Security Review: Traffic Lights

By sky at 11:59 pm on February 3, 2008 | 7 Comments

As i’m sure everyone already aware of, one way our country (and many others) directs traffic is with these things call traffic lights. We place them at intersections, at about a one to one ratio of oncoming lanes to traffic light boxes. A box has three states, green, yellow, red. Green means you can go, yellow means red is imminent, and red means don’t go. Of course.

Now, how are these lights choosing which state do display? A set of lights at an intersection should display a setting that does not give multiple lanes the right of way to crossing paths. But when do we change states? In the beginning, it was all done off timers. At set intervals the right of way was changed from one lane to another, ect. However, then people realized that depending on the time of day, we might want different settings. And then people were like, hey lets put in sensor’s to figure out if there is car waiting! These things are usually are metal detects, but weight detectors exist also. All these strategies used the idea that each intersections should be independent of all the others. But then humans got the idea that if we could get ‘waves’ of green lights to happen, we could get even more efficiency. This requires intersections to talk to other intersections, as well as the ability to program in this information, and maintain/reset it as needed.

Many intersections also have buttons for pedestrian’s to push if they wish to walk across. This would give another signal to the lights, and the lights would queue up this request, and execute it eventually. Emergency vehicles also have a similar ability (and in some cases public transportation such as buses and light rail), which is called traffic signal preemption. Depending on the implementation, it can use radio waves, infrared, strobe lights, and audio signals from a siren to trigger. This will switch only the emergency vehicle’s path to green, and everyone else to red.
(Read on …)

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Physical Security,Security Reviews7 Comments »

Electronic Voting in India

By rudd at 10:59 pm on | 1 Comment

Given the upcoming elections, it seems like an appropriate time to cover an electronic voting system that is not our own, a system that has a significantly different view on security, usability and design.

(Read on …)

Filed under: Current Events,Physical Security1 Comment »

Security Review: Cell Phone GPS

By mccoyt at 9:37 pm on | 3 Comments

With the increasing popularity of auto-enabled GPS features in cell phones, a group at UC Berkeley is experimenting with using the phones as a means to gather real-time traffic information. The phones will broadcast their locations back to a central server at three-second intervals as students drive along a predetermined route. As speeds are aggregated, it is hoped that a model will emerge allowing for traffic statistics to be gathered in real time.

While such an ability would undoubtedly be of use to a variety of organizations and benefit those stuck in traffic, this usage of GPS data from private cell phones is indicative of a developing change in the type of personally identifiable data available in the public realm. As such, it poses significant privacy concerns as long as steps to mitigate such threats go unimplemented.

(Read on …)

Filed under: Privacy,Security Reviews3 Comments »

Security Review: Bodyguards

By felixctc at 9:06 pm on Comments Off on Security Review: Bodyguards

Security Review: Bodyguard
Bodyguards are people who protect their clients from various treats such as assaults, assassination, and kidnapping. Depending on the importance of the client who is being protected, some clients might have a team of bodyguards while another might just need only one. The general minimum requirements for bodyguards are trained to use firearms, unarmed combats, tactical driving, and first aid to ensure the safety of the client. In addition, for bodyguards who need to protect more important person or who are working in teams, they tend to have specializations for various skills like crowd control, protective escort, and finding electronic threats.

(Read on …)

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Security Review: Blinger?

By bsmith86 at 9:03 pm on Comments Off on Security Review: Blinger?

I’m going to guess that you, like me, have just found out about this device.  According to news reports and their website (, BlingNation’s Blinger is a new, portable ATM device.  It has a magstripe card reader on the back, and a wireless link to their network.  It will let you transfer funds, get your account history and everything else you can do with online banking, all without a laptop/desktop. (Read on …)

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Search with a little help from your friends (on social networks)

By Max Aller at 8:15 pm on | 2 Comments


As most of you know, social networks are rapidly becoming ubiquitous, with hundreds of millions of users between Facebook (62 million), Myspace (>100 million), and Linkedin (>17 million).  Naturally, many companies are trying to take advantage of this fact by letting users leverage their social networks, and now we’re starting to see search engines join the mix.  Delver is one of these.
(Read on …)

Filed under: Current Events,Privacy2 Comments »

Security Review: iTunes Movie Rentals

By robert at 7:27 pm on | 2 Comments

Recently, Apple unveiled a new system that allows customers to browse the iTunes store and “rent” selected movies for a smaller fee than it would cost to purchase them. This fee also happens to be slightly more than one would pay for renting from a video store, but convenience isn’t cheap. The iTunes rental system allows customers to download a video and store it for up to 30 days, but the movie must be watched within 24 hours of starting it. 24 hours after starting the movie, it is removed from the iTunes library.

(Read on …)

Filed under: Security Reviews2 Comments »

Security Review: Metal Detectors and Security Checkpoints

By Trip Volpe at 6:01 pm on | 2 Comments

Anybody who has flown on a national airline or had business in a federal, state, or county government building has certainly had the experience of waiting in the queue to be ushered through a beeping metal-detecting portal, separated from bags and other belongings which are whisked through an adjacent X-ray machine. Such devices are usually intended to secure the premises against an outside threat entering with weapons or other dangerous items. (Read on …)

Filed under: Physical Security,Policy,Privacy,Security Reviews2 Comments »