In today’s day and age of technological advancements, smart properties are becoming more and more popular throughout the UK.
However, while advances in technology may generally be seen as a good thing, the increased connectivity of smart devices can create a haven for wannabe hackers, creating all sorts of vulnerabilities when fitted incorrectly.
For property managers, landlords and letting agents, taking advantage of smart tools and installing them with security in mind is crucial. As such, when it comes to installing a smart property or using smart-home technology, it is imperative to consider all these potential challenges – especially from a security point of view.
Here are some helpful hints and tips around property technology to help you manage and install smart-home technology and facility-management devices more safely.
Don’t make outdoor smart devices obvious
Dakota Murphey has experience in property management with her portfolio of properties expanding in the South of England. Her passion for renovation and home improvement projects is shared through her writing to help educate and inspire others.
With reasons to prioritise building security already, the chances are that you will have fitted a fair few video doorbells and smart cameras in recent times. However, did you know that – while they may have been designed to make properties more secure – certain reports have found they can actually do the opposite?
According to Consumer Reports, video doorbells were found to have more than 11 security vulnerabilities, potentially exposing homeowners and property managers to issues like hacking and data breaches. What’s more, while video doorbells may have been used to deter burglars, certain wannabe criminals have recently been specifically targeting homes with video doorbells, believing them to be a sign of wealth.
As such, you should use this knowledge to your advantage, installing doorbells and smart cameras in areas of the home that are out of sight yet retain a clear view of the front of the property.
If you haven’t done so already, it is also time to take advantage of other low-cost, but valuable contactless technology. To keep track of key security, download a simple and smart key fob solution on your smartphone to know instantly what a certain key is for and who is responsible for its use. Such essential smartphone technology can benefit facility supervisors, agents and property managers alike.
In general, you should encourage your client to make improvements to their property’s security, ensuring their Wi-Fi network is set to private and that they are using a strong password as a sign in for the smart devices’ associated software.
Isolate smart networks
Smart devices are defined as ‘smart’ for a reason, utilising the latest technology to stay interconnected with other devices around the home.
However, while it may be easier to set properties up with one continuous network, it’s important – from a security perspective – to isolate smart networks from existing networks within the property.
Say, for example, you are setting up the security profile for a smart fridge. By creating this as its own isolated network, this will – in turn – render it unable to access the client’s emails or bank account details should anyone manage to infiltrate it, since it will be operating separately from the network housing that information.
Likewise, improving the router setup in a property will significantly improve the security profile of the smart property network. Regular routers often fail to offer decent security features, making it a good investment to purchase a replacement that is capable of identifying and combatting any potential threats.
Going one step further, it could also be worth getting a professional in to do a penetration test or ethically hack the existing smart home setup. This, as a result, will help identify any existing vulnerabilities, enabling you to source the relevant solutions.
When setting up a smart property, all the devices will need to be connected to a smartphone of some kind. As such, it stands to reason that, the less secure this smartphone is, the more vulnerable it will be as well. Therefore, it’s imperative to set smartphones up in a way that is as safe and secure as possible – even in the event of being stolen.
From simple things like updating to the latest security patches to investing in fully-fledged smartphone-based security software, there are a wide number of things you can do to protect smartphones against potential hacks.
However, while it may sound fairly obvious, one of the most effective things you can do is ensure strong passwords are being used across the smart home network – whether that be on each individual smart device app or on the home screen itself.
This defence, coupled with a router system that has its firewall enabled, its main computer account set to an administrator-level and WPA authentication turned on, will provide your client with the best possible defence against potential smartphone-focused hacks.