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Security Hardware Idle

Phony Laser Security System Proves Perception Is Reality 243

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-a-picture-of-a-dog dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Softpedia reports that Global Link Security Solutions are offering a product that doesn't actually do anything to alert an owner of a break-in to their home or business, but it displays "one hell of a laser show in an attempt to scare potential crooks into thinking that they have no chance of breaking in without triggering the alarm." According to the security firm, LaserScan has four lines of protection: a number of lasers that move along the walls and floors (video), an LED which indicates that there's a "link" to a satellite, a beeping alert, and a sticker placed on the front door. Although the company claims that none of their current customers has reported break-ins since the system has been installed, security guru Bruce Schneier highlights that the product only works if the product isn't very widely known."
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Phony Laser Security System Proves Perception Is Reality

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  • Um, duh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How is this anything more than a high-tech version of the old "Beware of guard dog" signs?

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      How is this anything more than a high-tech version of the old "Beware of guard dog" signs?

      Because it involves a laser or something which looks like one or is shiny (oooh!)

      I see signs in a lot of yards Property Protected by Prominent Sounding Security Company.

      I also see a lot of PRIVATE ROAD signs thrown up on public back roads to discourage adventurers. Google maps is pretty good, though for following right of ways and such.

      • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Funny)

        by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @07:06PM (#41088189)

        Where I used to work there was someone who put up no parking signs on their fence. I guess they parked their RV in their yard and wanted to be able to get it in and out. The city allows for a driveway, but you can't just say your entire frontage is no parking. Even so, the sign ensured that spot was almost always vacant. I parked there for a couple of years.

        • Re:Um, duh? (Score:4, Funny)

          by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@car[ ]et.net ['pan' in gap]> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @07:56AM (#41092993) Homepage

          We were going out to some shitty nightclub one night. Was in Boston, over by "Giliians", which I don't think is there anymore, back when Axis and Avalon were still around. I was looking for parking down the main parking drag, and see an open spot...with a sign... it looked like a legitimate city posted temporary "No Parking" sign....

          except... the center part said "fridays" with no date... and it was attached to the parking meter with string....poorly...

          We just laughed, parked there, and tossed the sign under the car, which was probably the plan of whoever put it there.

      • by sjames (1099)

        The guard dog sign is more believable?

    • Re:Um, duh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SomePgmr (2021234) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @07:08PM (#41088219) Homepage

      I don't suppose it is... but that doesn't mean it's not doing the job.

      Probably best to back up the high-visibility deterrent with a real camera and alarm system though. At very least for the insurance aspect.

      • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @07:23PM (#41088367) Journal
        Everyone seems to be forgetting the most important aspect to security systems like this.....most thieves are crackheads and crackheads? Not the brightest bulbs. Like that old saying "You don't have to outrun the bear, just the other guy" the same thing applies here, as criminals are lazy and stupid and will go for the easiest mark. Will they think it may be fake? Sure but who wants to risk a 3-5 just to find out, when the building next door doesn't have anything at all protecting it?
        • by rs79 (71822)

          It might be fake. But if they do an upgrade that actually does something, how's the perp gonna know?

          • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @12:31AM (#41090815) Journal

            Well you have to put yourself in the mindset of a crackhead, you're hurting, you want to just grab and GTFO so you can go swap the loot to a dealer for a rock, so are you REALLY gonna sit there and try to suss out whether its a real system or not? When there is a place next door that looks clean? Nope you aren't gonna waste a second thought, you'll be moving on.

            After all it isn't like the car thieves where they already know how much that make/model vehicle is worth, they don't know if there is anything really good, or anything their dealer will take, so they are gonna go for the least risk every time. I used to do ride alongs with a friend that was county PD and we'd see time and time again even those lame fake "protected by" signs would often be enough to get them to move on to the next house.

            That said I really can't see paying $200 for the thing when I was able to get my dad a nice 4 camera system for his shop with 500Gb DVR for just $230 shipped from Tiger. I gotta go by there next week to set up the Android phone access (man I'm dreading that, I just know it'll be a PITA) but it took him less than an hour to have it up and recording the inside and outside of his shop 24/7 and the unit is hidden in a back drawer of a junked up corner of the shop so I seriously doubt any crackhead would find it. At least with that if someone does break in we'll have a nice vid to hand the cops.

            • At least with that if someone does break in we'll have a nice vid to hand the cops.

              And the damage from the break in to deal with.

            • That said I really can't see paying $200 for the thing when I was able to get my dad a nice 4 camera system for his shop with 500Gb DVR for just $230 shipped from Tiger.

