Skimmers at Gas Pumps

Recently NBC News did a report on the increase of Gas Pump skimmers. According to this report they are showing up at more gas stations across the country. So what is a gas pump skimmer? This is a device that is placed inside the pump. It usually goes between the card reader and the rest of the pump. The access panel is unlocked, the card reader is unplugged and the skimmer is plugged into the reader with the remaining cable plugged into the other end of the skimmer.

So the question is how do the thieves get the gas pump panel key in the first place? The majority of pumps in the market place use an inexpensive lock. These locks have been in use for so long there is no longer any key control. This is changing very rapidly. Pump manufacturers are installing high security locks on their pumps. This will increase key control and help prevent thieves from opening the card reader panels. The keys that the thieves have will no longer work on these high security locks.

Many gas stations and convenience store chains are being pro-active by changing the locks on their current pumps, rather than waiting until they purchase new pumps.

So how does the consumer know if the pump is secured with the new high security locks? The average consumer doesn’t know. This can be helped by the gas station posting signs saying what they are doing to prevent skimming. Until then the consumer should be smart about where they purchase gas. Try using pumps that are well lighted and close to the attendant’s line of sight. If you don’t feel comfortable you could go inside and pay. Look at the pumps themselves; do any panels seem loose? Some stations put security seals across the panel. Are they there and not broken?

Medeco Cam Lock

You should also consider using a credit card rather than a debit card. If you use a debit card a thief can empty your bank account. Credit cards offer more protection, the major one being that they are not attached directly to your back accounts. I have written about using debit cards in the past, this is just another reason why I am not a big debit card fan.

It appears over the next few years gas pump security will increase quickly. Companies like Locking Systems International are helping both manufacturers and gas stations to secure their pumps as fast as possible.

For additional information and help choosing the right security for you, please contact us at: Locking Systems International.

Cam Locks—The Locks You Use Every Day

What are Cam Locks?  The fast and simple answer is a small lock that has a “Locking Cam” attached to the back.  These are the locks you use everyday. These locks come in a variety of sizes, shapes and configurations and prices from about $.80 for a small mechanical cam lock to $150.00 for an electronic cam lock.  Where have you seen or used a cam lock: tool boxes, mail boxes, vehicle glove compartments, vending machines, slot machines, desks, cabinets and lockers, to name a few.

Cam Locks

That’s a lot of information in a few sentences.  Let me explain this a little further.  The Locking Cam on the rear of the cam lock is usually made of steel and can be straight, offset or hook.  It can really have any design so that when the key is inserted into the lock and turned the locking cam will lock or unlock whatever it’s mounted on.

Below is a list of some popular cam lock styles:

  • Single Bitted – this is where the key is cut on one side
  • Double Bitted – this is where the key is cut on two sides
  • Tubular – this is where the key has a round or tubular design
  • High Security – these are cam locks manufactured by CobraLock, Abloy or Medeco and have a lock and key design that hold a U.S. patent
  • Electronic Cam Lock – the lock and key are electronic which provide a much higher level of security

Cam locks are very versatile.  They can be made out of many different types of materials and come in different configurations and sizes.  I will list some of these features below:

  • Can be made of steel, brass, zinc alloy and plastic
  • Come in sizes ranging from 3/8” to over 2” in length
  • Can be constructed so the lock core is removable
  • Can turn either left or right, either 90 or 180 degrees
  • Multiple diameters can be made (the standard is ¾”)
  • Can be keyed alike, keyed different or master keyed
  • Can be made in electronic versions
Cam Locks

As you can see, the cam lock is probably one of the most versatile locks ever made.  Over the years, the designs have changed and evolved, the materials have improved and the security has increased.  One thing has remained the same; all cam locks operate a locking cam: this is the definition of a cam lock.

 The Cam Lock really is the Lock you use every day. Find out more by going to LsiDepot.com.

Voice Activated Door Locks

We are all seeing more Voice Activated Door Locks bring advertised and being sold. By Voice Activated I mean they can be controlled by Amazon, Google or Apple devices. Such as “Alexa” unlocked the front door or “Hey Google” lock the front door. So how do these devices work?

The basic lock is remarkably similar to electronic locks, which I have discussed in past Blogs. The difference is that these locks have built in capabilities to communicate with voice activated controllers. They will usually communicate with either Bluetooth, WI-Fi or both. Bluetooth will be used to open or lock the lock; it will be controlled by your smart phone. Like all smart or electronic locks installation is particularly important. It must be installed so the mechanical action is exceptionally smooth and there is no binding. The motor inside these locks are not as strong as your hand as was the case in all mechanical locks.

