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.
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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.
Unfortunately, burglaries happen more often than we would like to think. You may think your home is safe and well protected, but when there’s a will, there’s a way. With the proper deterrents, you could keep your home and your loved ones safe. Review your home security and take heed of these security tips.
You’ve seen it in the movies and on television many times – a swift kick to the door and it swings right open. The weakest point of your door is where the deadbolt lock inserts into the doorjamb. If your locks are poorly reinforced, a forceful kick is all it takes to get into your home.
To properly reinforce your door, be sure that the screws holding the strike plate in place are at least 3 inches long. The longer the screws are, the better resistance from blunt forces.
Another way to protect your door is to invest in a doorjamb and strike plate reinforcement kits. These affordable kits provide steel guards and steel strike plates for more protection.
Are you prone to losing, misplacing, or forgetting your keys? Smart locks might be the answer for you. Smart locks allow you to lock and unlock your doors with either a keypad, finger scan, or your mobile device rather than with physical keys. These smart locks can be costly, but they offer convenience and can replace your current locks with minimal effort.
Loud Peel-And-Stick Alarms
If you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative to a complete alarm system, you might want to consider loud door and window alarms. While they do not automatically alert authorities, they will produce a deafening sound to alert you or anyone nearby and scare intruders away.
Did you ever add extra protection to your patio door by using a bat or a piece of wood to block the sliding track? Well, there’s an easier way to do that now. Patio door locks act like vertical deadbolts for your sliding doors. Some can even be activated by foot so you don’t have to reach down to manually lock and unlock your door.
Secure Your Perimeter
Keep the perimeter of your property neat and trimmed so that burglars can’t hideout behind trees or bushes. Bright lights can also help to prevent burglars from sneaking around. Place motion sensor lights around your property, focusing on poorly lit areas and points of entry. They will turn on when motion is detected, informing you that there is someone outside and will likely startle any potential intruders.
Mail theft may be the furthest thing from your mind, but the consequences can be quite severe. Because mailboxes are usually easily accessible, thieves can get a hold of your personal information and possibly steal your identity. Security mailboxes are much like traditional mailboxes, but they are usually made of heavy duty steel and require a key to open and access its contents.
Hide Your Safe
Storing valuables in a safe is smart, but it is also what burglars will look for. Be sure that your safe is always locked and not easily visible. It is also wise to bolt it to the floor in an inconspicuous area. You may even want to cover it with furniture to make it even harder to find.
Keep an eye on the inside of your home with indoor security cameras. You can go for a simple and inexpensive webcam, or opt for a more advanced security camera with features like night vision or high resolution.
For a great selection of security cameras and surveillance equipment, visit us online or give us a call at 1-888-203-6294.