A Forbes reporter was able to hack into a home alarm system in San Francisco using a browser and “easily-guessable passwords.” The hacking was with permission of the owner but allowed him to make his point—that he could unlock the doors and turn off the alarm while he was sitting in London.
According to the Forbes reporter, Thomas Fox-Brewster, technical researchers at IOActive told him that SimpliSafe, a U.S. company that sells alarm systems using cellular technology, “is actually leaving houses open to burglars with rudimentary hacking skills.”
The researchers have concluded that by using basic hardware and software that harvests PINs and turns off alarms, and can be bought for between $50 and $250, the SimpliSafe alarm system can be hacked, opening homes supposedly secured with the system. This is despite the fact that according to its website, it is BBB A+ rated and recommended by Fox News, NBC, Good Housekeeping, and Fortune.
Apparently, when you do research on this topic, home and business alarm systems using smart phones, can be subject to hacking vulnerabilities, and this issue is not unique to SimpliSafe.
Privacy Tip for this week? If you are using a home alarm system app on your smartphone and depending on it to secure your home or business, check out the security of the alarm system to see how effective it is. Sometimes good old dead bolts are pretty effective by themselves or in combination with an electronic system.