COVID-19 Scams on the Web and by Phone

A person using a computer for web browsing.

At a time when we’re aiming to do the best for the communities around us, we also need to look out for people maliciously taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation in the form of scams on the web, via emails or even by phone in some cases. We’re passionate about helping people protect what’s important to them and while our focus is on more physical security products, we’re changing things up for this article to highlight the importance of smart security on not only a physical front but on a digital front too, as more and more of us use the internet in different situations during this challenging time.

According to Scamwatch, which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), they received 94 reports of COVID-19 scams between the 1st of January 2020 to the 20th of March. These scammers are attempting to obtain people’s personal data, sell dodgy COVID-19-related products and steal people’s hard-earned money.

The good habits that we use to protect ourselves on the web and in general also translate over to dealing with COVID-19 scams. If you do experience a scam of any sort, you can make a report on the Scamwatch website.

These scams and malicious attacks can come in multiple forms, including:

Phishing Emails and Phone Calls

Numerous reports have detailed that users have received phishing emails and phone calls impersonating entities such as government organisations, the World Health Organisation and various businesses.

Fake / Dodgy Products

Various malicious websites are offering products that claim to offer vaccines or cures for COVID-19, though are ultimately of no use and just take your money. At the time of writing this, no vaccine or cure for COVID-19 currently exists.

Misinformation by Text, Social Media or Email

Malicious texts, social media posts/messages and emails are being sent out from impersonators and fake organisations, offering users a cure or vaccine for COVID-19 or other information.

Do not respond to unsolicited calls, emails or messages that request intricate personal information or financial details. Hang up on these callers or delete these messages.

Mobile Malware

Users are reporting malicious apps that can potentially infect your mobile device with malware or steal personal information. Some of these apps pretend they’re offering information about COVID-19.

Do not install apps from unofficial sources. Do your research and read legitimate reviews before installing any applications on your devices. Keep your device security up to date.

This is just a shortlist of the scams out there. It’s always a good habit to play it smart on the web and when protecting what’s important to you.

As always, we’re open and our team is here to help you with protecting your physical property. If you’re interested in access control systems and alarms to suit your property, contact our team.

Why You Should Upgrade Your Access Control Technology

A man about to upgrade access control technology.

Using up to date access control technology can enable you to protect your property easily, quickly and remotely. Increasingly, more and more businesses, organisations and homes are using this technology to easily protect their premises while allowing or restricting access as need be. The benefits have been fantastic for commercial and domestic users.

This fantastic technology needs to be maintained though. Administrators / owners should regularly review who has access to their system, depending on the size of the system, its goals and the amount of users. Developments in technology also create numerous benefits for the administrators and users of access control systems. These benefits can include the ability to manage your system remotely, enhanced user privacy, security bugs fixed and more.

Manage Your System Remotely

Newer access control systems give you the ability to manage and monitor the entire system remotely. Depending on the system you have, this can be done by using the related web page, smart phone / tablet app or the device provided to complement your system. You won’t have to visit the location anymore to change user’s access privileges.

Privacy for Access Control Systems

Privacy is more and more of a concern for users in the age of information, spurring forth more innovations in protecting their data. While it is fantastic technology we have at our fingertips in this case, it also comes with great responsibilities. Your users may want a particular level of privacy when interacting with your system and also want to know their details are safe. An up to date access control system will be ready to tackle various threats thrown at it while also protecting your user’s data.

Security

Delaying upgrades can be dangerous with various security products but particularly with access control systems. As security issues and risks develop and grow in quantity, these can quickly become a weak point that if targeted, would leave your premises or property in potentially serious jeopardy.

Improvements in User Convenience

The interfaces and features of access control systems are continuously upgraded to provider greater flexibility and accessibility options for users. Quality manufacturers and designers of security software use leading research-backed methods to deliver better and better interfaces that are easier for you and your users.

If you’re interested in the benefits of upgrading your access control infrastructure, contact our team now on 1300 315 522 or send your enquiry.

What Are the Types of Outdoor Security Cameras?

Outdoor security camera mounted on a blue wall.

Protecting your property with outdoor security cameras can be a fantastic addition to your overall security. Not only do they keep their eye on the premises and record footage, though they also act as a powerful deterrent.

There a lot of options on the outdoor security camera market – some of these options are great and some should be avoided. Included are a selection of outdoor cameras that can be used effectively for commercial and domestic security purposes, along with advice on what to look for.

Wireless Outdoor Security Cameras

Wireless options exist which can be easier to install. Keep in mind that just because a camera states it is wireless, they still require a power source and this can often come in the form of power cable. Generally, their wireless feature is that they transmit their video and audio data wirelessly. Some wireless cameras do transmit their data wirelessly and also use batteries for a truly wire-free option. If going for a battery-powered option, make sure to keep an eye on their battery life.

