From Fish Tanks To Vacuums, Smart Devices Need Smarter Security

Image courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/@kabita-darlami-2613403Because Briant Communications staff are proud to call ourselves “professional installers” it is infuriating when we see people on the news who’ve been made victims of crime because of a substandard installation. If you follow our blog you’ll have read about how we recommend applying rigorously high security protocols for all of your Internet of Things connected devices because default settings and lax passwords create a chink in your armour, so it’s frustrating when we hear stories such as the following.

Something Fishy Going On With This Casino’s Security

Not long ago a casino was hacked and the personal information contained in a database of clients’ details was stolen by criminals who gained access to the business’ computer network via a Smart fish tank thermometer. Darktrace’s Nicole Eagan reported that:
The attackers used that to get a foothold in the network. they then found the high-roller database and then pulled that back across the network, out the thermostat, and up to the cloud.” Read more

Our Finishing Touches Turn D-I-Y Into D-I-WOW!

home entertainment, barn conversion, home office, work from home, wifi extenders, mesh networkWhile Covid has kept millions of people at home with nothing to do DIY projects all over the country have finally been completed. Stuck at home, entertainment has been at a premium. With no reason to put all those niggling little jobs off, and all the time that could never be found before shelves have been going up, doors touched up and re-hung, bedrooms painted and bathrooms re-grouted. And then there are the people who like to get their teeth stuck into the big jobs!

A marvellous example of ‘finally getting around-to-it’ is this exceptional outhouse we recently tricked out with home entertainment, internet & TV in Wonersh, a beautiful little village not far from Guildford in Surrey.

Creating Workspaces You Want To Enjoy Spending Spare Time In

The homeowners wanted a space where they could ‘break out’ when they got sick of being trapped indoors, but with all the access to modern technology that we’ve all become used to. It’s a space to relax, and to work, but it also needs to be secure. A perfect scenario for for Briant Communications! Read more

Why Lockdown Is The Perfect Time To Tackle Home Security

home securitySomething which has come out of the repeated lockdowns and tiers being introduced has been an overall fall in the rate of crime. With people being unable to leave their homes then the opportunity for burglars to break in has been almost eliminated, and any criminals who are out on the streets stand out like a sore thumb since everybody else is shielding themselves indoors.

So what should we expect to see when the all clear is sounded and we an return to life as normal? Will we see a jump in crime as thieves are released from self imposed imprisonment en masse? Or will we notice little change as people have learned to cope with privation, lack of stimulation and an overall sense of ‘looking out for one another’ has replaced the urge for instant gratification?

We would certainly hope that it’s the latter, but experience tells us it will be the former. The Covid denialism, lockdown scepticism, and refusal on the part of a significant and vocal minority of people to wear masks in public, and to demonstrate for those beliefs in large crowds on the streets of cities all over the country shows that there are many people who can’t or won’t take the opportunity to see things from the point of view of others.

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The Origin Of Home Security Systems

Marie Van Brittan Brown, home security system, security, Did you know that the first home security system was invented by a nurse way back in 1966?
Marie Van Brittan Brown was a nurse in Queens, NYC, consequently she worked irregular hours in an area which, at the time was a target for crime. However, despite having a high crime rate the police couldn’t always be relied upon and the first 911 emergency switchboard wasn’t introduced to the United States until 1968, and it was in Alabama, not much use to a lady in New York! If you had an emergency first you had to find a phone, since not many homes had their own telephones installed back then, find the number for the local police station, and call up and ask for assistance. (It’s worth noting that the UK had its own emergency number, 999, from the 1930s.)

Mrs Van Brittan Brown started off by drilling three holes in her front door, one for tall people, one for average height people, and the last so she could see kids. Rather than go to the door every time someone knocked, she decided that it would be more efficient if she could use a camera hooked up to a wireless monitor to see who was at the door in case it wasn’t anyone she wanted to open the door to anyway, and so the wireless security camera was invented! Mrs Van Brittan Brown’s husband Albert was an electronics engineer, so it wasn’t hard for them to develop the concept further by adding a microphone and speaker together with an electronic device which could release the latch and allow people in simply by using a remote control. Read more

Does CCTV Deter Burglars? People Ask And Facebook Answers

I was looking through Facebook and a question arose in one of the groups we follow here at Briant Communications: “So, does CCTV deter burglars, or just make them think you must have expensive stuff?” but because it’s a sensible, helpful group and not full of sarcastic, unhelpful know-it-alls, many of the answers were quite enlightening.

A lot of people have taken up the use of CCTV to protect their property and businesses from intruders and thieves and have first hand experience of the benefits that can be had from simply keeping a 24 hour eye on your home.

Naturally there are some who elaborate upon apocryphal, anecdotal stories of gangs of burglars breaking into garages with angle grinders and look-outs armed with baseball bats guarding the thieves and keeping the homeowners at bay as they steal high performance motorcycles from the property. However, many commenters make remarkably salient points. Read more

Image courtesy of https://www.freeimages.com/photo/working-woman-1440176

Online Fraud: My Experience of Beating Internet Scammers

Image courtesy of https://www.freeimages.com/photo/working-woman-1440176I like to think of myself as an intelligent guy who can spot phishing and fraudulent attempts to scam me into handing over my personal information, and for the most part I’m successful. I get so many calls from scammers using private numbers or from places with area codes I’m not familiar with that I know what’s going to happen as soon as I pick up: either the line goes dead or I’m told by a robot that my Amazon Prime account is going to be renewed, that I was involved in a car accident which wasn’t my fault, or that BT Internet has discovered my neighbours are stealing my data and I need take action immediately to stop them.

