Is Home Security at Risk From Smart Technology?

Home security systems that can be run from cell phones and tablets are great. Houstonians are enamored by the latest technology that lets you stay in complete control of your castle even while you’re away from the house.

Did you know that those little, time-saving smart technology devices can compromise your home security?

Most of us never give it a second thought. We send all sorts of stuff about ourselves over our cell phones and other “smart” technologies. Text messages, emails, surf the net, pictures. We want to let all our family, friends, and followers what we are doing, the latest cool thing about town, the delicious meal we just ate.

Facebook and Flickr. Complete with pictures from smart devices.

Most of us never think about what is being attached to those pictures before we press “Send” or “Post”. The date and time stamped on those photos makes it easy for us to remember the time and place. Date and time aside, your photos also can be stamped with the place the image was taken.

Home Security Compromised by GPS Technology

Have you given thought to the little GPS chip that’s in your cell phone or other smart technology devices? In an emergency, it’s great to have, but what else is it doing?

The cell phone you just bought or upgraded has GPS enabled. Many tablets, DSLRs, and point and shoot digital cameras have the GPS chip. Canon and Sony currently have DSLR cameras with GPS built in. And the federal government requires GPS for all new cellular equipment after September 11, 2012 to provide location information needed for 911 calls.

Not much has been said about home security and how those little devices we use every day leave us open to criminal activity. Most of the articles, blogs, and editorials have more to do with privacy and legal issues surrounding the stuff we share on the internet. Little thought is given to those nefarious persons who intercept our photos and use them to target homes and businesses for burglary.

Home Security Put At Risk by Geotagging

GPS geotags all those photos you send over using smart technology. Geotagging stamps a photo with the precise latitude/longitude coordinates where the image was taken. Once you have the coordinates, you can find the exact address.

Unlike the time and date, a geotag doesn’t show up at the bottom when you view the image. Although you can’t see it, the location is stored in the file’s data. And there’s software is available to extract the coordinates from your image file. There’s even open-source (free) software that you can download off the internet.

Any photo that you’ve taken a GPS enabled device and sent to friends, Facebooked, posted on Flickr, YouTube, or Wikipedia Commons, or even posted on Craigslist has this geographic information imbedded in the image file.

Click and Save As. Then use the software to find the geotag. It’s that easy for criminals.

Home Security GPS Geotag Protection

Other than not taking those family pictures in your home, there are steps you can take to guard your home security.

  1. Remove geotags with a removal tool for photos before publishing on internet using an open source software
  2. Keep your SM media setting private to limit access to your photos
  3. Disable your GPS before taking a photo by using Menu/Options/advanced options/GPS/select disable or off

If you remember to take one these steps to neutralize smart technology GPS before posting your pictures from home, you increase your home security and keep burglars from targeting you. A couple of seconds to remove the geotags are worth the heartache of break ins.

Safeguard Home Security has protected Houstonians for over 30 years. Find out if your home security defenses are up to date by calling us (832) 469-4054 .