These days, most of our devices are connected thanks to the Internet of Things. While this can make things more convenient for us, it can also leave us vulnerable to hackers.
There have been many public stories about cyber attacks and spying, from hacked baby monitors to internet outages. And while we may never see an end to cyber criminals, this proves that we can never be too cautious.
These unfortunate hacks can occur from unsecure Wi-Fi connections, open devices (no passwords), or malware attacks. Luckily, there are ways to combat attacks and minimize our risks.
Employ a full-service security suite for your internet and keep it up to date. Use a strong, unique password and encryption to protect your network.
Always change the default password that comes with your wireless networks and any of your devices. When choosing a password, remember to incorporate numbers, capital letters, and, when allowed, multiple punctuation marks. You should also try to use 12 digits, and avoid names, places, or anything that can easily be guessed. To ensure you’ve created strong and secure passwords, use a password checker.
As stated previously, keep all your devices and software updated as these help to patch any known or found vulnerabilities that allow hackers to gain access. Although this simple step can easily be overlooked, it is important to stay on top of these updates.
If your camera indicator light goes on without your permission, you can assume that your computer has been compromised. However, just because the light is off, you cannot assume that your camera is safe. Researchers have found that hackers can infiltrate and turn on webcams without activating the indicator light.
To err on the side of caution, keep your cameras covered. There are different types of patches, stickers, devices, and other products on the market that you can use. However, for an immediate fix, masking tape will suffice.
If there is any uncertainty, do not click the link. Only download attachments or click on links from people you know and trust. If you were not expecting a message or attachment from a trusted person, be sure to check with them before opening or downloading anything.
Public Wi-Fi networks are prone to hackers so avoid them when you can.
If your security system permits (most do), check the IP addresses that have accessed your cameras. If you find any suspicious IP addresses on your log, be sure to change your access codes right away and notify your security company.
Network connected security cameras allow you to remotely monitor your cameras via an app or a website. If you do not need this feature, turn it off.
It may be beneficial to have one network for your phone and computers and another network solely dedicated to your security systems and other monitors.
Being an educated consumer will minimize your risk of becoming a victim. These security precautions promote safe use of personal technology and can go a long way for your cyber security. Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to share your own cyber security tips.
Need quality security cameras and CCTV surveillance equipment? Look no further than SecurityCamExpert.com! Call 888-203-6294 to schedule a free* site survey, request a quote, or inquire about our installation services.
When it comes to security, we often think of things we can add to our homes to protect ourselves. Things like security cameras and alarm systems can help bring peace of mind, but first and foremost, your home should be structurally sound and durable. Namely, as a main point of entry, our front doors should possess the ability to withstand various weather conditions and considerable force. Learn more about the different types of doors and which type best suits your needs.
Wood doors are often made of cherry, pine, maple, or fir and are known for their ability to endure different environmental elements. Their visual appeal can be tailored to your liking thanks to specialized craftsmanship and an assortment of wood stains. And depending on how they are made, these doors can provide varying levels of protection. Solid wood doors are made up of several different pieces of wood while solid core doors are made of one solid slab of wood. While solid wood doors are affordable, they lack the strength and heft of solid core doors. Solid core doors are dense and heavy and can provide a superior degree of defense against forced entry. The downside for wooden doors is that they will start to warp over time.
Steel doors are arguably the most secure type of doors as they offer the greatest protection against intruders. However, dents, scratches, and chipping paint is quite common, and if these issues are not dealt with in a timely fashion, the structural integrity of the door may be compromised. When it comes to costs, they can be less expensive than fiberglass and solid core doors.
Fiberglass doors are growing increasingly popular with homeowners thanks to their affordable cost, low maintenance, and benefits. Of the others, fiberglass doors are the most durable, energy efficient, and weather resistant. Since they do not warp, dent, or rust, they offer the best benefits of wood and steel doors without the major drawbacks.
Additional security measures for your front door include high-quality, high-grade, deadbolt locks along with door jamb reinforcement. Door sensors are a smart investment as well. They can alert you when a door opens when you’re home, or trigger an alarm while you’re away.
Find the best prices on quality security cameras and CCTV surveillance systems at SecurityCamExpert.com. To learn more about our products and installation services, please call 888-203-6294.