Find out more about wireless security camera systems.

Solar Powered Cameras

Solar powered camera options exist for a potentially wireless camera or a method to get power to the camera in a place that can’t be easily accessed. These generally include a small solar panel that charges its internal battery. Like anything solar-based, they are reliant on the sun and constant shade can become a problem for them. If installing a solar powered camera, ensure that its panel receives as much sun as possible.

IP Cameras

An IP camera (internet protocol camera) is a form of digital video camera. As the unabbreviated name implies, this camera transfers video data and receives control inputs by use of the internet/networks.

These cameras include an impressive array of features that can be useful for commercial and domestic purposes. These features include and are not limited to:

  • Remote storage options.
  • Remote viewing access.
  • HD recording.
  • Can be powered over Ethernet.
  • Video data encryption.
  • Two way audio.

Many IP cameras on the Australian market are made to endure the outdoor elements, with water tight and UV resistant cases.

Learn more about what IP cameras do.

Be Aware of Inferior Products

Not all security cameras are created equal. Cheap knockoffs do exist along with generally poor constructed cameras and they can cause a range of headaches for the user.

Some of these cheaper cameras have poor quality seals that aren’t water tight after basic usage. This can lead to the camera being damaged and failing if water is to get in.

UV resistance is an area where some cheaper or not suited cameras can fall short too.

Given the harsh climate of Australia, a well constructed outdoor camera will make a big difference to its lifespan and how useful it will be for you.

If you require advice about the ideal outdoor security cameras for your needs or are after a quality security camera, contact our expert team at Twenty First Security. Our fully trained and qualified technicians have decades of industry experience behind them and can advise you in-depth about the best security cameras to suit your situation.

When You’re Going Away, Keep off Social Media

Man going away and using social media on his phone and laptop.

Lots of people love what social media has brought us, being able to update friends and family with our new special moments easily and keep in touch with those close to us. While this level of digital connection does provide many benefits for people, we should be aware of the privacy or security issues that could arise from improper use.

Multiple surveys and studies over the years have unveiled that quite large amounts of social media users will post about their holidays while they’re still away. According to Suncorp, it is particularly more common among people between the ages of 18 to 35 to post about their holidays (around 50 percent of this user demographic). This method of showcasing one’s current holidays to the world may come back to bite some people, as burglars often use this information to confirm if people are away from their home. Educate your children and those close to you that posting about their current holidays on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter can have drawbacks. Focus on enjoying your holidays and you can share the details with your friends and family afterwards.

External of not publicising your holidays on social media while you’re away, there are other things you can do and be proactive with to protect your property. Don’t leave your bins out and let your mailbox get overfilled while you’re away, as these are two pieces of information that a burglar can use to see if a home is unoccupied. If you do need to have the rubbish taken while you’re away, ask a trusted friend, neighbour or family member to put out and bring your bins back, and also check on your mail and leave it somewhere safe for you to collect when you return. You can also invest in smart light technology to create scheduled and randomised lighting throughout your house, giving the appearance that someone is home and moving through rooms.

A home and business security professional can also assist you with methods to protect your home and any other properties you own, such as if you have a business or any properties for storage. Home security systems are available that provide a fantastic addition for protecting your property and deterring thieves. These can include visible security cameras and burglar alarms. If you’re in Melbourne and looking to enhance the security of your property, particularly if you’re going away, contact our team at Twenty First Security for a no-obligation discussion about your requirements.

Smart Lights for Improving Home Security

Smart lights for improving home security.

There are a lot of options for a home that can help improve its security. Resilient locks, security cameras and a protective pooch are some of the many choices Australians go by to keep their property protected.

More than a way to show off to guests about how convenient technology makes your life, LED smart lights can be an effective addition for the overall security of your home.

Using their lighting schedule functions, smart lighting can be set to turn on at specific times as set by you via your smartphone or computer. These act similar to more traditional light timers though with the added convenience of controlling them via your devices throughout your home or when you’re away. Specific 9-5 schedules could be created and lighting schedules can also be randomised. Variations can also be included alongside some standard schedules, to give the idea that people are home at random times.

Some smart lighting devices also include an “away” mode or similar. This will turn lights on and off randomly during a scheduled time frame, making it seem like someone is home and moving through different rooms.

LED smart lighting is also incredibly energy efficient compared to other traditional forms of light bulbs. Even with the standby power usage (an incredibly small amount), LED smart bulbs are great on your power bill. According to Choice, many smart LED light bulbs use similar amounts of power compared to a standard LED light bulb. The remote management and automation can be useful too for ensuring your lights are turned off when you need them to be and not drawing excess power.

Smart Light Motion Sensors

Some smart lights on the Australian market can detect nearby movement and will turn on for a set period of time. The sensitivity can be set via the connected app on your phone or computer so large insects don’t set them off.

