Common Vulnerabilities Found in Home Security Systems

Home security systems are meant to be a form of protection, a barrier between your home and the evils of the world. The systems are great when they are working properly but is your system really secure? Here are some common vulnerabilities found in many home security systems:

1. Using a Bad Pin

1234?

Every security system requires some kind of pin number or password to grant the user access for disarming, changing settings and using equipment like security cameras and smart home features. Most pins and passwords are created by the user. Some systems set special requirements to strengthen these access points, but others do not. Most users want an easy way to remember pins for convenience. But pins like 1234, your birth year, or anything containing personal information are easier for hackers to crack. Random numbers may be more difficult to remember, but they help reduce vulnerabilities.

2. Using Old Equipment

Time for an upgrade!

If the 90s are calling, asking for their security equipment back, it’s time for an upgrade. While some companies like Comcast Xfinity will allow you to use old security equipment, technology advances daily, so your security system needs to advance as well. If you are still using old equipment, you are more vulnerable to high-tech hacks, but you may even be susceptible to low-tech hacks like wire cutting. Upgrading your equipment can allow access to more features that make your home less vulnerable including cellular monitoring, app access and smart home services.

3. Unsecured Cameras

Hack-ability

Cameras are a wonderful feature included with many home security systems. They allow you to see and record what is happening in your home when you are not there. They are also a window that can allow unwanted hackers to peer inside your home as they please. Cameras connected to the internet for ease of access also grant easier access to hackers. If you are using an unsecured wifi connection, a weak password or even the default admin account, your security cameras are a vulnerability. You can protect yourself by strengthening your password and securing your internet connection.

4. Vulnerable to Hacks

Beware of Hackers

Home security systems are like computers in many ways, they send and receive data; they execute commands, and they can be hacked. Basic home security systems can be hacked with various hacking tools. Weak passwords, such as your birthday, your pet’s name, or the word ‘password’ can be easily cracked by browsing your social media pages.
Hackers can also reverse engineer your security system to learn how it works. Once they learn the system they can gain access to it from anywhere. A hacker’s goal is to find vulnerabilities and exploit them. Make your system more secure by using stronger passwords and hard wiring things like cameras instead of connecting them wirelessly.

5. The Importance of Encryption

Unencrypted Security System

Encryption is an added layer of security that helps to prevent the bad guys from gaining access to your system. Not all security systems are created equal, and neither are their encryption codes. Most security systems aren’t encrypted, especially older ones. Encryption is not required for a working system. But without it, you have another vulnerability. If your system doesn’t have encryption, contact your provider and ask how you can get encryption added to rid yourself of this vulnerability.

Vulnerabilities don’t have to be scary. Though it is unlikely that you will prevent all vulnerabilities (because no security system is perfect), being aware and knowing what you can do will help keep you and your family safe.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.