These voice activated door locks can be set up to temporally allow someone in on a one-time basis, such as a cleaning service. They also have a tracking capability with history, so you can determine who entered your house and at what time. Great for making sure your teenagers come home on time!

For controlling the lock from your smart controller this will usually use WI-Fi. You could set up a routine where if you said goodnight “Alexa” a routine would start that shut off the lights, locked the doors and maybe give you a weather report. It is endless on what your routine could be. All of this controlled by your voice.

Controlled by your voice can also be a problem. So, if a burglar came to your front door and said “Hey Google” unlock the front door, would that door unlock? It is particularly important that for any device such as a thermostat, door lock, alarm system, etc. that they can only be controlled by your voice or the voices that you authorized. Another way would be to set up a secondary authentication like a security code that the smart controller would have to hear before activating. Most of these have the capability to learn voices and only respond to those voices.

Voice activated door locks are an evolving industry, as they get smarter, they will become more secure and will be able to more closely communicate with your smart controller. You will also see (AI) artificial intelligence play a bigger role in household security.

Contact us at Locking Systems International for additional information.  

Key Rings Provide Key Control

I have written blogs and articles in the past regarding Key Rings and what they can do to protect your keys. In this article I will explain how Key Rings can help you control your keys.

It doesn’t matter what type of lock you have, it can be the most secure lock money can buy, if you can’t control all your keys then you have no security. Control means that if you purchased 10 keys with your locks, can account for all of them? If you conduct an inventory can you put your hands and eyes on all ten keys. If not, then you have lost control of your keys and you must decide to either rekey these locks or replace them. Either of these options would be more expensive than the key rings below.

Lockable Key Rings:

Lockable Key Rings - Tamper Proof Key Rings

These generally have a lock on the end of the ring. This lock is usually a high security lock that provides its own key control. The flexible ring is constructed out of high grade flexible stainless steel. They are also available in solid rings. Both come in various sizes. Once keys are put on the ring it is locks and the keys remain there until the lock is opened again. If a key is broken, part of it remains on the ring for accountability.

Tamper Proof Key Rings:

These key rings are locked with a special tool, once locked they cannot be reopened again. The only way to take the keys off is to cut the ring. They are available in either solid or flexible key rings in multiple sizes. They both have a unique serial number to provide tracking and to attach to a person, which provides accountability and they are lighter and easier to carry.

Both key rings will provide the key control outlined above. It always amazes me how people and companies spend many hundreds of dollars on locks but forget the most important part the Key. The key rings mentioned above are more expensive than regular hardware store type rings, but ask yourself how important is your key control?

These types of key rings are only available from specialty lock distributors such as Locking Systems International. We can provide the correct type of key rings for your application. We also have the capability to properly make the locks for the lockable key rings.  

Security Check for 2020

It’s time for your Security Check the new year. In January every year I write a Blog to help you think about your Home, Electronic and Personal Security. In 2019 new advances in electronic locks and Alexa® and Google® Assistant trying to help us with our everyday lives.

Home Security:

Purchase Locks On-LineMake 2020 the year that you invest time and money in securing your home. Do all your doors have deadbolt locks? What about the door going from your garage into your house? ALL doors going into your house should have quality locks and you should know who has keys. You must maintain key control. Does your home have an alarm system? They have come down in price consider getting one installed this year.

Locks:

Security CheckDoor locks made big advancements in 2019. Most of these came in the way electronic locks communicate. Physically these locks should be up to the standards of at least a Grade 2 lock. The manufacturers have made it easier to set up and control electronic locks with your smart phone or through your smart assistant. It is now easier to control these locks from a distance through Wi-Fi. Later this year I will be writing a Blog detailing the new advancements in electronic lock technology.

Smart Assistants:

Security Check your Smart assistants like Alexa® and Google® Assistant are appearing in more devices, such as smart lights, speakers, thermostats, electronic locks, and automobiles. These are just a few, there are many more. I don’t think that this trend is going to stop. They are getting better at understanding humans and anticipating what us humans want. I believe that these advancements in smart assistants are good. They will spear head advancements in AI. We just have to make sure that we control and secure smart assistants. They mostly work through Wi-Fi, so make sure that your Wi-Fi is secure with a strong password. Make sure that your routers, modems and switches have been configured with strong passwords that you have provided. If you don’t want them listening for their wake command, you can always shut them off. They all have an on/off button.

Make sure that you all travel safe, especially if you go out of the United States. Always leave your itinerary with someone back home, along with copies of your passport and drivers license. Buy travel insurance that can help pay for any medical emergencies or emergency transport back home. And finally, be aware of where you are, if your gut tells you not to go somewhere, don’t go.

