Security and On/Off Wi-Fi

We’re seeing more Ring doorbells. They offer you the ability to monitor your door from anywhere through the internet and your Wi-Fi network. But some clients have told us they don’t want their network on at all times because of radio frequency waves.

We don’t share some people’s concerns about damage from radio waves. We carry cell phones in our pockets and hold them up to our ears. We can reduce our exposure to radio waves by using a headset, but nearly everyone uses a Bluetooth device, which operates on…right.

Despite a majority of scientific studies that radio waves from cell phones pose no danger to most people, some like to avoid them wherever possible. And those avoidance steps include shutting off Wi-Fi systems – routers and boosters within a home – for periods of time.

Personally, we believe that defeats the purpose of having a security device, such as Ring, which can record and store images of anyone coming to your door, even if they don’t ring the bell. But your Wi-Fi has to be on, or else you can’t identify a threat to your home.

The issue of no internet or Wi-Fi was brought home to us this past summer with 10 days left on our vacation. We saw that Ring alerts had stopped – because our internet service was down. We were able to contact Verizon while in Europe, and they were able to restore our service as soon as we got home. But during the time it was out, we lost part of our security protection. (For the record, our service was knocked out by a squirrel.) That being said, we can help you set up a program to automatically control the operating times of your Wi-Fi network. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to discuss all the pros, cons and options.

Unsecure Security Cameras

As more businesses and homes add security cameras to monitor their premises, hackers are enjoying the view, too. While camera manufacturers can and should secure the backdoors to their systems, there are also steps you can take to protect your property.

We’re seeing an uptick in security camera systems being hacked, and one recent incident involved one of our retail clients and a newly installed system. Surveillance makes a lot of sense for retailers, especially if a camera image can help identify thieves. However, surveillance can also tip off potential thieves about the location of targeted goods to steal and camera blind spots, and sometimes your security system manufacturer leaves a back door open for Peeping Toms.

We discovered this possibility while working with a retail client. Both of us were surprised when a new system was hacked, and we had to pull a lot of information from our client when we responded to a call that the cameras weren’t working. We checked the system and found that not only had they lost their network, they also had some weird, out-of-character names for firmware and software upgrades.

We restored the network and the camera system, but it went out again the next day. We asked about changing camera-system names, and decided to call the manufacturer. In our conversations, we learned that the manufacturer had left a back door open, so they could work on various systems. From them, we learned how to close the back door so that our client’s system would be secure.

As disturbing as our experience was, it just reinforced our message to everyone with an IoT system, such as security cameras, to take these important steps:

  1. Change the default usernames and passwords that manufacturers supply with the equipment.
  2. Make sure you install all software and firmware updates for your IoT systems and your firewall.
  3. After you install any new or updated software or firmware, go back and check that there are no changes to any unique information you may be added.
  4. Recheck that information periodically to make sure nothing had changed.

If you see something that doesn’t look right, report it to us right away. Hacking is only going to become more problematic in 2018, and it only takes one intrusion point to open your entire system to cyberthieves. It can be devastating for you if it’s your home system, but it can much more devastating if it affects any client or customer information you’ve collected. Reach us by phone – 973-433-6676 – or email to close your back doors, side doors and trap doors.