Smart homes are meant to simplify your life and increase your home security. Unfortunately, if not implemented properly, smart home devices can end up sharing too much of your information. Keep your home safe from hackers with these smart strategies.
Keep It Simple
Investing in all the newest smart devices is enticing, but when it comes down to it, less is more. Think about it – the more devices you install, the more chances hackers have to target your home.
Carefully consider what you really need. Choose the devices that will have the most meaningful impact on your daily life in a positive way. That way you get the most value for your investment while limiting your digital entry points.
Know Your Weak Points
Although hackers can be a nuisance, they also help to make smart homes safer. They allow manufacturers to address weaknesses and vulnerabilities, thus enhancing smart home devices. In addition, there is security software that you can purchase and install to add an extra layer of protection to your system and devices.
Think Analog, But Better
As research suggests, a home that appears occupied is less of an easy target than one that appears empty. When you leave for vacation, you may leave a light on or enlist timers to make it appear as if someone is home, but smart light bulbs can handle the work for you.
Smart light bulbs are easier to use than traditional timers, allowing you to control them remotely and offering other useful features. Depending on the one you choose, features can include smart sensors which will activate in response to open doors or doorbells. This can act as an effective deterrent to burglars.
Don’t Forget The Basics
Despite employing smart home devices, basic security measures should not be ignored. Remember to lock your doors and windows, refrain from announcing vacations or getaways on social media, and be sure your internet connection is encrypted and secure. Forgetting these things can leave your home and belongings susceptible to intruders.
In terms of internet connections, without encryption, your smartphone and smart devices are useless. Because these devices require internet connection, without encryption, you are leaving your home open to hackers who may access your system, change your settings and physically and digitally access your home.
As smart homes continue to improve, they will be able to offer more advanced features along with possible machine learning, providing a more personalized smart home experience. And although the future of this technology is promising, it also brings forth more risks. Combing the use of this advanced tech, as well as basic security tools can provide the optimal security solution.
In addition, the need to educate the consumer is crucial. Before investing in these technologies, be sure that you know what potential threats and risks exist and how to combat them.
For traditional security cameras and CCTV surveillance systems, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Please call 888-203-6294 for more information on our site surveys and security camera installation services.
Protecting our families, homes, and valuables is a top priority. Home and business security systems aim to give you peace of mind when it comes to intruders, however, not all properties are created equal. A security system tailored to your specific needs is a smarter option. Aside from consulting with Security Cam Experts, you should also take note of these statistics and security tips.
Having something to protect you is better than nothing, which is why even a simple dummy camera can make a difference. But if you can afford it, investing in surveillance systems and home alarm systems can be a great benefit and put some of your worries at ease. If you have any questions or want to shop a wide variety of affordable security cameras and equipment, please call 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com today!
When it comes to home safety, it is easy to overlook some potential hazards which can cause serious and sometimes fatal accidents. Luckily, some of these can be prevented with simple and relatively cost-effective measures. Take action and prevent these mishaps with these tips.
With the surprising number of deaths resulting from fires in homes/buildings with absent or non-functioning smoke alarms (an average of 1450 deaths from 2009-2013), please make sure that you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home (including the attic and the basement).
To ensure that all fires are detected, invest in one which utilizes both a photoelectric sensor for smoldering fires, and an ionization sensor for fast-flaming fires. Those alarms with an ionization sensor should be kept away from the kitchen and baths. Also, invest in interconnected alarms so that if a fire starts in one area of your home, the entire home is alerted.
If your house has a gas dryer, range, other fuel burning equipment, or an attached garage, it is advised to install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. These should be present on each living level, as well as in the basement and near the garage (follow manufacturer’s instructions on placement).
Test your alarms at least monthly, and vacuum them to prevent dust from interfering with their sensors every so often. Follow the guidelines on when to replace batteries and the devices themselves based on life expectancy of sensors.
Trips & Falls
Did you know that every year, more than 10,000 people die after falling at home? Even more sustain injuries. We all can be a little clumsy sometimes, but there are ways to prevent these types of accidents in your home.
