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home security

Former ADT finance director wants to kick-start home security company

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Christopher Carney, a former director of finance M&A and director of finance, sales and marketing for ADT, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for his new company, Abode Systems.

The 45-day campaign aims to raise $100,000 by May 7 to bring the “new kind of home security and automation solution to market,” Carney said in a prepared statement. The solution “will put big security companies on notice,” he said.

Carney co-founded Abode, based in Palo Alto, Calif., with Brent Franks, previously an account executive with salesforce.com and EVP and co-founder of TerraSmart, a turnkey solar ground mount provider.

The DIY Abode system puts the customer in charge by allowing them to customize, he said.

"My last decade in home security showed me that big security companies have serious flaws and don't consider the changing lifestyles of today's consumers or accommodate new technologies and devices coming to market," CEO Carney said.  “When developing Abode, we had a vision for a self-installable security system that grows with you and your evolving needs, while also remaining capable of utilizing new technologies next month, next year, or further down the road."

Carney said the system offers portability in that it can be transferred to a new home with no reinstallation costs; it eliminates false alarms by sending real-time visual verification and, through its built-in body analysis technology, by being able to tell the difference between people and animals; has a built-in backup power and a 3G radio for use when Internet connections are lost; provides home automation capabilities at no extra cost; can be controlled through a web portal and mobile app; and has an optional 24-hour monitoring available.

The system includes the Abode gateway, motion camera, streaming camera, door and window sensors and key fob.

U.S. Cellular launches DIY security system

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

U.S. Cellular’s OnLook Digital System, a self-installed security and home automation system, is now available in Iowa and in the Tulsa, Okla., market in U.S. Cellular retail stores, online and over the phone.  The system can be managed over a smartphone, tablet or computer, according to the company.

The OnLook Digital System is powered by Alarm.com's cloud-based software platform. It has three DIY package options available starting at $99.99 with a two-year contract. The options include Essential Security, Advanced Security and Advanced Security + Energy.

U.S. Cellular says that every package includes 24/7 professional monitoring and standard components such as a control panel, two door/window sensors, one motion sensor, one key fob, security signs and decals and 24/7 monitoring.

Customers will receive real-time notifications via their mobile phones if something is happening, the company says. Customers are also offered several security and automation accessories and add-on packages that allow customers to customize the solution to best fit their specific needs.

Industry analyst Jeff Kagan of Wireless told a number of news sources that “U.S. Cellular has not seen the kind of growth in wireless that larger competitors have seen in the last several years. So moving into this new market segment sounds like a good idea if it can help U.S. Cellular show solid growth again.”

U.S. Cellular is not alone seeing this as a growth opportunity in home automation and security services. Other companies, such as AT&T Mobility and Comcast Xfinity, see the same opportunity, Kagan said.

I have scheduled an interview to speak with U.S. Cellular to follow up on what this means for its future. So stayed tuned.

Skylink introduces DIY monitoring solution

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09/23/2014

TORONTO—Skylink, a provider of DIY home safety solutions, recently introduced an alarm system kit that allows end users to secure and monitor their homes, according to a news release from the company.

Fortress Security’s Houston expansion nets customers, techs

The company also plans wider regional expansion across Texas and into Oklahoma
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09/17/2014

ARLINGTON, Texas—Fortress Security, based here, expanded its reach into the Houston metro area this summer, drawn by a strong demand for its services, a slightly larger Houston market and a larger pool of technicians, said company founder and owner Jerrod Smith.

Huntington Capital likes the security space

The PE firm’s $3 million loan to an Arizona door-knocking company is its first venture in the space, but it could make more
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09/15/2014

SAN DIEGO—The $3 million that Huntington Capital, a private equity firm based here, recently loaned to door-knocking company Envision Security marks Huntington’s first foray into the security space, but more such investments could be in its future.

Are wireless home systems vulnerable?

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tech publication Wired magazine may not focus too closely on alarm monitoring or residential security, but it does devote a good deal of ink to assessing network security threats, no matter what the context.

Just last month a writer for the magazine, Mat Honan, sketched a funny, dystopian picture of the connected home in revolt, commandeered by wayward hackers on some perverse quest for Internet notoriety. Identifiable only by screen names evoking bad cyberpunk movies, these lonesome code junkies are intent on doing everything from dousing homes with sprinkler systems to invading your privacy through in-home network cameras .

