Is Your Security System Pin Hurting or Helping You?By - 12/31/2016
When a burglar strikes, he won’t attack your home by breaking glass or kicking doors. That would be too noisy. What he may try to do is disarm your alarm system. Will he use technology to get past your alarm? Maybe. But more than likely he will simply go old school by trying to guess your PIN. Believe it or not, many people do not change the default PIN that comes with an alarm system, while others use a common PIN like 1234 or 0000. And of course, there are old favorites like birth dates or street addresses, which makes it even easier for a burglar to guess your PIN correctly.
Setting Up a Secure PIN
The first thing you should do is change the default PIN on your security system. Companies usually set PINs for new users, and then it will be up to you to change it. The thing is, these default PINs can be found on the Internet, so any burglar who has access can look up the list of default PINs. That’s why it’s important, but what should you use instead?
A good PIN is something that is easy for you to remember but not too easy to guess. 1234 is really easy to remember, but too easy to guess. A birth date is easy to remember and hard to guess, but not all burglaries are random. It’s fairly easy to find a birthday on the internet, on Facebook, by asking for your driver’s license, or by simply asking. Using your birthday is not a bad choice but it’s not the best, and we want you to have the best.
A good PIN is something that has meaning to you but is not on record. You can try using your first date with your spouse, the birthday of your favorite pet, or the end of your best friend’s phone number. You can even try turning any four letter word into numbers. For example, LIKE can be turned into the pin 5453 (alphanumeric keypad). There’s no limit of combinations that you can use.
When To Change Your PIN
It’s important to select an easy to remember but hard to guess PIN and it’s important to change that same PIN you lovingly selected often. Alarm companies make it pretty easy to select and change a PIN. Changes can be made right on the panel, others will allow you to change the PIN on the web. Changing your PIN is simple, but alarm companies protect you by requiring that you enter your current PIN before making the change. Constantly changing your PIN can cause confusion so use caution and try to work out a system that makes it easy to remember the changes and when they occur.
As much as possible, never give out your PIN…even to trusted friends. It’s not that they can’t be trusted, but the more people who know your PIN, the greater the risk. Some alarm systems allow you to set temporary PINS, but an even better option is to add lock automation to your home security system so that you never have to give out PINS. Instead, you can remotely arm and disarm your system and also remotely lock and unlock your front door with your smartphone to give temporary access to workers and guests.
Is It Safe To Have A Record of Your PIN?
Keeping a copy of one’s PIN, written or virtual, has become common practice, but is this a best practice? The answer depends on where you keep the record. A physical copy is too easy to lose, and there’s always a chance it will fall into the wrong hands. So to be safe, it’s not recommended to keep a written record of your PIN.
How about a virtual copy? A little better, but there are still precautions to take. First, protect the file from people who might have access to your computer. Think of protecting the file with a password, so even if someone else uses your computer, they won’t be able to see your PINS. Second, protect it from potential backdoor attacks, i.e. malware and hacks. It’s wise to employ internet security measures, such as turning on your firewall or deploying internet security software or devices. And finally, if you have a record of your PIN, it’s best not to tell anyone about it.
PINs are not modern keys. Instead, they are a password to control your home’s security. That’s a valuable and precious commodity. To improve safety in your house, your PIN number should remain yours and yours alone.