Make sure that your furniture is arranged in a way that does not disrupt your typical routine (ex. a clear path between your bed and your bedroom door). Keep any pet bowls and electrical cords along the walls rather than across any pathways. Avoid storing piles of paper on the ground, and eliminate any throw rugs as they may skid. If you decide to keep the throw rug, use carpet tacks or double-sided carpet tape to keep it in place. In the bath tub, consider installing a rubber mat or non slip strips and grab bars. Lastly, if you’re remodeling, you may want to choose anti-slip flooring material whenever possible.
According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 486,000 people were treated for burn injuries (many were children) in the United States in 2011. While lowering the maximum temperature on your water heater to 120°F can help prevent scalds, it also provides an ideal environment for opportunistic bacteria to breed.
Instead, set domestic water heaters to 140°F and employ anti-scald devices at each faucet. For example, thermostatic mixing valves mix hot and cold water to a safe temperature before sending through the faucet. These have become increasingly common in new homes and are often built in to newer fixtures. A licensed plumber can examine your system and install them as needed, or you can save money by installing a single anti-scald valve for your entire house.
Secure your home with our quality security camera systems today! Browse online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to schedule a site survey or learn more about our products and installation services.
Concerns about the security of your home and loved ones can be especially high during the holidays. With increased risk of thefts and burglaries, it is important to employ the proper security methods to put your mind at ease. Here are a few ways you can secure your home and protect your assets.
By completing this assessment, you can recognize any threats that may not be detected by even the best alarm system. Some things to consider include who may have access to your home, how prepared you are for a natural disaster or civil emergency, and whether there is any online or public record information that could possibly compromise your security.
A home security system, complete with a backup power source, is a crucial component to protect your property. If you own any vacation homes, be sure to secure and monitor those as well.
If a security system came with your home, you may need to reevaluate how it suits your needs. If needed, invest in upgrades or a whole new system. Assess your risk points and go from there, but be sure that it is user-friendly as well, so that your family members can access and easily operate it.
Annual follow-ups with your security provider are recommended. Update contacts, information and make any adjustments as necessary.
You should be prepared for a variety of emergency situations. While most commonly associated with natural disasters, emergency plans can also be implemented for other situations, such as home invasion, storm evacuations, and other crises.
In case of emergency, be sure to have secure locks and the proper emergency supplies. In the event of your home security being compromised, you should have a rapid response plan. Prepare a “grab-and-go” packed with essentials, including communication tools and meeting information.
Aside from having these plans in place, you will want to rehearse with all family members so that they know and understand their role in keeping everyone safe. Try to practice these at least once a year so that the appropriate steps stay fresh in their minds.
Your biggest threat could be someone you know, who knows your residence and schedule. These people can include domestic staff such as housekeepers or child care providers. Be sure to follow best practices before hiring home employees.
For prospective domestic employees, be sure to do a professional background check – do not rely on a simple Google search. Ask trusted friends or an attorney to recommend a private investigator or third-party service that can pull up critical information using the candidate’s name and date of birth. If you are using a placement agency, be sure their background checks are comprehensive and legitimate.
When hiring, include a pre-employment application which authorizes criminal and credit checks, and always check references and conduct in-person interviews with potential candidates.
Firm employment agreements are important and can protect your security during (and after) a domestic employee’s service. Work with an attorney to draft a secure contract that encompasses, and include the following:
While there’s no obligation, be prepared to provide severance pay upon departure of a terminated employee. Thoughtful treatment at termination can go a long way toward preventing a disgruntled former employee from retribution.
Restrict Access To Bank Accounts
Despite the fact that most domestic employees often need money for home-related expenses, you should never give an employee your personal ATM car or password. Use a separate account for household expenses and designate the employee as an authorized cardholder, or consider using prepaid debit cards, which can put a limit to the amount spent. Both options allow limited access to your personal accounts while allowing you to track spending.
Remember that anyone who has access to your property can present a security risk. This includes any building contractors, landscapers, electricians, and the like. Before proceeding with any services, speak with the principal of the company and find out if they are licensed and insured, whether they do background credit and criminal checks and periodic drug testing on employees, and ask for a roster of people who will be at the property on a regular basis. If any information seems questionable to you, look for services elsewhere.
Despite your efforts to keep your personal information private, there is information about you that is publicly available. One piece of information about you may seem harmless, but when it is combined with other public information, it can be used to gain insight about you (ex. income, properties) which may attract criminals. Luckily, there are ways you can control your public presence.
