Evaluating Your Home Security

When you are about to move into a new home, you probably have a checklist of things you need to do. When you’re making out your checklist we would advise you to include an evaluation of your home security features. If you want to know that you and your loved ones are safe when you lock the door behind you at night, take a little time to make sure that you have all that you’ll need to remain safe inside your Fort Lauderdale, FL home.

Residential Locksmith

There are already enough things that you have to worry about when you move. Are there any infestation problems that you aren’t aware of, do hazardous gases exist, are the locks durable enough to withstand an attempted burglary. All of these are valid concerns and should definitely be considered when you’re about to move into a new home. Taking the time to make sure that all of these things and more are properly considered before moving in could save you from having to deal with a tragedy later. Instead of calling a locksmith, such as, Optimal Locksmith Pro to change your locks, pull out your checklist first and see how you can effectively improve upon your existing security.

Here are a few things to add to your checklist:

Evaluating Your Existing Deadbolt Locks

Business Keys

If you are aware of just how useful deadbolt locks are, you’ll like have them on the doors in your new home. Most people have them as an added source of protection. However, when you move into a new home, the deadbolt locks that are already there may not be the ones that you would buy yourself. The ones that are there may not be designed with the best quality of materials and might not work for your needs. We would suggest that the deadbolt lock you have on your door is made of steel. Anything softer wouldn’t be suitable as a deadbolt lock. If the existing lock is not made of steel, you should replace it with one that is. Make sure that the bolt of your deadbolt goes into the doorframe by one inch. If it does not go in at least one inch, it can be easy to pry open.

A tapered cylinder or free-spinning cylinder is best. If it is not this type, it will be possible for someone to use a wrench to force open the lock. The most common deadbolt lock is a single cylinder lock. This is because they do not require a key to open the lock on both sides. A double cylinder deadbolt lock, while just as durable, can pose a real threat to your safety if there is an emergency and one of the keys cannot be found. Instead, opt for a single cylinder and avoid the possibility of being trapped inside during an emergency. The deadbolt lock is not going to be of use to anyone unless it is used. Make sure you are in the habit of using the deadbolt lock in order to remain safe.

Evaluate the Exterior Doors of your Home

If you’re trying to determine if the deadbolt locks are quality locks, it might be necessary to first make sure the doors that they are installed on are strong and secure. It would defeat the purpose in having deadbolt locks installed if someone could simply kick in the door to gain access inside. Make sure the exterior doors of your home are solid core. This means they are solid through and through. This type of door is heavy and is able to withstand more pressure. It is also the type of door that offers maximum fire protection. If your door is a hollow core door, consider swapping it out for a solid core door. The hollow core doors are not has heavy and this type of door is generally used on interior doors. One of the many doors that is often neglected is the interior door that leads from your house to the garage. Have a solid core door installed here if one does not already exist. Make sure that even if someone is able to get inside your garage, they can’t get inside your home. Finally, if any of your exterior doors are made of glass, consider replacing them with unbreakable glass. Don’t give an intruder easy access into your home by simply smashing the glass and unlocking the door.

Cut Down Bushes and Shrub

This is another aspect of home safety that is often neglected. If you take pride in your homes yard and you’ve planted beautiful trees, plants, bushes and flowers, make sure they don’t provide coverage for a would-be robber. If you want to avoid being startled by an intruder when you come home, late at night, keep the bushes and trees around your home cut down and pruned. You don’t want to provide a hiding place to a burglar who is simply waiting for the right time to break-in.

When doing landscaping around your home, consider home-security. Some security specialists suggest planting bushes with thorns around your home. It is less likely that a burglar will stick around for too long. If you have shrubbery around your new house, cut it down to a minimum of three-feet and cut back any hedges or plants where someone can hide.

