1. Dunt Dunt Dunt's Avatar
    Keep Your Smart Home Safe From Hackers

    Not really about BlackBerry... but gives a idea of how expensive this security stuff, and home automation in general can be.

    For the last couple of years, Seattle and San Francisco-based Concentric Advisors has provided corporate-level security services for homeowners. Services start at $500 a month and include setting up and monitoring home networks.
    Architect Scott Jaffa, 53, installed a Crestron home-automation system in combination with a Lutron lighting system in his Park City, Utah, home to test the technology for potential clients. The system cost $135,000 in 2012. He chose the provider partly because of its reputation for tight security, and liked that the installation company could monitor the system remotely and shut it down in the event of fraudulent activity. Ive been very happy with the system, he said.
    05-18-16 02:08 PM
  2. togarika's Avatar
    Keep Your Smart Home Safe From Hackers

    Not really about BlackBerry... but gives a idea of how expensive this security stuff, and home automation in general can be.
    BlackBerry are dragging their feet on this one also. They should leveraged their expertise in secure communications and partner with manufacturers of these smart devices

    BlackBerry BB10 forever
    05-18-16 04:42 PM
  3. Troy Tiscareno's Avatar
    So, here's the thing: alarm/security systems are using mostly 1970's/1980's technology with minor changes. The keypad may look fancy, but the systems haven't really changed much since the 80's.

    These systems have long been able to integrate several different types of sensors: magnetic door sensors, IR motion detectors, smoke and CO detectors, moisture detectors (for leak/flood protection), and so on. But the interfaces have been rudimentary and not at all user-friendly. The companies that make this stuff are HARDWARE guys, and most of their focus is making the hardware for as cheap as possible and changing it as rarely as possible to maximize profits.

    In the late 90s, home automation companies, who actually employ SOFTWARE guys too, were under pressure to be able to integrate security systems, and they invested the time to learn how to control these systems via software over serial connections (still the current standard, though some newer units support IP control). Those guys, like Crestron and Control4, are high-end, high-cost system integrators - but they also move VERY slowly and their gear is quite dated.

    We're really right at the very, very beginnings of a revolution of this industry. Companies like Google and Amazon are SOFTWARE companies who understand the desires of tech-savvy consumers, who expect sophisticated-yet-easy-to-use and highly-integrated solutions, and they, along with their partners, are finally working on systems that consumers can install themselves and that have real network security in mind.

    You might be surprised to know that almost all wireless alarm sensors transmit data "in the clear" and have very rudimentary security - wireless sensors can be defeated pretty easily and wireless keypads, which also transmit back to the panel "in the clear" can be "sniffed" with a $20 gadget that can reveal your alarm code if you type it in while the sniffer is in operation (imagine someone turning one on and dropping it in your rain gutter, and retrieving it a week later). Even though this is a "security" system, the security OF the system itself (if wireless sensors are used) is extremely poor. Hardwired sensors don't have any encryption or authentication either, but it is usually orders of magnitude more difficult to get to the wires to fool the system.

    Nothing that currently exists on the consumer or lower-end professional market today is what I would consider a "modern" system that I would want to put on-line - they're the same ancient systems with a few new features. But over the next 5 years or so, I very much expect major disruption in the industry, with lots of companies going out of business and a few bigger ones FINALLY investing in all-new, modern, much more secure systems. There will be mergers and bankruptcies and clear winners.

    I suspect that Google and Amazon (and their partners) will be the big winners, because I don't think Apple is going to bother - it's a smaller market without a massive profit potential - but if they do, it's going to be a simpler system that will only work with other (newer) Apple products. I don't see anyone else having the knowledge, financial resources, and retail capabilities of competing once Google and Amazon really enter the market - so much is going to be software-based - and many of the current leaders are going to be crushed or bought out.
    05-18-16 08:09 PM
  4. Prem WatsApp's Avatar
    Cheers, Troy, for another long and thorough one... :-D

      There's a Crack in the Berry right now...  
    05-18-16 09:35 PM
  5. togarika's Avatar
    So, here's the thing: alarm/security systems are using mostly 1970's/1980's technology with minor changes. The keypad may look fancy, but the systems haven't really changed much since the 80's.

    These systems have long been able to integrate several different types of sensors: magnetic door sensors, IR motion detectors, smoke and CO detectors, moisture detectors (for leak/flood protection), and so on. But the interfaces have been rudimentary and not at all user-friendly. The companies that make this stuff are HARDWARE guys, and most of their focus is making the hardware for as cheap as possible and changing it as rarely as possible to maximize profits.

