It has become increasingly easy for criminals to access the knowledge they need to become effective hackers. At the same time, wireless communications and remotely controlled electronics have created new opportunities for hacking. Such crimes don’t only affect computers and websites. They can enable criminals to gain control of your home security devices and automated household equipment. This may allow them to trigger false alarms, unlock doors, spy on residents with their own surveillance cameras or simply disable the system before a burglary. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize these risks.
1. Purchase Security Devices With Care
Only buy alarms and cameras from established, high-quality brands that strive to prevent hacking. Hire a reputable home security installer as well. Criminals can modify used surveillance cameras to make it easier for them to spy on people. If possible, choose an alarm that encrypts wireless communications and automatically detects nearby thieves who possess jamming devices. An alternative is to reduce the risk of hacking or jamming by using a fully wired security system. Try to protect and monitor any external wires to prevent thieves from cutting them.
2. Configure Surveillance Cameras Properly
Many home security camera models have a feature that lets you view the video feed by logging into a website with any computer or smartphone. It is usually activated by default. Remember to replace the default password with a hard-to-guess combination of letters and numbers. Try to change it about six times per year. If you don’t plan on using this function for a long period of time, be sure to disable it.
3. Setting Up Home Automation Properly
Exercise caution when purchasing and setting up home automation equipment or routers. While it’s true that homeowners can enhance security and convenience with these devices, they sometimes introduce additional hacking opportunities. It’s best to purchase a high-quality router with top-notch security features. Remember to use hard-to-guess passwords on routers and any mobile devices that remotely control your appliances or household systems. When you lose a smartphone or someone steals it, immediately contact the cellular provider to disable the service and lock the phone if possible.
4. Beware of Unfamiliar Visitors
Keep in mind that new visitors who come to your residence for, let’s say a dinner party, could quickly make changes to your security or home automation equipment when you aren’t looking. They might disable security features to make physical or electronic intrusion less difficult. Always carefully watch unfamiliar visitors, and try not to place routers or any automated devices with USB ports near your home’s entrances. Don’t write passwords on notes that people can easily see either. If a break-in occurs, remember to thoroughly check your electronic devices for tampering or new settings.
5. Recalls and Updates
Be aware of any recalls or critical updates for devices in your home. An alarm or camera might be recalled if especially serious vulnerabilities are discovered by the manufacturer. Similar problems with home automation systems and routers should also be taken seriously. It’s not uncommon for routers to need updates. Security flaws are more likely to be revealed after new models go on the market and millions of people use them for a few months. An important update could prevent criminals from disabling or misusing network-connected alarms and cameras.
To sum it up, you can protect yourself from most home security hackers by using well-constructed passwords, appropriate settings, and quality equipment. Although this problem poses a serious risk, it’s important to remember that most thieves aren’t hackers. Crime statistics show that home security systems remain highly effective. Most skilled hackers would rather gain revenue from less-risky crimes like corporate espionage or virus distribution. Nonetheless, it’s wise to make an effort to thoroughly secure your equipment. At the same time, don’t forget basic security measures like locking all of your windows and not allowing easy access to your routers and other automated devices which could easily be tampered with.