Responsible Online Behavior
Enlisting an online security consultant should be the first step. They will evaluate your public “footprint” by doing a thorough search of the Internet and present you with the results. From there, you can work together to assess and manage any and all threats. Ensure that the whole family is on board, especially children who are active on social media. Everyone should understand how to engage in responsible online behavior.
Public Institutions, Private Information
Beware of whom you share your information. Your information can still end up online through reputable third parties (ex. charities, schools, civic groups). These public entities often mean well, but most lack strict cyber security systems and protocols to keep your information secure.
If you are going to make a major donation or real estate purchase, use a trust account to protect your identity and any other sensitive information associated with it. Choose a trust name that is different from the family name and associate it with a nonresidential address such as a P.O. Box.
Commercial and public sites can reveal details about your home you would rather keep private. For example, your realtor’s website may still contain photos of your home long after the close of the sale, while other sites may list pricing history of your property. Most of these sites will remove your information per request. You may want to discuss these issues with your real estate agent as they may have more insight on how to keep your information private.
While it is not ideal to think about the possibilities of something going wrong, it is beneficial to be prepared. Aside for the aforementioned measures, what else do you do to ensure your security? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
To invest in quality CCTV surveillance cameras and security systems for your home, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 1-888-203-6294. Inquire about a free quote, site survey or our installation services.
While the holidays are a great time for deals, it is also a prime time for scams and fraud. To avoid falling victim to these deceptive offers, watch out for these common tricks.
Unfamiliar Sites Offering Steep Discounts
If you come across any of these, proceed with caution. Often times, these websites promise incredible deals on brand names or gift cards as a bonus for purchasing a product, but they don’t deliver. You submit your payment, but never receive your order, and there’s no way to contact the business. You are left giving away money, personal information, and potentially compromising your identity. In addition, you should always be careful with unsolicited emails promoting these too-good-to-be-true deals, which usually contain phishing links that put your information at risk.
And if you’re shopping online, never wire money for a purchase. Once a money transfer is received, it cannot be recovered. Also, be sure you are shopping on secure sites and use two-factor authentication and complex passwords for customer accounts. While online shopping and checking out, make sure that the URL remains at the same domain. If it changes, this may be a sign that you are being redirected to a fraudulent site. Bottom line: Err on the side of caution and stick with known retailers and manufacturers.
During the holiday season, generosity is usually high and charities often reap these benefits. Scammers tend to prey on the kindness of others by creating fake charities or misusing the names of well-known charities.
Before you donate, do some research and verify that the charity and web address are valid. Also, use a check or credit card, rather than a wire transfer or cash, when you donate. In case the charity is fraudulent, it would be easier to recover your donation if a check or credit card was used.
Seasonal Employment Scams
Seasonal employment allows for workers to make some extra cash during the holidays. Scammers see this as an opportunity to offer fake jobs that require prospective employees to pay for “training” or a “start-up kit.” Consider these red flags, as well as job listings that state “no experience necessary” and “work from home” (especially if they are used in the same post).
Social Media Mishaps
Social media can be risky in many ways. Scammers may use social media to post deceptive links to install malware or viruses on computers. To cut down on your susceptibility to this, avoid accepting friend requests from people you don’t know well and refrain from clicking on suspicious posts.
You can also make yourself an easy target by sharing too much information on social media. You may enjoy checking in and posting your location on your profile, however, this can give thieves an upper hand by inadvertently promoting the fact that your home is vacant. Avoid posting concert tickets and trip accommodations as well, since they can be printed and sold to someone else. Tip: If you must share your tickets on social media, refrain from sharing the barcode and event date.
Smartphone App Scams
Be careful when downloading apps. Apps disguised as games and offered for free can be used to steal personal information from your device. Look for third-party reviews before downloading from an unknown source, and if anything seems suspicious, skip it.
To protect your home with quality CCTV security cameras and surveillance equipment, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. We also offer site surveys and installation services – call 1-888-203-6294 to learn more.
Both convenient and easily accessible, online shopping has become a preferred method of shopping for most. The number of consumers who shop online only grows during the holiday season. The downside is that package thefts also tend to increase during the holidays. Protect your possessions with these smart delivery tips.
