How to keep your smart home safe
From thermostats to light bulbs – everyday technology around the home is increasingly becoming connected to give you greater control and the opportunity to save energy.
Here’s how to make your smart home more secure…
Toughen up your personal passwords
This might seem obvious but having a strong password for your smart tech and home Wi-Fi is the first line of defence against hackers. One weak link could compromise everything that’s connected.
Step up your security by using different passwords for each device and using a combination of letters (capital and lower case), numbers and symbols to create a password at least 12 characters long.
Steer clear of default passwords
A lot of gadgets, not just smart tech, use a default username and password so they can be quickly activated by connecting to the internet. Some even let you continue using the device with these default details – these are the ones you should definitely avoid using.
Default usernames and passwords are readily available on manufacturers’ support pages, so it’s easy for hackers to search and log in to connected devices that still use these default settings.
To be safe, choose smart tech that requires a unique username and password, as this is a sign the manufacturer takes your security seriously.
Secure your smart home hub
Devices like Samsung SmartThings connect to other smart home tech so you can control everything from a central hub.
Be sure to check the security of your main hub when it comes to connecting to third-party devices. The more established brands have set standards that third-party devices must meet before they are allowed access. As a general rule, sticking with well-known and trusted brands will give you more rigorous security when it comes to connecting third-party devices.
Top smart home brands and their security
The best-selling smart thermostat manufacturer uses some pretty heavy-duty encryption on data that’s transferred to the cloud.
Plus, all of their devices speak to each other through a specialist communications tool called Nest Weave, which offers even more security. Third-party devices have to pass a stringent fitness test before being integrated and Nest reserves the right to audit, monitor and terminate access if they suspect a security risk.
This hub plugs into your router and consolidates all of your smart tech, letting you automate everything by using the SmartThings app. Like Nest, SmartThings’ sensors have their own way of communicating, using Zigbee. Because they’re not connected to the internet, they’re much safer from online hackers.
As part of their ‘Works with SmartThings’ programme, Smart Things will reject any third-party device that has a hard coded password, and they actively work to prevent hacker attacks.
As one of biggest smart lighting providers, you’d expect Phillips Hue to be pretty secure. Its Hue Bridge controls all of your smart bulbs using Zigbee (same as Samsung SmartThings), which adds an extra layer of security, especially if you want to turn lights on or off outside of your home Wi-Fi network.
The Hue Bridge is connected directly to your router so it won’t betray your Wi-Fi details and each device has its own unique verification key, so they’re isolated from a blanket attack.