Most of Us Worry About Our Smart Homes – Here’s How to Worry Less

Credit: Towards Data Science

Despite being expected to spend billions of dollars on smart home technology in 2019, a majority of consumers worry about what a smart home means for security.

According to a new survey, 64% of consumers think smart home devices are just an extra thing that could go wrong in the home, and 59% agree that having an always-on speaker in the home makes them uneasy.

Sacrificing safety for convenience? 

Half of people believe that being connected to the internet makes smart technology less secure. But ironically, plenty of the technology in a smart home is designed to make us feel more secure, from smart doorbells to tech we can use to check on the status of our house while we’re away. There is also technology to protect against the threat from water damage, fire and carbon monoxide.

Ex-Gadget Show host Suzi Perry teamed up with with insurers Legal and General to put together a video series of four short pieces to introduce consumers to smart home technology, and the various ways they can help to secure their homes and improve their lives.

Here are the first two videos:

Should we be worried?

Technology expert Leo Bernard told Legal and General:

“Most connected home devices today are designed not to be hackable by outsiders, and it would require very sophisticated hacking knowledge even to open a connected door lock remotely. Big brand names are aware of the risk and the need to maintain consumer trust, so they run continuous security tests on their products.

“If they find a security issue, it will be corrected with an update within days or even hours. That said, I would not recommend the use of cheaper connected devices from unknown brands, and definitely nothing you suspect may be counterfeit. For them, security is probably a lower priority. I’ve run an experiment on a connected light from an ‘unknown’ brand, and it took me five minutes to bypass its security.”

Steps to take

There are some simple ways to keep a smart home safer, including:

Using strong passwords – most devices come with default passwords, so make your own strong password with at least 8 characters that’s difficult for hackers to guess at.

Think about where you put your devices – for example it’s best not to put them near a window to advertize to the world exactly what device you have

Keep your software up to date – updates may be annoying, but they are a way for tech companies to keep one step ahead of hackers

Use trusted brands – as detailed above, cheap and unknown brands may be less likely to have the desired security measures, and it goes without saying that counterfeit brands are a bad idea.

Here are the last of those two videos to check out: