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.


Are you the trusting type? Do you believe in the overall goodness of people? If you are easily fooled or feel that it can only happen to the “other guy” then read this post carefully and take our pointers to heart. Everyone (yes, you too!) needs security. Whether it’s at home, at your business, at work or in your car, you need to feel and be safe. This is especially true if you are responsible for others. Parents with children, pet owners, teachers, tour guides, public servants and many others all have the responsibility of taking good care of their human or animal obligations. So how do you know if you need better security without becoming paranoid and cynical? Easy; pay attention!

Residential Locksmith


Where do you live and work? Where do you shop and dine out? What stores do you frequent and at what times? Being aware of your surroundings can go a long way towards improving your safety and security. It happens on a frequent basis here in Fort Lauderdale, FL and everywhere else. A shopping cart in the store is left unattended, even briefly and someone steals a purse or reaches into one and steals keys, wallets, credit cards or cash.

Small children are especially susceptible. They can wander off, get lost, lock themselves in a trunk, climb onto a balcony, go with a stranger; you name it! Being vigilant at all times is vital; even in places where you’d least expect a problem like home or work.


There are pros and cons to living and working in well to do “safe” neighborhoods vs working class “inner city” locations. Older parts of town tend to have higher crime rates due to lower socio economic residents and types of businesses. You typically don’t drive through country club areas and see huge billboards for bail bonds or injury attorneys. Older locations tend to have older and outdated locks and security systems too. Many times crime rates are higher because of the ease involved in actually picking open or prying open cheap home or commercial lock hardware. Fort Lauderdale, FL is home to luxurious mansions as well as to mobile home parks and low rent areas.

Better neighborhoods also have their security drawbacks. Often a false sense of security arises from living with roving security, home alarm systems, manned gatehouses and high surrounding walls. It’s easy to assume that security is “taken care of” and not notice a stranger lurking behind a neighbor’s tree or a car that doesn’t have a visitor card on the windshield parked nearby. Plain and simple, you just can’t stop paying attention to your surroundings. Being aware of your neighborhood, workplace, coworkers and even customers is a huge part of living a more secure home and work life.


Home Lockouts

Have you had a break-in recently? This could spell trouble if you are not careful. Were you home at the time or were you out for the evening or on a trip? Think about it. Was someone aware that you were gone or is your daily routine so predictable that others know when you are in or out? If you were going to burglarize a home would YOU want the owners there? Of course not!

Be smart and take steps to bolster your home security. Start by rekeying your door locks. Even if forced entry was used in your break-in, having new keys adds peace of mind and an extra layer of protection. Rekeying your locks is simple, fast and very affordable. Here at Optimal Locksmith Pro we offer this service to our local customers often with same day appointments. Call for free price quotes and for additional details.

Rekeying your locks allows you to keep the same lock mechanisms as only the interior pins are altered so that new keys must be used. Now, all those spare keys that your kids, friends, neighbors, realtors, contractors and delivery men had copies of will no longer work.


Do you travel? Cruises and trips are fun and educational and are often part of the job. If people know you travel however, they can tell others and your home can become a target for vandalism, burglary or even arson. Optimal Locksmith Pro offers several ways to make your home better protected while you are away. Between security cameras, deadbolt additions, garage door locks and mailbox locks there are many ways in which you can bolster your home or business security while you are relaxing on beach somewhere!


Not every business needs security surveillance but high traffic and high cash commercial enterprises would do well to consider it. You wear many hats as a business owner so you have other duties besides being the “watchdog” and being on the lookout for employee theft, shoplifters or pilfering. Even having vigilant managers on hand often isn’t enough. Don’t let this concern you too much; there are dozens of affordable ways in which you can increase your commercial security without making your firm look like a federal prison and without any interruption of day to day business. Most established commercial locksmiths in Fort Lauderdale, FL will be able to help by providing consultation services, commercial safes, CCTV surveillance, panic bars, high security locks and other smart options.


Do you have valuables at home? We’re not talking about family photos or your child’s first grade plaster hand print. If you have real collectibles, cash or art at home it may be time to consider upgrading your home security system including alarms and lock hardware. Items worth stealing don’t have to hang in your great room either; your garage can contain expensive or rare vehicles, four wheelers, jet-ski’s, boats, motorcycles and even your gun cabinet. Don’t become paranoid but do consider paying a little more attention to your surroundings and how your property can viewed from the standpoint of a crook, kidnapper or thief. Optimal Locksmith Pro offers full service locksmith care for home, auto and business needs along with free, no obligation consultations where we can discuss any and all of the above points.


