TIP OF THE MONTH!!! - How Secure is You Home Automation?
With everything connected these days, it seems that, more and more people are concerned about the threats of hackers getting their information. How vulnerable are my pages? What of my information is out there. Many things get listed when thinking of a hacker or your information but...have you ever taken your security system into mind on that list?
Back in the day, Home automation and remote access security systems were, either, for the rich or...the government. The price of this fancy luxury was insanely expensive for the average Joe Somebody. Over the last few years though....that has changed. Devices, systems, apps and networks have become so integrated that, through your wifi, almost any type of automation can be added to your alarm system. Alarm systems have become integrated and, more commonly, wireless in installation; at least for home security. The connection of the devices doesn't raise the concern. It's the connection to all of these devices, systems and informations through your wifi.
So what can you do to make sure that your alarm system can't be hacked OR, more importantly, your personal information be hacked through your alarm? Theres some easy steps.
1.) Passwords: Passwords should never be given out for home networks. Always make sure that your passwords are secure and change them regularly. To get around some of the issues of people in your home using your wifi, create a "guest" wifi access. This allows people access to data services WITHOUT being able to access YOUR data.
2.) Home network: Another solution is to have a slightly more complex and dedicated network for ONLY your alarm system and its attached network devices. This also ensures the integrity of your network for your security and automation system that is not tied to anything but that system.
3.) Approved Devices: If an alarm company wouldn't just grab it off the shelf and put it in your home, chances are...you shouldn't either. HOWEVER! Great brands like Z-Wave, Nest, Amazon Alexa, AT&T HomeKit and others are all ready available on the consumer market and are trusted by the companies, consumers and alarm companies alike. Make sure that your devices are truly of that brand and know what you have or are getting installed.
4.) Never leave device factory settings and passwords: This should be a given but, many people don't think to go one step further than reading the instructions for their devices. Problem is, those instructions are generally readily available or accessible to ANYONE on the internet. Make sure you make the device YOURS!
5.) APP Access: Make sure you restrict the access to make changes to your automation and security apps on your phone. Getting into your settings and making sure that these cannot be changed ensures that, the information that you put in is the information that stays; even if someone were to use your phone or hack it.
6.) TRUSTED Company: Only get your alarm system or automation installed by a trusted and licensed rep or company. In some states, they don't require a license to sell alarm systems. What happens is, any "trunk slammer" with some free time can grab equipment off a shelf, mark it up and come offer it to you at your door. You think you're getting a great deal, right? WRONG! Who is this guy? Where does he come from? What are his credentials? Why is this system "free"? Probably because he's about to make back his money by robbing you blind. Research who's doing your install. Research the equipment. Ask to see their license - you have the right. bottom line...experienced companies have the experience because they have been in business a long time. That shows trust. That's a good sign for you.
Assess your security by going through these steps. By the end, you'll feel more confident about your security and automation and understand a bit more about how the whole web of things works; which is also, just as, important.
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