Just for fun, since it costs me nothing and I’m interested to see how the scam works I go along with it. The scams are so incredibly obvious it’s astonishing they can work, yet some poor, overly trusting marks must fall for it, else they wouldn’t keep using the same old methods.

The Amazon fraud works by telling you that you’re going to be charged for something you don’t want. So naturally you talk to the ‘customer service representative’ and press 1 to fix it. They tell you to go to a website which is hosted on Wix, a perfectly respectable web hosting business which is in no way connected to the scam. The problem with the fraud is that the scammers are too cheap to even pay for hosting so the website they use has a .wix suffix and has adverts for their other premium services popping up during your visit. Not something you’d expect from a multi-billion dollar company such as Amazon. The rep tells you to click on a link, except the link is a download for software which is sure to damage your computer and give up your details. I don’t know what is supposed to happen next as I gave up my pretence of credulity and told them off for having such a pathetically obvious scam, and that I would be ashamed if I was to try anything so amateurish. Read more

Protecting Your Ring Camera From Hackers

smart home security, cctv camera, home cctv, home security,Amazon’s Ring Smart Doorbells and access control have been under scrutiny over the past couple of months because of lapses in security. Most customers have nothing to worry about thanks to several factors, including the scarcity of people with the expertise to be able to bypass the security settings which are in place if customers follow the installation instructions carefully.

However, if you buy a Ring doorbell and don’t update and personalise the security features it’s not very difficult for anyone with a mobile phone to be able to breech your home security systems. As Smart devices, including home security and monitoring become ever more popular it’s natural that the number of devices which are installed poorly or not personalised at all is going to increase. Such an increase makes it possible for the wannabee hacker to travel around looking for systems worth infiltrating and exploiting.

Controlling Who Can Go Where

You can give access to your Ring account to a number of different people who will them be able to talk to visitors, let people in, and watch in real time as people move about from their phones or tablets. It makes more sense to add users from an admin than give log in details to others, so for example if you have friends or family come to stay, or you want to give people staying at your house via AirBnB access, you can add them or remove them without having to pass on any log-in details. Read more

Top Ten Smart Devices To Get The Most Out Of Alexa

If you got an Alexa for Christmas you’ve been living with her for a month now. How’s that going for you? Many people will be getting used to having her around and thinking about what else she can do. As a stand-alone device she can be a lot of fun, but her real benefits only come when she is synchronised to the rest of your Smart devices.

It’s easy to choose the smart tech which will work with Alexa, because the answer is basically anything! If it’s an Amazon or Echo product it will work with Alexa with the minimum of fuss. Then there are all the third party products which Amazon has given licenses to. Manufacturers have recognised that if their product is going to sell then it’s necessary to make it compatible with the leading Smart home interface, which is essentially Alexa. Google Home is right along side Amazon with market penetration, so it’s handy that these two major players are working together to create a ubiquitous format which will support all devices.

But now that you don’t have to worry about whether your new investment will work with others, which are the top choices of nick-nacks which will bring joy and ease of function to your life?

Why not check out these top ten purchases to begin with, and see where the Smart home revolution takes you?

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Lights, Cameras, ACTION! How To Ensure Your Security Lighting And CCTV Work In Unison

CCTV camera, smart CCTVSurveillance cameras along with home and business CCTV have been with us for years but it’s only now that wireless data in the home has become ubiquitous enough for everyone who has a wireless router to be able to take advantage of Smart home and office security technology.

They’re a low cost, low barrier to entry security system, and are recognised widely by users, police and insurance companies as one of the best deterrents to burglars, vandals and housebreakers.

They work as a deterrent only when people know they’re there though. If nobody knows they are there the burglar will still break in, they’ll simply get a big surprise when their picture is known to the police and splashed around in the local papers.

Another drawback many cameras have is that at night they’re not always that effective. In poor light lower quality cameras struggle to create the best picture quality and even if they provide excellent quality images at night, if they can’t be seen, they’re not going to work as a deterrent and because their mere presence won’t put the unwitting intruder off. Read more

Your 2020 Vision For Online Security Is Here

wireless, smart home, home automation, smart speaker, Technology and the way we organise our lives around it is rapidly changing, and not always for the better. There has been a great deal of controversy about how social media and online data has influenced recent elections in the UK & the US as unaccountable agents have poured money into advertising and ‘fake news’, targeted undecided voters, and used data captured from unwitting citizens who’ve done nothing more than like or share a post they’ve seen.

Data is big business. It can be used to affect elections, to help decide where public money is spent, when to buy and sell assets, and it can also be used to get access to your home.

Shortly before Christmas Ring was dealing with a controversial data breach when it was shown that if customers don’t take the initiative to change their passwords and security settings it was relatively simple for people to access home cameras in order to see into children’s bedrooms and talk to the occupants. And while it’s easy for the tech savvy to scoff and wonder “well what were they expecting if they didn’t secure their devices?” it’s also equally true that most people don’t understand the ramifications of installing popular Smart devices into their homes and assume that if they’re going to be sold as security and monitoring tools there should be a certain amount of security built in. Read more