Evaluate Your Outdoor Lighting

Now-a-days, outdoor lighting is more than a way to add curb appeal to your home; they serve as a protection to the occupants of the house. Sufficient lighting along your doorway, walkway, porches, driveway and garage offer additional security. If you have these already, make sure that the lights are working. They won’t do you much good if the lights do not work. It is suggested that you also consider adding this same type of lighting to the front and back of your new home. Motion sensors are the best type outdoor lighting to invest in since they pick up on any movement around your home. You are quickly alerted to any potential intruders trying to get into your home and can then contact the appropriate authority to check out the situation. Some lights can also be programmed to turn on and off, as you see fit.

The IoT is the Internet of Easy Home Hacking


Image Credit: Shutterstock
Image Credit: Shutterstock

IOTThis sponsored post is produced by Bitdefender.

The intelligent home is now an exciting reality — we’re replacing our electronics with devices that act as mini-computers, knowing our every move and curating web-based content to suit our preferences. In 2016, 4 million new “things” will become available to consumers, according to Gartner. From a security standpoint, we could be talking about 4 million digital door keys to private homes.

Every unsecured IoT device can act as an entry point to your household as well as your online assets. Intruders can even use the Internet of Things to open your front door from the inside — literally. While the trend grows unabated, more consumers are starting to worry about what a fully connected home means for their security and privacy.

Where do vulnerabilities reside?

Most devices are controlled via a smartphone app. For the device to work, it usually needs access to the user’s Wi-Fi connection. If a hacker can find a way to infiltrate it, he can wreak havoc. Breaking into a smart device doesn’t give the hacker much right away, but it can lead to the full compromise of the controlling smartphone, and worse, the user’s local network.

Routers, home automation systems, smart TVs, and other devices rely on cloud technologies and mobile apps. Thus, they inherit their security issues. Cloud computing comes with its own problems: loss of control over data, eavesdropping on data transfers from customers to cloud servers, legal and compliance issues, and so on.

Mobile devices themselves face poor security practices (no mobile security installed) and a well-known array of vulnerabilities that can stem from inadequate technical controls and malicious app downloads.

“The IoT brings network, application, mobile, and cloud technologies together in a unique ecosystem but, unfortunately, it seems to acquire the nastiest security traits of each, “ says Bogdan Botezatu, Senior E-Threat Analyst at Bitdefender.

Here are the six most common weaknesses to look for when considering buying a new IoT device:

1. Improper authentication

Credentials are essential in data security. However, the IoT revolutionizes the way we authenticate, adding biometrics — and sometimes not even asking users to authenticate. But if IoT devices are rapidly pushed to market without strong authentication mechanisms, they can be vulnerable to brute-force attacks — especially since leaks show many IoT devices are secured with basic passwords like “1234” or require no passwords at all. On the same note, some IoT cloud interfaces don’t support two-factor authentication.

2. End-to-end encryption

Transmitting data in plain text from the device’s sensors to the cloud is not a good security practice, yet some IoT apps have been found to suffer from faulty SSL implementations, exposing login credentials, tokens, and other sensitive data to traffic sniffing. Think of your smart thermostat or TV. It asks for your Wi-Fi password, which it often stores in plain text in its memory. Most devices are also naive enough to connect to any network that has the same name as yours.

3. Scarce updates

The IoT needs to push automatic software updates and — when appropriate — secure data at rest on the device. Updates perform a myriad of tasks, including patching security holes that can be exploited by hackers.

A high-end router from a leading brand had a one-year-old firmware vulnerability that enabled an attacker to take full control of the device. The worrisome fact is that the default installation said nothing about the importance of firmware updates. How many people check for firmware updates themselves?

4. Insecure web interface

Some web interfaces don’t lock users out of their accounts after a number of failed login attempts. They fail to ensure robust password recovery mechanisms, and offer no protection against cross-site scripting attacks and SQL injections. Attackers simply need to trick a user behind the router and firewall to click a link. If the web interface is vulnerable, it will provide the attacker with access to the web management interface.

5. Buggy software

Perfectly secure code is a pipe dream. Consumers want powerful software and they want it fast. This can lead to poorly constructed software that is released early and with little care for security. This can result in the inability to perform updates or backdoors that could be exploited by hackers.

