It’s been another great year providing you with the quality security cameras and surveillance systems you deserve. We have had the great pleasure of serving our fine customers, both old and new, and look forward to continuing this into the New Year.
As a friendly reminder, we will be closed on Monday, January 2, 2017. We appreciate your understanding, and from everyone at SecurityCamExpert.com, we wish you a happy and prosperous 2017!
The holiday season is here and everyone at SecurityCamExpert.com is grateful for another year filled with your loyalty and support. We value each and every one of you, which is why we are always working hard to provide you with the quality products and service you deserve.
As a reminder, we will be closed on Monday, December 26, 2016, in observance of the Christmas holiday. Our normal business hours will resume on Tuesday, December 27, 2016. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
From the SecurityCamExpert.com family to yours, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!
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.
Thanksgiving is a day set aside to be grateful and humble to all that we have, and we are so blessed to have such loyal and wonderful customers like you. Without your continued support over the years, we would not be here, and for that, we sincerely thank you. From the SecurityCamExpert.com family to yours, happy Thanksgiving!
Please remember that we will be closed on Thursday, November 24, 2016, and Friday, November 25, 2016 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Our normal business hours will resume on Monday, November 28, 2016. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
We hope you enjoy a safe & happy holiday weekend filled with love, happiness, and laughter!
The use of artificial intelligence in security systems provides more flexibility, especially with new cyber threats always emerging. Namely, machine learning has garnered much attention for its involvement and improvement of security systems.
Most people use the term “artificial intelligence” loosely these days, but it traditionally refers to the theory and development of computer systems that may perform human tasks. Machine learning is a type of AI that allows a computer to learn, grow, and change when presented with new data.
The evolution of AI can be best described in three stages. First is the basic expert system. If we used this system to help distinguish between a dog and a cat, for example, it would use a single feature such as number of teeth to make the decision. Second is the probability-based system, which evaluates different factors (ex. number of teeth, weight, size) to determine the probability (expressed as a percentage) of the object being a cat or dog. Lastly is deep learning, which uses seemingly endless amounts of labeled samples to differentiate between cats and dogs.
If we applied these to antivirus systems, you could understand how a basic expert system would be weak and need constant updating for new threats. The probability-based system would be a bit stronger, however, only so many features would prove relevant resulting in disregarded data. Deep learning seems the most promising, and a startup called Deep Instinct is looking to develop this approach for cyber security.
Within the Deep Instinct laboratory, the deep learning system is trained on all the known samples of malware, which takes about a day to complete. The process requires heavy-duty graphical processing units to analyze the data, and the end result is a trained system about a gigabyte in size. It is then reduced to about 20 megabytes and can be installed on any endpoint device (including mobile). It works to analyze any incoming threats within a few milliseconds to keep your devices safe.
To keep the system up -to-date, new malware samples are added every few months, and updates are automatically sent to the end point devices. But even if the system is not updated for months, the small brains within the end point devices remain vigilant and can detect new files. The success rate is promising and deep learning systems will likely gain more popularity over time.
While deep learning systems are great for detecting threats, they are not the best for explaining how they did it. Eureqa is a proprietary AI engine from Nutonian whose main job is to find out why things happen. It has proven very valuable for researchers and journal publications, but it also plays a role in cyber security by helping to determine the anatomy of a cyber attack.
Still, cyber security can be a tricky mess. Constant updates are necessary thanks to appearance of new threats and attacks daily. Even though you are employing security systems to protect your data, there are still vulnerabilities between updates. And during that time, hackers can use the security software to test their attacks until something breaks through, leaving numerous customers at risk.
Tailoring your cyber security approaches can help to combat this. For example, Masergy Communications is a managed networking company which uses a combination of both local and global factors to predict and prevent cyber security issues or attacks. The unique local indicators help to improve accuracy.
Acuity Solutions offers the BluVector appliance which uses machine learning for cyber threats, and also uses a local and global approach. The pre-trained engine learns what a benign code looks like, receives updates based on global data, but also engages in new learning based on the individual customer. While the global data is shared, the customer-specific data is not, creating a more unique and secure experience.
As discussed, artificial intelligence and machine learning can greatly benefit different aspects of cyber security. What are your predictions on the future of AI in security solutions? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!
For a wide range of security cameras and surveillance equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. To speak with a representative or request a site survey, please call 1-888-203-6294.
From law enforcement surveillance to recreational use by consumers, drones have grown in popularity over the years. Because of their advanced capabilities, a company has even created a drone home security system.
