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Best Practice: Secure Alarm Passcode

Security alarm passcodes arm and disarm your security system; they are required to stop a system alert; many systems require a passcode to disarm the system and inform the monitoring company of a false alarm; and you need them to perform routine maintenance on your security system.

But how many people know your passcode and have access to this code and, essentially, to your home or business? Along with the security equipment and technology, your passcode provides peace of mind that your family, property, and valuables are safe.

Generally, we trust the people we give our passcodes to, but the world isn’t perfect and it’s always better limit your passcode to as few people as possible. When that’s not an option, passcodes offer flexibility. A simple rule of passcode security is to assign different people a different code, then delete access after it’s no longer needed. Even giving different passcodes to different groups of people is more secure: relatives can use a different passcode than your immediate family; different staff members; a neighbor, a house sitter, etc. The security system keeps data on who disarmed the system, so a different code will let you know who accessed your property.

Another approach is to use different passcodes for each security systems this can be especially helpful in a business situation where you have different access points or you have a garage or multiple properties, such as a residence and a rental property. Using different codes throughout your property prevents a breach into your entire property all at once. 

PIN security is comparable to passcode security.
Tech Times  researchers compiled a list of the most typically used 4-digit PINs:
0000; 0852; 1111; 1212; 1234; 1998; 2222; 2580; 5555; and 5683
(March 2020 4-digit smartphone PINs)

Aside from limiting access or assigning different codes to boost security, devising a good passcode in itself creates better security. We present some strategies for better passcodes to enhance your home or business security when using a security system with a passcode:

Strategy 1: Change the Default

Most electronic access systems, including security systems, come with a default passcode/PIN. Changing the default passcode is the quickest way to improve your security; until you share it, only you knows the passcode and how to arm and disarm your security system.

Strategy 2: Don’t Use Dates

Birthdays are a very common passcode. The issue is that most birthdays or significant dates in our lives currently involve  “19” or “20” – so criminals already have 2 of the 4 numbers: 19XX or 20XX.

Street numbers and the last four digits of phone numbers are also commonly used passcodes so avoid these as well.

With some research, significant dates and other information can be found on many social media platforms. These not only include you, but your spouse, children, other family members, pets . . . these passcode types give burglars a head start to run through various options when trying to gain access.

Since dates are easy to remember, use a random date that is unrelated to you, your family or your business.

Strategy 3: Creative Patterns

Many people use patterns for their passcode, like 1256 (going left to right) or 7463 (going up then down). Choose a pattern that makes sense but is more difficult to guess – for instance, 8291, where the numbers than are more spread out on the keypad. Burglars tend to try number combinations and patterns they know to be common, so avoid easy button patterns.

Strategy 4: Numerical Words or Acronyms

Often businesses will use a word for the last four digits of their phone number – infomercials use this strategy all the time: 1-800–XXX-4381 (GET1) or 1-800-XXX-2849 (BUGZ). Creating a memorable passcode from a word is similar to connecting to a person in a company phone directory using letters in their last name.

Also, create passcodes by thinking of the number shapes as letters in combination with the numbers themselves: 4807 (GATOR: 4 is the “G”, with 8 being the “ATE,” the “O” being a zero, and the 7 being the “R”) or 5169 (KING, with the “I” being the one, and the “G” being the 9).

An acronym just replaces a number for a phrase, such as Keep This House Secure – 5847.

Strategy 5: Jingle or a Rhyme

This method can be an ear worm – once you get it in your head, you can’t forget it! Example are, “Open sesame, 9473” or “1604 will get you through this door.”

Strategy 6: Fake Contact Ruse

This ruse can work for hiding multiple kinds of numerical codes and is hidden among your phone contacts. By adding a fake contact with a fake phone number using your access code, your code is hidden but accessible. For example, if your code is 9537, enter a real-looking phone number like 555-799-9537 – but replace the TV and movie “555” with a real area code.

The fake contact also doesn’t leave a paper trail. Writing your passcodes and then leaving the note somewhere leaves you open to security breaches.

Strategy 7: Math Method

This method takes a little thought but is effective to give a random number. With this tactic, start with a memorable date, 3617 – maybe something significant happened on March 6, 2017. Then add 1 to each END number and you get: 4618. 

Control Panel Maintenance

The upkeep on your security control panel is also important in maintaining your security.

Installing Your Control Panel
Install your control panel near the door but out of the line of vision of your windows. Make sure people can’t easily see you enter your passcode.

Keep Your Control Panel Clean
Wiping fingerprints off your keypad may seem excessive, but over time the passcode can become visible with repetitive wear. By keeping the control panel and keypad clean, you keep your passcode and property more secure.

Change Your Passcode

Maintain high security levels by changing your passcode periodically. Changing your passcode also avoids the wear and tear of the same buttons. Dovetail changing your passcode with checking and replacing any batteries your security system needs.

A Good Passcode

If you have an option for a 5- or 6-digit passcode, using it can provide better security in that it will take longer to guess a 6-digit combination than a 4-digit combination. There are 10,000 variations with four digits; 1 million possible codes with a 6-digit passcode. If your security system locks your account after a certain number of attempts, the 6-digits will provide a greater hinderance to intruders guessing your passcode.

Home and business security alarm systems are a great tool; good passcodes take your security to a higher level. 

A good security system requires the proper equipment and good back up, including good passcodes and good alarm response*. It’s easy to start building or upgrading your home or business security system, With just a quick click, request a no-obligation quote today or call us today at 888-788-0813.

Passcode Security: Avoid these items in your passcode:

          • Number sequences that are too simple: 1234, 0000, 0987
          • Sequential numbers, repeated numbers: 1122, 0101, 5454
          • Easy to recognize patterns on the keypad: 2580, 3690
          • Significant dates, such as birthdays, anniversaries: 19XX, 20XX
          • Parts of your Social Security number
          • Part of your address or phone number


*California Metro Patrol’s Rapid Response Program is part of a layered home security system that includes alarm and monitoring. Should your alarm passcode be triggered, with the Rapid Response Program we don’t send first responders, our security patrol officers will respond. While we are on our way, will attempt to verify with you if this is a valid alarm or confirm it is you who has disarmed the system.

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