Access Control System (PACS and VACS) for Pakistan Army

Introduction

The Pakistan Army decided to upgrade its identity management system, with the introduction of the latest and most secure personnel and vehicle access control system. The system would be fully automated with biometrics as the second level of authentication. SecureTech consultancy was tasked to carry out a turnkey project and provide an enterprise level end-to-end solution. An important Army establishment was to be initially secured with foolproof access control that would use RFID tags for vehicles and the army’s smart ID card including biometrics for each and every individual to gain entry into the facility.

The access control system for every garrison would be subsequently linked with the each other and would have the ability to be controlled from a central location. All vehicles including those owned by the army personnel would be enrolled and an RFID tag would be pasted on the inside of the windscreen. These passive tags would identify the vehicle, including its photograph that was taken during its enrolment and compared with the real time photograph that was streamed to a distant control room that monitored each and every access point. The vehicle would be allowed entry only if the vehicle was authorized to enter that respective entry point, its photograph matched with the live photo and its driver’s smart ID was authentic, including matching of his live fingerprint with the one stored during enrolment. All personnel entering an establishment would be allowed entry on authenticating his smart card by the central /local server and his live fingerprint match. The access was controlled through blockers for vehicles and biometric enabled turnstiles for pedestrians and motorcyclists.

Challenges

The entire access control software (SecureTech’s gatekeeper application) was initially Window’s based, however this was prone to virus attacks and anti-virus software’s slowed down the response. The movement of vehicles and personnel in peak hours was very high which required 1 to 2 second response for all blockers, gates or pedestrian/motorcycle turnstiles to operate to cater for the high volume movement. The anti-virus software was thus not the answer; the system was therefore converted to a Linux system, which meant that we had to write our own layer in Java including the drivers by decrypting the input/output protocols for the PLC.

Solution

Secure Tech Consultancy (Pvt.) Ltd, has successfully implemented and executed an enterprise level Smart Card based Personnel and Vehicle access control system for Pakistan Army as the Prime Contractor/System Integrator. The project involves the design, development and implementation of the complete software systems and its integration with the hardware. The Personnel Access Control System was designed around the concept of authenticating dedicated personnel allowed to enter various in house facilities based on their levels of security. These personnel and facilities are defined through a Policy based Access Control List (ACL). A Vehicle Access Control System (VACS) was designed and developed to automate the vehicle entry systems with a view to ensure that only the designated personnel, whose vehicles are properly registered and duly authorized, can move into the restricted premises.

This enterprise level project was successfully completed and is now in its fourth year of operation. The success of this project was possible due to the guidance and suggestions given by the Military Intelligence Directorate and the C4I Directorate and their dedicated officers.

Features

  • Access control for personnel with a two tier authentication including live fingerprint matching with authorisation to the facility.
  • Access control for vehicles based on RFID tag authentication and authorisation coupled by a two tier system that blocked all access points.
  • Visitor Management System.

 

Conclusion

 Alhamdulillah a challenging project that was completed with many trials, the support, guidance and encouragement by the Army’s top brass was instrumental in achieving success of a complicated project, which had no precedence due to its secure nature. The system is working to the entire satisfaction of the customer since the last 3 -4 years in more than one location.