Tamper Evident VS Tamper Proof - Which is correct?



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I have often heard customers referring to Security Seals as ‘Tamper-Proof’ Seals. When someone uses the word ‘proof’, it gives the assumption that it is impermeable to something. Some examples include: 

  • A safe advertised as fire-proof guarantees that the safe will not fail when on fire.
  • A petrol car with a fuel tank inlet that is designed smaller than a diesel nozzle is considered as fool-proof.
  • A rain jacket is made to be water-proof to ensure that the wearer does not get wet 

However, to term Security Seals as tamper-proof seals gives the false illusion that the security seal is not susceptible to tampering and will provide adequate security to prevent tampering. Instead, the accurate term for Security Seals will be Tamper Evident Seals.

TAMPER EVIDENT SEAL

Well designed Tamper Evident security seals are designed to show clear evidence in case of tampering. It is not completely wrong that security seals are used to physically prevent tampering as well. Firstly, using a security seal is the first deterrent to tampering. Depending on which security seal you are using, the security seal also offers different levels of barrier resistance.

However, the main purpose of a security seal is to show evidence when a seal has been used or tampered. For example, let’s have a look at Seals HQ’s Cable Seal 2.5:

Seals HQ Cable Seals

The Cable Seal 2.5 (and all of our other Cable Seals, by the way) is made from non-preformed galvanised wire. The wire frays at the point of cutting which renders the seal useless when it is cut. There is no way for the seal to be reused after the cable is cut. Here is a video of how the wire frays:

Seals HQ Cable Seals

Hence, the Cable Seal 2.5 presents evidence that the seal has been tampered when the wire is frayed.

To combat pre-tampering, our new Fixed Length Barcode plastic seal has security ribs at the entry to the locking chamber to prevent any attempts to pre-tamper the seal. The security ribs serve as a visual evidence to indicate whether an attempt was made to compromise the locking chamber.

Seals HQ Pre-tampering Rib

As illustrated in the 2 examples above, security seals can be designed using a wide variety of methods to increase tamper evidence. Gone are the days of a single piece moulded plastic seal which its only tamper evidence is that the seal is broken. As criminals devise more and more methods to defeat a security seal, the design of security seals is also constantly evolving to stay one step ahead.

In conclusion, Seals HQ decided to use the term Tamper Evident Security Seal across our platforms to avoid confusing customers and to standardise our content that we supply our customers. However, if we hear a customer asking for a tamper proof seal, rest assured that we won’t turn you away but will still gladly assist you… That is our Seals HQ guarantee.