When you’re shopping for the right locks for your home, there seems to be an almost endless selection of various kinds of locks. The truth is, however, that overall, locksmith experts agree that deadbolts are your best bet.

Deadbolts are indeed typically viewed by most professional locksmiths as one of the safest and most secure ways to protect your place of residence. The reason they are called “dead” is because they lack springs to operate the bolt; in other words, a deadbolt is operated manually ~ with a thumbturn or a key.

Professional locksmiths recommend that you install deadbolts on all of your external doors. There are many types to choose from. The most common are jimmy-proof, single-cylinder, double-cylinder, and lockable thumbturn.

Home Lockouts

  • A jimmy-proof deadbolt is a surface-mount lock, most frequently found on double doors and at apartments. A surface-mount lock means that the lock screws into the inside of the door, rather than with a complex drill pattern, the way a regular deadbolt does. A jimmy-proof deadbolt is very popular, because of the minimal door modifications required. In this unique type of deadbolt lock, the deadbolt interlocks with the jamb bracket, which prevents it from being pulled apart easily or from being forced from the outside.

  • A single-cylinder deadbolt lock is what we usually imagine when we think of a deadbolt. It has a key cylinder on the outside, with a thumbturn on the inside to open or close it. These deadbolt locks are normally used on wooden or solid metal doors. The one disadvantage to this type of deadbolt is that if there’s any possible access to the inside (such as through a window nearby, or even through your peephole, which a professional thief can do using simple tools), then the door can be opened with the thumbturn.

  • A remedy for this challenge is to choose a double-cylinder deadbolt. This type has a key cylinder both on the inside of the door and on the outside. As a result, if it is locked, the double-cylinder always requires a key to open the door from the inside. It’s ideal if your door has any glass, or if your door has a window nearby, since it prevents an intruder from breaking the glass and reaching in to unlock the door. Its drawback is that it is a bad idea in case of fire. Therefore, if you choose to install this type of deadbolt at your home, you ought to always make sure that you leave a key on the inside whenever people are there, so that you’ll always be able to get out safely in an emergency.

  • The lockable thumbturn deadbolt lock is basically a blending of the single-cylinder and the double-cylinder deadbolt. It has a thumbturn on the inside, which works like a regular single-cylinder deadbolt, but it can be locked with a key, so that it cannot lock or unlock the door. This means that the thumbturn can be left in an unlocked position while people are inside your house, but it will operate exactly like a standard single-cylinder deadbolt. When you all go out, especially if it’s for an extended length of time, the thumbturn can be easily locked, so even if a burglar manages access to your door from the inside, the deadbolt cannot be unlocked. This is a kind of deadbolt that will definitely provide you with maximum flexibility and security.

In addition to these solid choices, there are also five more types of deadbolt locks that are often recommended by the experts: rim, vertical, mortise, keyless, and digital.

  • A rim deadbolt is a deadbolt lock that’s bolted to the inside face of the door. The good thing about this type of deadbolt is that it locks automatically behind you every time you shut the door. This way, you won’t ever forget to lock up.

  • A vertical deadbolt lock is bolted to the inside face of the door as well, but this kind is placed on top of the door, which makes it impossible for a potential robber to pry it open by placing a bar between the door and the frame, which someone can do in the case of some horizontal deadbolts. The vertical and rim deadbolt are both very easy to install. A minor drawback to both the rim deadbolt and the vertical deadbolt is that they are more bulky, and therefore not as attractive as conventional deadbolts.

  • A mortise deadbolt lock is an old-fashioned-style lock that you can install in a mortise or recess pocket, cut in the edge of the door, so that it cannot be easily tampered with. This kind of lock is tough; but one thing to keep in mind is that because you have to penetrate the door frame to make a rather large hole, it can slightly weaken the structure of the door itself.

  • A keyless deadbolt lock is also mounted on the inside of the door, but it has a keypad instead of a keyhole. Instead of using a key, you type in your own secret code. The advantage of this type of deadbolt is, of course, that you won’t need a key at all, so you won’t ever have to worry about losing your key or having it stolen. And, for optimized security, you can change your code every few months, or as often as you wish.

  • A digital deadbolt is much like a keyless deadbolt, because you have a keypad instead of a keyhole. What’s different here is that it requires batteries or electricity. Be sure to always keep the batteries charged in case of a power outage!

