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PACS Portal Breaches & Intrusion Detection
There may be a requirement for intrusion detection during non-scheduled operational periods where the
primary mode of protection is interior sensors and video. This may include fixed-base operators (FBO) and
cargo operation areas. Alarm sensors may be connected to PACS components such as field control panels,
or third party alarm control panels. In this example, sensors are connected to the PACS field controller and
the secured area is further protected by interior sensors. This approach is common and is often subject to a
wide variety of site-specific policies and procedures that regulate how the interior sensors are “disarmed”
and “armed”. Generally, when a person enters the protected area, the inside sensors should be disarmed, or
they will generate an alarm message and annunciate an intrusion in the SOC.
If site-specific policies allow, armed sensors inside may be disarmed or masked automatically when the
first authorized person is granted access to the protected area. This is convenient - the person does not need
to remember a different PIN or second procedure to enter.
When the last person leaves the area, the sensors may be “armed” by presenting the access card and a
variation of the PIN on the same (or different) reader. Should the reader be located inside the area, a short
delay is programmed into the system so the person has a chance to leave before the sensors return to an
“armed” state. The audit log will reflect these transactions and show when and whose credential disarmed
and armed the sensors.
To prevent a sensor that may be in the “alarm” state when the arming process is requested, policies may
require the system to confirm that all sensors are indeed in the “secure” state prior to initiating the arming
process. This will prevent a sensor that is in an “alarm” state when the ‘arming” process is initiated from
causing an alarm message to be triggered and sent to the SOC Operators. The cause and consequence of
such event may also be defined in the site-specific policies and programmed in the system. This may be as
simple as determining the cause and making a note in the systems alarm log and leave the area, or may be
considered serious enough such that an individual may have to remain in the area until all sensors are fully
operational and in the secure state.
Alarm sensors may be connected to an external alarm control panel and integrated to the PACS. Specific
PACS architecture and site-specific policies determine the most suitable integration point(s). A simple
example is for the PACS to send an output (contact or disarm message) to the alarm control panel to disarm
specific alarm sensors when an authorized person enters the protected area. As the area is now occupied,
alarm messages are not generated or processed.
When the last person leaves the area, the PACS generates a different output (or sends an “arm” message)
to the alarm controller which causes the system to arm the sensors. Both interior sensors as well as perimeter
sensors may be integrated in a similar manner. (Refer: Section 5 PIDS for details)
Integration with Video – Video assessment, Analytics, Storage and Retrieval of Event
Alarm events such as those described in the few examples above, are of more value when the security staff
at the SOC can view the location and may see the source and cause of the alarm generating event. As an
example, a sensor detects an abnormality and generates an alarm message that is communicated to the SOC
for annunciation. In addition to being annunciated in the PACS alarm handler and graphic display the
message may be communicated to a video system for assessment. Typically, the integration point of these
types of systems is at the PACS server level.
In these types of integration, the PACS will transmit the alarm location and type of event at the location to
the video equipment with an instruction to activate a specific camera, or groups of cameras and display the
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