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Smart home security?
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ShortcutToMoncton
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Jan 17, 2017, 01:15 PM
 
So I'm looking to implement some type of home security system. Currently we do not have anything, but I have an external unpowered shed that has a couple expensive items inside, so I figured it was probably best to start adding a camera or two and maybe some alarms.

I looked around at professional systems and they appeared both fairly expensive (esp for installation and monthly fees) and not terribly interactive (unless you get fairly high-end systems). But the "smart" security system is suddenly taking off - Wifi-connected cameras that can be accessed remotely via your cell or internet access point, and can even integrate with other alarms or provide wireless options.

The newest Arlo Pro camera system looks pretty sweet - rechargeable camera batteries so it can be placed wirelessly, decent 720p resolution and night vision, two-way audio to the cameras, 1-week cloud storage with USB stick local storage on the base station. Price isn't cheap, but with no monthly fees I'd probably make it up fairly quickly. Another option is the outdoor Nest cam, which has slightly better image quality but seems to tie you solely to fairly expensive cloud storage (and I presume, ads for new stuff immediately after you've had a break in).

Has anyone else looked at this stuff? Is the DIY stuff any good, or is it better to go directly to the pros?
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OAW
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Jan 17, 2017, 02:00 PM
 
You might want to check out the Ring product line.

OAW
     
ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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Jan 17, 2017, 05:10 PM
 
Yeah....I actually like the look of their floodlight camera, which will be released in the spring. The doorbell I'm a bit less interested in....we have a smaller house so it's not like we're ever stuck 3 minutes from opening the door. And we don't really have any concerns about seeing who's outside before unlocking the door. (Also we have a knocker instead of a doorbell so we'd be stuck with the older unwired version, which is humongous.)

It wouldn't be a bad idea to have a camera at the front of the house, but for the purposes of security I'm much less worried about the front door than I am the side or rear entrances (which is also where the shed is located).
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OAW
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Jan 17, 2017, 06:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
Yeah....I actually like the look of their floodlight camera, which will be released in the spring. The doorbell I'm a bit less interested in....we have a smaller house so it's not like we're ever stuck 3 minutes from opening the door. And we don't really have any concerns about seeing who's outside before unlocking the door. (Also we have a knocker instead of a doorbell so we'd be stuck with the older unwired version, which is humongous.)

It wouldn't be a bad idea to have a camera at the front of the house, but for the purposes of security I'm much less worried about the front door than I am the side or rear entrances (which is also where the shed is located).
Fair enough. I just know one of my use cases for the video doorbell was the number of packages my wife and I have delivered. If a "porch pirate" were to strike it would be automatically recorded. And with the notifications I can see what's happening in real time when anyone approaches my front door. But I also agree with you that the flood light camera looks really slick. I'm thinking about adding that for my back patio when it's released.

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subego
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Jan 17, 2017, 07:12 PM
 
My instincts tell me the most useful tool for defending a shed is an eardrum shattering horn, and of course the backbone (trigger, arming system) to make it work.

Pro version of that will likely a lot more reliable, and loads less hassle.
     
reader50
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Jan 17, 2017, 10:04 PM
 
I was going to suggest making the shed look like something people do not break into. Like subego's van with a sewer-service paint job. But people break into nearly all kinds of buildings. Except police stations.

Got it. Redo the shed to look like a mausoleum. With family name, flower bushes, etc. Grotesque gargoyles a plus.

About cameras, suggest wired cameras if you can swing it. Wireless cameras are a current attack vector due to the lousy security of IoT today. Unless you don't mind strangers watching *you* through your own cameras, when they aren't being used to DDOS someone over your connection.
     
ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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Jan 17, 2017, 10:16 PM
 
I actually have that - it's a battery-operated magnetic alarm activated when the door opens. You have 20 seconds to key in the 4-digit PIN or the 120dB alarm goes off.

Of course, a sophisticated thief would have a hammer and simply smash it immediately - it's not a smart or connected alarm. I understand that the Arlo system in particular can interface with some home-security standards and/or hubs like SmartThings, so technically I could install a more sophisticated version that emails me when tripped...but the cameras are designed to trigger and turn on upon movement, so I'd be getting a phone message anyway, along with video.

I have put a heavy-duty chain on my most valuable stuff - one of the biggest bike chains you can buy (it's 6 feet long and weighs 20 pounds, haha). If they had an angle grinder with a couple battery packs it might be trouble, but with the other security features I figured they'd likely look for an easier target.