Require A Signature
Choose this option whenever it is available. If your package requires a signature and no one is home, the package cannot be left at your doorstep, thus, eliminating the risk of someone snatching your package.
Use Shipping Locations For Delivery
If you have a secondary mailbox at a shipping location, you can usually have your packages dropped off here for free. That way, your package will be waiting for you at a secure location.
Flaunt Your Home Security System
Install signs to make others aware that you have a security system. This poses an added challenge and will likely deter most thieves from targeting you. If someone does approach, you can enable push notifications and will have pertinent footage to capture the suspect.
Sign Up For Email Notifications
FedEx and UPS, along with other businesses including Amazon, send email notifications for tracking. This allows you to virtually monitor your package from shipment to delivery.
Deliver To Your Place Of Business
Before doing this, make sure that management approves. If they do, this will ensure that you are able to receive your package rather than leaving it at your front door all day.
Lastly, if you are shipping a package to a friend or relative, include a piece of paper with your address and the destination address inside the box. In case the shipping label is damaged or missing on the package, FedEx or UPS can open the package, find the address, and ship it.
This year, Halloween falls on a Monday night. Whether you’re trick-or-treating with the kids, enjoying a night on the town, or simply commuting home, be sure to be vigilant and heed these safety tips.
Adjust To Your Surroundings
Drivers should turn headlights on by dusk, and watch for pedestrians and cyclists. Remember, there is more foot traffic on Halloween.
If you are the pedestrian or cyclist, do your best to make sure drivers can see you. For dark costumes, try adding something bright or reflective so that they are easier to spot. Cyclists should wear bright, reflective clothing and utilize flashing bike lights if possible.
Children age 12 and under should travel with adult supervision. Those going door-to-door should remember to cross the street at corners, using the designated crosswalks and obeying traffic signals.
Strength In Numbers
Those mature enough to celebrate without a chaperone should stick to familiar and well-lit areas. If you will be celebrating outdoors, it is better to travel in groups.
Popular times for trick-or-treating span from 5:30pm until 9:30pm. You should always be alert for pedestrians, but especially during this time, practice extra caution.
Everyone from SecurityCamExpert.com wishes you a happy and safe Halloween!
Staying connected to your home is a convenience in itself, but in the case of natural disasters and emergencies, it can be an invaluable tool. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather, you likely have an emergency plan in place. However, a connected home can provide new and safer options to manage the situation.
Regardless of whether it is your home, vacation property, or even the home of a loved one, here are some ways connected technology can benefit you in the face of an emergency and beyond.
Unfortunately, emergency evacuations mean abandoned homes and properties, which is ideal for looters. With connected security cameras, you can keep an eye on who might be entering your home, as well as monitor the possible damage occurring as a result of the natural disaster.
Installing water sensors can alert you of flood conditions and even slow leaks, which can cause significant damage over time if not detected early.
Aside from water sensors, carbon monoxide and gas detectors can save lives by alerting you when levels become dangerous.
Connected devices such as smart locks and garage doors often have motion detection sensors which notify you when someone enters or exits your home.
Remote Monitoring & Push Notifications
Because you can monitor from a safe distance, these are ideal in emergency situations. Push notifications provide up-to-date alerts which allow you to deal with situations in a timely fashion. Both enable you to monitor and understand what is going on without putting yourself in danger.
Affordable & Reliable Communication
Because these technologies seem so advanced, people often interpret this as complicated and expensive. However, this is not the case. There are various solutions on the market that offer relatively simple installation for cost-effective prices. Because the accessories and transmission processes have become more affordable over the years, connected technology is more accessible and easier to manage and maintain.
You can possibly get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance if you install smart, connected devices. Many insurance providers are now offering discounts for those with smart homes. Some providers even partner with connected technology manufacturers to offer more incentives for customers.
Furthermore, choosing smart devices for your home helps to relieve emergency personnel and law enforcement agencies. Instead of entering an area affected by a natural disaster, you can check in on your property remotely to stay out of harm’s way and avoid interrupting the ongoing work of emergency personnel.
Peace Of Mind
As a whole, connected devices can offer some peace of mind in stressful, dire times. While these devices can be extremely helpful in disaster areas, all homeowners can benefit from a connected home.