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A Knox Box, known officially as the KNOX-BOX Rapid Entry System is a small, wall-mounted safe that holds building keys for fire departments, Emergency Medical Services, and sometimes police to retrieve in emergency situations. Local fire companies can hold master keys to all boxes in their response area, so that they can quickly enter a building without having to force entry or find individual keys held in deposit at the station. Sometimes Knox Boxes are linked via radio to the dispatch station, where the dispatcher can release the keys with DTMF tones.
Knox Boxes simplify key control for local fire departments. They also cut fire losses for building owners since firefighters can enter buildings without breaking doors or windows.
The disadvantage of the system is that it provides a single point of failure for security. If the key to a district's Knox Boxes is stolen or copied, a thief can enter any building that has a Knox Box. Some building managers wire Knox Boxes into their burglar alarm systems so that opening the box trips the alarm, negating their use in facilitating clandestine entry.
The key for Knox KeySecure are the same throughout a district (the extent of which depends on the district). At the February 2013 RSA Conference, a researcher publicized a possible exploit, claiming that he had successfully ordered a box, disassemble that box and used the information from disassembling the lock cylinder to create his own master key.
NOTE: There are no independent citations regarding the effectiveness or claims of this product. The only reference is the manufacturer's website.
- "Security Expert Warns Fire Department Lockboxes Can Be Hacked", Reuters, February 28, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/01/us-security-lockbox-idUSBRE92004T20130301
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