' 'Foreign Government-Owned Vendors' on Sep 24, 2018
Genetec is taking aim at 'untrustworthy' 'foreign government-owned vendors'. This is not a new theme for Genetec as nearly 2 years ago, Genetec...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...
Door Fundamentals For Access Control Guide on Sep 12, 2018
Assuming every door can be secured with either a maglock or an electric strike can be a painful assumption in the field. While those items can be...
Access Control Course Fall 2018 on Sep 06, 2018
Registration IS CLOSED ends this Thursday. Register now. If you are looking to strengthen your ability to design and deploy access systems or...
Drain Wire For Access Control Reader Tutorial on Sep 04, 2018
An easy-to-miss cabling specification plays a key role in access control, yet it is commonly ignored. The drain wire offers protection for readers...
Directory Of 110+ Video Management Software (VMS) Suppliers on Aug 30, 2018
This directory provides a list of Video Management Software providers to help you see and research what options are available. Listing...
Exit Devices For Access Control Tutorial on Aug 28, 2018
Exit Devices, also called 'Panic Bars' or 'Crash Bars' are required by safety codes the world over, and become integral parts of electronic access...
Hikvision FIPS 140-2 Cybersecurity Certification Examined on Aug 27, 2018
A week after the US government passed a law banning Hikvision, Hikvision announced it had obtained a FIPS 140-2 certification from the US...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Ladders For Installers Guide on Sep 25, 2018
Ladders are one of the most important pieces of worksite equipment for the surveillance technician. Too often, however, even highly experienced...
Favorite Access Control Reader Manufacturer 2018 on Sep 25, 2018
Favorite reader votes are in, and it is not close. A global access giant ran away with the votes in a one-sided contest. But for many, the...
Genetec Takes Aim At 'Untrustworthy' 'Foreign Government-Owned Vendors' on Sep 24, 2018
Genetec is taking aim at 'untrustworthy' 'foreign government-owned vendors'. This is not a new theme for Genetec as nearly 2 years ago, Genetec...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...

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