This page brings together information on Home Security, paying
particular attention to technologies that I have personally deployed.
It covers information on alarm systems, locks, lighting, window and
door hardware, and surveilance equipment. It pays particular
attention to methods to make your home less of a target for burglary,
and it discuss techniques like lock bumping used by criminals and how
to reduce such risks. There are many approaches to computer security including some creative solutuons.
Defense in Depth
You might be more likely to hear the term defense in depth used in the
context of computer security, but the concept is an underlying concept
of phyical security. Almost any home with an alarm system employs
this concept - few homeowners set an alarm but leave their doors and
windows unlocked. The alarm is there as a deterent, and to aid
response when the first line of defense is bypassed, it provides some
depth to the defenses. So, what does this mean for you - it means
that you should employ more than one of the techniques described below
if you want your home to be safe and secure.
- Locks - There are good locks and there are bad locks. Most of the
locks on homes today are not very good. While few burglers have the
time or the expertice to pick locks (unless they are after something
specific), the technique of "lock bumping" has become widely known and
used - making many of the inexpensive locks one buys at hardware
stores pretty useless. If you bought a new home, chances are the
builder installed cheap locks as well, and you really should consider
upgrading to better locks like the Schlage Primus or Medeco series.
- Door and Window hardware - A great lock will not do much if the
rest of your hardware is inadequate. Doors that are easily kikked in
won't keep someone out - but at least it will be obious that there was
a break in. Make sure that the lock is set into a frame with enough
metal to keep the deadbolt from breaking through the edge of the
frame. Make sure the hardware screws go deep enough into the door
frame. Make sure that the door hinges are not exposed on the outside
of the door, or that other mechanisms prevent the door from being
removed from the hinges. Doors and windows should be designed so that
they can not be lifted off their tracks from the outside. Here is
where it is important to have someone that knows what they are doing
come out and assess the security of your house.
- Alarm Systems - There are many choices in alarm systems. To start
with, you should have a system that is monitored by a company like
Livewatch security or a similar firm. If all your alarm
does is make noise, and there are lots of false alarms in your
neighborhood, neighbors will ignore the alarm. Alarm monitoring
companies will often install alarms at a loss if you commit to a term
of monitoring. While these alarms are usually low end, they are still
worthwhile, and better than many of the do-it-yourself systems that
- Security Camera - There are many new options for security cameras.
These have come down in price significantly, and many today can be
connected through wireless internet, meaning that you do not need to
run long cables, just a short power cable from the nearest power
source. Camera systems also offer remote monitoring from your office,
and some security companies are offering remote monitoring to confirm
alarm conditions, enabling expedited response.
- Common Sense - Even the most secure locks and best alarms are
usless if you don't use them. Lock your doors and windows, even if
you will be away only briefly. Don't leave your door unlocked while
you are in the back yard, and in general, leave your doors locked even
when you are at home. Set your alarm. Don't open your door for
strangers, even if they have a good story about why they need your
- Avoid becoming a target - This is perhaps one of the best
defenses. Don't leave expensive items in plain view from the street,
or from your windows. Don't advertise the fact that you might be out
of town. Don't make it easy for burglars to hide from view while they
try to gain entry to your residence.
- Know your neighbors - Report suspicious activity around their
house, and ask them to do the same if they notice something odd with
your house. Know who should be around your neighbood, and who is
There is plenty of information on security available from the Internet. Here are a few sites with useful information.