4 Ways That Smart Homes Are Vulnerable

August 20th, 2020

There have been a lot of changes for residents in Chico, CA, the most recent of which is the unfortunate spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The change has made many people follow new guidance, like working from home when possible. 

One new development in home life for residents of Chico, CAis the adoption of “smart home” technology. A “smart home” is a home that uses many different “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices that are all connected to a home network to allow more convenience. In some ways, this has resulted in drops in crime in some sectors, as smart home devices can make a property more physically secure. In other ways, however, smart homes create their own vulnerability factors, and here are four of the most common.

Failing To Secure Devices

This is, for many homeowners, the #1 cause of an insecure smart home. Every device that is connected to a home network can be enabled for safe, specific security access. But to so initially, default passwords and other mechanisms are pre-installed in the system and described in the owner’s manual.

Some owners never change these default passwords. So if a technologically proficient thief is “in range” of such a device, and experimentally enters the default password, control of that device is seized.

Overprivileged Access

Different devices are designed to do different things, and that means they require specific access. However, some devices will ask for far more access than they actually require. A “smart garage” as one example, may only need to access the garage door itself to open it. It does not need to access or gain control of security cameras, nor does it need to know the location of a phone the garage door app is tied to.

However, some devices do gain access to this type of information. In such cases, that means something as innocuous as the app to unlock a home’s door can grant access to other parts of the house if control is gained.

Insecure Communications

For a smart home to work, the devices must be able to communicate with each other. However, some communication systems are not secure, and information that travels along these insecure lines can be monitored externally.

So, for example, a wireless speaker in the home only needs to send and receive information relating to how much battery life is left in the device for people that want to check this by phone. However, with an improperly secured messaging system, this device is capable of reading any message sent out by the phone, or other devices, including PINs and other sensitive data.

Failure To Update Firmware

All devices have operating systems installed to guide their function, known as “firmware.” Sometimes, however, vulnerabilities are discovered in the existing firmware that would allow people on the outside to seize control of that device.

When these firmware vulnerabilities are discovered, a new firmware version is issued that eliminates the security flaw. People that fail to update their firmware to the latest version are risking known vulnerabilities in a device being exploited.

For a safer home in Chico, CA, let us help. Contact us for more information.

What Our Customers Say

"I had the Alibi system installed several years ago. It has functioned flawlessly. The image quality is exellent both night and day and in all weather conditions. I particularly like the replay (which can be set at various speeds) and zoom functions of the system. Tech support from Crimefreeliving has been excellent. I have received quick responses to questions, and timely home visits — as when I changed IP carriers and my Alibi system needed to be reset. I have recommended Crimefreeliving to several friends."


"As a small business owner here in Chico we definitely saw the need for video surveillance. After expressing our needs and concerns Tim did an excellent job getting us set up with the set up with the appropriate equipment. He really took the time to address our concerns in a very friendly, professional and knowledgeable manner. I highly recommend Tim for all of your business and residential video surveillance needs."

Ron H., Owner/Auto Doctor

"I have to say I love having my security cameras at my home. Tim Truby did a wonderful job of installing the five cameras. He is very neat and cleaned everything up after the installation. He explained to me how to operate the monitor, my phone and IPad. However, I have had to call Tim because I'm not tech savvy and forget what he has told me. He usually just helps me over the phone and then all is well. I'm 80 years old and enjoy the comfort of knowing I have these security cameras."


"Tim Truby designed and installed a 32 camera system for us here at the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District. We had received several other quotes from security system vendors, but Tim’s quote was the least expensive. Tim also installed the system quickly and has always been available when we needed him. We are very happy with our security camera system and we can highly recommend Tim Truby for all of your surveillance system needs."

D. Weseman, Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District

Crime Free Living updated our old video system with a new 16 Channel HD Alibi Video Security System. The old system had been added onto by different installers which resulted in a cabling mess. There were cables that worked and cables that went nowhere. It was a mess. Tim sorted it all out and installed cameras that are very clear. He also installed a monitor for our cashiers to watch hidden areas, a monitor to watch the entry door, and a monitor that allows employees to watch the outside parking and gas pump area. All work was done on time and very professional! Will always recommend Tim and Crime Free Living.

S. AM PM Chico Arco Station

"I had Tim install an Alibi Video Security System at my residence and a couple business locations. The remote view option is invaluable to absentee owners or anyone who travels a lot. The clarity and quality of the cameras have allowed for viewing employee theft. The evidence provided from the HD video cameras was fantastic! Tim was professional and provided extra value from his law enforcement background."

J. Folsom Arco Station

"Tim, I want to thank you again for doing such a fantastic job on installing a wireless IP security camera system at our dream home. The extra time that you took to hide wires, and install a clean, professional system is much appreciated. I still can’t believe the clarity, quality, and ease of use of this new system. I wished that I would have met you before our original inferior system was installed by another company. Now, whether I am at home, or monitoring the system from around the world, I know that my home and family are safe and sound."

John M.

"In April of 2017, my husband and I made a phone call to Crime Free Living that turned out to be a smart and wise decision. Amazingly, in just a few hours, Tim installed four Dome Security Cameras, weatherproof enclosures, and hooked up into our home a 23" Full HD Widescreen Security Monitor. Even more than his professional expertise was the time spent with us in making sure that this system was working correctly and properly installed on our phones so that anywhere in our travels we can monitor our new home in Magalia."

Tieka and Don S.

"I have been using Crime Free Living for the last couple years ar work and at home and I really recommend this product. Tim is a very good service provider. If he can't figure it out, he's got good tech support with the system that he offers."

Gary D.

"I have known Tim for over 10 years. To date, Time with Crime Free Living has installed two separate surveillance systems for my company. With each system, Tim has listened to my needs and custom dsigned surveillance systems for my specific needs and within my budget. The equipment used is always state of the art, the workmanship is top notch, and Tim is the example of trustworthy. I would recommend him for any job."

Steve D., Down Range Indoor Training Center

images Certifications & Training

With 16 years of experience in law enforcement, Tim Truby, CEO, is fully certified in video surveillance and training.

  • Certified Advanced Crime Prevention Specialist
  • Academy Instructor Certification
  • California POST Certification in Specialized Surveillance Equipment
  • California POST Certification in Basic Crime Prevention
    • Advanced Crime Prevention through Environmental Design
    • Certified Alibi Security Dealer
    • Enhanced Risk and Threat Assessment (FEMA)
    • Incident Command System (100 & 200)
    • Certified Cognitech Video Forensic Investigator
    • Neighborhood Watch Toolkit Trainer
    • Computer Crimes/Investigations
    • Domestic Crisis for Crisis Negotiators