DIY Home Security: is it recommended?

Close-up of Hive Indoor Camera on wooden unit next to a pile of pink and white books with small bottles and items in the background against a dark grey painted wall

Smart technology has made setting up your own home security so much easier and that’s certainly a good thing. But there’s a balance to be struck. While many smart alarm systems have brilliant security benefits, some of the cheaper ones on the market can be easily hacked, making your whole security set-up redundant.

In this article we’ll look at the pitfalls – and pluses – of DIY home security.

What is smart home security?

Smart home security systems are made up of devices like smart alarms or cameras, sensors, security keypads and sirens which are all connected to your home WiFi. This enables you to manage and control your home security from an app on your smartphone.

The dangers of DIY home security systems

Earlier this year, a Which? magazine investigation discovered that 100,000 smart cameras in the UK have serious security flaws – and they’re still easy to find on places like Amazon or eBay. Hackers can access these cameras to:

  • Spy on your home

  • Talk to people in your home if your camera has a microphone

  • Steal or change your password

  • Find out where you live

  • Target other devices on your smart network

The investigation found that smart cameras using an app called CamHi are vulnerable.

The government’s response to hackable DIY home security

With more and more smart devices being used in people’s homes like smart speakers and kitchen devices, as well as cameras, the government brought in a new law in July 2020. It states that:

  • Device passwords must be unique and not resettable to any universal factory setting.

  • Manufacturers must provide a public point of contact so anyone can report a vulnerability.

  • Information stating the minimum length of time for which the device will receive security updates must be provided to customers.

It’s a good first step – but the fact is that the market is still flooded with smart devices that can be easily compromised by cyber criminals.

Are any smart alarms secure?

Smart devices that can be easily hacked tend to be at the cheaper end of the spectrum. If you’re willing to invest a little more, you can be sure your smart alarm system is secure. Take Hive HomeShield for example.

Access to your Hive account is protected by your unique password and Two-Factor Authentication. This means that every time you log in, we send you a six-digit verification code via SMS to make sure it’s really you.

We also encrypt communication with our website and mobile apps using industry standard SSL encryption. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s designed to keep your internet connection secure and protect any sensitive data that’s being sent between two systems, like your phone and smart camera.

Most trusted smart security brands should offer the same level of protection.

Is self-installing a home security system safe?

The beauty of smart devices is that they are designed to be easily installed without the need for professional help. So yes, simple self-install alarm systems using devices from reputable brands are perfectly safe.

For example if you simply wanted to set up a wireless security camera system just using one of our smart cameras, that’s very easy to set up yourself – and your devices as well as your data will be protected by our security protocols.

However, when it comes a full smart home security system, we recommend getting help from a professional. You can opt to get HomeShield professional installed by a British Gas engineer who’ll advise on the best places for your devices, install them in hard to reach places and walk you through the app.

DIY home security: the bottom line

Cheap smart cameras come at a price. If you’re building a smart alarm system always go with a trusted brand to ensure your data, footage and account details are completely secure.

At Hive, we have a range of security devices for all kinds of budgets. Start small with motion sensors, scale up with smart cameras – and strengthen the security of your whole home with a smart alarm system. Discover our range of smart home security products and take our online quiz to find the perfect set up for you online today.

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