Turn Lamps into Smart Lights with a Smart Plug

Smart plugs are powerpoint adapters that turn any standard lamp with a power plug into smart lighting. With a few of these placed throughout your house, you’ll be able to create scheduled and randomised lighting patterns. Plus, you have the convenience of controlling these devices remotely from your mobile devices or desktop / laptop computer.

Smart plugs can also assist with generally any appliance they’re attached to. They’re great if you’re away from home and want to be sure you turned something off.

The Benefits of a Wireless Security Camera System

A wireless security camera system being accessed by a phone.

A wireless security camera system can be an effective and convenient method of improving security on your property. Everyone’s case is different though and before selecting a system, you should find out what the benefits are of a wireless system verses a wired system.

The big benefit about wireless security cameras is that they transmit data wirelessly from the camera to a receiver. This means you don’t have to run a data cable through your building or property.

A Wireless Security Camera System Still Needs a Power Source

While data can be transmitted without any wires, you generally still need a cable to power the camera. Battery and solar powered battery options do exist though which make these cameras a truly wireless option.

Battery Powered Cameras

Battery powered options also exist. These battery-based cameras are useful when you don’t have continual access to the mains / a power source or the camera could be portable, such as in a vehicle / bus. To save battery, these wireless cameras are generally motion sensor based. With constant remote viewing and high foot traffic, these wireless cameras can chew through the battery quickly though. Purely battery-based cameras will also need to have their battery replaced (if they don’t have a solar panel to recharge them), thus you should consider how convenient they will be for the locations you require to be monitored. In some cases of a battery powered camera like previously mentioned, wired options or at least a wire for power may be more efficient for battery use and changing.

Cellular Cameras

Cellular security camera systems also exist. These are useful if you don’t have a WiFi or internet connection. They still allow you to access a remote review, receive motion alerts and record onsite. Some even include solar power options if no mains power source is available. 4G and 3G options are currently available on the Australian and Melbourne security product market.

Environmentally-friendly Options

Looking for something a bit more environmentally-friendly? Select a camera with a rechargeable battery that can be powered by a solar panel.

When selecting a wireless security camera system, you want the best solution for your unique situation and environment. Speak to a qualified security expert to find out what current cameras on the Australian market suit your needs. Our qualified team at Twenty First Security are happy to help you with any questions you may have. Get in touch with us today.

What Is an IP Camera?

An IP camera in use and monitoring an area.

An IP camera (or Internet Protocol camera) is a digital video camera that uses the internet to receive control inputs and send video data.

What Are Their Features?

The features of IP cameras include:

  • Access to remote storage options through the internet, reducing the eliminating the need for a local recording device.
  • SD and HD recording in a range of resolutions including 720P, 1080P and 4K. According to learncctv.com, there are IP cameras capable of up to 30MP as of 2018.
  • Can use a wireless network / Wi-Fi to transfer data, eliminating the need for data cables in some cases.
  • Can be powered using Power over Ethernet (POE) and transfer data through an Ethernet cable, reducing the need for other cables or dedicated power supplies. In many cases, all that is needed to connect a camera is a single network cable.
  • Remote viewing access from a variety of different devices, including website interfaces and smart phone apps for iOS and android.
  • Two-way audio, allowing the viewer to listen and speak through the camera.
  • Encryption to protect the video data using authentication types such as AES, TKIP, WPA and WPA2.

History of IP Cameras

The first IP cameras were made in the 90s. These early IP cameras couldn’t stream real-time video, instead being limited to just taking a photo when the camera was accessed. For the 90s, their bandwidth requirements were quite intense given the network speeds and capabilities available at the time. A big contrast to the cameras of today with powerful recording capabilities, real-time HD video and access to fast internet speeds.

Where Can I Use These?

IP cameras are available for smaller scale residential efforts to larger complex business systems.

Many of these cameras are sealed and designed to withstand the outdoor elements, particularly useful given the harsh weather we can receive in Australia. These durable cameras are great if you want to keep a close eye on the outside areas of your property.

If you’re interesting in setting up IP cameras to protect your residential, commercial or not-for-profit property, then our expert team are happy to help you with any questions you have. Get in touch with us now to see how we can help you.

Are Burglar Alarms Actually Useful?

Lady checking and setting her burglar alarms.

Nobody should have to suffer the negative experience of having their business, organisation or home broken into. Stopping thieves is well worth the peace of mind, safety and financial stability it can create. To stop someone breaking into your home, what can you do? Are security systems and burglar alarms really needed?

According to Budget Direct, Victoria saw 28.9% of all burglaries that took place in Australia within 2017 and a working alarm system is regarded as one of the most successful deterrents (next to a barking dog which is listed as the top deterrent). If you’re getting serious about protecting your property, then a quality burglar alarm is a great addition worth considering.

