Category Archives: Safety

The Need For Advanced Security Communication

The integration of security systems into the digital world has opened up many doors to create robust systems to allow us to stay connected to our home or business with a smart phone or laptop.  But there is another, critical advantage that has closed the door on serious security system vulnerabilities. Redundant Communication.

Over the years, systems were connected with standard telephone land lines, (POTS lines).  Many events have gone unreported to the monitoring station when the land lines were cut prior to the intruder entering the home or business, resulting in no communication to the central station and no response from authorities.  The loss is great. In addition, many businesses and some homes as well, have installed video surveillance camera systems in addition to security alarm systems to better enhance security and provide a visual record in the event of a break in to aid in the prosecution of would-be intruders.  But here is the problem:

The Scenario:

Intruder cases home or business and is aware of security system.  Then before breaking in, the intruder cuts all landlines to the premises, disabling communication from the security systems, and then proceeds to gain entry into the premises.  The Intruder sees a camera system in place and knows that a recording device such as a DVR is onsite recording the event.  After the intruder cleans out all the valuables from the premises, the recording device is located and taken from the premises upon exiting. When the home or business owner arrives to the premise, they find that they have been robbed, but wonder why the security system did not call authorities.  When they try to check the recording device for events, they realize it is missing.  Therefore, no video evidence is available either.

The Security System Solution:

With the addition of a cellular backup communicator, the system reports over both landline and cellular communication.  With the landlines cut, the cellular communicator is still able to report and the authorities are still dispatched.

A more recent technology has been added to security panels called Advanced Protection Logic, APL. This was developed to respond to the “Smash and Grab” action, where an intruder cuts phone lines, gains entry through a door that would normally have an entry delay and quickly disables any additional communication by smashing or removing the device from the premises.  Normally, no signals would be sent by either landline or cellular communication until the delay expires.  This is especially an issue with integrated security panels.  APL sends a signal to central station immediately when the door is opened, but it is stored in hold register, awaiting the correct security code to be received.  If the correct code is not received within the delay period, it is read as a valid signal and the authorities are dispatched.  If the correct code is sent in time, then the signal is dumped.x

The Video Surveillance Solution:

The advancement of network cameras has made a digital solution for video surveillance more affordable.  Up to 6 indoor or outdoor network cameras can be installed and managed through an IP Communicator.  Rather than video being stored on the premises, the video is immediately sent off-site and stored at the provider’s servers.  No recording devices are present on the premises and any events are captured and sent off-site for later review.  Nothing can be removed by the intruder to destroy the video evidence.

As the Information Technology world advances, the Security world will further integrate with it and the solutions and possibilities will advance with it.  We have come a long way since the conventional burglar alarm system and the need for advanced physical security will continue to grow.

Jim Welch – Technology Specialist


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Tech Moments?

Is there such a thing as Technology-Induced Alzheimer’s (TIA)? Because I think I’ve got it and I’m pretty sure some of my friends show symptoms. Even more problematic, TIA seems to come in two forms. I think I have both.

Which button do I press?

The first is the refusal of your brain to remember how to do anything differently. I mastered the original remote controls for televisions and CD players. You had an on/off button, two channel buttons and two volume buttons. If you were going ‘high tech’, you also had a button that allowed you to choose between cable and CD player.

Remotes now look like they belong in a cockpit. There are still the original five buttons, but they are hidden among those allowing you to select a program guide, start/stop/fast forward/reverse a CD or DVD, select a channel by pressing button combinations, save channels you like, password protect channels, tilt your recliner to your preferred position, and ask if you would like a soft drink and popcorn.

Each time I babysit for my daughter and son-in-law, she has to show me where the ON button is on her TV remote since I get totally lost. Worse, they have three of the gadgets. At least now, when I babysit, she hides two of them.

The other form of TIA is the inability to remember how things got done before technology. I’ve been caught sitting in the driver’s seat of someone else’s car and been asked why I hadn’t started it up. Was something wrong? No, I was patiently waiting for the seat to move to my preset preferences. Oh, right, that only works in my own car.

I remember having to pass a test on reading PAPER maps before I could get my original driving license. I’m sure I couldn’t even fold one back up now. Heaven forbid that I have to remember how to adjust outside rearview mirrors manually!

My most embarrassing TIA moment was standing behind a set of doors waiting for the automatic door opener to open the doors. This experience was enhanced when I mentioned to my daughter that stores should put signs on non-working doors. She seemed to enjoy informing me it wasn’t an automatic door. 

So, what do you think? Is there technology induced Alzheimer’s? We’d love to hear your stories.

Carol Smith
Training Manager

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Google Chrome’s Password Generator

Everything we do via technology requires some sort of password protection. Whether we log on to a computer, check email, online banking, smart phones, or any kind of account management, we need passwords. How do we remember them all? I certainly can’t. I’m constantly fighting with myself when I need to recall a password for a particular website. Then when I think I finally have a password remembered, the system requires me to change it!

