Improve the Security of Your User Code
How long have you been using your current alarm code? How many people are sharing that same code? These are questions that many alarm owners don't even think about, but should. Your alarm system will work hard to protect you in the event of an intrusion but it can't protect against your user code getting into the wrong hands. Follow these 4 safety tips to learn how to be user code smart.
- Keep it Random
- Personalize user codes for each family member
- Personalize user codes for everyone else too.
- Change your user codes on a regular basis
It's tempting to use birthdays and anniversary dates as easy to remember user codes. However, this is less secure than memorizing a random set of numbers, and gives outsiders a chance to guess at your code.
It's worth it to take the time to memorize a random code. If you're worried you'll forget a new code, create a backup system that only you and your family members know. For instance, you could create a pretend contact person in your cell phone, using the last four digits of the phone number as your alarm code for reference.
It's pretty common for everyone in the family to share the same code. Common, but certainly not more secure. For better security, give everyone their own code. That way, if Junior gives his code to a friend, you only have to change his code, which disrupts him, but not everyone else as well. Giving out individual user codes will also help you to keep an eye on when your kids arrive home and when they leave.
It may be easier to create a "Guest" user code for all guests or a "General Use" access code for housekeepers and babysitters to share. However, the same rule applies here as well: for better security, everyone should have their own access code. Provide each guest an alarm user code that will be easy for them to remember. Delete this code once your guest leaves.
You may have a dog walker, house sitter, babysitter, housekeeper, or emergency key holder that needs access to your home when you aren't there. In each case provide them each with their own user code. This way, if your housekeeper quits, you can simply delete her access code, keeping your alarm system security in place.
Personalized user codes are not just more secure, they are more convenient as well. For instance, you may pay your dog walker to walk Fido for a full hour, but then review his access history and find he often returns after only twenty minutes.
Change your user codes about 2 to 4 times a year. You can make this a part of your Daylight Savings routine when you adjust your clocks, or make it a seasonal ritual with every new season. Many of our customers change their codes right after they do their semi-annual test of their alarm system (not sure how to test your alarm system? Click to read our blog, How to Test Your Security System.
Be sure all family members are home with you when you change their codes so they have the new code right away. This will help to limit false alarms due to an unknown code.
We are all creatures of habit. If you've been entering the same code for awhile, it's become second nature. After you change your code, take a little post it note and put a reminder note on your alarm keypad so you don't accidentally input the old one out of habit.
Not sure how to change your user code and can't find your instruction manual? Please call us and we can help you over the phone to walk you through the process.
East Cascade Security also has a YouTube channel which lists many instructional videos for alarm users on our most popular alarm systems. Although not every alarm system we carry is available, you may link to one of our user code instructional videos if you have one of these Honeywell security systems listed below:
The first line of defense to protecting your property is securing your user code. Take these extra steps and you will no longer have to question how secure your code really is.
Stay tuned for more safety tips brought to you by East Cascade Security.