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Why Choose Professional Security

Original Report by: Joan Engebretson for SDM Magazine



Why choose professional security?


Everyone at Forest Security has ongoing training in all aspects of the security industry. Technology changes rapidly and if we don’t keep one step ahead, we can’t keep you, your homes and your businesses safe. If we are not installing or maintaining security equipment, we are being educated about new security devices.

As little as a decade ago, most didn’t think home security would also include thermostats, lighting or automatic door locks. Technology advances rapidly and you want these smart new devises to make your home more convenient.  We have to ensure the devices you choose to enhance your lifestyle don’t pose a cybersecurity threat.

Where to start?

A homes cybersecurity vulnerability falls into three main categories, wireless communications, passwords/user codes, and your router/broadband modem.

Your Smart home devices such as a smart door lock or smart remote thermostats may use Z-Wave, Zigbee or Wi-Fi wireless communications. Each of these protocols has their own set of security protection.


Z-Wave devices have two categories, Secure (door locks and access devices) and Non Secure (lights, thermostats, etc). Secure Z-Wave devices use 128-bit AES built in encryption. This encryption is always on and can not be disabled.

Encryption helps to protect sensitive data from being read by hackers using “sniffer” devises to capture passwords or other sensitive communications.

Another security measure that Z-Wave offers is an explicit paring process. The network controller must sync with the device and exchange security keys. The latest version of Z-Wave is fully encrypted.


Zigbee has multiple vendors who each have implemented their own version making it more complicated. However, with the newest release of Zigbee 3.0, and proper implementation, it’s security is comparable to Z-Wave using 128-bit AES and a paring process.


Wi-Fi security first requires enabling a robust security protocol backed with strong passwords to ensure communications remain secure.

It is important to ensure no unauthorized Z-Wave device can connect to your -Wave network through encryption and security keys.

Wireless protocol encryption is the code that hackers continue to try to break so keeping current with updates and sometimes replacing older technology is required to keep everything secure.

User Codes and Passwords

This is the biggest vulnerability on security devices. It is CRUCIAL for the default login and password be changed. Even today, many remain on their default settings allowing hackers to easily take control of security devices.

Security dealers can help to set up secure passwords. Using upper- and lower-case letters along with numerals and special characters help keep hackers at bay. Changing passwords regularly is also a good practice which many of us do not do.

Keeping access codes to a minimum is also a good practice. If you have a dog walker, or house cleaner, allowing access only during certain times and certain also helps security. If they were to get hacked, your information along with theirs would be compromised.

What About the Router?

When security professionals install a security system in a customer’s home, the broadband modem/router is already in place. This is a function of the customer’s internet provider and not the security dealer. However, this is a huge cyber-security vulnerability. If the software is not kept up to date, or the default passwords are not changed, or if the passwords are not secure, a hacker could gain entry to the network. Once in, they could potentially gain access to your pc or laptop and then to your security system, banking records or other private information.

Because Security Dealers are not the owners of these devices and a small change could cause connectivity problems, this is an area were professional advice is given for the customer to make sure their Wi-Fi is secure.

It’s a partnership

In order for Forest to help keep your system as secure as possible, it takes a real partnership. We will do our part to help ensure your security but we also need you to follow these tips:

  • Create strong passwords.
  • Avoid using the same password for multiple log-ins.
  • Change passwords often.
  • Secure your wireless network and cloud-enabled devices with a firewall.
  • Use a regularly updated anti-virus program across all computers and make sure all computers and networking equipment are patched regularly.
  • Ensure equipment firmware is updated on a regular basis.
  • Only purchase security equipment from a trusted source,  like Forest Security.


Trust your security to the professionals so you don’t have to worry about keeping up to date on commination protocols and cybersecurity hackers.

Original Report by: Joan Engebretson for SDM Magazine

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