Your smart home may not be as secure as you think

Your home is your castle. But larger estates can be a beacon for criminal activity, whether you live in the UK or abroad. The personal safety of you and your family, and the possessions you’ve worked hard to buy, need to be kept safe. So it makes sense to keep your security tight, your staff well briefed, and to make sure you are using the most modern and up-to-date techniques, to keep everyone and everything safe. We’ve teamed up with one of the country’s leading independent home security companies, Allcooper, to provide some tips and advice, on how to keep your home secure.

The best security available – just because it is new doesn’t mean it is the best or ‘smartest’.

Modern technology means that your heating, your electrics, and even your security gates and CCTV, can now all be linked together—working in smooth synergy and keeping everything running like clockwork. Roman Cooper is one of the founders of Allcooper – security specialists, and he recalls a story, in which a homeowner’s lighting system was hacked into, and a prankster was able to turn the house lights on and off. Hilarious. But more frighteningly, it highlighted a major weakness in the security systems. If this person was able to control the lighting, and the lighting was part of the same system which controlled the alarms and CCTV, it would have been easy for the prankster to control these too!

A hacked lighting system is one thing. But the point is, that same system, probably links to other appliances, and possibly even to personal information you would rather not share. If the system extends to things like doors and locks, it is possible for a hacker to pose a direct threat to your home security—leaving it ripe for physical intrusion—and possibly even a burglary!

Get help from the experts

You may already have reliable security staff, or electronic systems in place, which prevent criminal activity. But it’s always a good idea, to review your security from time to time. Consult with a home security firm like Allcooper, or another security company, but always make sure they are NSI Gold accredited, and that others would recommend them. Our Development Director (Private Clients), Hannah Bell, explains “As a specialist broker looking after the needs of my high net worth clients I aim to work closely with firms like Allcoopers to try and understand the risks that my clients face and demonstrate solutions where possible. Something as simple as regularly changing the passwords on remote CCTV systems can reduce the risk of the data captured falling into the wrong hands”.

You need to be able to trust the security firm you use, because when it comes to setting up the new technology in your home, in most cases, whoever installs it, could in theory have access to it. Back in 2013, a Chicago security firm, managed to hack into their customers’ mobile phones. And, like the previous example, they had managed to gain direct access to their customers’ home appliances.

If it’s connected to the internet, it’s connected to the world

Check the security of your internet

Your router provides a gateway to your smart home. But if it has poor security—you’re leaving your automated devices wide open to hacking. Invest in a router that has a good reputation in the marketplace—and make sure that you change the default password to something else. In addition, run regular software updates to keep on top of your security. Email systems like Gmail are ok, but if you run any of your business transactions from these, always ask a reputable IT company, about the more secure email systems available.

Always update devices that are linked to the home

Many of the developers, who create home-automation products, are actually novices when it comes to security. You can protect yourself, from simple attacks, just by doing regular software updates. Better yet, hire a security specialist, with vetted security screened staff, to come and sort this out for you.

And what about cloud services?

When it comes to smart home technology, make sure that you spend your money on security, as well as convenience. The cloud services, that run your home devices, could cause security issues, if not set up properly. Make sure that you have a complicated password, and a two-part authentication, so your cloud account is as secure as possible.

Our advice

We’ve spoken a lot about the weaknesses and problems associated with modern home security, but if it’s used properly, and installed by an expert, all of this technology working together, can provide a great line of defence against criminals. You can depend on it, to keep you and your family and staff safe, and prevent the loss of your possessions.