              So the thief will just steal the 500Gb DVR as well... Better set up an instant offsite backup system as well, but you better plan appropriate bandwidth for that... (or else the thief will have stolen the unit before it has finished uploading his pix)

          • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Funny)

            by Sulphur (1548251) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @07:50AM (#41092937)

            It might be fake. But if they do an upgrade that actually does something, how's the perp gonna know?

            There is a car with a light show on top, and a guy in an arresting blue outfit.

        • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @11:33PM (#41090431)

          Fun fact I learned from dealing with wildlife up here in Canada: If you and a slower person are running from a bear, the bear will catch the slower person and immediately go after the still fleeing person because of their instinct to chase. The slower person can then hypothetically run away because they aren't in the bear's line of sight anymore.

          TL;DR: It's better to be the slower person running from the bear.

        • Re:Um, duh? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @05:12AM (#41092065)

          Sure but who wants to risk a 3-5 just to find out, when the building next door doesn't have anything at all protecting it?

          The building having nothing at all to protect it probably doesn't have anything at all worth stealing either...
          This is the double-edged sword of visible alarm systems, fake or otherwise: nothing screams "lots of loot inside!" louder than an obvious alarm system...

      • by icebike (68054) *

        I don't suppose it is... but that doesn't mean it's not doing the job

        Exactly.
        The Alarm company warning labels and signs are almost as effective as the alarms themselves. I know many people who subscribed for a year during some promo, then discontinued the service when the free-period was over. Left the signs in place.

    • The bad buys will think they have guard sharks.
    • Re:Um, duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @08:36PM (#41089149)
      It's clear in their ad that their selling this IN ADDITION to a regular security system. It's just supposed scare off the thief before they break your window and you've got to pay a deductible. When I was in highschool I worked at a pizza shop. Every night the owner would close out the till, take the money drawer out and sit it on the counter, turn the register around and leave the drawer wide open facing the front window. I asked him why he did it and he said he had 3 break-ins where they had busted the front window and destroyed his cash register just to find out it was empty. Each time he had to pay $1000 deductible. Finally his insurance agent told him what to do with the cash register and he never had another break-in.
    • How is this anything more than a high-tech version of the old "Beware of guard dog" signs?

      Yeah, there is also the plethora of dummy security cameras that have been around for ages to act as a deterrent: http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m570.l1311&_nkw=dummy+security+camera&_sacat=See-All-Categories [ebay.com.au]

  • As long.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @06:49PM (#41087983)

    ...as it is not widely known.

    Posting it on Slashdot sounds like a great idea. :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because all burglers check /. regularly ...

      Well... maybe a couple comic store robberies could be linked to the Slashdot readers...

    • by beltsbear (2489652) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @10:14PM (#41089859)
      Most of the criminals to be deterred are not reading slashdot. If they are a criminal reading slashdot they are too busy using their Arduinos to open hotel doors.
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      ...as it is not widely known.

      Actually - if there would be a real (non-phony) system that is mimed by this one...

      Posting it on Slashdot sounds like a great idea. :)

      I wonder how many (would be or accomplished) burglars read /.? Should one start a "/. poll"?

  • d'oh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by multiben (1916126) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @06:50PM (#41087987)
    the product only works if the product isn't very widely known - lol.
    • Re:d'oh! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EkriirkE (1075937) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @07:12PM (#41088245) Homepage
      Security by Obscurity.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by LurkerXXX (667952)

      Who wants to knock off a bike shop and motorcycle shop tonight? I've got it on very good authority that they only use chincy light shows and don't have any worthwhile deterrents.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        The presence of a visible deterrent doesn't preclude having a real one as well. The best security is both, that's why real car alarms often have the flashing LED on the dash, even if the fakes copied it and have them as well. Maybe their goal is to deter the drunks and opportunists, and the dedicated thieves wouldn't care anyway.
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @06:51PM (#41087995)

    Real alarms use infralasers.

    • by Phixxr (794883) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @06:56PM (#41088045)
      Real companies use tripods when they shoot promo videos.
    • by EdIII (1114411) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @07:12PM (#41088269)

      and... real criminals are not always that smart and get their working knowledge of security systems from Hollywood movies.

      I'm willing to bet real money that if you took a sampling of 1000 prisoners (guilty of robbery) and showed them the video, 990 would believe it was a real laser security system.

      If the criminal was sophisticated enough to know better, chances are they would walk into the place in broad daylight and use social engineering instead.

      Now, if you *really* wanted to fuck with the criminals you would also install the infrared lasers and have a really big mean fucking dog set to be loose once the lasers were tripped.... and have a cage slam down in the front preventing escape.

