7 Essential Tips for a Safer Home Security System

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7 Essential Tips for a Safer Home Security System

“Everybody needs good neighbours…next door is only a footstep away ‘…”

Now, unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last 37 years, you will have seen at least some of the iconic TV soap Neighbours.

Landing on the box in 1985, Neighbours launched in a far simpler time.

When sharing a cuppa with Mrs Mangel or beer with Jim Robinson between mowing the lawns was the norm.

Melbourne in the 1980s was centred around life in the burbs.

And keeping an eye out for each other was what you did in your local community. No matter if it was Erinsbourgh, Huntingdale or Altona. 

So if a burglary happened in the street or shoplifting at the corner store, you’d read about it in next week’s Neighbourhood Watch newsletter. 

Each edition included helpful tips to stay safe and how you could help police find the crooks. 

You might be surprised to know that Neighbourhood Watch still exists. And you can still help support your local community guard against crime.

For many Melburnians, a newsletter dropped in your letterbox may feel outdated. Do people still check their letterboxes daily? With the internet of things (IoT) taking over many of the tasks we used to do, it’s no wonder that Neighbourhood Watch has fallen by the wayside for many. Protecting your home and deterring crime is now as effortless as hooking up a few cameras. You can position around your property while streaming to your mobile phone. And you can share the footage in private Facebook groups for your local community – no longer relying on descriptions or mugshots by the police’s forensic sketch artist. You see, even the video streaming can be in 4K…much less chance of the crooks not being identified with such crystal clear viewing.

The global home security market has surged over the last few years, with an expected 20.1% growth by 2026. The market is full of doorbell cams, complete home security systems and remote monitoring via apps. 

You can be on holiday on the Gold Coast and stream video from your front door – even check if Amazon did deliver that parcel they said a few moments ago. But a home security system provides you and your family peace of mind.

However, it would be best to take sensible precautions to stay protected from additional unwanted attention when using these systems. 

You see, the media has reported many horror stories about the invasion of privacy with hacked video cameras. For example, Ring suffered a data breach in 2019 that exposed the personal information of over three thousand customers, including their usernames and passwords. 

So to ensure your home security system is secured and not breached, here are our tips to help.

Ensure you have secured your router 

It’s easy for crooks to access your home security cameras from the internet. As the system needs to process commands to the unit, it will go through your router. 

Therefore, your router must be adequately secured using a security protocol no lower than Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) 2. Or, if you have the next generation, WPA3, as it’s more comprehensive. These protocols govern the protection of data transmitted through the wireless network.

Make sure to give the router a password of at least twelve characters. It doesn’t take much for a crook to crack a password which is the standard eight characters. But a twelve-character password with at least one number, upper case letter, and symbol takes some 34,000 years to bust.

Change the default admin’s username and password

Firstly you should change the device’s default username and password. Otherwise, hackers can access the admin account when you connect to the internet. You see, many hackers have lists of all these device defaults and use them to break into these systems.

Is the home security system using SSL/TLS?

Of course, you don’t want the video footage shared with everyone. That’s why choosing a security system with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TSL). This ensures the data cannot be intercepted by crooks and accessed. If you buy a system without SSL/TLS or encryption, you expose yourself to security vulnerabilities. 

Keep the software updated

Maintaining your security software by regularly updating it is critical in reducing the risk of a breach. Many systems have automated updates, so check that you have turned that feature on. In addition, security updates usually include important fixes or patches to guard against vulnerabilities like your smartphone or computer. 

Will other family members need access? 

Do you have several family members accessing your cloud-based security device? If so, set up some access levels as only some need administrator level.

The crooks love to be able to breach admin users as this empowers them with more access to change settings. Additionally, providing lower-level privileges, such as “view only,” to most family members improves security.

Caution with camera security features

You’ll find various security features available with your system. Unfortunately, many manufacturers often only enable some security settings by default. So it’s up to the user to turn all or some of them on.

But it’s essential to know that some home security systems have great sharing options. And to protect your system, you should restrict these as much as possible to decrease the likelihood of hacking. 

Don’t forget to secure your smartphone 

The most common way crooks expose vulnerabilities in your security system is with your smartphone. Many people access their security cameras and systems with smartphones. So you must regularly update your smartphone to the latest operating system.

If the crooks can gain access to your security system, they can unleash mobile anti-malware, DNS filtering, screen lock and automated updating.  

Protecting your home, protects your business.

Let us review your current cloud security system to ensure it protects you. Then, contact us to discuss how our services can help your Melbourne business.

About the author

Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.