Before you can decide upon exactly the right deadbolt locks for your home’s needs, you ought to bring all your questions and concerns to a local professional trustworthy locksmith in Fort Lauderdale. If you live anywhere in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you may want to meet with a reliable mobile staff locksmith expert at Optimal Locksmith Pro, where free consultations are available.

What to Try If the Key Is Stuck In Your Car’s Ignition

Automotive Keys

When it comes to automotive security, you can usually trust the locks, keys and security features that came with your vehicle to be reliable and durable. These have been especially designed to provide its users with the best possible protection, but nothing is ever immune to damage. Even simple lock and key issues may cause a bit of trouble, and that is why automotive locksmiths such as Optimal Locksmith Pro are here to provide you with trusted help with all security-related matters.

A common issue automotive locksmiths in Fort Lauderdale, FL, attend to is assisting car owners with keys stuck in the ignition. It is something that can happen to anyone, at any given time, and some car owners may feel at loss of what to do when they encounter themselves in this predicament.

Even if you have never been in this situation, you could can probably imagine the frustration felt by those who have. Simply put, a key stuck in the ignition will make your vehicle inoperable. If your key gets stuck when the car is turned on, you won’t be able to turn it off or drive away; if it happens when the car is turned off, you may be stranded until the issue has been resolved. In either stuck key situation, locally-based locksmiths will be able to get to you, and help you out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We hope to ease the stress you may experience by providing you with all the information that you need to know about handling a key that is stuck in the ignition. Consider this your step-by-step guide to getting through this frustrating problem, no matter when you find yourself in this situation. Knowing in advance what to do, and what to expect, will prepare you in case you ever find yourself in a car with a jammed key.

So, let’s take a look at what you should do in this sticky situation.

Before you contact a locksmith, see if you can solve the issue yourself. Sometimes a stuck key can be released through some basic troubleshooting, other times key extractions and ignition cylinder replacements may be called for.

Emergency Locksmith

Here are some of the different steps to take prior to requesting automotive lock and key assistance.

Basic checks

There are situations where your key may get stuck while the car is turned on, or with the car turned off. So here is what to do in each individual situation:

If your car is turned on, you should:

  • Check the gears. If the car is in drive instead of park, it will not let you remove the key or turn the vehicle off.
  • Check the dashboard to see if it matches your gear lever’s transmission. Shift it back and forth to the correct one if needed, and see if you can extract they key then.
  • After these checks, try to bring the car back to park to see if the issue persists.

If your car is turned off, you should:

  • Check the key position. Aged cylinders can mean that your key becomes stuck.
  • Move the steering wheel back and forth while gently trying to remove key from lock position.
  • Check for a dead battery. A sure sign you may have a dead battery is that the dashboard has lit up. Dead batteries will lock the keys into the ignition as the car won’t be able to correctly identify the chip being inserted.
  • If you have some lube, try loosening the key with it and see if you can remove it then.

If none of these troubleshooting tips have helped, then it is definitely time to contact a locksmith.

While waiting for assistance

So you contacted a Fort Lauderdale, FL, professional and told them the issues you are faced with. You can expect the assistance from a locally-based automotive locksmith to be quick and easily accessible. They will always try to get to customers as soon they possibly can, but while you are waiting we recommend that you do the following:

  • Make sure key is kept in lock position to avoid battery drainage
  • Use a spare key to manually lock the vehicle if required

Hiring a licensed and insured locksmith is always the best resort for lock and key issues, as it will save you time and money. Especially when it comes to handling keys stuck in the ignition, automotive locksmiths will promptly tend to all issues and will save you the hassle of getting your car towed into an expensive mechanical garage.

What to expect from your automotive locksmith

When the locksmith arrives, they will fully inspect the issue at hand. An automotive locksmith will go through all the common troubleshooting techniques, paying attention to batteries, dashboards, or any signs of damage. This will enable them to provide you with a full diagnosis of the problem.

Sometimes all they will have to do is extract your key for you. Other times, they may need to replace a worn out or damaged ignition cylinder, or provide a fix for a faulty component. Regardless, a reliable locksmith service provider in Fort Lauderdale, FL, will have all the tools and components on hand to readily perform any required fixes.

Before they begin the repairs though, you can request them to explain exactly what they will do and a full price quote to go along with their services. Reputable locksmith businesses will provide consultations and price quotes at no cost to their customers.

Remember, locksmiths are on-call to handle urgent matters 24/7, so you should be able to get assistance from them any time of the day. In order to be fully prepared for anything that comes your way, keep the contact details of your trusted locksmith service provider in an easy to access place so that you can get help the moment you experience an issue.

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