Hacking vs. Smash & Grab – How safe is a smart home

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 by under Cyber Security/Hacking, IoT (Internet of Things), Monitoring, Security, Smart Home

When an intruder is casing a house, do you think they’re trying to hack remotely into your security system? Probably not. Most often, if a burglar is casing a house, they’re knocking on your front door.

There have been a lot of people voicing their concerns about just how “secure” smart home devices are. With so much coverage in the news – and larger companies getting hacked – there are growing concerns regarding Internet-of-Things (IoT) device security.

There are many vulnerable points where a hacker or malicious person could take personal information and use it to steal your identity or try to empty your bank accounts. But usually the easiest way people are going to get into your house has nothing to do with hacking.

Hacking types of intrusions are much more of a long-term goal for a would-be criminal. Home theft isn’t as sensational as movies and TV shows would have you believe. You aren’t going to see people “wardriving” on your street to hack your home’s Wi-Fi, steal your security system’s pin number and then wait until you’re gone to break into your house and steal your valuables.

Unfortunately, if someone wants to break into your house, all they need is a crowbar, a brick, a bump-key or a little bit of luck. For instance, if you left a window open or a door unlocked, that’s an easy access point. Left a key under your doormat for the babysitter? The thieves that used it might even put the key back after they’ve ransacked your house. In 2010, 60% of break-ins occurred through forced entry, another 33% entered without using force (open windows, doors, hidden keys, etc.), and the remaining 6% of burglaries were attempts to forcibly enter that failed. It’s much easier to smash a window or kick open a door, grab what you can and leave than try to go through an elaborate scheme to unlock the doors using the weakness in a networked device.

In the grand scheme of things, device and Wi-Fi security is absolutely important. Don’t be lax about locking down your network and mobile devices. But when you’re talking about burglars stealing from your home, it’s not that sophisticated or rampant of a problem.

The #1 recommended solution is to have a home security system installed that alerts a central monitoring station. If someone breaks into your home that has a monitored alarm, the central station will notify the local authorities.

Thieves are much less likely to break into a home that has a security system, especially one that has signs and stickers indicating the home is protected.

Here are some great tips that Vector Security has already covered regarding how to keep your house key out of criminal’s hands, keeping your vacation plans off social media, and a home security checklist to ensure your home as the best chance to protect against would-be intruders.

What are your thoughts about the safety of smart homes? Share your comments below!

   

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