Do You Have to Worry About Someone Hacking Your Security System?

Do You Have to Worry About Someone Hacking Your Security System?

In Georgia, your chances of being a victim of a property crime are 1 in 42. In Atlanta specifically, those numbers are nearly doubled- 1 in 22. In a city where property crimes rank above average, having a security system is critical for keeping your belongings and your family safe.

But, if you have a security system, do you need to worry about it being hacked?

Most new home security technology is wireless and offers homeowners a variety of benefits. For example, you can access your cameras remotely, arm or disarm your system from your smartphone, and even lock or unlock your doors with the touch of a button. However, this type of wireless technology does have its drawbacks. Wireless security systems use radio waves to access your home's wireless internet, making your system susceptible to hacking.

If you're worried about hackers attacking your home security system, the good news is there are several ways to protect yourself. In this blog, we'll discuss:

  • How to identify when your security system has been hacked
  • The potential ways a hacker can gain access to your home security systems
  • Safeguards you can use to prevent hackers from accessing your security system

If you take the appropriate steps to protect your home's internet service, your passwords, and your security system, you should have little to worry about.

The city of Atlanta has trusted the experts at Ackerman Security for nearly 50 years. Protect your family with the most secure alarm technology available. Call Ackerman Security at 800.552.1111 or schedule your instant security quote online today.

How to identify when your security system has been hacked

Before we get into prevention methods, you must understand how to tell if your security system has been hacked. That way, you can take the appropriate action when you need to.

Here are five tell tale ways to find out if someone has gained access to your security system:

  • Your security cameras are repositioned or rotating abnormally.

If you notice your security cameras are moved, pointing in a different direction than usual, or are tracking your movements differently than originally configured, your system may have been hacked.

  • You notice unusual login activity.

Most apps and websites keep a history of when and where you log into them. Many security systems do as well. It's likely that you are logged into your app all the time, so you may never check your login history, but unusual or unrecognized logins are good indicators that someone could be accessing your security system.

  • Your login credentials aren't working.

Often, when a hacker gains access to your security system, they will change your login credentials. If you try to login and cannot access your system, someone else may have taken over your account. Also, keep an eye out for suspicious or unprompted password reset emails.

  • You hear strange sounds or voices coming from your security system speakers.

If a stranger has gained access to your system and they have not muted the microphones on any components with 2-way speakers, you may hear noises or voices coming from the speaker. This is likely one of the most obvious signs that your system has been hacked and requires immediate attention.

  • You're having issues with other smart devices in your home.

If a hacker has gotten access to your security system, they may be able to control other connected devices in your home. These can include appliances, thermostats, or your entertainment system. So, if you notice these other devices behaving strangely, there is a good chance you've been hacked.

How hackers can gain access to your home security system

If you understand how hacks can happen, you'll be better prepared to prevent them. It's a little unsettling to know that a hacker can gain access to security cameras, but they can also get into your security system. Here's how they can get in:

  • Brute-Force Attacks

In a brute-force attack, a hacker can simply guess your username and password manually or with a computer algorithm. This is especially easy if you use simple or weak passwords like "abc123" or the same username and password across multiple sites.

  • Phishing

Phishing is when a hacker sends you a fraudulent email or a link that entices you to log in or click on it. Clicking on the phishing links can initiate the download of malicious software that can gain access to your personal information stored on your computer, device, or security system. This can include financial information, access codes, cameras, operating systems, and applications.

With some links, they may redirect you to a website to log in. This website will usually look legitimate and similar to a site you'd usually use, but you may see a web address that is foreign (in the address bar) or some other small details on the page that appear different. When you enter your login credentials on this fake site, the hackers record your keystrokes and obtain your login information.

  • Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

This type of attack happens when a hacker intercepts data that is sent on your network. When the hacker is in your system, they are "listening" for you to input a username or password (or both). Once you do, they record it and steal it. In most cases, neither you nor the person receiving the data will know the hacker is there.

How you can prevent hackers from accessing your security system

There are several steps you can take to protect the alarm system that protects your home. But, before you jump to the more complicated fixes, remember the basics. Be mindful and don't forget these simple security tasks:

  • Always lock your doors and windows
  • Make sure you know who has access (keys or codes) to your home
  • Don't leave your valuables in plain sight
  • Keep the interior and exterior of your home well-lit for visibility
  • Don't announce your travel plans online or on social media so people know when you're not home
  • Get to know your neighbors and keep an eye out for each other

Outside of the basic home security tips, here are 3 simple ways to keep your system protected from hackers:

  • Use a unique, safe password.

Many of us use the same usernames and passwords for multiple logins because they're easy to remember. However, for important access points like your security system, your cameras, or your alarm monitoring account, create unique usernames and more challenging passwords. You can also diversify your PIN numbers and access codes for each part of your security system (like the cameras, the control panel, and the website) to enhance security.

Also, be sure to only share your security system credentials with people you trust, keep your login details in a safe place, and make sure you change your credentials periodically.

Pro tip: Most experts recommend changing your login information once every 3 months.

  • Ensure your system is encrypted.

If you have a wireless network or wireless security system and accessories, encryption is a must for each system, along with your WiFi router itself. Encryption is a way of scrambling data so it can only be read and understood by the appropriate parties. In other words, encryption takes plain text and makes it appear random so it is more difficult to decode or crack. This can slow down a hacker whether they are trying to access your security system manually or with an automated software system.

  • Protect ALL of your wireless devices.

As technology advances, many more devices in your home are becoming wireless. Many devices come with a phone app to control their features and those apps come with login access points. When hackers gain access to your credentials and personal information in data breaches and leaks, they can identify if you are using the same (or similar) login information in more than one place. This includes your automated locks, window and door sensors, surveillance cameras, garage doors, smart TVs, automated thermostats, and even your WiFi connected appliances. Be sure to keep your passwords as unique as possible for all devices.

When you install or upgrade your home security system, choose a system that keeps itself as safe as it keeps you.

Ackerman Security is Atlanta's best and most trusted home security company. We have the latest, safest, and most secure home security technology on the market and we'll help protect the things that matter the most. Call 800.552.1111 to speak with an expert or schedule your free instant security quote online today.