Options for Businesses and Homes

A business and home have different requirements and can be prone to different burglary attempts. When reviewing if you need a burglar alarm, you should consider the different requirements of your environment:

  • Industrial areas can be very quiet at night with nobody around. This lack of people actively in the area at evenings can be enticing for robbers. Security systems in these areas can be incredibly useful.
  • How many ways can someone get into your property? Consider all entries and exits and a system to cover these. Alarm sensors can be placed on windows and various surfaces.
  • How do you want people such as staff or your family to access the property and bypass the alarm as need be? Keypads and various access options are available.

A Visual Deterrent

When placed outside and in visible locations, burglar alarms can act as visual deterrents, which scare off burglars before they even attempt a break in.

Monitored Burglar Alarms

Specific alarm systems can be monitored either by yourself or staff and there’s even security monitoring services available.

Alarm systems are available to inform you by phone call, text or similar messaging options as soon as an intrusion is detected.

Monitoring services exist that ensure someone is overseeing your security (cameras and alarms) for break ins and other alarm conditions. When selecting a monitoring service, ensure that they are of Grade 1, which is the only grade that can ensure a police response to an alarm condition, such as the Grade 1 24 hour 7 days monitoring service from our team at Twenty First Security.

Identifying the burglar alarm to suit your premises can be tricky. When you’re in need of professional advice on the matter, our fully qualified team have the expertise and over 33 years of Australian security experience to help you select products that will effectively help protect your property and we’ll even install it for you. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

Home Security Cameras and How They Can Protect You

Home security cameras protecting residents.

Protecting your home and loved ones is important. Sometimes it’s not always easy or practical to ask your neighbours, family or friends to watch your house while you’re away.

Instead of relying on and nagging your relatives, neighbours or friends to watch your place, home security cameras can provide a fantastic alternative that can be easy to use, effective and can notify you quickly of any problems at your property.

Modern cameras act as deterrents and have a range of features including the ability to capture footage of anyone attempting to break into your home, detect motion, notify you immediately if someone has been detected (informing you by text, email or various communication options), record and output audio, capture nighttime footage, display their video feed via web or phone access, communicate with Smart Home systems (such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant) and store footage on the cloud.

Ensuring Your Home Security Cameras Are Setup Properly

Cameras can fail when a user doesn’t set them up properly. We’ve seen it happen before, potentially leading to painful situations for occupant’s of properties when burglars take advantage of this, robbing them right under their inactive or improperly setup cameras with no useful footage gained.

When installing security cameras at home, make sure you tick all the boxes needed to a secure setup:

  • Ensure that all entries are covered.
  • Any motion sensing features are tuned appropriately.
  • That the cameras capture images at night and of a high quality.

This can be challenging and time consuming, plus many DIY systems can be poor performers when it comes to actual quality capturing of footage. If you’re serious about home security, then contacting a certified professional to efficiently and effectively install a system that suits your home can yield many benefits, piece of mind that it works properly being one of them.

Find the camera that suits your home by contacting our professional team at Twenty First Security. We aim to provide you with the best industry advice and products, backed by over 3 decades of experience in Australia.

Call us now on 1300 315 522 or send your enquiry to find out more.

Home Security Options for Renters

Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you can’t have a secure dwelling. Many renters give up on the idea of home security early, thinking there will be too much of a hassle to make it worthwhile or they may not be allowed such by their landlord and real estate.

Today there are a whole range of options available that can be effectively implemented in a rental apartment or house that are subtle and may not require major modifications to the property.

We’ve seen multiple cases where tenants are quite surprised at their property managers reaction to their request to improve the security. Many landlords appreciate the idea that their tenant will be happier and more secure, plus the reduced risk of a break in or damage to the property (keeping insurance claims and repair costs down).

Where to Start?

To get started, speak with an Australian certified and experienced security product provider. They’ll be able to provide you with options for your unique situation. There’s a whole range of variables to take into account, such as the amount of windows your property has, where it is located, whether it is an apartment in a complex or individual house and more, which is why it’s great to chat to a professional who understands what needs to be done for effective security in the vast range of Australian living environments. These professionals focus on understanding the intricate requirements for property security, passing the knowledge and peace of mind onto you.

Depending what can be done for your property, you’ll then need to speak with your landlord, real estate agent or property manager to confirm if these improvements can be made.

Wireless Security Systems

In some cases, fitting a wired security system may be impossible due to being unable to drill through the walls or your landlord / real estate agent may not be comfortable with the modifications required for a wired system. Wireless systems can offer an effective alternative here, plus you can take the system with you when you move.

If you’re renting in the Melbourne area, Twenty First Security are here to help you with expert advice backed by decades of experience assisting renters. Contact us now to find out more.