The latest generation ZeroWire and UltraSync technologies from Interlogix, a brand represented by UTC Fire & Security UK Ltd in the United Kingdom, are the solutions being used by leading security provider Bellit Security. UltraSync’s app-controlled and ZeroWire’s wireless packages bring together intruder, video and home automation features and add the advantage of 24/7 control via the user’s mobile phone.

Bellit Security Managing Director Daniel Halenko believes they are ‘game-changing’ products. “ZeroWire and UltraSync together give homeowners exactly the right mix of affordability, ease of use and convenience. This is a significant upgrade on what we’ve seen before and a major opportunity to shake up the industry.”

Smart phone and central monitoring options

"From our first completed projects, we could see how much customers love the technology – it really excites them"

The ZeroWire panel, along with its associated UltraSync app, is designed to be monitored either through the user’s smart phone or via connection to a central monitoring station. Configuring ZeroWire is simple and based upon the concept of ‘scenes.’ A scene encapsulates a group of up to 16 actions, such as turning on the lights or disarming the system, which can then be triggered either manually, through a system event such as an alarm, or via a time schedule. A typical scene might be to turn off lights, lock locks and shut the garage door when leaving. Another scene might be to activate a sounder, start a camera recording and send an email when a sensor detects an intruder.

“From our first completed projects, we could see how much customers love the technology – it really excites them,” says Halenko. “We are incredibly positive about its potential.”

Residential installations

Blackburn-based Bellit Security has already begun investing in marketing ZeroWire smart home systems. One of their latest projects is a new, high-end residential property and it illustrates why this new technology is so appealing. The homeowner is a single mother with two teenagers who needed a solution that would not only provide peace of mind but make her busy life easier. For her, it was about home-management and life-management as much as security.

Her previous property had been seriously damaged by a flood caused by a frozen pipe. She loved that, with Z-Wave controlled valves installed, the ZeroWire smart home system not only detects flooding but can automatically turn the main water supply off. She doesn’t have to be at home to turn off the water supply and doesn’t even have to know where the stop-valve is - just one example of the kind of control she now has over her property. This feature alone will be a major attraction for other customers, such as those with blocks of apartments to manage.

Also at her property, Bellit Security installed two internal wireless cameras, wireless door and window contacts, and three wireless Passive Infra Red (PIR) detectors. All wirelessly signal back to the ZeroWire panel, which can then communicate with either a central monitoring station or a mobile phone, depending on the customer’s wishes. In this case, the homeowner used the UltraSync app from her mobile phone to view her cameras, see the status of the intruder system and control items such as lights and thermostats.

Smart home functionality provides a means for a mother to check in on her home, and her teenage children, wherever she is

Remote monitoring

Smart home functionality provides a means for a mother to check in on her home, and her teenage children, wherever she is. This doesn’t mean spying on family members but getting phone notifications that somebody has arrived home safely at the time they are expected. For people looking after potentially vulnerable family members, the benefits are also clear.

The UltraSync app, using geo-location technology paired with a smartphone’s GPS, can advise the ZeroWire panel when a user has left or returned to a predefined physical location. Another added feature: the ZeroWire panel can automatically turn off Z-Wave lights when the user has left home and then turn the lights back on as the user returns home. This is done by the user putting a “geo-fence” around the house at the desired distance, so the home ‘wakes up’ and is ready to welcome them when they arrive. This includes things like the lights and heat turning on and the alarm system turning off. No longer would a homeowner have to search for their keys while the security system counts down to activation.

Mobile alarm notifications

Lastly, the ZeroWire can “push,” or send, alarm notifications to the homeowner’s mobile phone. When the system detects an intruder (or any specified alarm event), it sends a message to the user’s mobile phone. The user can then view the cameras, check whether there’s a problem and make an informed decision about how to respond, including contacting emergency services if necessary.

“Bellit Security is a great example of how security providers are using UTC Fire & Security technology to offer customers exciting, life-enhancing smart home solutions,” says Kevin Swann, managing director, UTC Fire & Security UK Ltd. “Now, with ZeroWire and UltraSync, homeowners can manage their properties remotely and have convenience, control and peace of mind. These are solutions that consumers will embrace because they enhance their busy lives in a very obvious way.”

