In the last decade, the home security industry has embraced wireless security systems as the way of the future and a useful option for homeowners. Ease of install and use, inter-connectivity of devices, and remote access are attractive features to both customers and security providers. With more devices becoming wireless-compatible, it seems likely that the use of wireless technology in home security systems will only grow in the coming years.
However, recent incidences and news articles have highlighted potential security vulnerabilities surrounding wireless technology. The potential threat of having wireless security devices hacked by malicious parties has left many people wondering: is my wireless home security system safe?
The benefits of wireless security systems
A wireless security system utilizes radio frequencies to communicate between devices and the panel, eliminating the need to run wire between the devices in a house and allowing for inter-connectivity with other “smart” devices that utilize the same technology. Wireless systems are typically easier and often less expensive to install than a conventional hard-wired security system. Without wire to run, they are also less invasive to place in a home. Since they do not connect to an old-fashioned phone line, it is not at risk for a potential burglar cutting the phone line and disrupting alarm signal dispatch.
Wireless technology allows for remote control of the system and home automation, which means your security system can become a hub for controlling not only your security devices, but also “smart” light bulbs, garage door openers, and thermostats. Because wireless systems are easily modifiable, additional sensors and devices can be added with relative ease, giving homeowners more flexibility over their home security solution.
The threat of hacking
The recent concerns about device hacking are not completely unfounded. Any wireless/electronic device in the world is vulnerable to some degree. It’s not only security cameras or door locks, either. Any connected home security device that uses wireless technology could technically be hacked or jammed—even smart light bulbs.
When it comes to home security systems, low-quality, do-it-yourself (DIY) systems are all susceptible to hacking because they do not contain modern security encryption and authentication capabilities. Hackers can exploit security vulnerabilities in your antiquated wireless system, using the inter-connectivity of your home devices to their advantage by hacking one device in order to manipulate the others. Compromised devices can be jammed or disarmed, exposing your home to burglary. Hijacked devices can also be used by hackers in denial-of-service attacks on major websites by using the smart device’s processing power for malicious purposes.
Protecting the smart home—with the help of EPS Security
While wireless devices can be hacked, the fact is industry-leading security device manufacturers—and professional security companies—are well-aware of their potential deficiencies. For instance, various devices EPS installs in a standard home security system use high-level encryption to prevent hacking. While no encryption is guaranteed secure, the technical skill level of a potential hacker and the cost of the equipment needed to break the encryption are incredibly high. Such expertise, technical knowledge and equipment would be prohibitive for most hackers just looking to break into a home. Additionally, professionally installed alarm panels often come with “RF jam detection” technology, which is used to both detect and prevent hacking attempts. However, not all security system providers adhere to the same quality of home security products and services.
The recent “vulnerabilities” in wireless devices were found on lower-quality “DIY” systems. The high standard of EPS Security home devices ensure your system is considerably safer from the threat of wireless device hacking, but there are still several steps you can take to protect yourself.
Password protect your wi-fi.
Your internet connection should be password protected regardless of what kind of security you have in your house, but leaving your wi-fi without password protection is an open invitation for hackers to break into your digital world—not only allowing for them to access your private, sensitive information, but also giving them an avenue to hijack your internet-connected devices.
Use complex passwords.
Don’t be one of the estimated 23.2 million people using “123456” as their password for their wi-fi, security cameras, and other accounts. Choose a password with at least one letter, number, uppercase and lowercase letter, and symbol to better confound hackers and safeguard your security system. Additionally, try to avoid using pet names, anniversaries, or other easy-to-guess passwords—the more random the password, the better.
Update your firmware/software regularly.
As technology evolves and new vulnerabilities are discovered, your security system and devices may occasionally require updates to their firmware or software to ensure your system is working at the highest level of protection. This is one of the many places “DIY” security system fall flat: without regular updates, your “brand new system” will become vulnerable to security breaches sooner rather than later. EPS Security regularly performs firmware updates on our cameras when our technicians come out to perform routine maintenance to guarantee our equipment remains an asset to your home security, not a potential threat.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself from the threat of hacking? Have your system installed, monitored, and maintained by a professional security company. EPS Security has more than sixty years of experience installing home security systems across the state of Michigan. With offices across the state, it’s easy to call in for technical support or for our highly-trained technicians to come out to perform routine maintenance and provide service for our customers. With an EPS security system, you can rest assured knowing that your home—and your family—are under expert watch.