      • Interesting idea. Pay prisoners to evaluate security systems and have the equipment suppliers pay. Of course, Prison-Corp will take their cut from yet another revenue stream.
        • by EdIII (1114411)

          That's a slippery slope.

          At first they will just evaluate, which will be boring. Then install the tracking devices around their necks so they can do onsite testing. Start video taping the testing. A reality tv show is developed.

          Then bam! Running Man.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Then bam! Running Man.

            If you use more serious lasers you can have Burning Man.

      • by MarioMax (907837)

        If the criminal was sophisticated enough to know better, chances are they would walk into the place in broad daylight and use social engineering instead.

        Or they'd just say "fuck it", walk into the place in broad daylight wearing a ski mask and carrying a rifle, grab what he wants, and high-tail it before the cops show up.

    • by Tanktalus (794810)

      But if the criminal doesn't know it's there, it's not much of a deterrant. Maybe those real alarms should use visible-spectrum lasers. Or maybe both. Too bad this is now patented, depending on the language, competitors may not be able to do anything. Then again, I think this solution really is novel, and is relatively deserving of patent licensing fees.

    • by Sir Holo (531007)
      Does the generic thief know this?

      Why not have both systems, with this faux system as an "alert" that the property owner is aware of and actively counterracting breakins, possibly by an alarm system. In other words, why would one take the chance?
    • Indeed. Honestly, what so difficult about including a cellphone backup on the alarm system? Most places you can get a signal, and even in places you cannot, try a booster. Costs, what, $20 in parts, plus some agreement with a cell carrier for a few pennies a month.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @06:53PM (#41088017)

    The thing about "security theater", is that it's not 100% useless - it provides a very real psychological deterrent to someone thinking about breaking in.

    Even if a criminal knew such a system was not real, they would not know it was not also paired with a real alarm system, or perhaps this version was real somehow. The kind of people breaking into things generally are not that well educated, so how could they really tell if the system was fake or not even knowing fake systems existed?

    The problem with security theater in airports is that it causes way too much grief to outweigh the deterrence gained. But in this case there is no downside and the system would be very cheap to install.

    True anecdote - when going to a summer college I had a car I had to park in a remote lot. I installed an LED I could turn on with a switch, that just sat there blinking.

    The ONE DAY I forgot to turn on that switch, someone broke into my car and took a $10 cassette player (the window cost more than $50 to replace). After that I remembered every time to turn on my "alarm" and never had a problem again.

    • Where I grew up, I found that simply having alarm company stickers on your door was good enough to stop burglars. There are plenty enough houses there without any sort of security system. Even tweakers understand the idea of going after the low-hanging fruit.

      • Also, my car has an "alarm system" factory installed. I'm pretty sure the only thing it does is has a flashing LED. I've never heard it go off. I don't know what it sounds like if it did. So far, no break ins, though.

    • The thing about "security theater", is that it's not 100% useless - it provides a very real psychological deterrent to someone thinking about breaking in.

      The whole point of most security systems -- even alarm systems -- is to pose a deterrent. Most break-ins are crimes of opportunity, not elaborate schemes planned over periods of months. Alarm systems are fairly inept nowadays: when you last heard your neighbour's alarm go off, did you drop in to investigate, or just presume it was broken again?

      The effectiveness of the "security theatre" was demonstrated in a very personal way for me a few years ago. Some criminals went on a rampage looking for cash and v

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        The whole point of most security systems -- even alarm systems -- is to pose a deterrent. Most break-ins are crimes of opportunity, not elaborate schemes planned over periods of months. Alarm systems are fairly inept nowadays: when you last heard your neighbour's alarm go off, did you drop in to investigate, or just presume it was broken again?

        The ones that are unmonitored are generally considered noisemakers. This includes car alarms as well.

        The only way a security system can provide any protection is if i

    • by mike449 (238450)

      I have a counter-anecdote to tell. I had an LED blinker in my car, attached with a piece of velcro. The car was stolen and then recovered within a week. The only damage was the ignition lock, and the only item stolen from the car was the LED blinker.

      • I drilled a hole in my dash to mount the red light and hid the switch out of sight under the dash. Your solution sounds a little too ghetto to work, since you could easily tell something was up... a red light in the dash looks more "legit".

        Sorry about the car though, that sucks far worse than just being broken into...

