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Technological advances in the 21st century have created many new avenues for criminals to steal people’s property, both online and in real life. Burglars and cyber predators are getting more creative, which means you must too.
Fortunately, technology works both ways. Here are 12 tips for using all the resources at your disposal to keep your home and electronic devices secure in this digital age.
Locks are essential home security tools you should invest in, as they’re often the final obstacle a burglar has to face before breaking into a home. It’s time to ditch your old chains and install high-quality locks on all the entrances and exits in your home.
Standard deadbolts do the job much better than chain locks, and they’re easy to install. Built-in mortise locks are also difficult to break through if you have sliding glass doors.
If an intruder ignores all the other security measures and fully intends on getting into your home, your locks are the last line of defence. Keep them in good condition and always double-check to make sure everything is locked when you leave your house or go to bed.
If you live in an area prone to break-ins or own a lot of land, lights are a necessity. A few motion-detecting lights that cover the vulnerable parts of your home, such as your front porch, will immediately signal the presence of intruders and allow you to take swift action.
Even if you aren’t home, motion-detecting lights will also tell your neighbours that something or someone is snooping around your property.
If you have a lot of land to cover, also consider investing in floodlights. They will brighten up an entire backyard, leaving no corners for intruders to hide in.
Modern alarm systems allow indoor and outdoor surveillance and notify you of a break-in no matter where you are. They can detect sound as well as motion, which will help against sneaky intruders who know how to get past lights and cameras.
Alarm systems can cause panic with loud noises. You should become familiar with the sound so it doesn’t negatively affect your reaction to a break-in.
The U.K. requires a permit for most fully functional home alarm systems, but that comes with additional protection: The system will immediately notify local authorities if a break-in occurs.
The last outdoor equipment you should add to your home is a camera system. The mere sight of a security camera will be enough to deter most intruders.
One easy way many people have added cameras to their security system is by installing a smart doorbell, which monitors all movement at your front door and notifies you of suspicious activity no matter where you are.
You can also add cameras inside your home to cover the areas that need the most protection, like your garage or home office.
Security equipment used to require a lot of work and maintenance. However, modern cameras, alarms and light systems are often made with durable high-tech cables that can withstand time and the elements, no matter the conditions you live in.
While the tips above build the foundations of a reliable security system, you must also practice good habits in your day-to-day life, especially if you live in areas with higher crime rates. If you leave your precious items lying around your property, you could become a target.
If you have porch or patio furniture, secure it with bolts, locks and steel cables. Stainless steel cables often work the best, because they can endure corrosive outdoor elements while remaining strong.
Make sure your cars are locked as well. Keep your valuables, such as your phone and wallet, in a secret hidden location.
Think of cybersecurity as an extension of your home’s security. The information you have stored on your electronic devices is just as valuable as the objects inside your house.
You might be excited about your upcoming vacation, but that doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone when you’re leaving and how long you’ll be away. Burglars constantly monitor social media for that type of behaviour.
Use complex passwords and enable two-factor authentication to keep your accounts secure. Additionally, never browse sensitive websites when you’re using public Wi-Fi. Hackers and cyber predators can easily access your data through a public network if you’re not careful.
Cloud-based computer storage, such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, allows you to store all your information in one place that only you can access, unless you grant permission. Rather than having a dozen passwords for different websites, you can lock everything away in a virtual safe.
If one of your devices gets compromised, your information is still protected and you can safely access it from somewhere else. You can take more proactive measures to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Along with storing your information properly, you can install different security measures to protect your devices, such as antivirus software or a virtual private network (VPN). Antivirus will block viruses and malware from infecting your device, and a VPN will secure your IP address and encrypt your information so only authorized parties can read it.
These security measures are the locks and alarm systems for your electronic devices. Paid software is much more reliable than free, and it’s a worthwhile investment if it means you can browse safely and securely.
Alarms and cameras are reliable, but you cannot put all your faith in them. Use your environment to keep trespassers off your property by installing fences, planting thick and thorny bushes, or adding gravel to pathways around your house.
Fences and bushes serve as additional lines of defence for your house, and the unmistakable sound of feet on gravel will immediately give away anyone’s presence.
As you might expect, most break-ins occur when the homeowner is away. If you trust your neighbours, you can ask them to watch over your place when you leave for extended periods.
Enlisting a neighbour to water your plants, feed your pet or simply walk around the property while you’re away will make intruders think twice before targeting your house. It will also give you great peace of mind and assurance that your valuables are safe so you can enjoy your time away from home.
As a general rule, you should not answer your door for people you don’t know. This eliminates any chance of an intruder gaining easy access to your home. You can take it a step further and instruct your children not to answer the door for anyone when you’re not there, even people they know.
This advice works especially well in unison with tip No. 10 because your neighbours can notify you if any suspicious characters knock on your door while you’re away. Only answer the door for people you know and trust. Otherwise, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Modern security equipment can be expensive, so you can still set up decoys if you cannot make all those purchases. Install fake cameras around your house with flashing lights that make them look legitimate, for example.
You can also put a security sign in your yard and add stickers to your doors and windows. Any visual reminder that your house is being watched will help.
Most of these tips instruct you to do the same thing: Rely on the latest technology. You have to use high-tech tools to combat security issues, whether it’s a new lock system, a smart doorbell or a paid VPN. These measures will help shield you from the most creative criminals and keep your home safe.
This article has been provided by Zachary Amos, a tech enthusiast working as the Features Editor for ReHack, where he writes about cybersecurity, smart homes and many other technology topics.
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