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Physical Security

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Answers and Explanations

  1. Answer: B. The MTTR (mean time to repair) is a value used to calculate the average time to bring a device back up to operating standards. Lower numbers mean reduced downtime.

  2. Answer: C. Drop ceilings should not be used in server rooms or areas that are adjacent to the server room. Although these are convenient for hiding cables, they offer easy access for potential intruders. All the other items are recommended for server rooms. Dry pipe fire control offers the potential for water, but also provides adequate time to turn off or power down electronics. Smoke detectors are a must for all areas. Surge protection can be used to protect expensive equipment, and solid core doors increase security.

  3. Answer: B. The best location for a server room is near the center of the building. This location is more secure from natural disasters and helps protect against intruders. This type of configuration requires the intruder to pass multiple employees and possibly checkpoints before reaching the server room. If employees have been properly educated, they will inquire as to what the unauthorized personnel are doing in the area. The theory of layered security applies to physical security just as much as in the other domains!

  4. Answer: A. MTBF (mean time between failure) is the average amount of time before device breakdowns. Higher numbers mean that the devices last longer.

  5. Answer: D. Any time you start building from scratch, you should consider the surroundings. Areas that are close to airline flight paths, freight lines, or chemical plants may be subject to explosions or crashes. Answer D is correct because having a hospital nearby can be considered an asset.

  6. Answer: C. CO2 sensing is not a valid type of fire detection. The three categories of fire detection systems include heat sensing, flame sensing, and smoke sensing.

  7. Answer: C. Halon is considered toxic in concentrations above 10%.

  8. Answer: C. Fences 3–4 feet high will prevent only the casual intruder, 6-foot-high fences are difficult to climb, and critical assets should be physically protected with a fence that is 8 feet high with a three-strand topping. This is considered adequate for protection against a determined intruder.

  9. Answer: B. Argon, Inergen, and CEA-308 are all acceptable replacements for Halon. Halon is being phased out because it acts as an ozone-depleting substance when released into the atmosphere. Hydrogen bromide is a byproduct of Halon and is considered toxic.

  10. Answer: B. CO2 works by removing the oxygen from a fire. Soda acid works by removing the fuel element of a fire. Water works by reducing the temperature of a fire. Answer D, nitrous oxide, would not reduce a fire.

  11. Answer: B. Although all the items shown are used as physical deterrents, locks are the most widely used.

  12. Answer: B. One major drawback to the decision of employing guards as a physical security deterrent is the cost of salaries and benefits. All other answers are incorrect. Liability is addressed by the fact that security guards are typically bonded and have had to pass state board licensing requirements.

  13. Answer: C. Fire drills should be a random event that the employees are unaware of before the actual drill. Fire drills should not be scheduled because that defeats the purpose. Fires or natural disasters are not scheduled events. Finally, productivity is not the driving force here; rather, it should be employee safety.

  14. Answer: B. The EPA considers FM-200 the replacement of choice for Halon systems. It is similar to Halon but does not affect the ozone system. Argon and Inergen will work but are not as effective. FM-300 does not exist.

  15. Answer: C. In home environments, ESD (electronic static discharge) may seem more like an annoyance. In the workplace, its results can be much more severe. ESD can damage or destroy sensitive electronic components, attract contaminants, and cause products to stick together. The recommended humidity range for the prevention of ESD is 40–60%.

  16. Answer: B. A power excess can quickly damage sensitive electronic equipment. The best way to guard against this type of problem is through the use of surge protectors. Brownouts occur when power companies experience an increasingly high demand for power, and blackouts are associated with power loss.

  17. Answer: C. A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) can be used to provide power to critical equipment during short power outages. Surge protectors and voltage conditioners help condition the power to ensure that it is clean and smooth. RAID is used for disk drive fault tolerance.

  18. Answer: D. Although the other items on the list may be important, the protection of human life makes duty to public safety the number-one priority of the CISSP certified professional.

  19. Answer: D. Halon can be found in two types. Halon 1211 is used in portable extinguishers. Halon 1301 is a gas agent used in fixed flooding systems. Answers A, B, and C are distracters.

  20. Answer: D. Class D fire suppression should be used against grease or chemical fires. The other answers are wrong because Class A corresponds to common combustibles, Class B is for burnable fuels, and Class C is for electrical fires.

  21. Answer: A. A power outage, which can be called a blackout, is when there is loss of power for an extended time. The largest blackout ever to occur in the United States happened on August 14, 2003. It affected nearly 60 million people. A brownout occurs when power companies experience an increasingly high demand for power and spikes are associated with power excesses.

  22. Answer: B. There are only two valid types of heat-activated fire detection systems. Rate of rise offers the best response time; however, it should be noted that these systems result in more false-positives alarms.

  23. Answer: D. The absolute first requirement of computer security is physical security. Even the most securely designed network in the world is of little use if someone can gain physical access. After physical access is gained, there are many programs that can be used to violate confidentiality, integrity, and availability. These violations of security can range from simply turning off a system to resetting the administrator's password, wiping the hard drive clean, stealing data, or even stealing hardware.

  24. Answer: A. Although lighting does add to the security of a facility, it is best when applied with other types of deterrents. NIST (The National Institute of Standards and Technology) states that the standard for perimeter protection using lighting is an illumination of 2 candle feet of power at a height of 8 feet.

  25. Answer: C. Halon has been found to cause destruction of the ozone layer. Because of this, it was banned and an international agreement was signed in 1994. As long as exposure is low, Halon is considered harmless to humans.

  26. Answer: C. A power degradation such as a brownout, occurs when power companies experience an increasingly high demand for power. Spikes are associated with power excesses. Blackouts are associated with power loss, and surges are associated with excessive power spikes.

