My news feed is set to deliver me news about the Raspberry Pi, Tasker, home automation, smart security system and several more relevant information that inspire me and provide me with the knowledge for further tutorials. In the recent weeks, I came across several guides/tutorials on how to use home automation to increase the security in the house. With all the gadgets, sensors and IoT devices you might be tempted to wire up your house and create an elaborate and interactive home security system. I’m not surprised that these methods are popular, as provide us with a cheaper alternative than a professionally fitted alarm system. All great but all these had one thing in common. The same weakest link. Here it the biggest smart security system pitfall.
The biggest pitfall of a smart security system
Turns out, that hacking into your home automation system is not needed. It takes time and costs money. Entire homemade security systems can be disabled with a free device in less than a fraction of the second. The weakest link in your home automation is the lack of the separate power system, independent from mains. Unlike professional installations – you are very unlikely to put extra wires to power an IP cam, or a Pi Server. Your router is probably powered from the mains as well and the same applies to sensors.
If a plug is shortened and plugged into a socket, your fuse, and anything connected to mains will get powered down. If you are lucky, and you have an additional circuit for the upper floors – some of the devices could be still powered. The worse case scenario is when you have an outside plug wired to the inside mains, instead of the separate circuit. Unless your sockets come with additional fuse installed, that is capable of blowing before the main one everything will get powered off. This means no IP cameras, no servers, no sensors, no router to send you a notification.
Entire your effort has gone within a second, all of this possible from outside of your house (if you have the outside unsecured socket).
How to prevent it?
This is a tricky question. Apart from having a completely separate circuit for the entire security system, you will need an UPS to keep the system online. This means some serious money. Creating a homemade security system requires you to always look at the weakest link. Don’t let it be the power supply.