How to Protect Your Home From Threats
Smart homes have become synonymous with a higher grade of living. And you should embrace this new standard — after all, it allows for better security as well as convenience all in one.
But you should never make the mistake of taking the increased security benefits it brings for granted. This kind of carelessness could cost you. In other words, the level of security of your smart home depends on how much of your effort you’ve put into configuring it.
So what are the extra measures you can take to protect your home from digital and physical threats even better?
1. Smart security cameras know the right time to start filming
Compared to the way security cameras used to be in the times gone by, smart security cameras of modern times have come a long way. Equipped with smart motion sensors, they are capable of knowing to pick precisely the right time to start filming. Usually, that moment comes as soon as they detect that something is moving.
Nowadays, cameras are also smart enough to detect something out of the ordinary at night or in bad weather. If you were to film every corner of your home all the time, you’d end up with a lot of useless footage. Imagine how problematic this would get in case you were looking for a specific moment in the day. Combing through all that footage sounds like a lot of work. Moreover, you’d have to delete the old footage soon, unless you were fortunate enough to be working with an almost unlimited amount of storage space.
But that’s not the case with the help of motion sensors. Not only do you save on storage space, but also on your time. After all, you’ll only be looking at the footage that matters with all the filler cut out.
2. A smart home can create the impression that someone is home
Burglars are smart. They always prepare in advance before doing their foul deeds. In practice, it means analyzing the neighborhood (or paying someone to do it). They strike once they’ve determined that someone has been away from home at least a couple of days in succession. The longer, the better. They do so to ensure that no one is home to alert the authorities at the exact time they decide to attempt the break-in.
As luck would have it, getting the right kind of smart home security system is the answer. For instance, you could program the lights to turn on at 5 PM without your intervention (and turn off at, say, midnight). You could even go the extra mile and set the TV to turn on and off at a predetermined time regardless of you being around or not. It creates the impression that someone is home. Thus, it discourages the would-be criminals to proceed, and they pick another target instead.
3. Get an alarm that attracts attention
Upon detecting an intruder, all auditory hell should break loose so that the entire neighborhood knows that something is up. Otherwise, you run the risk of having the sound lost in a myriad of other similar noises that no one pays attention to anymore.
The car alarm is one such example. Since a stray dog or a cat can also trigger it, it won’t even raise an eyebrow. Sure, you might get lucky to annoy a neighbor after a while and have him come over to check what all the ruckus is about. But the perpetrator could get away with your valuables by then.
So, if the alarm starts screaming like no tomorrow, accompanied by bright flashing lights, no criminal in their right mind would resume trying to break in. Either way, it’s a good idea to capture some footage when the alarm gets triggered. Then you can fast-forward it to the police even if the would-be criminal runs away like a scalded dog.
4. Avoid accessing your smart devices via public WiFi
The problem with public WiFi networks is that there is often no encryption. Anyone who can access it could eavesdrop on some of your conversations or intercept your sensitive data. Including login credentials. In cybersecurity circles, they refer to it as the man-in-the-middle attack.
Are you sure you’re willing to take such a risk for the sake of taking a quick look at your CCTV? If you must, it’s far better to connect through a VPN server instead. What is a VPN (https://nordvpn.com/what-is-a-vpn/)? A virtual private network helps you establish a secure (encrypted) connection to whatever smart device you’re connecting to. Thus, a VPN protects you regardless of using a public WiFi network or another means of accessing the internet.
5. Set a strong password
If you still believe that ‘1234’ (or something similar) is a good password, for your sake, go change it right now. Unless you want your neighbor’s kid to guess it, sticking to something longer and not as easily-guessable is a much better course of action.
Sure, having to memorize a complicated password is a bit trickier. You can pick something that only you associate with the device. But always ask yourself whether it would be easy for another person to get the same association. If the answer is ‘yes,’ pick something else. Soon enough, you’ll have a combination that ticks both the boxes; in other words, something that is memorable and hard to guess. Another useful trick is to omit a letter in a word your password consists of. It makes it resistant to a dictionary attack.
6. Put an end to bugs
No matter the amount of attention and love the developers give it, software bugs can appear long after you buy a smart home system. Those who take the necessary precaution of installing updates on a regular basis have no reason to fear. Developers release security patches all the time.
But if you belong to the group of people who don’t do this often enough, now is the time to reconsider your approach. There is nothing more that hackers love to take advantage of than compromising unpatched vulnerabilities.
Nothing seems easier than closing that dreaded update prompts every time it appears, right? But the longer you delay, the longer you’re choosing to be a sitting duck for the nearest hacker to target.
7. Don’t cheap out on your home security devices
As the old saying goes, for the most part, you get what you pay for. Not all smart home solutions are equal. Only some have the necessary Alexa or Apple certificates that ensure flawless connectivity.
One of the main things to look for is the feature of a device to call the police upon the detection of an intruder. In the UK, for instance, that would be the NSI. Either way, it’s also a good idea for your smart system to allow for maximum programmability. In the end, you don’t want the police barging in when your alarm system gets triggered by one of your kids or the dog, do you?
The more you spend on your home security system, the higher the chances that it allows you to configure it the way you need it to be.
Smart home security systems are fantastic. With a little bit of creativity and a thinking approach, the sky’s the limit in terms of what you can achieve. Make sure to give your home the level of security that’s necessary to protect the ones you love.