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Physical Security Thread, Locked up in Technical; Hi all, With the increasing community usage of schools (and students getting increasingly lightfingered in some areas..) i was curious ...
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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    Locked up

    Hi all,


    With the increasing community usage of schools (and students getting increasingly lightfingered in some areas..) i was curious about how people are securing there PC's these days?

    I used to get involved in designing custom solutions for office furniture manufacturers but was suprised these don't seem that common within education.

    Just to clarfiy i'm talking enclosures like the below and not just Kensington cable locks:



    Thanks,

    Mark

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    Theft isn't a problem, partly a result of our local area, partly a result of our intake. Computer rooms are locked when unattended and have CCTV. Corridors have CCTV. External site has CCTV. Community use has a member of our staff supervising them and the community group would be held responsible for any thefts.

    We'd rather spend the money* on something that provides a whole-site theft deterrent / apprehension than something that just covers one type of equipment in one room.

    *I'm assuming a well-built desktop cage with decent locks, airflow, well-finished rounded edges, easy mount/dismount when unlocked and master key functionality costs at least £30/each and probably more like £40+, right? Say 35 machines a room, so £1400/room.

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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    I'd echo the above. The cost of securring just a desktop case in an enclosure isn't really worth it (assuming £50 a box). Given we have CCTV on all exits it's pretty hard to sneak out with a desktop unit due to it's size/weight. It's only happened once in the 10 years I've worked in a school and that attempt was foiled by staff who spotted them (actually an employee of an external contractor rather than pupils!) sneaking out with it. We are in a public school so perhaps that's one reason we're not experienced it. Having said that we do Zip-tie the PC cases shut to make sure pupils can't easily get into the cases to swipe individual components (RAM/etc.).

    Fundamentally it's not worth spending £50 to secure a £200-300 PC when the odds of it being stolen are so low IMO.

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    CPLTD's Avatar
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    Cheers for the feedback Pete and flyinghaggis, this might well explain the lack of uptake on these. I was thinking of enclosures more on the protection against component theft side of things rather than whole PC's going walking (take a dam big rucksack at the very least!).

    At your sites do you get issues with students swapping/ removing inputs?

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    oxide54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPLTD View Post
    At your sites do you get issues with students swapping/ removing inputs?
    Personally we had more issues with the cages than with the kids.
    Our school had desks with cages underneath, unfortunately the cage restricted the air flow and caused overheating and failure of a lage number of PSU's.

    We also found that kids were more likely to try and mess with the inputs and network leads when they know all the wires are buried under the desk and you will have to go downstairs to get a key to open the cage and the whole process will quite conveniently kill half their lesson.
    We've found with them on the desk open, most of the ICT teachers have now developed the "skill" where they can actually plug a mouse back in with out calling us down! + you can deal with it their and then as you can clearly see what the problem is. I just find the more the hide stuff away the harder it is to find the problem and the more problems occur.

    But what works for us won't necessarily for the next school.

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    p858snake's Avatar
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    I know theres one or two schools on here that just buys small padlocks in bulk and locks each case (must newer vendor solutions have something to allow this on the case), and most of the larger padlock/lock companies can easily key these padlocks to have single key or the likes. To prevent internal part stealing (ram) from the systems.

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    We use stainless steel cable ties (marine grade - like you'd use on a boat to attach kit) to hold cases closed against component theft. A change in the amount of ram will also show up in GLPI and it's simply a case of reviewing cctv.

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    In our all girl secondary school. Internal components havent gone missing (yet, or that we've noticed). However they have a habit of removing the mouse/keyboard and connecting it to the front usb ports for some bizarre reason.

    I went round last summer and cable tied them all up at the back with the power lead, to the case.
    If anyone REALLY wanted to move them, they could cut the cable tie, but it hasn't happened yet. Works as a pretty good deterrent.

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    oxide54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbeckett View Post
    However they have a habit of removing the mouse/keyboard and connecting it to the front usb ports for some bizarre reason.
    We get that a lot, and PS/2 keyboard and mouse stumps them!

    One said it was because they need more reach on the mouse? How long a lead do you need?

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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbeckett View Post
    However they have a habit of removing the mouse/keyboard and connecting it to the front usb ports for some bizarre reason.
    This happens in our Business Studies labs all the time!

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    In our language suite we ran a steel wire rope along the row, in front of the PCs. These are side on, on the ground, at the back of the desk. We then locked the side panel on, and to the wire rope with keyed alike locks. Stops the boxes being swivelled around or opened. It also LOOKS secure, so anyone "inside" reporting to their mates will say "nah, too hard, try somewhere else".

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    When I was at the University, we did originally use cages. I think they were a throw back from the days when RAM and CPUs were worth good money on their own and were easily removed and obviously not noticed until the next ICT session. I remember removing the last remaining cage and being given a bag of 140 keys, and of course the one which opened the cage was the last one! We then went over to having master keyed padlocks and looped the mouse and keyboard cables round these to stop theft.

    My current school, we have Dell 320s which do open quite easily, I did consider using master keyed padlocks though I have used zipties succesfully (as most pupils never turn up with a pen let alone a pair of scissors!) Only one cut off so far and they left their scissors behind!!

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    I agree with the top answers there isn’t much point in locking the cases when the whole school has CCTV and locked and alarmed etc, but with the keyboard and mice problem we get that all the time! One of the IT teachers has even put the computers at the back of the monitor and guess what they still plug them into the front USB where there at the back as well!
    we have started taking the thumb screws out and using normal screws this has solved the problem as they never think about using a screw driver!

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    rad
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    We have over 200 of the RM One's

    These do have the function of locking the unit to the base, but at 20 odd kilos they are very heavy to move around. Getting into these requires a "special" screwdriver so we dont have as many issues with these.

    The other base units we have are also RM but are mounted on their sides. They have feet glue gunned to them so would need to be moved in order for the parts to be revmoved. I suspect students wont go that far to remove parts, but for us it would cost far too much to mount them in secure cases than the cost of replaicng the odd machine that had missing parts.

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    One of the things RM got right in their all in one was the ability to screw the cables to the unit so they couldn't go walkies. We have a few rooms of these, and all still have original keyboards and mice. One room is nearly 4 years old, and even though they are starting to fail, they still have the original keyboards and mice.

    I wish Dell would release something like that, or even if it was possible to buy a generic add-on for any computer



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