As usual if you require additional information your can get our contact information HERE.

Stainless Steel Padlocks

Stainless Steel Padlocks have been developed to protect locks in harsh environments. For these padlocks to be truly considered “Harsh Environment Padlocks” they must have interior protection also. They come in a variety of security levels from low entry level security all the way to high security with key control. Electronic locks are also being made in stainless steel.

stainless steel padlock

Stainless Steel Padlocks should have:

  • Stainless steel body (normally 303 stainless steel is used)
  • Interior parts should be stainless or brass, in some cases diecast is used
  • Lock cylinder should be medium to high security
  • Key control should be a standard
  • A patented padlock would enhance it

Above I mentioned medium to high security with key control. I believe if you are going to spend the money for stainless steel it should have key control with a quality lock cylinder. You are looking for a complete package when you are considering this type of padlock.

Cobra Lock offers a PUCK style padlock made of stainless steel with stainless steel internal components. This is a patented product that allows the end user to select the lock cylinder and therefor the security level. If the end user selects a high security patented lock cylinder, then the complete package will have patented protection. This is very important to achieve a high level of key control.

This type of lock is used in marine applications and where the lock will be subject to harsh and wet conditions. Any type of lock used in this environment should be tested for function on a regular basis to ensure that it is operational. This is especially true in applications of a high security nature.

There are Aluminum Padlocks that are also used in marine and wet applications. A stainless-steel padlock will provide a much stronger lock body that will be heavily resistant to physical attacks. It will also provide protection from rust and corrosion both externally and internally.

Finally, we come down to cost, yes this padlock will cost you more than one not made out of stainless steel. So, you must ask yourself a question. What are you trying to protect and how must is that worth to you? You could be protecting an asset or a person, how valuable is that to you.

Just one more thought, it can be cheaper to spend the money now than suffer an asset loss that can be much more costly.

If we can help you choose the correct locks for your application please contact us at: LsiDepot.com or Locking Systems International.

Boat Locks & Padlocks

There are many types of boat locks & Padlocks, the type depends on what kind of boat it is and what is being secured.  Most manufacturers use locks that have the same lock code meaning that your key might open another boat or theirs might open yours.  Whatever lock is used; it should be weather resistant and resistant to salt spray.  Let’s look at where these locks are used.

Boat Locks
Door and Cabinet Locks
  • Boats that are towed on a trailer have glove compartments and smaller cabinets that can be secured.
  • The trailer can have a special lock to secure it when being stored.  These locks prevent the trailer and boat from being stolen.
  • As the boats get larger, such as cruisers, more things have to be secured and more locks are used.
  • Front door lock on larger type boats.
  • Interior locks are larger boats.

The most important lock on a larger type boat is the front door lock.  As the boat gets larger we tend to put more of our personal belongings and more electronics on it.  Some of the types of boats are cruisers, houseboats and sail boats.  Many people live of these types of boats so it’s even more important for them to have a secure front door.

The first thing that we should do is make sure the lock is secure; this means you should be reasonably sure the keys are limited.  These locks should be weather resistant; this means that it should stand up well to water intrusion and salt spray.  Also, make sure that the mechanism that latches the door shut operates freely and is well lubricated.  Limit the keys that you might give to another person and know where they are at all times.

Stainless Steel Padlocks
Stainless Steel Padlocks

For smaller boats the most important lock will be the one that securers the boat trailer.  Most trailer latches have a hole that can accept a padlock or a special rod lock that goes through this hole.  This keeps the trailer and boat from being stolen when stored or it prevents the trailer from being stolen when the boat is being used.  The padlock, if used, should be a weather resistant one that has limited keys, these are usually available from authorized service centers.  The rod lock uses a type of cam lock and like the padlock it should be weather resistant with limited keys.

As with most things of value I always recommend a quality lock to secure your possessions and protect your family. Locking Systems International can provide Boat Locks & Padlocks of all security Levels.

Lever Lock — The Standard in Door Locks

The Lever Lock is now the standard lockset for commercial applications.  Knob locks were replaced with levers, hence the name, Lever locks.  These locks came about due to ADA regulations and laws.  They are now the only door locks used in commercial applications and are finding their way into residential applications.

This is activated by pushing or pulling down on the lever, this will release the latch and open the door.  They will accept many different types of lock cylinders such as; high security and SFIC lock cylinders.  The Lever lock has been upgraded many times over the years.  They are available in electronic, push button and biometric packages providing unlimited access control.

