First off, it is important to be clear on what a seal is and what it is not. Unlike a lock, a seal is not intended to delay or discourage unauthorized entry. Instead, a seal is meant to leave behind unambiguous, nonerasable evidence of unauthorized access.
Tamper indicating seals / Container seals can have an important role to play in customs, non-proliferation, law enforcement, and counter-terrorism. Unfortunately, the tamper-indicating seals currently available, given how they are typically used, can be quickly and easily spoofed by almost anyone. High-tech electronic seals are not automatically better than simple mechanical seals, and are often worse.
Tamper indicating seals have been used by customs officials for over 7,000 years. Despite their antiquity and modern widespread use, however, there remains considerable confusion about seals, as well as a lot of misconceptions, wishful thinking, and poor practice. According to an extensive study done by the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory :
of the 244 seals they studied could be defeated using low tech methods in less than 3 minutes.
Seals could be defeated by an amateur in less than 44 minutes.
There are different kinds of seals broadly divided into two categories : Passive seals and Active seals
Passive seals require a great deal of manual labor to inspect. Many seal users hope that by replacing passive seals with active (electronic or electrooptic) seals, or using high-tech seal readers, they can reduce the time and labor needed for inspection. However, the active seals and seal readers currently available tend to require more effort from seal installers and inspectors for a given level of security than simple mechanical seals. Some other crucial challenges faced in using Tamper indicating seals are as below :
"The effectiveness of seals is strongly dependent on the proper protocols for using them. A sophisticated seal used poorly may be worse than useless if naively trusted. "
Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory
Cargo and Asset theft are a huge problem especially when container seals are depended upon and misunderstood to be a credible means of securing assets. The situation becomes especially dire when the said seals are used in industries where these assets may be nuclear weapons, fuel, oil or other expensive and dangerous resources. With OpenApp’s Automation system :