  27. Answer: B. Access control is the key to physical security, and it works best when deployed in layers. Each layer acts as a physical barrier. At a minimum, a system should have three physical barriers: entrance to the building, entrance to the computer center, and entrance to the computer room itself. These barriers can include guards, biometric access control, locked doors, CCTV, and alarm systems.

  28. Answer: B. Although CCTV (closed-circuit TV) systems are good deterrents and detection systems, they are not automatic. CCTV requires individuals to watch the captured video, detect the malicious activity, and respond accordingly.

  29. Answer: C. Piggybacking is the act of following someone through a secured door without being identified to obtain unauthorized access. The act of watching over someone's shoulder and stealing the password for later use is called shoulder surfing, and to spoof someone's identity is to pretend to be them.

  30. Answer: C. Class C fire suppression should be used against electrical fires. CO2 or Halon are recommended suppression methods. The other answers are wrong because Class A corresponds to common combustibles, Class B is for burnable fuels, and Class D is for chemical and grease fires.

  31. Answer: B. Many have heard the phrase "junk yard dog," and in that type of setting dogs are highly effective, because in that type of environment, there should be no one in the facility during off-hours. However, dogs lack the skill to differentiate between authorized and unauthorized personnel and can be a legal liability as the result of a civil lawsuit.

  32. Answer: D. In low-humidity environments, it's not impossible to create static charges in excess of 20,000 volts. It takes only about 1,500 static volts to damage a hard drive or cause destruction of data. Sensitive electronic components can be damaged by less than 100 static volts.

  33. Answer: D. Using a raised floor provides many benefits, including increased airflow, easy access to cables, prevention of flooding damage to computers, and easier reconfiguration. Vibration is not a critical concern.

  34. Answer: B. Dry pipe systems contain compressed air until fire suppression systems are triggered, and then the pipe is filled with water.

  35. Answer: B. If a door is considered fail-safe, it will remain locked during a power outage. All other answers are incorrect because they do not adequately describe the operation of fail-safe locks.

  36. Answer: C. Proximity identification can be used to activate doors or locks or to identify employees. These systems require users only to pass in proximity to the sensor or sensing system. All other answers are incorrect because they do not describe a proximity system.

  37. Answer: B. Social engineering is a type of attack in which intruders may attempt to gain physical access to your facility by exploiting the generally trusting nature of people. A social engineering attack may come from someone posing as a vendor or as someone coming to the facility to repair a problem. Regardless of how they appear, social engineering can be hard to detect. Hijacking is a computer-based attack in which someone hijacks a legitimate session. Spoofing is a computer-based attack in which someone's IP or MAC address is stolen. Deception is part of social engineering but by itself does not adequately describe the attack.

  38. Answer: C. The four primary fire suppression systems are wet pipe, dry pipe, deluge system, and preaction system.

  39. Answer: B. The recommended temperature for rooms containing computer equipment is 60–75 degrees Fahrenheit (15–23 degrees Celsius). Temperatures of 80–85 degrees Fahrenheit are not considered catastrophic; however, higher temperatures can result in lowering the life expectancy of equipment.

  40. Answer: A. Class A fire suppression should be used to fight common fires. The extinguishing method of choice is water or soda acid. The other answers are wrong because Class B is for burnable fuels, Class C is for electrical fires, and Class D is for chemical fires.

  41. Answer: C. Server rooms should be designed to have physical barriers on all six sides. Most maintenance and configuration should be performed remotely. Even if your employees are fully authorized, they should not share space within the server room where critical equipment is located. Noise and cold temperatures are not conducive to the working environment. Access should be controlled for even authorized IT workers, except when they have specific reasons to access equipment.

  42. Answer: D. A handheld CO2 fire extinguisher is considered a gas-discharge fire extinguishing system. Wet pipe systems are filled with water. Dry pipe systems contain compressed air until fire suppression systems are triggered, and then the pipe is filled with water; and flame activated sprinklers trigger when a predefined temperature is reached.

  43. Answer: C. Fences 3–4 feet high will prevent only the casual intruder, 6-foot-high fences become difficult to climb, and critical assets should be physically protected with a fence that is 8 feet high with a three-strand topping.

  44. Answer: C. Some of the technologies that can be used to detect intruders are wave pattern, which bounces various frequency waves around a room while verifying that the pattern is undisturbed; proximity detection, which works by detecting changes in the magnetic field; and acoustical systems, which are sensitive to changes in sound and vibration.

  45. Answer: A. Soda acid works by removing the fuel element of a fire. CO2 works by removing the oxygen from a fire. Water works by reducing the temperature of a fire. Oxygen would not reduce a fire, but would actually cause it to grow larger.

  46. Answer: A. Positive pressurization is an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) design in which positive pressure is maintained in the system, so as a door or window is opened to the facility, air is forced out. This protects employees in case of a fire by forcing smoke outside, away from the employees.

  47. Answer: D. Acoustical systems are sensitive to changes, sound, and vibration. Proximity detection works by detecting changes to the magnetic field. Passive infrared systems look for the rise of heat waves. Wave pattern bounces various frequency waves around a room while verifying that the pattern is undisturbed.

  48. Answer: A. If a door is considered as fail-soft, it will remain unlocked during a power outage. All other answers are incorrect because they do not adequately describe the operation of fail-soft locks.

  49. Answer: C. Passive infrared systems look for the rise of heat waves. Acoustical systems are sensitive to changes in sound and vibration. Proximity detection works by detecting changes in the magnetic field. Wave pattern bounces various frequency waves around a room while verifying that the pattern is undisturbed.

  50. Answer: B. Class B fire suppression should be used against any type of burnable fuel. The recommended suppressants include CO2, soda acid, or Halon. The other answers are incorrect because Class A corresponds to common combustibles, Class C is for electrical fires, and Class D is for chemical and grease fires.

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