IDFACTORS Ships New Readers and Expands Production

IDFACTORS, a pioneer in highly secure physical access readers and solutions, recently shipped the first units of their new TrustPoint 1-Factor access control reader. The TrustPoint Reader is sure to gain interest within the security industry because of its architectural design, competitive price and PKI security features. TrustPoint will help both Government and Commercial customers save money and close security gaps before – or while – moving to the Open Secure Device Protocol (OSDP) standard.

IDFACTORS has also expanded production by adding nearly 2,000 square feet to their facility in Berkeley, CA where all products, including TrustPoint, are designed and produced.

Dual Wiegand and OSDP TrustPoint Reader from IDFACTORS

Why it Matters

As enterprise customers consider moving to the OSDP Standard, it is important they keep in mind that OSDP has limitations. Most importantly, OSDP only authenticates readers and it does not authenticate the credential, which is the low hanging fruit for a hacker to attack.

Up to 50% of access systems in use today use Prox cards. The expense of replacing controllers and software to carry out OSDP makes no sense until a secure smart card platform is implemented. Fortunately, an open PIV-Capable platform is emerging that enables the enterprise to control the creation of their credentials and manage the issuing of public key certificates to secure the credentials.

IDFACTORS Readers Benefit Commercial and Government Customers in 3 Ways:

IDFACTORS encourages Security Officers to think of Zero Trust architecture, which is called FICAM (Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management) in the Federal Government. IDFACTORS readers deliver essential and seamless functionality in a Zero Trust PACS environment:

  1. IDFACTORS readers now support both Wiegand and OSDP protocol, enabling the enterprise with a limited budget a path to upgrade to PIV-capable credentials and readers with strong security before tackling the expensive conversion to OSDP controllers and software.
  2. IDFACTORS readers are now PKI-capable at no added cost, meaning they can support the Federal Government PIV and CAC credentials as well as strong PIV-capable credentials that are emerging in the private sector.
  3. IDFACTORS readers off-load the PKI functionality from system controllers that may be supporting up to 32 doors, improving overall system performance by reducing access transaction time.

A Zero Trust architecture assumes that there is no traditional network edge. Applying the same strategy to a physical access control system (PACS) means that the network edge has been expanded to wherever a user’s credential may be.

Some enterprises may want to delay investment in OSDP because of financial considerations. However, if the existing access system uses Prox cards or another card that is not considered secure, at a minimum the enterprise should consider upgrading the weak credentials and readers to an open and secure PIV-capable platform.

Questions and comments can be directed to Tom Corder, CEO of IDFACTORS. Tom’s email is and his direct phone number is 510-545-4393.

A Look Back

By Thomas Corder, CEO of IDFACTORS 

DoD’s first access system that used the Government Smart Card (CAC) was Installed 20 Years ago this Month – let’s look back at how this came to be and what’s next.

The Situation

The DoD first deployed the Common Access Card (CAC) in 1999 as a credential to access secured networks, databases and websites. Shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a forward-thinking officer in the US Army, LTC Greta Lehman, concluded that a real-world installation of CAC readers for door access was needed.

 Government Smart Card (CAC)

LTC Lehman was the senior officer responsible for deploying the CAC, Public Key Infrastructure (CAC/PKI) and Enterprise Biometrics Program globally for the Army’s PEO/EIS at Ft. Belvoir, VA. 

While others in Government wanted to fund lab experiments, in her view “experiments were great but would a CAC reader work in the real world?” She wanted to know.

At the same time, I had been meeting with executives from the DOD DMDC, both in Monterey CA and Washington DC, to demonstrate our smart card reader technology. In January of 2002, through an introduction made by DMDC, I met with LTC Lehman and demonstrated our CAC reader prototype, which was exactly what she wanted to see.

The Challenge

She had been searching for a firm willing to take on the task of using the CAC and Biometrics for door access.  IDFACTORS was one of the few firms in the U.S. with expertise in smart cards, embedded systems and software. 

LTC Lehman dropped a challenge; could we develop and install an 8-door access system at the PEO/EIS building in 8-months? 

  • Requirements included use of the CAC and PIN to grant access during duty hours and CAC + PIN + BIO fingerprint match to grant access during off-duty hours.  
  • And, of course, it had to be managed by software that controlled the doors by personnel access level and record all transactions.

The Solution

In January 2003, our extraordinary team of engineers and technicians successfully installed and commissioned the system at Fi. Belvoir. 

LTC Lehman referred to the mission – which she had named “Lead Dog” – as “very successful” and it lead to other installations at Ft. Rucker, Ft. Hood, Ramstein AFB in Germany, Travis AFB in California and many more.

 Government Smart Card (CAC)
Tom Corder, Founder & President, demonstrating the first Smart Card Door Reader at DoD, Ft. Belvoir VA.

My thought bubble: It still amazes me what LTC Lehman and the team at IDFACTORS were able to achieve in 8 months on a limited budget. There is still a lot of work left, however. Today the Government and the security industry must adopt use of the one secure element on the Government Smart Card; the public key certificate.

The security industry needs to provide more encouragement to Government and the critical infrastructure community to deploy systems that utilize the cryptographic tools available for strong security.

Riding the Wave of Innovation Through the Century

The city of Berkeley, CA, has a history of innovation going back more than 100 years, and our IDFACTORS building on 5th Street reflects this fact. In May 1917, a month after the United States declared war on Germany, a federal task force known as the Aircraft Production Board summoned the nation’s two top engine designers, Jesse G. Vincent (of the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit) and Elbert J. Hall (of the Hall-Scott Motor Co. in Berkeley), to Washington, D.C. They were given the task of designing – as rapidly as possible – an aircraft engine that would rival if not surpass those of Great BritainFrance, and Germany.

Vincent and Hall met on May 29, 1917, at the Willard Hotel in Washington.After just five days, these two experts left the Willard with a completed design for a new engine. In July 1917, an eight-cylinder prototype assembled by Packard’s Detroit plant arrived in Washington for testing, and in August, the 12-cylinder version – which became known as the Liberty – was tested and approved.

Hall’s company in Berkeley was considered too small to receive a production order, but manufacturing by multiple factories was facilitated by the engine’s modular design. Hall’s company continued to build parts for and test the Liberty. Hall also designed new engines such as the Invader, which later powered tanks in World War II.

Today, one of the factory site where Hall designed engines is occupied by IDFACTORS.  It is amazing to stand in the our offices and see the same heavy wood beams and overhead rails for the crane that moved the engines through the production line.  We at IDFACTORS are proud to occupy this historic space.  While many innovators have come and gone, there remains a strong spirit of purpose at 5th and Bancroft.

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