Smart home security is efficient and reliable. So why are many household still opting out? Aside from the obvious up-front cost (in most instances), there is a serious issue on security. Security research engineer Colby Moore warns that the state of security on many Internet-connected devices is “pretty atrocious.” A recent study by cybersecurity provider Synack found that only one in 16 home automation has reliable security measures.

Before getting smart surveillance cameras or thermostats, you need to at least understand the basics of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its role in home security.

Forbes magazine offers a simple definition of IoT: “This is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other).” IoT is running almost every aspect of our lives, from how we work to how we secure our homes. Like any other system, however, it is not without flaws. You may have heard of the cyber attacks in Wall Street and central banks, resulting to massive loss of money and data.

As the world gets smarter, so do criminals. Home burglars don’t need to use force to break into homes. A few codes can create security flaws that will open your door to anybody at anytime. Smart home hacking is easier than you think, thus the need exert serious effort to ensure there are no loopholes in your system.

Passwords are not forever

Your Smart Home Security Can Be Easily Hacked When You Don't Know Anything About IoT

Explore steps to keep your smart home from being hacked. First, let’s talk about passwords. Your email provider recommends (and some even require) that you change your password every 60 or 90 days. As soon as you install your alarm system, change the default password right away. But how often should you change your password? Researchers at Carleton University say that changing passwords regularly only hampers attacks. This is because thinking of unique and strong passwords is not an easy task. Asking people to do such a tough job will lead to weak results, or weak passwords, for that matter.

Password security expert Mark Burnett recommends, “Six months to a year will result in a better experience for users and allow for stronger passwords.”

Smart Home Security at your Fingertips

Your Smart Home Security Can Be Easily Hacked When You Don't Know Anything About IoT

Some sophisticated thieves have tools to decrypt hashed passwords. It’s one thing to have hackers snoop in your emails, it’s another to have armed criminals entering your kids’ bedroom. Biometrics is a smart home technology that uses fingerprints, the eye’s retina or other distinguishing biological traits to identify individuals. There are Honeywell security system products capable of mapping 3,000 fingerprints in one second and others that capture a three-dimensional image of the hand.

Fight system vulnerability. Update your software.

Think of your alarm system as one of your computers that need software updates once in a while. The task is a lot easier if your products run on the Internet as updates and upgrades may be done online. Software updates are your safety net from new hacking tactics. This goes without saying that you should choose reliable manufacturers. They should be alert on new hacking methods, viruses and bugs and loopholes in their own systems. The next question is how to identify these reliable manufacturers from the long list of options in the market. Synack’s Colby Moore recommended buying smart home devices “that are well established in the marketplace” and backed by “a real company who takes security seriously.”

The next question is how to identify a reliable manufacturer.

Take heed of customer reviews

There are many ways on how smart homes can be hacked. Decrypting passwords is one. Criminals are continuously finding ways to exploit the IoT to execute their evil schemes. Protect yourself. In shopping for smart home products, allot time for your research. Before walking into a security system store, check out products online and reviews from customers. Know the ease or difficulty of installing a particular item, its usability, and the responsiveness of the manufacturer/distributor on customer queries.

Deal only with real companies that take security seriously.

Set notifications through your handheld devices

Your Smart Home Security Can Be Easily Hacked When You Don't Know Anything About IoT

New home security devices are not confined to deterring crimes and assisting in post-crime investigations. These can now alert people as an intruder attacks. Notifications can be received via mobile phones and other gadgets, allowing one to seek police assistance at the most opportune time. You can also set alerts when your security devices are disconnected from the wireless network. DSC Security products are powered with such notification feature.

Discover the many advantages of smart security products

Your Smart Home Security Can Be Easily Hacked When You Don't Know Anything About IoT

Smart home security is not only for convenience. In the long term, it’s also a cheaper option compared to traditional security systems. There are companies that offer various payment plans—a one-time charge, a monthly recurring fee or a cheaper combination of both. Fees are inclusive of the devices, software and even upgrades.

Newer innovations are geared towards green technologies. Not only is this good for the environment, it’ll also be advantageous for your finances. There are energy-efficient Honeywell security products such as lights and thermostats that only activate when needed. You can adjust thermostats to economical settings and install porch lights that adjust to daylight saving time. DSC security systems also use these green technologies.

Installing a dependable home security system can lower your home insurance by up to 20%. Sean Meehan, a vice president at Connecticut-based Travelers Insurance, says: “Mitigating loss is a big part of who we are and what we do.” As all other insurers, Travelers Insurance aspire to prevent claims which lowers premiums in the long term.

Do you know that nearly 75% of residential burglary are prevented because of an installed alarm system? The data, released by the Alarm Industry Research & Educational Foundation, underlines the importance of setting up preventative measures at home.

Another compelling reason is the non-monetary damage of break-ins. A recent UK study found that it takes an average of eight months for burglary victims to regain peace of mind. Break-ins are traumatizing that 10% of victims move out of the house after an incident. Tom Moss of Allianz Insurance said: “We urge homeowners to act now and improve their home security to help prevent a break-in which could have significant effect on their mental wellbeing.”

A home security system is a necessity whether Internet-connected or not.