Proposed by Sunflower Labs, the system is designed to complement an existing alarm or security system. The drone streams video to your smartphone when a potential danger is detected, allowing you to determine whether you need to take further action or not.
The system is comprised of a drone plus in-ground smart lights used to detect motion, vibration, and sound. Using advanced data analytics, the system can differentiate humans from cars and animals. When there is a disturbance, artificial intelligence determines whether it is dangerous or not. For example, mail delivery persons will be recognized by their behavior (typically a quick stop by the front door or mailbox).
On the other hand, suppose a person approaches the back door and lingers. A push notification will be sent and you will be asked if you would like to look into the situation. Assuming you say yes, the drone will lift from its perch and autonomously fly to where the suspicious person is located. The drone will hover (30ft) until it is told to return to its nest. There is also an option within the app to alert local police.
By sending the drone to investigate first, Sunflower Labs CEO Alex Pachikov believes that this will decrease the number of false alarms. The drone also allows you to monitor your entire property instead of just entrances and exits, like most other security systems.
The drone is designed to be a minimal nuisance. Currently, the propellers automatically shut off if they hit anything, and considering its size, it is relatively quiet. The ultimate goal is decrease noises to a quiet hum and to get its weight down to half a pound (its current weight is two pounds) before it ships. In addition, it features two cameras which only capture footage of the home owner’s property in order to protect neighbors’ privacy.
Still, there are safety, privacy, and nuisance concerns about the drone. Since August, new rules allow operators who have passed an aeronautical exam to fly commercial drones under 55 pounds no higher than 400ft. And autonomous flying is not allowed for commercial drones.
Despite this, Sunflower Labs has no worries. They believe the policies will not apply as the homeowner will use the drone for non-business purposes. Since recreational users face fewer restrictions, homeowners will likely be held in the same regard.
As this system continues to develop, more details will emerge. As for now, the lights are expected to cost $159 each, and the drone may be rented for a fee (comparable to the cost of traditional alarm systems).
For traditional security cameras and equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call us at 1-888-203-6294.
When it comes to security, you want to deter intruders from targeting your property. Investing in advanced security and surveillance cameras with the latest technologies can be a smart approach, however, in order to be effective, they must be installed properly. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when installing a security camera system on your property.
Mistake #1 – Hiding Your Cameras
The presence of security cameras can deter bad behavior, so why would you hide them? Making them visible from the street, yet out of reach, is a good idea. Keeping the cameras out of reach is important to prevent any tampering or vandalism that could compromise their performance. Burglars are always on the hunt for an easy target, and homes or businesses with security cameras create an extra obstacle.
Mistake #2 – Camera Positioning
The important places to monitor are rather obvious, but you must also take intermittent lighting and weather conditions into consideration. Things like direct sunlight can wash out your recordings, while rain or snow can build up on the lens, and windy days can make branches and leaves a problem. All of these can interfere with your recordings and possibly make your footage useless.
The best way to avoid these issues is to employ proper housing to protect and shade your cameras. Keep an eye on your feed to ensure that various weather conditions are not interrupting your surveillance.
Furthermore, if you’re using IP cameras, it is crucial that each camera location has strong and consistent Wi-Fi signal. Weak or spotty connection will impede your camera system’s performance.
Mistake #3 – Cheap Systems
Unfortunately, not all security cameras are equal. While there are many inexpensive cameras and systems that may seem appealing (especially to your wallet), you will likely run into performance issues. When shopping for security cameras, be sure to pay attention to features and specifications. Look into user feedback and reviews to ensure you are making a sound investment.
Mistake #4 – Passwords
With anything security related, we can’t stress enough how important strong passwords are. And always, always, ALWAYS change the default password. If someone gains unauthorized access to your surveillance feed, they can study the layout of your system and your daily routines, mapping out the best time to attack.
If you have an internet-connected system, it likely offers remote monitoring, thus you need a password to access it. Again, change your default password as soon as possible, and choose a strong, complex, and long password that you can remember.
Mistake #5 – DIY Installation
While it may seem more practical to set things up on your own, it might be better to leave it to the professionals. You don’t want to risk ruining your equipment because you installed it improperly. Trustworthy companies usually offer warranties, and will come back to fix any issues should they arise.
For a great selection of quality security cameras & CCTV surveillance packages, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For more information about our products and installation services, please call 1-888-203-6294.
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!