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Safety and security for your Smart Home: here’s what you need to look out for

Smart Home 07.08.2019 | Marcus Schwarten

Smart Homes can contribute a lot to safety and security. Smart Locks, smoke detectors, CCTV cameras, motion sensors etc. are just a few possibilities. Having said that, all this technology will not help much unless your Smart Home itself is secure. If it isn’t, cunning burglars or curious neighbours could deactivate your security system or even use it to spy on you.

To make sure that this does not happen to you, we have listed a few rules that you should definitely keep in mind when selecting devices for and maintaining your Smart Home.

A secure WiFi network forms the foundation

So let’s start with the basics: your home WiFi network, the radio connection most commonly used in Smart Homes. If your network is not secure, it will be easy to attack from outside. That is why a suitable encryption method is a must. We recommend the current “WPA2 PSK” standard.

The second most important basic feature for a secure WiFi network is a secure password. Avoid short passwords such as initials, dates of birth and so on. Only longer combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters (ideally random) are secure. Otherwise you will make it easy for attackers to hack your WiFi and thus your Smart Home.

Another tip is to use two different WiFi networks: one for your Smart Home devices, and one for your computers with sensitive data etc. This means the two can work independently of one another, which offers you even more protection should one of these networks get hacked.

Pay attention when choosing your components

Even when selecting the devices to be installed in your Smart Home you should be picky. The countless offers of cheap smart products from unknown manufacturers on Amazon etc. may be tempting price-wise. But you can never be sure how well-protected the data that you store there is or whether the system itself is secure.
This is why we suggest you to rely on well-known and reputable brands. They usually take the issue of data protection seriously – just like we do at Nuki, as confirmed by security testing of our products by AV-TEST.

Secure passwords

More often than not, you will need a dedicated account for each manufacturer, such as Philips Hue, Bosch Smart Home or Google Nest. These allow you to log in with your email address and a password that you have chosen.
The same applies here: choose your password carefully. If it is easy to crack, a stranger can gain access to your account and any devices linked to it. With smart lighting this may be scary, but probably won’t cause any harm. But CCTV cameras, alarm systems and so on are a completely different story.

Keep your systems updated

Manufacturers of Smart Home devices occasionally find one or more major security issues with their systems. These aren’t such a big deal unless they are exploited by outsiders.
But it might become a big deal for you if you do not install the security updates released as a result. This is why you should make sure that your Smart Home components are always updated whenever possible. This not only helps increase their security, but might also open up new features and options for you – essentially killing two birds with one stone.

If you follow these basic rules, you have already gone a long way. Your home will not only be smart, but also secure. Remember that it is only then that you can really enjoy the extra safety and security that your Smart Home has to offer.

Marcus Schwarten
I'm a real “Smart-Homer” and love trying out our new technologies, devices, and gadgets. If I like what I see, I give them a spot in my Smart Home. Because only the smartest is “smart” enough for me … :-)