Securing the Delta Biometric Sorority House

The reliability and efficiency of biometrics is greatly enhanced with dual authentication, meaning using the biometric template (your fingerprint) with a unique PIN or credential.

The fingerprint is non-transferable and therefore affords the higher level of security over a memorized PIN or credential that could be shared.

The sorority had determined that they wanted to provide that enhanced protection to their students. They knew that:

  • Keys can be lost, loaned or copied.
  • Credentials can be lost or loaned out.

When the security on a frat or sorority house is too extreme, you find the hardware bypassed, vandalized or doors propped.

Offering an amenable solution to the students makes it easier for them to maintain the security of their house.


Cansec Zodiac

The sorority management also set forth its own set of requirements. Besides being biometric, the system had to:

  • Be in budget
  • Not require a network connection or PC to manage or to operate
  • Remain locked and continue to operate in a power failure
  • Hold up under the adverse conditions present in a dorm environment.

The Cansec Zodiac system which includes power supply and provision for battery backup met items 1 through 4. So far the system has held up, so we can tentatively report it has met item 5 as well.

Interesting but not PC Factoid: It has been statistically verified that women as a group are harder on electronic devices, somehow bringing out the weaknesses in cell phones and laptops and so forth.

Our own observations indicate that fraternities are far more destructive to doors and locksets than the sororities. And we have the service calls to prove it.

The Zodiac 250 is standalone, requiring only low voltage power and connection to an electric locking device. Programming is typical for an electronic access control, meaning that it is not intuitive, but it does not require in house factory training either.

Once we demonstrated the enrollment process to the individuals at the sorority who would be responsible for system management, they quickly learned it, and a good time was had by all as they enrolled all their sisters.

They each enrolled two fingers in case of a “bad nail day” and selected their own PIN numbers.

Unlike their debit cards or laptops, the PIN is not such a top secret, since unlike credit cards and computers, a PIN is not enough to get you through the door.

CANSEC offers several models of the Zodiac. With one version, which we’ve previously reported on to faithful Locksmith Ledger followers, the reader provides a Weigand output so it can be retrofitted to any network based electronic access control which uses this type of reader or keypad.

In the nearly six months since the Delta Bio system has been deployed we had only two callbacks. The first was to adjust the door closer which was the original one and had not been replaced as part of the installation.

The second was over a weekend, and I was able to ask the den mother a few questions and determined a housekeeper had unplugged the power supply in order to use a vacuum cleaner. We only used the receptacle specified by the den mother, and I told her repeatedly that the power supply must not be unplugged. It was not in an obvious location where the residents were likely to mess with it, but of course the housekeeper had not been clued in.

It must have taken a several days for the back up battery to finally deplete to the point where the Zodiac stopped working.

I told den mother to re-plug and then crossed my fingers hoping that this was it, and this would revive the system. It did and she was so pleased that she called me back and we provided several locksets, and rekeyed the entire facility.

Cansec Systems offers an all-in-one stand-alone Zodiac kit to get your system started. The kit includes the Zodiac 250 reader, a door control module, power supply board, transformer and an enclosure to hold these components.

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