Home security systems have long given homeowners peace of mind, but there are flaws hackers are taking advantage of.
“Ten years ago these devices probably cost, two, three, four times as much as they do today,” David Bryan, Principle Security Consultant for Trustwave said.
With prices going down, more people have the opportunity to buy into safety. Bryan said people are looking at them as a possibility for their home, for their security, for their safety, and for their convenience.
However, new features are letting some criminals get past the system and into your home. Many new security systems are wireless, which gives you access from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. That convenience could be putting you at risk.
“It's not a matter of hacking, or being uber smart. It's a matter of just knowing the right thing,” he said, “I mean all this stuff is on the internet.”
Crooks do not even need to hack into your security system first. All they need is a device hooked up to your network. They can even control the video cameras you have installed to spy on you and figure out the best time to strike.
“I would say that all the products that we review, we always find a flaw of some sort,” Bryan said.
One problem is how the products are designed. Experts said companies usually want to be the first to market, so they will bypass critical testing phases. However, the biggest problem is the encryption. Many systems do not have it at all.
“Just because it's developed one way or the other, doesn't mean that it's going to be secure,” he said.
Passwords are another issue. Many people do not bother changing the default password on the smart device. If they do, most of the time it is generic or weak, so it is easy for hackers to crack.
“A lot of times people put the camera up, oh, it's working, alright move on to the next thing,” Bryan said.
Also make sure you are updating the device if it doesn't already do it automatically. Updates are key and critical to make sure the security of the device stays current.
As for the apps for the smart devices, do your homework. Check the specs, the encryption, and where the information is being stored. If you are not sure what to look for, ask an expert.
“We're just blindly trusting that the application is doing the right thing,” he said.
Many Texomans Newschannel 6 spoke to off camera were shocked with how simple it is to hack into their system. All of them already have security systems installed in their home. They admitted they have never changed the default password because they thought it was secure. One homeowner actually had the username and password right on the device, which was by the window.
So, be smart before creating your smart home because crooks are doing their homework.
Newschannel 6 reached out to some home security system companies in regards to this story. They admit that hacks are a possibility, but they said they do everything they can to ensure it does not happen. To see their responses, click on the links.
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