  • It will sell (Score:5, Informative)

    by bhlowe (1803290) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @06:56PM (#41088055)
    Every good security tech will suggest adding similar measures-- Security signs, dummy cameras, NRA member stickers, fake dog bark noises, even putting a huge dog bowl on the back porch. Just being a little harder target than the guy down the street helps. Criminals are usually not bright enough to figure out which threats are real or imagined.
    • by louic (1841824)
      It may be a deterrent for YOUR house, but the burglars will go to your neighbors, forcing them to install alarms (fake or not), etc. Very profitable indeed!
    • Re:It will sell (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @07:04PM (#41088157)

      Even if a "good" security system works, it still leaves a broken window, a trashed door, or other damage done by a burglar. I had a vehicle protected with a kill switch rather than a car alarm because I didn't care for the siren noise. It got broken into several times and the steering column opened up. My vehicle was still there when I came back, but it cost a pretty penny to get the broken window fixed, a new ignition switch, etc.

      A real security system needs both. Real security that slows down or stops attacks combined with the "oh shit", brown-stain-in-pants, intimidation factor.

      It also depends on the criminal. The two barking GSDs in the window may deter a professional thief who makes his money on doing his stuff quietly, but the meth-head will just fire off a few rounds with his 9mm, and score something to take to a fence for another bottle of shake-and-bake.

      Personally, I'd take the laser system. Combined with a real alarm and in-depth security like sturdy, locking hall and bedroom doors, it will keep a good number of potential burglars at bay.

    • Re:It will sell (Score:5, Informative)

      by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @07:07PM (#41088191) Homepage Journal

      NRA stickers are a bad idea. Most break-ins occur when the burglar is reasonably sure that nobody's home. All the sticker does is advertise that there are guns here just waiting to be stolen.

      BTW firearms rank right up there with cash and jewelry among desirable things to be stolen.

      • by game kid (805301)

        That's why I prefer witches over guns.* It's hard for them to steal your weapon when your weapon has its own arcane shield and great brea^Wstaves and spells to deal heavy damage.

        *Witches with guns [youtube.com] do complicate the risk calculation a bit.

        • Or you could be a real psychopath, and purposefully sit home alone, at night, with all the lights off, and a loaded gun in your hands, waiting for someone to break in.

          There's dangerous, and then there's dangerous.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        There were a series of home invasions in Anchorage 5 years ago. They targeted homes with guns. The only thing stolen was the guns. And they did so as home invasions, targeting when people were home. They didn't look for NRA stickers, but instead looked for people talking guns in high school, then talked them up about the types and kinds, then home-invaded later.

        You are more likely to get shot with your own gun by a home invader than successfully use one against a home invader (given FBI numbers definin
        • by JeffAtl (1737988)

          Those stats aren't really accurate but it's not worth debating. Like you said yourself, "a hit" is not the only measure of "success".

          In any event, no-knock warrants have made defending your home with a firearm almost impossible. Alll a intruder has to do is break in at 2AM and yell "this is the police!!! everyone on the ground now!". Cops get the wrong addresses all the time and if you shoot one because you think he is a home invader, you will be charged with murder.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            Has anyone ever been successfully prosecuted for shooting the police in a no knock raid? I see lots of "ifs" out there when I look, but otherwise, as far as I can tell, nobody has ever been prosecuted for shooting a police officer performing a no knock raid.

            But the best defense for that is very very bright lights on a motion sensor. They'll scare away anyone at night. Though the home invasions to grab guns were during the day (well, sun-up evening, anyway).
    • Some thieves target cars with NRA stickers because there are often guns inside. Easy money. So maybe place the sticker on your house instead of your pickup. I don't know how bright criminals are compared to the typical person, but I suspect as more people go unemployed and increasingly desperate, the criminal IQ will approach the national average.

    • by westlake (615356)

      Criminals are usually no bright enough to figure out which threats are real or imagined

      Would anyone here know which high or low threats are real or imagined?

      What happens when you disrupt the pattern, break the beam -- infrared or visible light? Is there a gun? Is there a dog?

      Make my day. Prove me wrong.

    • Depends how desperate they are. If you're the only house around for 10 miles, and they really need something, Ft. Knox itself would be sieged.

      And remember, despite their poor moral / lifestyle choices, they are anything but stupid. The kids at Mensa can't hold a thimble to what some of the things these people think of. Military veterans can't compare to some of the truly terrible situations these people find themselves in, and yet still come out alive.

      And the funny part is, the utter simplicity of how they

  • Part of the problem with this sort of thing isn't just that it only works when it isn't widely known. Even if it is only marginally known, it will make criminals take security systems (even real ones) less seriously because they know there's a decent chance the system is fake. Since there's evidence that criminals already have poorer impulse control and less are less risk averse than the general population http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/294626-overview [medscape.com], http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/71/6/720.full [bmj.com], htt [utk.edu]

    • by eyenot (102141)

      ONLY if the deterrents in use in your dichotomy are false deterrents.