Lever Lock

The lever itself created many challenges for manufacturers such as the outside lever breaking due to excessive force.  When the door is locked the outside lever will not move, people were pushing down on the locked lever causing the lever or inside locking mechanism to break.  This problem was solved by redesigning the lock mechanism so that when locked, the outside lever will move down freely; however, the lock latch will not activate to open.  Most commercial lever locks are designed to ANSI Grade 1 standards, which is the highest.

Features of the Lever Lock:

  • Standard door lock for commercial applications
  • Available in mechanical, electronic, push button and biometric versions
  • Available in many different types of finishes
  • Meet ANSI Grade 1 and 2 specifications
  • Protection of the lever handle with OverDrive™ technology
  • ADA compliant

Lever Lock Functions Available:

  • Entry Lock Function
  • Privacy Function
  • Passage Function
  • Storeroom Function
  • Classroom and Intruder Classroom Function

In residential applications, lever locks are mostly used for interior doors such as bedrooms, bathrooms and closets.  Unlike commercial lever locks, the locks used in residential applications are designed with an eye toward design.  They are also available in more finishes than with commercial lever lock applications.

The next big thing for lever locks and locks in general could be RFID (radio-frequency identification) and Bluetooth technology.  These would operate very similar to the same technologies available in vehicles.  The key fob would be on your person, when you approached the door it would either unlock directly or it would wait would a secondary code to get inputted on a keypad on the lock or near it.  This is known as two step verification which is being used today for passwords on some financial web sites.

For additional information please contact us at: lsidepot.com

Credit Card vs Debit Card

This has been debated before Credit Card vs Debit Card there are pros and cons to both types. Let’s take a look at both cards, but before we do, a lot of what is in this article depends on your own self-control. If you can control your use of credit cards then what you read below applies. If you can’t control your use of credit cards or you think of credit cards as cash, then you should lean more towards debit cards in most purchases.

Credit Card vs Debit Card

I will start by asking what might be obvious to most: Did you ever wonder why when you open a new checking account the bank falls over itself giving you a debit card? That is because this card is tied directly to your checking account and in some cases you savings account also. The bank makes a large amount of money charging for overdraft protection and on overdraft fees just to name a couple.

When you try and get a credit card you must fill out a credit application and depending on your credit score the issuing bank or financial institution might send you a card. If they do a credit limit will be attached, which means you cannot charge over that credit amount. You will get a bill once a month that should be paid within the terms.

If you have a dispute with a merchant both types of cards offer a way to resolve that dispute. With the debit card the merchant usually already has your money. With a credit card many times the card company will freeze the amount in dispute until resolved. This means that the merchant does not have your money. Let’s say that you charge a vacation through a travel agent and that company goes bankrupt before your vacation begins. With a debit card the money is taken from your account almost immediately the bank might put your money back into your account, but it could take some time. With a credit card nothing is taken from your account.

In the case of your card number being stolen, you are protected with both types of cards, however in the case of a debit card it could be weeks before your money is put back into your account. With a credit card you simply don’t pay those charges.

As I said in the beginning of this blog if you can control your use of credit cards, then professionals would say that they offer you the best protection.

Contact us at Locking Systems International for ALL of your Security needs.

Custom Locks – Built To Your Specifications

When you purchase custom locks, you get the ability to determine the security level, decide if you want them keyed alike or keyed different and the number of keys you want cut.  Once all of the options are considered “Locking Systems International” assemblers will put your order together using OEM parts.  One of the most important advantages is that the keys will be registered to you, meaning that you will have the only keys to open your locks.  When you buy locks from big box stores the keys are very likely to repeat themselves.  This means that someone else will have the same keys that you do.

Custom Hasp Designed BY Locking Systems International

Benefits of Custom Locks:

  • Choose the exact number of locks needed
  • Do you want them keyed alike (one key opens all locks) or keyed different (each locks requires its own key to open)
  • How many total keys
  • Security level (this is directly related to price), the higher the security level the higher the price
  • Registered key and lock codes
  • Choose the finish of your door lock
  • Master keying options (Master keying is where each lock has its own key with the master keys being able to open all locks).  Master keying systems are usually registered.

The choice that you make is convenience over security.  It is very convenient to be able to walk into a big box store, choose your locks and leave and for some applications this is a very good choice.

Decision

The decision that you should make before you purchase a lock is “What are you trying to protect”.  If you need a padlock for a storage shed where you keep your lawn mower, then buying at a big box store would be acceptable. On the other hand, if you are buying a lock to put on the front door to your house then you should consider a custom lock; after all, you are protecting the most important thing you have, your family.

Custom locks give you choice and once you choose they are built to your specifications.

Contact Locking Systems International and we will explain how Custom Locks can save your money and are a better security option.