Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Request to exit

The industry calls it a Request-To-Exit (RTE). Some are motion sensitive, others require the push of a button, and a very few require another wave of the badge. We’d examined the client’s public areas. Some of their RTEs were motion sensitive, and some used a button. What about the data center? We knew that the RTE could be a weak spot. The security system might log the RTE, but even here at the data center, it would probably not trigger an alarm. The motion sensitive types unlock at any close approach, and pressing a button is a normal event. If we could trigger an RTE and avoid forcing the door, we would have more time to work.

Our view was limited. We had a four-by-eight-inch view above the door handle. We could see another camera, a blank stretch of wall and a small corner of a lit room. We watched for shadows and assembled our tools.

We knew the probable height and position of the button. Could we reach it? The door was not the automatic-opening type. The dead bolt was open, but the electromagnetic lock was closed. We’d taken our MacGyver shopping list to a local hardware store, our $40 worth of spare parts versus a multi-million dollar data center. We made the viewing scope from 1/2 inch narrow pipe, carpet tape, and a convex mirror. We bent the pipe and squeezed the mirror below and past the door. The data center was on a raised floor, and we had a three-fourth-inch clearance. We had our window. In the three-inch mirror, there was the button! We quickly assembled the “finger.” The mirror became a problem because we needed to have both of our devices in view, as we squeezed down next to the door. Two pairs of hands blindly working, while a third pair of eyes directed, and a fourth kept watch. You know what they say about convex mirrors: “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”

Part 5 of 7, (to be continued)

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