Students at Williams College are swapping their mag stripe student IDs for a new, combined mag stripe and proximity credential.
The new IDs will be used to gain access to building and study rooms on campus both during and after hours.
As reported by The Williams Record, the college plans to install the proximity readers in phases at all entrances to campus buildings, as well as at dining halls, vending machines, library checkout stations and laundry machines.
The college’s jump to proximity credentials is part of a larger shift to the S2 security system that will replace a more than 20-year-old system. Director of Campus Safety and Security Dave Boyer believes that in the future, the cards could also be used for banking.
“This system allows us to integrate fire and intrusion detection into one system,” says Dave Boyer, director of campus safety and security. “The HID proximity cards are more secure than the magnetic stripe cards.”
According to Boyer, however, there have been some hiccups with the transition.
The cardstock arrived only just in time, with only one day before freshmen arrived for the fall. Some of the new cards also displayed some discoloration due to issues with the film used to print the cardstock.
The proximity cards will also carry a more expensive replacement fee at $15, up from $10 with the old credentials. The new IDs will continue to display the same picture as the previous credential, but for an additional “vanity fee” of $15 those who wish to retake their pictures may do so.
There are well-known vulnerabilities associated with the 125 kHz proximity card, offering less security functionality than its 13.56 MHz contactless credential. Making the decision to migrate card technology is one that should be carefully considered, and being understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the credentials available is vital.