Easier to get into my house than the shed.
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OAW
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Jan 17, 2017, 10:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50
About cameras, suggest wired cameras if you can swing it. Wireless cameras are a current attack vector due to the lousy security of IoT today. Unless you don't mind strangers watching *you* through your own cameras, when they aren't being used to DDOS someone over your connection.
Aren't HomeKit compatible devices much more secure in this regard? That's one of the reasons why I went with Ring myself.

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reader50
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Jan 17, 2017, 11:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
Aren't HomeKit compatible devices much more secure in this regard?
Sadly I am not an expert on what brands are better. I've avoided IoT devices entirely. Little things like the LG TV locked up by ransomware put me off. Along with the unprecedented DDOS attacks recently, with record bandwidth being traced to owned net-connected cameras.

Lawsuits against the manufacturers couldn't come sooner. A few like the FTC suing D-Link could do a world of good. As it stands, most companies are pushing IoT products out without security testing, then not bothering with security updates after the sale. Caveat emptor.

Someone should keep a list of the good ones. Or even just the above-average ones, if there are no good ones yet.
     
ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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Jan 17, 2017, 11:39 PM
 
Definitely some IoT I security concerns with wireless. Having said that, wired is a true pain in the ass - it's an old brick house with mostly plaster walls, and I hardly want to be tearing up the interior to run camera wires. On the plus side, if I were hacked Putin would only see my yard...
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ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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Jan 18, 2017, 11:49 AM
 
I do see that the Arlo has been flagged as having some security concerns. I'll check it out.
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ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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Jan 18, 2017, 06:16 PM
 
It sort of appears that there have been some specific security issues with the Arlo, but those kind of look to be addressable both in proper setup and via standard home security methods - changing standard passwords on connected devices, router management, etc.
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Cap'n Tightpants
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Jan 19, 2017, 04:33 AM
 
Subego's solution!

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ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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Jan 19, 2017, 12:59 PM
 
I think we can all agree that dogs are not smart!
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subego
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Jan 19, 2017, 01:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
Subego's solution!

I actually lucked out in that even though my Standard was only about 40 pounds, she barked like a dog you did not want to **** with.
     
ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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Jan 22, 2017, 10:41 AM
 
Similar to our conversation in the audio thread - the more I look at it the more I think it's a couple years too early. I'm seeing a bunch of Internet of Things connected home options - including smart hubs that are intended to manage these devices - but all of them seem to have pretty big flaws of one type or another, like not fully working with certain other smart devices. And others like Google are even eskewing the smart hub concept and presumably leveraging their cloud services, which appears to be generally safer from a hacking perspective but of course puts users on the hook for monthly fees.

Unfortunately, I need cameras right now - someone has discovered the value of what's in my shed and appear to be trying to get inside. They'd need an angle grinder or skill saw and 5-foot bolt cutters to be successful - and I'd like to think that would tip off the neighbours - but if they're pros or just stupid/desperate enough to try anyway, I'd like to get it on camera!
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reader50
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Jan 22, 2017, 03:56 PM
 
Actual thief trying to break in. Bad.

Don't underestimate a thief. He/she may work harder than the best employee, all to reach your stuff.
     
Chongo
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Jan 24, 2017, 01:09 PM
 
Is it true a good burglar will be in and out long before first responders arrive?
     
ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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Jan 24, 2017, 03:24 PM
 
By definition, yes....
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reader50
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Jan 24, 2017, 03:34 PM
 
A great thief will be gone without you noticing anything. In the morning, the car is gone and no one saw a thing. Unlike today's would-be car thieves. Who set off car alarms with great regularity, then run fast enough that no one sees them.
     
ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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Jan 24, 2017, 04:18 PM
 
I mean, anything valuable can be stolen if the thief is smart and good enough. I think the trick with home security is to make it tough enough to thwart the incompetent ones and make the smart ones look elsewhere for easier targets.
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subego
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Jan 24, 2017, 04:48 PM
 
You want your fruit to hang high.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Jan 25, 2017, 12:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
A great thief will be gone without you noticing anything. In the morning, the car is gone and no one saw a thing. Unlike today's would-be car thieves. Who set off car alarms with great regularity, then run fast enough that no one sees them.
This happened to a neighbor of mine (seemingly), she'd freaked out believing someone had stolen her car (a newish Camry) without a sound in the middle of the night. Come to find out she'd stopped making payments on it for 6 months (claimed she'd merely "forgotten") and it had been repo'd.
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subego
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Jan 25, 2017, 12:42 PM
 
This happened to a friend of mine, except it turned out she was just too drunk to remember where she'd parked.

