Experts show how easy it is for hackers to break into home secur - KCTV5

Experts show how easy it is for hackers to break into home security systems

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JOHNSON COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -

It doesn't take a computer genius to turn devices meant to protect people into a tool for criminals.

“Anybody with a background in computers and computer networking is probably the type of person that would find it easy,” Shield Security Systems operator Tony Thurman said.

Advancing technology in the camera and smartphone fields are making home security an affordable venture in suburban America.

“I always had a security system for my home, but it was somewhat outdated,” homeowner Dan O'Dell said.

O'Dell had new security cameras installed into his Johnson County home to keep track of people going in and out.

“The post man, UPS, family, kids, contractors, landscapers and just neighbors coming and going. So I can keep track of what's going on here and monitor it on my smartphone,” O'Dell said.

O'Dell is part of a growing population of homeowners investing in extra home security, according to Thurman.

“I've been focused on this area of security for five year,” Thurman said.

One of Thurman's concerns about the home security field are the amount of people installing cameras without protecting their Wi-Fi. KCTV5 cameras rode along with Thurman for a demonstration of what can happen with an unprotected Wi-Fi and an equipped smart home with cameras.

“When you go through a neighborhood like this and you see unprotected networks it's probably a do-it-your-selfer,” Thurman said. “They just weren't aware of the vulnerability of their network.”

Within minutes, and the owner's permission, Thurman was able to get into an unsecured Wi-Fi and control cameras, thermostats and even garage doors associated with an unprotected office while sitting outside in his work van.

“I was able to go through those layers and get access to their computer network, so I can see all the devices on their network and I can get access to all those devices that aren't protected with a password or anything they didn't change the factory password with,” he said.

When "hacking" into his own office to demonstrate, Thurman shows that controlling a camera isn't difficult.

“I can zoom in on a particular area to get a better view of what's going on there,” he said. “Maybe I can capture keystrokes on a login screen to see the password for logging into something else on their network. Maybe there's credit card information on the desk; who knows what's on there?”

For homeowners like O'Dell, the vulnerability of their home security is a surprise.

“As far as the Wi-Fi and the bandwidth and the non-secure internet connections, I don't know anything about that,” he said.

After explaining how criminals can get into his home security O'Dell is rethinking how he manages his system.

“I need to understand that better,” he said. “I think that's a very relevant concern that I probably need to do more research on.”

According to Thurman, homeowners with the technology and without the know-how can avoid most breaches in security by protecting their Wi-Fi and individual devices with a complex password using multiple cases, numbers and symbols.

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