      Consider this: the thieves now throw themselves headlong into security systems believing they might be false; the thieves are caught mid-act by effective, real, actual, working, again: effective security systems; the thieves are fucked (caught).

      This might be a possible scenario where broadcasting the existence of the tar-baby or fake intruder countermeasure results in heightened effectiveness of existing effective countermeasures simply be

      • by eyenot (102141)

        Alroight. final argument:

        Consider where G O D used to stand in for security AND technology, both similar.

        Consider if you told tales about security technology.

        Consider how effective you'd be while admiring the eventual growth rate and power structure of something like the vatican, the muslim world, and the hindu/buddhist structure, all combined.

        Tell me you don't think a little make-believe, a little lying, are effective means of creating a world where nobody is sure what to believe, but people learn methods

        • I have faith healed computers and cars for credulous people. In both cases I reattached a lose connector while distracting them with the hocus pocus.

          Nobody bought it, they knew I'm a heathen.

          • by eyenot (102141)

            Gladly, so, you make my point. Well met, brother of brethren.

          • by eyenot (102141)

            *Shrug* You intended to perform for your audience the rite of acknowledgement into the echelon of true believers. So what if you failed to let them know what it took to be really there? You did all humankind a favor by demonstrating, with your performance, that puppetry and cascades of wonder have no match for the actual imposition of securely obtained and restrained measures upon every least facet of throughput.

            So, you mayest show that the simplest coward is but a simpleton, but, where were you, when all o

            • I drive the demons from eyenot's mind with the power of my third nostril. Does it smell eyenot? Cause I just farted. Smells like brimstone.

              Let go of eyenot's vas dark creatures. He needs metaphysical crab medication. They're in your scrotum eyenot, cut it open with a butter knife and insert a jagged piece of urinal mint.

  • By publicizing this system even after well-known security expert Bruce Schneier "highlights that the product only works if the product isn't very widely known", Slashdot is clearly guilty of attempting to aid and abet burglars. Cybercrime charges for samzenpus!

  • "Greeting, my laser targeted guns have locked onto you and will fire in ten seconds. Would you like me to inform your next of kin?"
  • I came up with a pretty distinct statement about this concept.

    ""There's no security in obfuscation" cannot be a positively true statement. Comparatively, there is absolutely *no* security in full disclosure or revelation, whereas in obfuscation there is *enough* security that many people resort to it in an attempt to secure things, typically because it's just *enough* to fool people."

    You can read it at my professional (not my funny friendly one) gabe.petrie at facebook.

  • People in an honor system breakroom pay more when there's a picture of eyes on the wall. Unconscious mind at work. Here's a link to discussion of the study. http://thinkingmeat.com/newsblog/?m=200606 [thinkingmeat.com]
  • It boils down to a simple fact, crooks prefer easy targets. If you appear to be more work than the guy next door, he will move on unless he wants YOU. Then nothing will stop him and will just laugh at your fake system that didn't magically become 'real'..

  • visual laser systems are a movie thing the real ones are IR ones.

  • A long time ago I had a dog that had bonked her head a few times running into the sliding-glass door. Eventually, I could fool her by pretending to shut the door and she would just stand there until I pretended to open it. Dogs are fun.
  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @08:32PM (#41089113) Homepage Journal

    I bought a fake "security camera" for $12, just has a blinking red LED, no other real electronics... and mounted it on a pole peeking above my fence on our dead end.

    Instant effects. No more people parking to have sex or eat McDonald's and throw the trash on my lawn, no more people stealing flowers or attempting to hide in my property, even the neighbors are paranoid about the "surveillance."

    Most people don't understand the difference between their web browser and the file manager.

    Unless you're in a very rich neighborhood which attracts high-end catburglars out of the movies, the presence of a few strange boxes with red lights is more than enough to make them go away.

  • by sjames (1099)

    I'm holding out for the holographic projector that makes the crooks think there are sharks with frickin lasers on their heads swimming in the living room.

  • Pretty much any security products only work if they're not well known... Once something becomes well known, people will research efficient methods of circumvention and soon that knowledge will become widespread.

    Of course, this runs against the goal of any business trying to sell such a product, since they want it to become as widespread as possible in order to sell as much as they can.

    Even a security system that calls the police is not flawless, if its over sensitive (or a criminal can trigger a false alarm

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