It’s a message UTC Fire & Security and many security providers are convinced the industry – and its customers - are not only ready for but keen to hear.

Smart home automation is attracting a lot of attention these days, within the security sector and beyond

Smart home automation systems

Smart home automation is attracting a lot of attention these days, within the security sector and beyond, with companies such as Apple and Google developing visions for consumer lifestyles that are transformed by the Internet of Things. But with its established position in both the security and fire segments – which are subject to well-established commercial standards – UTC Fire & Security is well-placed to be among the industry leaders.

These innovative offerings reflect that. For communications, ZeroWire utilises IP, WiFi and optional GSM connections. The non-proprietary Z-Wave protocol is supported, which gives access to over 1,700 third party products such as thermostats, locks and lights. With EN Grade 2 and PD6662 accreditation, ZeroWire meets the required standards for police response to alarms if required.

The ZeroWire range of wireless peripherals includes indoor and outdoor cameras, a smoke detector, door/window sensors, indoor and outdoor sirens, a range of PIR detectors and a two-way key fob. With support of the Z-Wave protocol, this extends support to include third-party products such as thermostats, locks, plugs and dimmers. ZeroWire provides a single platform for both home security and automation.

ZeroWire and UltraSync provide homeowners with a proven smart home automation system

Easy installations

Ease of installation and on-going support has been a major consideration in the design philosophy of ZeroWire. All sensors are connected wirelessly so no wiring is required. Additionally, the UltraSync capability means that communication with a central monitoring station is established simply by plugging in the network cable and the ZeroWire unit ‘dials home’ itself, via the cloud, without the need for any IT knowledge such as port forwarding. Once installed, with the plug and play remote connection established, support such as configuration changes or firmware updates can be handled remotely.

ZeroWire and UltraSync provide homeowners with a proven smart home automation system, incorporating a traditional security capability along with control of a wide range of additional products such as camera and thermostats. Allowing ease of mind and convenience for a variety of customers, regardless of location.

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Adapting servers for IP video surveillance systems: Why manufacturers struggle
Adapting servers for IP video surveillance systems: Why manufacturers struggle

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New Year’s Resolutions to counter web and mobile application security breaches in 2019
New Year’s Resolutions to counter web and mobile application security breaches in 2019

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Today’s proven obfuscation techniques can help prevent application reverse engineering, deter tampering, and protect personal identifiable information and API communications Best practice resolutions The Magecart attacks highlight the need to apply the same vigilance and best practices to web and mobile application source code that organisations apply to their networks—which brings us to this year’s New Year’s resolutions for protecting your app source code in 2019: Alert The key to success is quickly understanding when and how an app is being attacked First, organisations must obtain real-time visibility into their application threat landscape given they are operating in a zero-trust environment. Similar to how your organisation monitors the network and the systems connected to it, you must be able to monitor your apps. This will allow you to see what users are doing with your code so that you can customise protection to counter attacks your app faces. 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How organisations can secure user credentials from data breaches and password hacks
How organisations can secure user credentials from data breaches and password hacks

