Hacking, privacy and data theft are all hot topics in our day and age, especially when it involves our personal belongings. As a matter of fact, did you know that it’s not only your computer that can fall victim to a virtual attack? Independent researchers have tested several home security systems and have come to the shocking conclusion that the wireless signal most base stations use is rooted in outdated technology, full of security holes just waiting to be exploited. The results beg the question, can your alarm system be protected by encryption?
Why Is Encryption so Important?
Homeowners tend to overlook the necessity of protecting the wireless signal of their home security and home automation system. From a laymen’s perspective, a cellular connection is flawless: the installation is convenient since the alarms can be placed anywhere due to their wireless nature; the system cannot be sabotaged by cutting the cords, and the transmission cannot be tampered with. Unfortunately, however, that last part isn’t true.
Without properly encrypting the connection none of these protective measures matter, as criminals are able to circumvent the equipment remotely and effectively disarm all the expensive alarms before even setting foot in the property. And the worst part is that it’s not even necessary to invest in expensive devices just to intercept the signal. On the other hand, experience in technical details is still necessary to crack the defenses.
Home Security Companies Are Part of the Problem
As it stands now, most home security companies – including bigger ones such as SimpliSafe – don’t offer proper encryption with their alarm system. This wouldn’t be much of an issue – there is always room for improvement – so long as they were open about it. Unfortunately, many companies either don’t speak about the such security vulnerabilities or sidestep the question completely.
When asked in an official forum whether they support encryption, a SimpliSafe representative dodged the bullet by stating “they use a proprietary protocol and each device is keyed to the Base Station in a unique fashion”. It’s important to highlight that ‘proprietary protocol’ and ‘unique keying’ doesn’t equal encryption. It’s a simple way of saying that the connection between the base station and the alarms is different in each household.
The Future Lies in Encryption
Home security companies seem to be stuck in the past when it comes to software. Their efforts in pushing the boundaries of hardware and providing feature-rich alarm systems is admirable, but it won’t change the fact that they must step up their game to properly offer a level of protection that their customers deserve. Armorax is among the few who implement encryption into their base station, and it would serve the benefit of everyone if others followed this example.
Until companies decide to put more emphasis on updating their software, the only means of protecting your home from hackers is by deploying a VPN. Setting stronger passwords for your home security system isn’t good enough, as breaches will target weak points in the wireless signal in order to gain access. A VPN, on the other hand, offers military-grade encryption that can be trusted and will result in the home security system being covered by the safety net when applied to the router.
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