Tips to Keep Hackers Out of Your Home Security System (part 1)

One of the greatest ironies of life may be that the devices we create to protect ourselves can sometimes be used against us. By 2020, it is estimated that there are 44.7 million smart households in the U.S. alone. With the growth of the smart home industry comes horror stories about hacked monitors and ever-increasing concerns about digital privacy, data breaches, and identity theft.

Home security system can provide a sense of security and comfort, but how to use them without risks? Here are some tips to keep hackers out of your home security system.

1. Weigh the vulnerabilities vs. the benefits

Unluckily, the truth is that there is no IT infrastructure that can be 100% secured. The best thing we can do is seeking to reduce the risk. Therefore, as designing a smart home system, you need to analyze what is important to you and your family, as well as what the risk is.

Before adding any device to your home network, research every device and brand you buy and make it clear: Is the benefits this device offers worth the potential risk of a hack? If not, don’t buy one.

2. Create a secure Wi-Fi network

Buy a router from a reputable brand and follow the instructions of the manufacturer to change the network name and default password. Select a network name which doesn’t give away your location or personal details automatically. Also make sure to hide your network from view, an option which can usually be found in the settings menu of the router.

You can also create a second Wi-Fi network particularly for your smart home devices. There are many routers that allow you to create multiple networks, each with its own name and password. Doing so, hacking your IoT device will confine an attacker to that network and keep it segregated from where you store your sensitive information and do your banking. It is another good idea to set up a Guest network for your home visitors’ smartphones and computers so that they can’t see or access your IoT devices.

Steps to Choose a Security System for Your Home

Selecting a home security system is very important to protect your home and family. There are a variety of options and costs to consider before making a decision. It is best to purchase a system that has non-proprietary features and can be modified or repaired by generic parts.

Step 1. Decide whether you prefer a professionally installed security system or do-it-yourself security system that you will buy and install the system.

Step 2. Select a system that has no more than a one-year monitoring contract. Although signing a contract can reduce the up-front cost of equipment, you must take into account a cancelation fee in case that you want out of the contract down the road.

Step 3. Count the number of your home’s doors and windows that need to be secured. This will help in deciding how many sensors you really need.

Step 4. Get at least one smoke detector on your security system, including automatic monitoring. If you are away from your home, the smoke detector can help save some of your valued belongings.

Step 5. Keep all main level doors contacted with a device in order to tell the main panel if it has been opened. If your home has some doors that cannot be reached with wiring, you can use an area coverage motion detector, typically 35 foot (10.7 m) range to protect them.

Step 6. You should use motion detectors in areas that have windows which are accessible from ground level. This can cut down on total cost, too.

Step 7. Consider how your basement can fit into your security options. The wiring of the basement windows and doors are easier for the technician if you have an unfinished basement. But if your basement is finished, a wireless addition to your system might be required to protect your basement, doors, windows, and main floor.