As we find ourselves getting busier and busier, our home security needs may expand into home automation. Beyond a security system that alerts you to a home invasion or fire, adding on devices like automatic lights, indoor and outdoor cameras, thermostat controls, and smart locks can not only help you and your family feel safer but also more comfortable. This kind of automation makes life more convenient and can even save you money, such as in electricity costs.
But does this kind of automation make you more vulnerable to hackers? We’ve all heard the stories of cameras in the home being overtaken. How do you prevent the same thing from happening to you? To help ensure your home security system is protected, this article will guide you through steps to secure your smart home technology.
Understanding a Wireless Security System
First, let’s take a moment to understand the difference between a wired and wireless security system. Both types of systems have their advantages. Wired systems are exactly what they sound like – your system is connected by wires, which can be expensive to install and often difficult to hide, but you’re less likely to be susceptible to hackers.
A wireless system, on the other hand, uses radio waves to communicate between your control panel, sensors, and cameras. It also allows you to control your entire system from an app on your phone or another device. However, those radio signals can be interfered with, manipulated, or even tampered with.
Five Ways to Protect Your Router From Being Hacked
As a consumer, there are a few things you can do with your Wi-Fi router to ensure your devices are secure and safe from potential hackers – which is incredibly important because your router is the most likely place a hacker will target.
Below we’ll look at five ways in which you can protect your router, including:
Use secure passwords
Double-check security settings
Disable features you don’t use
Use Secure Passwords
Like anything else, your Wi-Fi network should be password-protected, and you should make sure that password is strong and effective. You should also change your password from the default password your router came with.
You can take security a step further by making sure your security devices each have their own passwords, changing those passwords from time to time, and only sharing passwords with those you absolutely trust.
Make sure that your Wi-Fi router – and all of your devices – are set up to enable encryption. What is encryption? It’s a security feature that uses coding signals only your authorized devices can read.
Firmware is pushed out by hardware makers as a response to new malware and other hacking techniques. When this technology is sent out by the company, your router will need to update. If possible, set your router to update automatically.
If that isn’t an option, the new software will be available on the manufacturer’s website. Add visiting the manufacturer’s website every so often to your to-do list.
Check the Security Settings
Most routers come with WPA2 settings now. WPA2 is the industry-standard security setting and goes much further than the old WEP or WPA. WPA3 was recently released and some – but very few – routers currently have the WPA3 option.
However, if WPA3 is an option, use it. If not, make sure it’s set to WPA2. If WEP or WPS is the only option, it’s in your best interest to get a new router.
Turn Off Features You Don’t Use
Most routers now have a remote access feature called Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) turned on as a default setting. UPnP has a history of being problematic as an entry point for hackers, so unless you are actively using it for something, make sure it’s turned off.
Four Ways to Protect Your Cameras From Being Hacked
DIY camera installation can also open you up to hackers taking over your cameras and seeing what is in your home when someone is home and more. Below are four ways to protect your cameras:
Use an app-based camera system: First and foremost, it is a bad idea to install cameras and connect them to your home Wi-Fi. Experts recommend using an app-based camera system because the risk of getting hacked is low.
Update firmware: Continue to install updates as they are released.
Change the default password: You definitely want to change any default password provided with the camera to something strong (and it’s an even better idea if you make sure it is different from your router password).
Enable two-factor authentication: When you use this feature, you will receive a one-time passcode that you will enter along with your username and that strong password to log in. Why take this step? A hacker might be able to guess your password, but without that code, they are out of luck.
ADT’s cameras use WPA2. This is the industry-recognized method to keep your wireless communications private and limit access to your wireless network. Our ADT Pulse video is encrypted from end to end, and no one in our monitoring centers can access your video.
Ensure Your Smart Locks Are Protected From Being Hacked
Smart locks are a great way to make life easier. You can set them to lock automatically after a set period of time and give each family member – or a contractor who needs access to inside your home – their own key combination, so you know who is coming in and out and when. Keeping them secure, however, is a must. Your password security will be the most important way to keep your locks protected. Having a longer and more difficult password keeps potential hackers out of your system.
Additionally, ADT’s smart locks use 128-bit AES encryption. AES encryption is the standard encryption used by the U.S. government as well as most private sector businesses around the globe. Our locks also include smart key technology, allowing you to rekey your locks easily when you need to.
Eight Additional Ways to Protect Your Devices
There are a few additional steps you can take when adding a wireless device to your home.