    In the late 90s, home automation companies, who actually employ SOFTWARE guys too, were under pressure to be able to integrate security systems, and they invested the time to learn how to control these systems via software over serial connections (still the current standard, though some newer units support IP control). Those guys, like Crestron and Control4, are high-end, high-cost system integrators - but they also move VERY slowly and their gear is quite dated.

    We're really right at the very, very beginnings of a revolution of this industry. Companies like Google and Amazon are SOFTWARE companies who understand the desires of tech-savvy consumers, who expect sophisticated-yet-easy-to-use and highly-integrated solutions, and they, along with their partners, are finally working on systems that consumers can install themselves and that have real network security in mind.

    You might be surprised to know that almost all wireless alarm sensors transmit data "in the clear" and have very rudimentary security - wireless sensors can be defeated pretty easily and wireless keypads, which also transmit back to the panel "in the clear" can be "sniffed" with a $20 gadget that can reveal your alarm code if you type it in while the sniffer is in operation (imagine someone turning one on and dropping it in your rain gutter, and retrieving it a week later). Even though this is a "security" system, the security OF the system itself (if wireless sensors are used) is extremely poor. Hardwired sensors don't have any encryption or authentication either, but it is usually orders of magnitude more difficult to get to the wires to fool the system.

    Nothing that currently exists on the consumer or lower-end professional market today is what I would consider a "modern" system that I would want to put on-line - they're the same ancient systems with a few new features. But over the next 5 years or so, I very much expect major disruption in the industry, with lots of companies going out of business and a few bigger ones FINALLY investing in all-new, modern, much more secure systems. There will be mergers and bankruptcies and clear winners.

    I suspect that Google and Amazon (and their partners) will be the big winners, because I don't think Apple is going to bother - it's a smaller market without a massive profit potential - but if they do, it's going to be a simpler system that will only work with other (newer) Apple products. I don't see anyone else having the knowledge, financial resources, and retail capabilities of competing once Google and Amazon really enter the market - so much is going to be software-based - and many of the current leaders are going to be crushed or bought out.
    Google again? True, they have the capacity and capability to do so but I am not going to trust Google with that much more information about me.

    BlackBerry BB10 forever
    05-19-16 06:30 AM
  6. sorinv's Avatar
    Yep, and at the end of the day, none of this will prevent the thieves from breaking into your house and stealing whatever. The physical police will have to get on their horses and come down, investigate and catch the thieves.
    Until we replace those guys with robots run by Google and guarding your house 24-7, all of this is just another, more thorough, data mining platform and ecosystem for Google, Amazon and the like.
    A lot of hassle, energy consumption, data pipes clogging, for little benefit to the consumer.
    It's a different matter for companies, but for the consumer, IoT has little value and will contribute little to improving the quality of life without invading privacy and creating even more security problems than what we have today.

    Let's not forget why IoT became such a buzzword in the last few years: it was promoted by the likes of Qualcomm, Google, Intel who saw the wall at the end of the smartphone tunnel ( a few years earlier than phone app addicts here) and were searching desperately for another application in which to park their wares (ICs). It wasn't something "the market" cried for or "chose", to use two well worn words favoured by the androiders in these forums.
    05-19-16 08:23 AM
  7. CtrlAlt_Del's Avatar
    Well said but even if Qualcomm, Google, Intel wouldn't have promoted IOT it would have anyway 'slowly' emerged as a next thing because the world is slowly heading towards more and more automation but not in the manner its currently being promoted as the next 'BIG' thing.
    05-19-16 08:43 AM
  8. Troy Tiscareno's Avatar
    Yep, and at the end of the day, none of this will prevent the thieves from breaking into your house and stealing whatever. The physical police will have to get on their horses and come down, investigate and catch the thieves.
    When have alarm systems ever been any different?

    Security doesn't make something "safe" - it makes it "safeR" by making it that much more difficult for thieves to get away with it. The US White House probably spent hundreds of millions a year on security, yet on 9/11, there's a good chance that the whole building could have been taken out. Now billions a year are probably spent.

    Security is about building layers around your "valuables". Any one system (alarm, cameras, dog, neighbors, door locks, bars on the windows, etc.) will be vulnerable, but by adding multiple systems together, you can make it far more unlikely that a thief could break in, get your stuff, and get away with it. That makes it less likely that thieves will try in the first place.