The piece, titled “The Nightmare on Connected Home Street,” is supposed to seem nearly implausible. The narrator is jarred awake at four a.m. by the pulse of dub step music exploding from his connected pillow. The piece ends, a few hours later, with the bare and awesomely memorable paragraph: “The skylights open up. The toaster switches on. I hear the shower kick in from the other room. It’s morning.”

It’s all just a thought experiment, of course, but the piece is thought-provoking and well worth a read.

Interestingly enough, about a month later, Wired turned its attention to security again, this time focusing on vulnerabilities that have nothing to do with IP devices. This time, the article dealt with security concerns related to wireless home alarms, which, according to a pair of researchers cited in the article, could be compromised—the alarms either being suppressed (via “jamming”) or made to deliver false signals. The researchers found identical problems among a number of brands.

The issue apparently has to do with radio frequency signals. While the conversation is understandable enough for a layman, it can drift into the arcane. In sum, the researchers found that the systems “fail to encrypt or authenticate the signals being sent from sensors to control panels," the report said, “making it easy for someone to intercept the data, decipher the commands, and play them back to control panels at will.” Would-be malefactors, the report says, can do this relatively easily.

A vulnerability is a vulnerability, and certainly no security company wants there to be any possibility of a system being hacked. But it should probably be mentioned that while these techniques may come across as elementary to the reading community of Wired Magazine, these methods would probably be, for your run-of-the-mill burglar, well above the norm from a sophistication standpoint.

The researchers cited in the article—Logan Lamb and Silvio Cesare—plan to present their findings at the Black Hat security conference, a computer security conference scheduled next week in Las Vegas. For my part, I’ll be eager to hear more about their findings and to see what kind of impact the research could have.

Vivint creates CSO position, hires federal cyber expert Joe Albaugh

New Vivint CSO Albaugh was security chief at DOT, FAA
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07/30/2014

PROVO, Utah—Joe Albaugh, who today joined Vivint in the newly created position of chief security officer, brings significant cyber expertise, having previously served as chief information security officer at the U.S. Department of Transportation and also at the Federal Aviation Administration.

Viper launches car and home security app

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11/05/2013

VISTA, Calif.—Car security company Viper now offers a Smartphone app that lets customers keep an eye on their homes as well as their cars, the company announced Nov. 4.

Canary affordable home security device still hot sales item

With more than $1.9 million in hand, Canary is preselling its self- install device and is in talks with the ‘biggest monitoring companies’
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09/11/2013

NEW YORK— Canary, a New York City startup that recently raised nearly $2 million through crowdfunding for what it calls “the first smart home security device for everyone,” says so many additional customers still want the device that it launched a more traditional sales campaign on its website today.

Homicide, home security and pro football

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It’s not often that a news story involves a homicide, a home security system and a professional football player, but such has been the case over the past week regarding New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Actually, I should say former tight end, because the Patriots released him today after he was arrested and charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player, according to a report from The New York Times. Police took Hernandez from his North Attleborough, Mass. home this morning in handcuffs, according to the report. Hernandez' home security system has provided crucial evidence in the case, the report said.

Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player for the Boston Bandits, was found shot dead June 17, about a mile from the home of Hernandez. Officials have ruled the death a homicide, and The New York Times story says Lloyd was shot five times. News reports say that Hernandez was friends with Lloyd, who reportedly was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée.
 

Authorities say home surveillance videos show Hernandez was with Lloyd the night he died, according to The New York Times story. Here's more from that report:

 

Prosecutors said home surveillance videos taken from Hernandez’s house show him in possession of firearms before and after Lloyd was killed, that Hernandez was observed picking Lloyd up at 2:30 a.m. on the night he was killed, that a silver Nissan Altima — the same make of vehicle Hernandez had rented — was seen going to and coming from the site where Lloyd’s body was found and that Hernandez was seen exiting his vehicle with a gun at his home at 3:29 a.m., shortly after authorities say Lloyd had been murdered.
Prosecutors added that .45 caliber shell casings found at the scene matched shell casings found in the rental car after Hernandez turned it in.
“The defendant orchestrated the execution,” an assistant district attorney, Bill McCauley, said. Lloyd, he said, was shot five times.
One of Hernandez’s lawyers, Michael Fee, called the case against him “weak” and “circumstantial.”

 

 

 

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