Home automation really is a marvel, isn’t it? With a tap on your smartphone screen, you can turn all the lights in your home on or off. If you’re at work when the plumber arrives to fix the leaky kitchen sink, you can remotely disarm your alarm system and unlock the front door for him. Did you get all cuddled in bed with a good book on your chest and a cat at your feet when you suddenly realized that you forgot to arm the alarm system? No problem — just grab your phone off of the nightstand and tell it to arm the system.
Modern home security technology has given us more power and peace of mind than ever before. We can check live video feeds while we’re at work or even on the other side of the globe. Smart thermostats can be set remotely and can even learn our preferred temperature settings in order to keep us more comfortable. These tools give us convenience and the ability to have help at hand with the touch of a button.
The advent of the new “smart home” has also given rise to a darker phenomenon: home automation hackers. Just as computer-savvy thieves can tap into unprotected computers, they can also hack into your home. At best, the results can be annoying. At worst, they can be dangerous.
How Do Home Automation Hackers Gain Access?
Just like most criminals, home automation hackers are clever and resourceful. They focus in on every new technology and test its defenses until they discover a way to break through.
Once they break into any part of an automated home, hackers can wreak havoc and create security risks. They can access files and take control of apps on smart TVs. They can creep homeowners out by toying with settings on thermostats or by flicking lights on and off remotely. Your once-secure home can suddenly seem as though it’s inhabited by ghosts.
On an even more dangerous front, home automation hackers can use their computer knowledge to gain access inside your home itself. Because your security system and home automation system are combined, it’s easy for them to turn off your burglar alarm. Once it’s disabled, they simply need to remotely unlock a window or a door and anyone can slip silently inside.
Steps to Protect Yourself from Home Automation Hackers
To most homeowners, this all sounds like a nightmare. How could the steps you’ve taken to secure your home be used against you by criminals?
Thankfully, there are ways to protect yourself.
Have a trusted security provider install your system.
When it comes to installing a home security and tying an automation system into it, it’s worth the investment to have it done right. This will not only save you headaches down the road — it will ensure that your home and family are kept safe.
A reputable home security installation company knows how to customize a system that will provide full coverage for your home. In addition to this, they’re always up-to-date on the latest security risks and threats. As hackers are defeated in one strategy, they move on to the next. Home security experts make it their business to know what these criminals are up to and use that knowledge to keep you safe.
Use a high-quality system.
Another reason to have a professional home security provider install your system is that they only work with the best security solutions. These solutions are less prone to failure and they’re less easily hacked. These systems use things like frequency hopping on their wireless devices. The devices communicate to each by changing the ‘channel’ that is used to communicate every 32 milliseconds in a unique pattern. They also use two-way communication, which means one device sends a signal, and the receiving device sends a return signal saying, ‘yes, I heard you.’ Not getting a response will result in a trouble signal and alert you, and your security company, to potential problems. Finally, products that are UL listed undergo serious testing criteria, such as proving their anti-jamming capabilities, which means someone cannot blast your system with harsh frequencies rendering your system unable to communicate, without generating an alarm.
From hardware to software and installation, it’s important to only work with companies that have your security as their number one priority.
Install passwords everywhere.
If you’re working with a trusted security provider, they’ll ensure that you do this. One of the easiest ways hackers gain access to any device is when its owner fails to secure it with a password. This is the technology equivalent of leaving your front door unlocked and standing wide open. Password-protecting your devices is easy and only takes a couple of minutes.
Among the most obvious devices you should password-protect is your home automation system. Choose a strong password with upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols included. Make sure you secure your internet router and change the default password installed before you purchased it. Also change your passwords frequently.
Don’t Worry — Just Take Precautions
Worries about hacking shouldn’t be enough to dissuade anyone from installing a home security/automation system. The peace of mind and control it provides far outweighs any risks posed by hackers. With a little care and with guidance from your security system provider, your home can be a safe and secure home of the future!
At ProTech Security, we have a strong history of experience, innovation and customer service. The ProTech Security Advantage is more than 30 years of service in Northeast Ohio and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions and government facilities. To see what ProTech Security can do for you, contact us today.