Did you know that online hackers can take over your entire building, including your security systems? Smart home devices allow us to control almost every aspect of the home environment from a single device such as a smartphone or tablet. You can perform actions like opening the drapes, turn the lights on and control the air conditioning, home theatre system and even the bathroom!
Clearly, smart homes are absolutely brilliant and they’re designed to make life more convenient. But, when you purchase a smart security system, you’re told that it’s hack-proof and has the ability to turn your home into a secure fortress. The last thing you expect is someone hacking into your system to steal online credentials and other important data.
Unfortunately, experienced cybercriminals have figured out a way to hack your home’s smart security system including the mobile devices of everyone in your condo building!
How cybercriminals can hack your security system
Modern home security systems are based on cutting-edge “internet of things” technology. The IoT industry is poised to produce over 20 million devices by the year 2020.
The benefit of using these smart devices is that they allow you to view your property from anywhere in the world. For instance, you can program your smart alarm system to switch on or off at certain times of the day.
But, hackers can change their settings to control your alarm system and other aspects of your security system remotely. This could open a door to criminal activity, making it easy for lawbreakers to break and enter into your building and enter any of the units within. All it takes is messing around with one aspect of your security settings, like the smart lightbulb in your foyer, and your whole system will soon be laid bare.
It’s worth noting that some of the most vulnerable smart home devices that lend your building to attack include smart doorbells and surveillance cameras. Since they’re mass-manufactured, these devices are not at all difficult to hack. All it takes is figuring out how one of them work and you can use that information to infiltrate every other unit that operates on the same operating system.
Also, in most smart homes and buildings, WiFi is the new front door. That’s because most security systems can only operate when hooked up to a WiFi connection.
Now, cybercriminals can pick the “virtual lock” of your security system using a special antenna that gives them a survey of all the wireless networks in your building. This includes all the devices connected to the building’s wireless internet.
Once they get into the internet system hackers can send commands straight to your surveillance cameras. From there, every security barrier falls like a line of dominoes. With control of the security cameras, criminals can divert the video to one of the television sets within the building, or simply steal all your footage so they can use it to their advantage.
How to prevent hacking of your security systems
It often comes as a shock for many to realize that the steps they’ve taken to secure their building may actually cause more harm than good. Across Canada, homes are being transformed by smart home devices that promise to make things more convenient and secure. These devices offer automated control of everything, from our lights and locks to our TVs and temperature.
Most people are careful to pick top brands that promise security as a priority. But, these devices can actually make you more vulnerable. The good news is you can fight back against security system hacks.
Difficult passwords: A common mistake that property managers make when installing a security system is leaving the surveillance cameras to the manufacturers’ default password. This makes your security system vulnerable and anyone can access it. Hackers can use this access to steal the financial information of unit owners who’re connected to the building’s WiFi system.
One of the ways to keep your security system safe is to create a difficult WiFi password. Experts recommend a password with at least 28 characters including numbers, special characters, upper and lower case letters. Each symbol you add to the password makes it 10x more secure.
The second line of defense is to always change the default password that comes with your security system. Whether you know it or not, almost every device has one and it’s available online for anyone who wants to search for it. The best way to keep your building safe is to be as smart as the system itself.
Two-factor authentication: It’s also a good idea to apply two-factor authentication (aka two-step verification) beside difficult passwords. This means that when you log in to your WiFi or security account on a new device, a special code is sent to your phone. This ensures that only legitimate users can access your building’s WiFi.
Beware of who you purchase your security system from: Once a hacker gets into your online security system, they can steal your passwords and credit card information every time you buy something online. They can also steal your financial information in order to commit banking fraud.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop using smart home security systems. They can still be useful and effective at protecting your building and the units within it. The good news is that most of the major manufacturers of smart security systems are taking measures to improve the safety of smart security systems, but smaller operators haven’t been so responsive.
As a result, most security experts recommend that unit owners should only use security systems from well-known manufacturers. These companies have the resources needed to continuously improve the safety of their devices based on customer feedback.
Monitor web traffic: It’s also worth investing in devices that are designed to monitor web traffic in order to identify cybercriminals before they strike. These devices can even help you block hackers and anyone else who tries to spy on your network or compromise your security systems.
Modern-day security systems are designed to offer smart features that make our lives easier and safer. This doesn’t mean that you should be complacent when using these devices. You should still apply difficult passwords, two-factor authentication and using trusted security software like Patrol Points to minimize the probability of attack.
It’s also important to maintain a healthy level of skepticism when it comes to a smart security system. That’s because it’s becoming easier for hackers to infiltrate alarms, locks and surveillance cameras within a building due to the wide availability of IoT technology. Always stay vigilant and apply measures that’ll help you get the most out of these systems.
I’ve been working in the digital space for over 7 years. I am now the marketing manager for the property management software company condo control central. We recently branched over into the security & investigation sector with our new platform patrol points.