Patching the Holes 7 Common Home Security Weaknesses

Patching the Holes: 7 Common Home Security Weaknesses

A home is more than just a place where we lay our heads at night. A home is our castle, a place where we feel safe and secure, our loved ones and possessions free from the threats that some outsiders present.

To ensure safety for a home and everything inside, there needs to be attention paid to security. The security required can be as simple as a change in mindset or as elaborate as a new set of locks now at Action Lock Doc. This article will provide the specifics to make your castle safer than it ever was.

Greater Awareness

Making your home safer doesn’t necessarily cost a lot of money. Instead, all it takes is a greater awareness of what makes a home secure. It’s a matter of realizing that it is a matter of “better safe than sorry.” That’s a good philosophy when it comes to home safety. A homeowner should be constantly aware of all potential weaknesses in the security of their premises.

Opting for Cheap

When it comes to home security, there’s no reason for spending more money than is needed. On the other hand, a homeowner should not buy products just because they are less expensive. Being serious about the safety of your home means purchasing the right products for the correct uses. This often means buying name brands that you trust.

Skimping on Installation

Even when they buy good products, many homeowners try to save money by installing them themselves. This is another grave mistake that can jeopardize safety. Unless you are handy with tools and know something about how products are installed correctly, let a professional handle it. A qualified professional knows how to install a product in a manner that maximizes its potential for security. This means things like not allowing hinges to show, which can be an invitation to disaster.

Not Investing in Smart Security

This is an age in which all things security can be amazingly complex. The gadgets that have been made available to help make homes secure have made homes much more secure than in years past. Products such as video doorbells, smart cameras, smoke and motion detectors allow us to have safer homes and allow us to monitor our homes from almost anywhere. In the event of an unauthorized entry, police or fire can be notified with little or no action from the homeowner.

Lax Maintenance

Even the best home security systems can fall victim to the ravages of time and poor maintenance. It doesn’t matter whether you have an analog system or a smart system. Periodic maintenance must be performed to ensure that it is operating optimally. In most cases, good maintenance is usually nothing more than tests or routine cleaning from time to time.

Choosing Not to Upgrade

When security systems get old, not only do they become less reliable, but thieves learn how best to breach them. Otherwise, new systems are the most effective way to foil a thief since they are probably unfamiliar with it. By upgrading a security system, a homeowner sets the bad guys back and makes their systems even stronger.

A homeowner should always be vigilant for their home’s security, it’s strengths as well as its weaknesses. Good security of a home might be more expensive than the alternative, but what price is your home and family’s safety and security worth?

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

Explaining Technology Security to Parents

IMG_4938-editAs a parent in this Internet of Things (IoT) age we have to find a balance with allowing technology in our homes and protecting our kids from the dangers of being connected online 24/7. A new series of blog posts I will be writing about here at St. Louis Dad will be all about security and how it relates to technology and parenting.

With everything being connected to the Internet it is important to understand the potential risks involved with being connected 24/7 with the devices you and your children use everyday.

Each post will highlight a particular technology and will hopefully be explained in plain English for any parent to be able to understand how that technology works and why it is important to know about it. I will be providing tips on how you can keep your devices secure and functioning to their full potential. This will not be a fear based series of posts, but more along the lines of an informative and example based type of post. While it may seem scary, fear not as the topics are important and are more for education rather than trying to get you to throw out your gadgets.

There will be some new terminology that you may not be aware of. Don’t get yourself frustrated over complicated terminology. Some of those words will be defined in each post as I continue on with this series. At the end of each post will be a list of words that will be clearly defined.

The first topic that I will be discussing in my next post in this series will be about PII and what can be considered PII. What is important for many parents to know is that their child’s personal identifiable information is worth more to a hacker or scammer than an adults. This is because the info is new and the kids are young. So before they even know what a credit card is they could already be signed up for 15 cards by a hacker. A 9 year old isn’t going to know to check their credit report for fraudulent activity. So the hacker gets away with it for much longer than say if it were yours or my info.

So I will be getting into topics such as this and will expand in them as much as possible. I think the information could be helpful and if you have any particular topics or questions you would like me to field then just drop a comment below.

Finally, before I get to your parental homework (it’s easy, I swear)… Let me mention one more thing that I feel involves not only your children’s security but also your own. Congress is working towards modifying Rule 41 to allow local law enforcement to “hack” into your computer legally. This will have a huge negative impact on many technology applications and devices we all love and use everyday. We need to be sure to stand together and make sure congress knows that we will not stand for this. We need to stop the modification of Rule 41 and EFF.org has a few ideas on how you can help.

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has pointed out some of the biggest issues with modifying Rule 41. Here are the biggest takeaways.

  • Government agents hacking into computers more frequently is a recipe for disaster. Law enforcement will increase their exploitation of security vulnerabilities in common software products, meaning vulnerabilities that could affect millions will be left open instead of patched.
  • Law enforcement will forum shop, finding government-friendly magistrate judges to sign off on warrants with a loose connection to the judicial district.
  • Law enforcement will pressure judges to sign off on remote searches of thousands of computers with a single warrant—a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment and a pattern we’re already seeing.

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Parent’s Homework

Definition of PII
PII (Personally Identifiable Information) – or Sensitive Personal Information (SPI), as used in US privacy law and information security, is information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact, or locate a single person, or to identify an individual in context. PII can be sensitive or non-sensitive. Non-sensitive PII is information that can be transmitted in an unencrypted form without resulting in harm to the individual. Non-sensitive PII can be easily gathered from public records, phone books, corporate directories and websites.

Sensitive PII is information which, when disclosed, could result in harm to the person whose privacy has been breached. Sensitive PII should therefore be encrypted in transit and when data is at rest. Such information includes biometric information, medical information, personally identifiable financial information (PIFI) and unique identifiers such as passport or Social Security numbers.

Take a look around your computer, if you search your social in your computers local search box will you find it? How about health records or any other PII type of data? Do a few local searches so you can feel comfortable looking up this information on your computer. When I say search, do not search Google or Bing. Use your local search box. Don’t know where to find it? Just hold tight and I will cover all things PII in my next post.

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Definition of Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. “If one thing can prevent the Internet of things from transforming the way we live and work, it will be a breakdown in security”.

Think of anything that has access to the Internet or cloud for it to function. Your SmartTV, Amazon Echo, a Nest thermostat. Devices like that are all considered Internt of Things. These devices are our future and IoT will only be included more and more. A consumers we need to demand security on these devices. Real security and not a plain text password.

Extra Credit: Know Your Apps
Your child may have hundreds of apps on their phone. You may not have heard of any of them, but you should. There are some apps that have hidden features that could potentially enable your child to hide data from you. Take some time to go through your child’s device and write down all of the apps that have been installed or better yet purchased. Some apps that may have been installed may not longer be on the device, but they are still tied to an account, so knowing what has been installed along with what is installed will be super helpful as I continue this series.