In the age of massive data breaches, phishing attacks and password hacks, user credentials are increasingly unsafe. So how can organisations secure accounts without making life more difficult for users? Marc Vanmaele, CEO of TrustBuilder, explains. User credentials give us a sense of security. Users select their password, it's personal and memorable to them, and it's likely that it includes special characters and numbers for added security. Sadly, this sense is most likely false. If it's anything like the 5.4 billion user IDs on haveibeenpwned.com, their login has already been compromised. If it's not listed, it could be soon. Recent estimates state that 8 million more credentials are compromised every day. Ensuring safe access Data breaches, ransomware and phishing campaigns are increasingly easy to pull off. Cyber criminals can easily find the tools they need on Google with little to no technical knowledge. Breached passwords are readily available to cyber criminals on the internet. Those that haven’t been breached can also be guessed, phished or cracked using one of the many “brute-force” tools available on the internet. It's becoming clear that login credentials are no longer enough to secure your users' accounts. Meanwhile, organisations have a responsibility and an ever-stricter legal obligation to protect their users’ sensitive data. This makes ensuring safe access to the services they need challenging, particularly when trying to provide a user experience that won’t cause frustration – or worse, lose your customers’ interest. After GDPR was implemented across the European Union, organisations could face a fine of up to €20 million, or 4% annual global turnover Importance of data protection So how can businesses ensure their users can safely and simply access the services they need while keeping intruders out, and why is it so important to strike that balance? After GDPR was implemented across the European Union, organisations could face a fine of up to €20 million, or 4% annual global turnover – whichever is higher, should they seriously fail to comply with their data protection obligations. This alone was enough to prompt many organisations to get serious about their user’s security. Still, not every business followed suit. Cloud security risks Breaches were most commonly identified in organisations using cloud computing or where staff use personal devices According to a recent survey conducted at Infosecurity Europe, more than a quarter of organisations did not feel ready to comply with GDPR in August 2018 – three months after the compliance deadline. Meanwhile, according to the UK Government’s 2018 Cyber Security Breaches survey, 45% of businesses reported breaches or attacks in the last 12 months. According to the report, logins are less secure when accessing services in the cloud where they aren't protected by enterprise firewalls and security systems. Moreover, breaches were most commonly identified in organisations using cloud computing or where staff use personal devices (known as BYOD). According to the survey, 61% of UK organisations use cloud-based services. The figure is higher in banking and finance (74%), IT and communications (81%) and education (75%). Additionally, 45% of businesses have BYOD. This indicates a precarious situation. The majority of businesses hold personal data on users electronically and may be placing users at risk if their IT environments are not adequately protected. Hackers have developed a wide range of tools to crack passwords, and these are readily available within a couple of clicks on a search engine Hacking methodology In a recent exposé on LifeHacker, Internet standards expert John Pozadzides revealed multiple methods hackers use to bypass even the most secure passwords. According to John’s revelations, 20% of passwords are simple enough to guess using easily accessible information. But that doesn’t leave the remaining 80% safe. Hackers have developed a wide range of tools to crack passwords, and these are readily available within a couple of clicks on a search engine. Brute force attacks are one of the easiest methods, but criminals also use increasingly sophisticated phishing campaigns to fool users into handing over their passwords. Users expect organisations to protect their passwords and keep intruders out of their accounts Once a threat actor has access to one password, they can easily gain access to multiple accounts. This is because, according to Mashable, 87% of users aged 18-30 and 81% of users aged 31+ reuse the same passwords across multiple accounts. It’s becoming clear that passwords are no longer enough to keep online accounts secure. Securing data with simplicity Users expect organisations to protect their passwords and keep intruders out of their accounts. As a result of a data breach, companies will of course suffer financial losses through fines and remediation costs. Beyond the immediate financial repercussions, however, the reputational damage can be seriously costly. A recent Gemalto study showed that 44% of consumers would leave their bank in the event of a security breach, and 38% would switch to a competitor offering a better service. Simplicity is equally important, however. For example, if it’s not delivered in ecommerce, one in three customers will abandon their purchase – as a recent report by Magnetic North revealed. If a login process is confusing, staff may be tempted to help themselves access the information they need by slipping out of secure habits. They may write their passwords down, share them with other members of staff, and may be more susceptible to social engineering attacks. So how do organisations strike the right balance? For many, Identity and Access Management solutions help to deliver secure access across the entire estate. It’s important though that these enable simplicity for the organisation, as well as users. Organisations need an IAM solution that will adapt to both of these factors, providing them with the ability to apply tough access policies when and where they are needed and prioritising swift access where it’s safe to do so Flexible IAM While IAM is highly recommended, organisations should seek solutions that offer the flexibility to define their own balance between a seamless end-user journey and the need for a high level of identity assurance. Organisations’ identity management requirements will change over time. So too will their IT environments. Organisations need an IAM solution that will adapt to both of these factors, providing them with the ability to apply tough access policies when and where they are needed and prioritising swift access where it’s safe to do so. Importantly, the best solutions will be those that enable this flexibility without spending significant time and resource each time adaptations need to be made. Those that do will provide the best return on investment for organisations looking to keep intruders at bay, while enabling users to log in safely and simply.