More so since a significant number of Android-based smart TVs allow the installation of third party apps. A malicious link sent via Skype can easily trick the user into installing a backdoor. Some devices can also perform unrequested firmware upgrades — these can install malware instead of much-needed improvements.

6. Hardware failures

Preoccupied to create a sleek design, some manufacturers neglect hardware bugs. They can allow attackers to hard reboot the devices and their corresponding hotspots. Hackers can get in the middle and fool the mobile app looking to establish a connection. If the connection succeeds, the attacker can grab the username and password of the user’s Wi-Fi network.

Most IoT vulnerabilities are not new to the cyber-security industry. So far, we’ve seen experiments and proofs of concept, but it’s just a matter of time until attackers start mining crypto-currencies via connected refrigerators or until smart TVs are locked by ransomware. That’s why, going forward, security must be a forethought of every IoT application.

Luckily, users also have an option to boost their cyber-defenses. They can install a product to protect their entire network. Solutions like Bitdefender BOX offer a hardware device that sits between the home router and the internet-connected devices (PCs, Macs, Android and iOS tablets and smartphones).

These devices identify and block connections to malicious URLs, malware downloads, and suspicious packets leading to threats such as phishing, spam, and malware infections. They will also detect and install missing security software patches required by the operating system and locate the device if needed.

What’s more, when a computer leaves the user’s home network, a private line can be enabled to continue protecting the device on the go. It also keeps it safe from man-in-the-middle and other attacks when connected to unsecure networks, like public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Article Source: The IoT is the Internet of Easy Home Hacking

Related Article: Wireless Home Security Systems Ratings – Understand The Mechanism Behind Security Systems

Why does your business needs video surveillance?

By The Security Girl

When I talk to most small / medium sized businesses like yours I often get asked why does my business need video surveillance or why should I upgrade my current video surveillance system?

Sure your basic video surveillance system will just record the day to day activities in your business and in the event of a burglary or accident it will be there to hopefully catch the face or any other distinctive features of your suspect.

However, modern video surveillance systems can do so much more than just be there to catch what’s going on and hope that it’s there later when you need it.  Plus with a modern video surveillance system you don’t have to worry about changing the tapes anymore!

With the ever changing technology in business security the uses and possibilities are endless and having a video surveillance system will save you and your business time and money.

In a 2008 report from The American Management Association, Almost half (48%) of the companies surveyed use video monitoring to counter theft, violence and sabotage. Only 7% use video surveillance to track employees’ on-the-job performance. Most employers notify employees of anti-theft video surveillance (78%) and performance-related video monitoring (89%).  However, over the past few years business have changed how they are using video surveillance.

Here are some benefits/uses of video surveillance for your business.

  • Increase overall security and safety – Security cameras positioned throughout a business help to prevent crimes and break-ins.
  • Improve worker productivity – The presence of surveillance cameras on the premises can improve communication between departments or buildings, allowing for heightened productivity.
  • Prevent dishonest claims – In instances where employees or visitors falsely attest to injuring themselves on your property, visual evidence from the facility’s security cameras can disprove such assertions, saving the hospital from pricey unwarranted insurance claims.
  • Resolve employee disputes – Employee disputes are easily resolved when clear visual proof is available. Surveillance cameras can shed light on incidents in question.
  • Continuous real-time monitoring – IP surveillance allows authorized  employees to monitor critical areas continuously, in real time, from their personal computers.
  • Digital storage – Business that choose to install IP-based video surveillance systems can take advantage of the benefits of digital storage. IP systems enable the user to store recorded footage digitally on network servers, hard-drives or NVRs, where the surveillance video is easily accessible to authorized users, and offers improved searching capabilities.
  • Visual evidence for investigations – Surveillance cameras can provide invaluable visual evidence for investigations of criminal activity and other specific events that have taken place within or around  facilities.
  • Remote video monitoring – Remote monitoring is an extremely helpful tool. IP surveillance allows your employees to view security camera footage remotely from any PC with network access. Multiple sites can even communicate over the same network with all of the camera views accessible online via the Internet.

Read more: Why does your business needs video surveillance?

Related Article: Choosing Business/Home Surveillance Equipment