[hackerspaces] Do your spaces have a theft problem? How do you deal with it?

John Arclight arclight at gmail.com
Wed Jul 27 08:29:03 CEST 2011

I think we need to make a distinction between outside threats (hacker
spaces usually aren't situated in the nicest areas) and being too
paranoid about each other. We have a methadone clinic down the street
from our space, and also have a higher than average number of addicts
in the neighborhood.  Our security systems don't really need to
protect against other hackers hacking our RFID cards, but more against
someone putting a brick through the window and trying to make off with
a computer.

Most businesses here have an alarm, but monitoring usually costs
$10-25/month, plus the always-rising cost of a land line.  We've
already built a monitoring script for the Open Access Control that
works great running on a Linux PC. The next step is to port it over to
a Sheevaplug computer for very low power consumption and heat
generation when it's locked in a cabinet.

If someone wants a "cheap and dirty" Internet security monitoring
solution, we used to have an old PC with a parallel port and a Linux
app that could monitor pin state changes and send e-mail or other
alerts.  I like msmtp for command-line email (even works with gmail)
and SMS alerting.


On Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 12:59 AM, Koen Martens <gmc at sonologic.nl> wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> On Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 09:36:54AM +0200, h0uz3 wrote:
>> > Once upon a time there were hackers that didn't immediately call for
>> > installation of surveillance equipment.
>> This is still true, but I am afraid some people have been "worked" by
>> those who always call for surveillance.
>> I keep my Mac Pro and my complete DSLR-Equipment at the space, accessible
>> to anyone. Still, some people are asking if they are allowed to use the mac
>> - even though they have their personal login for it! :)
>> I'd rather invest a lot of time into teaching people about careful use of
>> $equipment and respect towards eachother, than to install only one
>> surveillance camera.
>> This might work in some places, unfortunately, this isnt easily adaptable
>> to all spaces.
>> Just my thoughts.
> Unfortunately, we have a shelter for drug-addicts across the street. They tend
> not to care too much about education, more about breaking windows and quickly
> grabbing some stuff to fence for their next shot.
> The cams we had at the space together with a simple 'space loop' (basically a
> wire going all around the perimeter of the space, interrupted at windows with
> a break switch -> window opens, circuit broken, alert on irc) prevented a
> recent break-in from resulting in everything worth more than EUR 10 being
> stolen. When the space loop alert came in, people who were still up had a look
> at the cam and noticed something fishy was going on. They immediatelly went over
> to check it out, but upon hearing voices did not go into the space but called
> the police (you know, nothing is worth a fight with a knife-carrying burglar).
> Anyway, when the police came the thieves had already fled of course. They took
> one or two items and some money, but left a whole pile of laptops, audio gear
> and more right by the window where they had been piling up the goods for taking.
> Saillant detail: they also took a bottle of mate from the fridge. It was still
> on the bar, one sip taken. I guess they figured out it was not beer pretty quickly :)
> - - gmc
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