    But there's also the automation aspect. What if you left the house and got down the street, or worse, got to work an hour away, and realized that you forgot to lock the door? It would be nice to be able to lock it remotely. Or what if your family flies in to town for a visit, and you get hung up at work or on a bad commute - it would be nice to be able to open the door for them remotely. Maybe you'd like to know that your housekeeper is only in your house for the 2 hours needed to clean it, and not 6 hours because she's sitting on your couch watching TV, or having friends over to swim in the pool.

    People WANT this kind of integration and automation. Maybe you don't, and that's fine, but lots of people do, and without a big company to establish secure standards (that most small companies can't afford to develop due to R&D costs), you'll have what we have now: very rudimentary systems with limited interoperability, or extremely expensive systems (Crestron/Control4) that have better - but still not great - integration.

    Would it really be any better if it were Apple and Microsoft? Except, as I pointed out, Apple isn't really good at open standards and working with other companies, and Microsoft has always struggled with satisfying consumers and with having taste and elegance in their apps. That's why I'm suggesting that Google and Amazon are more likely to be the leaders.
    StephanieMaks and JeepBB like this.
    05-19-16 10:43 AM
  9. sorinv's Avatar
    When have alarm systems ever been any different?

    Security doesn't make something "safe" - it makes it "safeR" by making it that much more difficult for thieves to get away with it. The US White House probably spent hundreds of millions a year on security, yet on 9/11, there's a good chance that the whole building could have been taken out. Now billions a year are probably spent.

    Security is about building layers around your "valuables". Any one system (alarm, cameras, dog, neighbors, door locks, bars on the windows, etc.) will be vulnerable, but by adding multiple systems together, you can make it far more unlikely that a thief could break in, get your stuff, and get away with it. That makes it less likely that thieves will try in the first place.

    But there's also the automation aspect. What if you left the house and got down the street, or worse, got to work an hour away, and realized that you forgot to lock the door? It would be nice to be able to lock it remotely. Or what if your family flies in to town for a visit, and you get hung up at work or on a bad commute - it would be nice to be able to open the door for them remotely. Maybe you'd like to know that your housekeeper is only in your house for the 2 hours needed to clean it, and not 6 hours because she's sitting on your couch watching TV, or having friends over to swim in the pool.

    People WANT this kind of integration and automation. Maybe you don't, and that's fine, but lots of people do, and without a big company to establish secure standards (that most small companies can't afford to develop due to R&D costs), you'll have what we have now: very rudimentary systems with limited interoperability, or extremely expensive systems (Crestron/Control4) that have better - but still not great - integration.

    Would it really be any better if it were Apple and Microsoft? Except, as I pointed out, Apple isn't really good at open standards and working with other companies, and Microsoft has always struggled with satisfying consumers and with having taste and elegance in their apps. That's why I'm suggesting that Google and Amazon are more likely to be the leaders.
    Yes. I speak from my own experience. Alarm systems don't protect. They are a requirement for insurance agencies to drop their fees, supposedly.
    But, at least with an old-school alarm system you have a limited number of physical thieves potentially breaking into your house.
    Now, with Google, Apple, Amazon and the Internet connected house, you open it up to 1000 times more thieves, from anywhere in the world, to poorer, more desperate, and most likely much smarter ones who are experts in hacking.
    So the chances of being hacked or robbed have increased more than a thousand-fold.

    Lots of people want this? Most people in the world don't own a house or a condo. Indeed those don't care about privacy and security because they have little to lose and most of them do use android.

    Those you are talking about, those who own houses and can afford cleaners, do care about privacy and security because they have a lot to lose. Hopefully, they have a better understanding of the Internet, hardware, software and electronics and don't get fooled by the type of message you wrote. Unfortunately, not all of them liked math and science to really understand what's going on here.

    There are a few high tech and gadget-addicted people who like to experiment and some whose jobs (like some of us here) depend on selling these gimmicks that nobody needed or knew they existed 5 years ago...
    Last edited by sorinv; 05-19-16 at 11:58 PM.
    05-19-16 10:05 PM
  10. ToniaBond's Avatar
    I used wireless alarm system. It's much more expensive than wired alarm system. It doesn't actually protects, because it has many limitations. Yet it is much costlier than other alarm systems. It can be justified from this blog How To Choose Between A Wireless And Wired Security System | Good Alarm Bad Alarm . Nowadays most of the security systems have poor performance. With the increasing amount of security systems , burglary is also increasing. It is really frustrating.
    08-16-16 01:44 AM

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