Register new devices with the manufacturer. This will help when they need to push out new software to protect vulnerabilities.
Set your permissions on each device. Most come with default settings that allow just about anything and everything. You want to look and ensure you are only sharing the data you are comfortable with.
Have a professional do the installation. Let someone who knows what they are doing install your devices properly, answer any questions you have, and teach you to properly use the technology. ADT has the largest sales, installation, and service field force. The average length of time our installers and technicians have been with us is over nine years – meaning they have the expert experience and knowledge to make sure the job is done right.
Watch out for devices that are always on. Devices that wait in a state of readiness are often used by hackers to find their foot in the door. You can change the settings on these devices to either turn them off or restrict what they are doing.
Consider a dedicated network for devices. Hackers will use devices to get into other parts of your network. If you have a separate network for your devices, you can protect other parts of your life.
Unplug what you aren’t using. Whether it’s a vacation or a business trip, when you leave town, unplugging things you won’t use makes them disappear from your system and means hackers can’t find or use them to get inside.
Keep some rooms smart device-free. Consider where privacy is most important to you and your family and keep devices out of those rooms. Maybe it is your bedroom or your child’s bedroom. The best way to protect your privacy is to not invite a problem in.
Reset before saying goodbye. If you decide a device isn’t for you, don’t just sell it or throw it away. Make sure you reset it to factory settings. This will prevent someone from finding your information on the device and potentially communicating with other devices still in your home.
Three Ways ADT Prevents Hacking
You aren’t alone in your mission to keep your system and data safe. ADT has spent 145 years earning your trust, and when it comes to the ever-changing world of remote security, we are taking important steps to ensure the integrity of your system.
Protecting the App
The ADT Mobile App will not work on “rooted” or “jailbroken” devices. That means phones or devices where you have gained access to the operating system code, which allows you to modify software or install software that you wouldn’t normally be able to install. By recognizing these devices and not allowing the app to work, we are able to reduce the impact of malware, viruses, and spyware.
The ADT Command system uses the latest in two-way radio frequency encryption technology with all six compatible devices. All of our smart devices work on Z-Wave technology, which is a wireless radio frequency that allows your home devices to talk to each other and to you. It’s what makes a smart home … smart. In addition to the steps you can take to protect those devices, ADT uses this two-way encryption to keep hackers out of your system.
Virtual Assistant Integration
ADT takes home integration a step further with Amazon’s Alexa. Using Alexa and your smart devices, you can give commands to turn lights on and off, set the temperature, turn an alarm on or off, and lock doors. Alexa can even guard your house while you’re away – monitoring for smoke, carbon monoxide, and the sound of glass breaking – and sending ADT an alert when something is wrong.
If you do choose to use a virtual assistant as part of your security system, ADT uses voice codes and automatic disconnects to keep you safe from hacking. When you set up your connection to ADT, you will be required to set up a voice code. Alexa will need to hear that code to perform the given command.
As an additional step toward security, we recommend making this code different from codes you might use with your panel or app. If an incorrect code is given three consecutive times (even over the course of a few days), ADT will automatically disconnect from your Alexa account and no longer recognize ADT commands.
Protecting Against the Possible
Hackers are always working to find new, sneaky ways into Wi-Fi systems. As an added protection against possible hacking and subsequent identity theft, you may want to consider identity theft protection. When hackers are able to get your personal information, dealing with identity theft and credit card fraud is stressful, time-consuming, and expensive.
ADT offers additional identity theft protection plans. Our plans put our 24/7 monitoring to use by watching the dark web, your credit reports, changes of address, and other places your identity might be stolen. If our people see something that isn’t right, we send you an immediate alert. You are also able to monitor all activity and reports through an online dashboard, and you will receive an annual credit report.
If identity theft does happen to you – we will work with you to make it right again. We offer 24/7 access to our fraud resolution experts to help you resolve all the issues associated with identity theft. ADT also offers up to $1 million in identity theft expense reimbursement.
Keeping Hackers Out Together
Whatever level of security and lifestyle system you are looking to put in your home, ADT can help with a customized package designed to protect your home in a way that works for you and your budget.
From our network of professional installers to our 24/7 monitoring centers, our people are committed to helping you and your data stay safe. Our customers know that when they partner with ADT, we work to make their home convenient, comfortable, and safe – from burglars and hackers alike.