Google is in the process of working on a password generator for its  Chrome browser, to create strong passwords for its users to safeguard against hackers. When a user visits a page that Chrome thinks is going to set up an account, it will place a key icon in the password field. If the key icon is pressed, and confirmed, Chrome will generate a password that include letters, numbers, and characters to make it difficult for hackers to crack, and impossible for the user to remember.

photo credit: PC Magazine

Once the password is accepted, Chrome will sync it with the user’s other devices running the browser. Why does Google thinks it’s a good idea? They speculate that if a person doesn’t remember his or her password, then it can’t be given away to phishers.

Google’s goal is to have the browser authenticate the user’s login and identity. Currently you can achieve this through password managers, but users still know their passwords. By having Chrome generate passwords for users, this can remove the problem of phishing.

So what if the user would like to see their password from time to time? Google stated that they will create a secure website where users will be able to see and possibly print the passwords. Another problem would be, if someone cracks into the user’s Chrome account, they would have access to that person’s passwords.

We just can’t win can we? My solution would be to have a password that you will always remember, but spelled backwards, with the first letter in capital case, and the last as a digit and a symbol. Either that or we can just tattoo the password onto ourselves, and when we want to forget it, just add a flower tattoo over it. It works for the celebrities…

Will you be using this service once it’s available? Tell us what you think, all comments are welcome!

Chrissy Le, Technology Marketing Specialist

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Remote control of your Security System? Yes, there is an App for that too!

With the arrival of the Internet, electronics manufacturers have leapt into the world of connectivity by incorporating user interfaces with their devices via a network connection.  We live in a fast-paced, electronics world and we want to be connected to it.  The Security Alarm and Home Automation world is no exception.

Traditional alarm systems had utilized a landline phone connection to send signals to a central station.  This signal was sent over a slow POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) line.  An incorporated digital modem in the control panel allowed communication in the event of an alarm. 

With the success of the Internet and cellular technologies, new possibilities have arrived for the alarm industry.  Now, a cellular or IP device could be utilized alone, or in conjunction with a landline for redundancy, to send digital signals to a central station.  With digital high speed connections, not only can we send alarm signals, but we now have two-way high speed communications with our equipment, giving us full management and control of our security system over the Cloud.

Do you own a Smartphone, iPad or similar hand-held device?  When it comes to security systems, yes, there is an app for that too!  With the tap of a finger, the remote services apps let you control your security system, receive text messages and e-mail alerts.  You can even view live video, event-driven video clips and pictures on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, BlackBerry® or Android™ devices.  

Enable the virtual keypad and you can arm or disarm the system remotely. And with integration of Home Automation, you can control your lighting, HVAC, door locks, garage door openers and most anything electronic from any place in the world!

As Smartphones and other hand-held devices evolve, the security system manufacturers will race to stay integrated and quickly bring complete home automation into our lives.

For more information, call.

-Jim Welch

Technology Specialist

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Your Safety – Technology at your Fingertip

At CS Technologies, we provide security and life safety solutions in a variety of packages. We provide security and video surveillance systems for both businesses and home, in addition we carry a line of 911 life safety pendants.  You can call us any time to see what product might suit your needs.

Below are two simple tips for using common technology (that we may already have) at our fingertips. Some newer cell phones now have “In Case of Emergency” at the top of the contact list.  This is your ICE person.  Be sure you have at least one ICE contact listed.  If it isn’t designated on your phone, simply add a contact “ICE – Dad”.  If you lose your cell phone, the finder could call your ICE contact who hopefully, can quickly identify you as the owner of that phone.

There are also “In Case of Emergency” applications that you can download to your  phone and some of those applications will permit you to add more than one ICE contact. You can also add family members along with their allergy, medication list with basic information about each family member such as blood type etc (information that emergency personnel need during a crises). The application I downloaded on my iPhone allows me to add wallpaper to set my lock screen and/or my home screen or both that identifies my emergency contact name along with my allergies.

An important benefit of ICE is that emergency responders may be able to quickly contact your emergency contact if something happens to you and you cannot make a call.

Here is another precaution you can take to be safe:  Most of us carry a security alarm with us and we don’t even realize it.  Our car remote has a “panic” button.  As you are out shopping, walking across large parking lots, have your keys in your hand.  A honking horn gets attention if you need it. Test your car remote to see if it works from your bedroom.  If so, carry that remote to bed with you.  Make a  safe neighbor pact to call police for each other if your horn starts blowing in the middle of the night. 

As we enter into a new year we will blog about tips on keeping you and your family safe. Your comments and ongoing discussions are always welcome. If you have any safety tips that you would like to share with us, don’t be shy, we would love to hear from you.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Holly Lynn Berlin, General Manager

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