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When it comes to home security, technology provides us with plenty of solutions for all needs and budgets. The problem is the same technology also provides burglars and perpetrators with the similar means of bypassing your fancy security systems. Long gone are the days when burglars would brutally force their way into your home with a lever. Now they can disable sensors, learn the PIN code for your door, and cut every wire supplying your security system with electricity.

So how much home security do you really need today?

Cybersecurity researchers at the University of Michigan say you need all of it and then some. They used a lock-pick malware app to hack into a home’s front door, thereby making their way around a smart home automation system. Burglars may not be that smart, but the issue still stands: home security is something you can’t ignore. Today, we will look at some available options and tips you can use to make your home safer.

The Internet of Everything

A smart operated home security system usually relies on your Wi-Fi network, a smartphone, and some apps. An entry-level smart system consists of door and window sensors, motion detectors, and a hub communicating with all these devices by using several wireless protocols, Wi-Fi being the most popular. Advanced smart home security systems also include extra perks, such as door locks with codes; garage locks; indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras; water, heat, smoke and motion sensors and so on.

However, installing a smart security system is not enough. As we all know, cyber hygiene should become a priority, and we should keep in mind that our homes are as smart as we make them. Relying on Wi-Fi is the way to go, but your home network isn’t infallible to hacking. When setting up a smart home security system, make sure your home networks is just as safe:

  • Keep a Clean Machine and make sure all your Internet-based devices, security-bound or not, operate on the latest OS and versions.
  • Secure your wireless router to prevent any perpetrator to access information on your computers, use your home network for cyber crimes, and hack into your security system.
  • There are plenty of challenges when choosing an ISP, but there are more when securing your wireless router. Change the preset SSID/ESSID to a name that is unique to you and hard-to-guess by others. Choose a strong password for your router and further secure the router to a WPA2 or WAP security option if available, as they are clearly stronger than WEP. Set up a guest network with a separate password if there are plenty of people visiting your home,and turn on all firewalls coming together with your router and smart security system.

Your smart security system, based on apps and customizable features, also need constant updating and upgrading. Make sure you use the latest versions and operating systems on all smart devices and apps.

Smart Systems’ Vulnerabilities

The study conducted in December 2015 by the engineers at Michigan University showed that IoT and its subsequent smart home security systems are not infallible. While it is indeed difficult for a non-engineer to bypass a smartly secured home, it is not impossible. Smart apps and networks can be hacked still, allowing perpetrators to remotely exploit some apps and obtain their own virtual spare keys for your electronic locks by creating false PIN codes.

Malware can be injected into the system, rendering it useless or behaving just as the perpetrators wish to. Some apps can be hacked to send the wrong messages to you or the security company backing up your system, creating false alarms which can be further exploited.

How to Choose the Best Smart Home Security System and What Are the Alternatives?

When it comes to protecting your home with security systems, many think about budgets, but there is more than the eye can see. Some of the criteria for choosing the right security system for your home should include:

  • Type of Internet service depending on where you live
  • Location of your home: downtown, suburban area, or secluded area (In the last case, you should consider cellular-based home security systems to back up smart ones.)
  • Self-monitored security system vs. monitored security system
  • The possibility that the security system still works even if the power is off

So Just How Much Security Do You Need Right Now?

According to the latest statistics and facts related to burglaries, most crimes take less than 10 minutes, allowing the perpetrators to take off before you can do much about it. Moreover, most burglars (a staggering 30%) enter your home through an open window or door (34%). As a corollary, you should have your security system work even when you are at home, for a household member is present in the house during approximately 28% of burglaries, and 7% of these victims experience some type of violent crime (according to the U.S. Department of Justice).

The good news is that burglars now tend to avoid homes provided with security systems, preferring to target others. However, these statistics refer to “classic” intruders, the ones using levers to go through your front door. There are still no consistent research results concerning cyber break-ins, or burglaries that bypassed smart secured homes. Therefore, prevention is the best approach. Make sure the home network is secure and your IoT-based security system has as little vulnerabilities as possible.


Michelle BakerAbout the Author: Michelle Baker is a freelance writer and growth consultant focused on security and tech development. Her personal experience in the industry & tech-savvy nature have helped her contribute to the development of BroadBandSearch. For more information on similar topics, get in touch with Michelle!

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.