Is your smart home cyber safe? Check out these tips


I’m all for a smart home and there are so many amazing tech and gadgets out there now. I mean, who doesn’t want the ability to turn their heating on from bed before getting out, check if milk supplies are running low in the fridge via an app or answer their front door when no one is home? But at a time when the digital world is more in the forefront than it’s ever been, it is SO important to make sure we are cyber safe and not at risk from hackers. So how?

Do you have a baby monitor, petcam or indoor security camera? If so, make sure that any Wifi-connected CCTV cameras aren’t placed anywhere you might undress, such as the bedroom, says Jonny Pelter, founder of There are search engines out there (Shodan, for example) that can specifically locate insecure CCTV camera. This means that hackers can watch (and record) remotely, so try to keep the cameras to the exterior of your house if possible.
Using smart home appliances or devices like thermostats and lighting systems means that they’ll be part of a network – and it’s these networks that you need to ensure are properly protected. Do your research before buying (look at reviews of the product and the manufacturer) and make sure that the products you buy are reliable and meet security standards. You can find more advice on this at the National Cyber Security Centre.
As a parent, it can be tricky to police your kids’ screen time and ensure they are being cyber-safe, especially at nighttime. Jonny Pelter recommends investing in a family charging station that you place in your hallway (try the Pritek USB charging station for £25.99 on Amazon), which everyone in the family puts their devices onto before bed. This not only helps you feel reassured they’re not watching something they shouldn’t  be, but it also means they won’t be up until late scrolling social media or watching Youtube. Plus, everyone wakes up with fully charged devices, too, which is a bonus.
Sextortion attacks are where hackers hack your device webcam, record you and then try and extort you for £500-1000, and they’re on the rise, says Jonny Pelter. If you use your laptop in the bedroom, use a webcam cover. If you don’t have a webcam cover always remember to close the lid when not in use to ensure that nobody can record you or your partner in bed.
Lastly, be cyber safe by making sure your passwords aren’t easily guessable, turn on any two-factor authentication (which provide a way of double checking that you really are the person you’re claiming to be) to make it harder for hackers to access your online account, and keep the software on your devices updated.

Not done the above? Best add them to your to-do list…

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