Which happened to me as well, except I wasn't even drinking.
     
Chongo
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Jan 25, 2017, 01:36 PM
 
The best home security system is a noisy dog, Yorkies and Chihuahuas are best.
     
ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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Jan 25, 2017, 10:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
The best home security system is a noisy dog, Yorkies and Chihuahuas are best.
Well then one would have to put up with terrible, shitty dogs like Yorkers or Chihuahuas. Secondly, they're no less difficult to figure out how to trick than any good security system. And incidentally much more expensive.

I'm still very interested in the Arlo Pro system. I might pick some up this weekend to play around with them and see what they're like. From what I read, they're small, easy to set up, work in almost any type of weather we have around here, have really solid video quality, and have lots of nice little features - like instant app alerts and emails along with a picture when motion or sound is detected, and the option to speak through the camera via your phone. Seems pretty cool.
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Cap'n Tightpants
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Jan 27, 2017, 09:02 AM
 
There are no "shitty dogs", just shitty owners (and people who don't understand small dogs). You think security systems are free after installation? A dog is no more expensive than monthly service, and usually much less.
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ShortcutToMoncton  (op)
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Jan 27, 2017, 12:18 PM
 
It looks like you failed to notice the term "smart" security, which is what I've been talking about in this thread. There is no "monthly service" - you buy the security devices, install them, and then they just email or message you directly if they detect a breach. I suppose one could also pay for cloud storage, but I am not doing so as noted. There are pros and cons to this approach, but "no monthly service" is supposed to be one of the pros. I suppose if something breaks down I may have to buy replacements, but that's true regardless of the service.

Comparing costs is ludicrous - a dog or any animal is far more expensive on a monthly and/or lifetime basis.

I have little use for tiny dogs or even dogs in general, although I grew up with many of them and love them as long as they're at someone else's house. We are two busy professionals with a toddler living in the middle of a big city - it's the last thing I need in my life. IMO that should be more true of many other people given how much dog shit or piss is left behind in every park in downtown Toronto.

To each their own!
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Chongo
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Jan 28, 2017, 07:36 AM
 
"No monthly service?"
The Cost of Keeping Your Home Safe | Personal Finance | US News
You could get a home security system. If you've been thinking about getting one, you aren't alone. Chad Laurens, the CEO of SimpliSafe, a company based in Cambridge, Mass., which sells wireless home security systems, says in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. last December, his security system sales spiked 60 percent higher than normal.

Overall, Americans spent about $20.64 billion on home security systems in 2011, the most recent figures available, according to the business research firm MarketsandMarkets. And the industry is expected to continue to grow to $34.46 billion by 2017.

As for how much of those billions you're likely to pay? Most companies will offer installation specials as low as $99, but start-up costs for all the equipment could run between $600 to $1,200 says Robert Siciliano, a Boston-based personal security consultant and spokesperson for BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com, a home security review. After buying the security system equipment, you'll have to pay for monthly monitoring, which can run from $15 to $100, but the average price is $30. Most home security systems require one to three-year contracts, although some companies, like SimpliSafe, don't require any.

"Just make sure you always keep your alarm on. Always," Siciliano stresses. "When you are home, away, during the day and night. Otherwise, what's the point?"

On the plus side, you may save money on your insurance by buying a home security system; some industry experts say you'll save anywhere from 20 to 45 percent.

Something else to think about. If a home security system is outside of your budget, there are outdoor fake security cameras that look like real ones with blinking lights. Loftek and UniquExceptional are two companies that make them, and the cameras usually cost less than 10 bucks.
     
The Final Shortcut
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Jan 28, 2017, 05:38 PM
 


I know this is going to sound harsh, but perhaps you could bother to read the thread you're posting in?

What part of my posts are you failing to understand? I'm installing security gadgets that message me directly - there is "monitoring". There is no "monthly service", unless I choose to pay for cloud storage.
     
Chongo
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Jan 28, 2017, 06:56 PM
 
     
The Final Shortcut
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Jan 29, 2017, 09:55 PM
 
I bought the Arlo Pro a few days ago and have been playing around with it. So far my assessment is super cool, with one caveat - obviously it depends on internet access. So if your internet goes down, you're SOL. Would also apply if someone is able to cut your internet cable without being first detected by the cameras.

I mean, I think that's true of many systems. But I would assume particularly more so for self-monitored ones like this.
     
   
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