21st August 2019

Smart home devices and their potential risks

By Francesca Shinn, Cert CII
Account Handler
Smart devices in the home

Are smart home devices as smart as you think?

In an age of ever-evolving technology, we are seeing a rise in the purchase of smart devices in our clients’ homes, with research suggesting that one quarter of UK homes now have one*.  Whilst these devices can offer considerable efficiency and benefits, home owners also need to be aware of their potential risks.

There are certain flaws in these products that can allow for cyber-attacks to happen.  For example, while you are in a café using the public Wi-Fi, it is possible for somebody else using that Wi-Fi to hack in to your phone and therefore control the home device that is linked to it.  This could be as simple as turning on a kettle or a lamp but can also have more serious consequences such as disabling the burglar alarm, as most devices are interlinked. 

To prevent attacks like these from happening, we recommend choosing strong passwords, not sharing passwords with others and controlling the permissions on your smart home device regularly so that you know who is able to access and monitor the device. When you use public Wi-Fi, always make sure connections are secure, though be aware that even then, there is still a risk.

We also recommend taking out cyber cover as an optional extension on your home insurance if you can, as this will provide you with additional assistance should your smart home device be subject to an attack.  Some high net worth insurers now include this as standard as part of their policy wording and others can include it as an optional extension for a small charge. For more information on this cover, please contact your dedicated Account Handler or call 0203 846 5272.