Find out how hackers can turn even the best home security system against you with a cheap piece of hardware.
In this article:
How Safe Is Your Home Security System Against Hackers?
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Can Your Security System Be Hacked And Used To Spy On You?
Can you trust the home security system you have? Turns out, you really can't.
Recently, I switched security systems in my home. I quickly switched back when I felt the company controlling my home security system didn't have my best interest in mind.
Little did I know it wasn't them I had to worry about!
I have what was supposed to be the cutting edge of security systems for homes. I can control my alarm from my phone.
Also, I can turn lights on and off. I can even control my air-conditioned unit if I am feeling too lazy to get out of bed and change the temperature manually.
This high-tech security camera systems should protect my home and my family. I should feel safe knowing that should anyone enter my home without my permission, both the police and I will be notified.
Does it make any sense my entire security system can be compromised by a single $10 piece of equipment which can be bought on amazon.com?
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How Hackers Can Spy On You
He was able to play around with an ADT system thanks to the graciousness of his girlfriend’s father, who had one at home. The different vendors’ products all had the same problem: legacy wireless communications from the 90s that failed to encrypt or authenticate signals.
He could pick up the signals being sent from sensors on windows and doors to the main control system using a cheap SDR, meaning he could see transmissions from sensors—which are sent even when the system is unarmed—and track when people were opening and closing windows and doors.
With a more sophisticated SDR, he could interfere with transmissions, setting the alarm off falsely by telling it doors were opening when they weren’t or jamming the system so that it wouldn’t go off, even if doors did open. He could do this from 65 to 250 yards away—basically a house over.
Using his methods, a would-be tech-savvy thief could suppress an alarm while going in and out with your stuff; a prankster neighbor could set your alarm off, or someone could monitor when you’re active at the house. At the very least, someone with an SDR could determine based on signals being sent whether you actually have an alarm system, or have just planted a “Protected by ADT” sign in your front yard.
What is SDR? SDR stands for software-defined radio. It is a radio communication system wherein software takes over the tasks of the hardware.
What Can We Do?
We now know, more cameras and surveillance systems do not translate to a more secure place. Even some of the most high-tech and top home security system are susceptible to hacking.
There's a saying, “Love many but trust few”, which is perfect when it comes to your security. Be reasonably annoying towards your home security system provider and ask questions.
Take advantage of the competition in business. Look for home security system providers with your best interest at heart–who are one step ahead of potential hackers.
In this video, marketplace reveals how hacker uses technology to spy your home and family courtesy of CBC News:
How secure do you feel about your home security system now? Your guess is as good as mine.
Do you think we can still trust home security systems with cameras? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on August 4, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy
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