Smart home tech and data security: what you need to know

Two women sitting on the floor in front of a white coffee table looking and picking up Hive devices including a Hive View Indoor Camera

Here at Hive we want you to feel confident about using smart home security products in your home – whether they’re from us or any other brand. So we thought it would helpful to answer some of the questions that regularly crop up about smart home protection and data privacy, as well as looking at how to secure your smart home devices.

What is smart home hacking?

Hacking is when someone breaks into unsecured internet connections, or ones with poor security, to gain access to your smart home data. In the worst-case scenario, this means they could retrieve personal information such as passwords, and in some cases even take control of your smart devices.

Are smart home devices secure?

Yes. The good news is problems with smart home data security are rare. Most of the big smart tech companies have spent a lot of time and money working on any smart home security concerns to avoid a personal data breach (which is when private data is viewed or copied by an unauthorised individual).

So while it’s important to be vigilant about your smart home and security, using smart tech isn’t going to make you any more vulnerable. And it’s definitely not a reason to avoid smart tech altogether.

What does Hive do to protect its products from a security breach?

At Hive we will always check your identity when you call us. Then access to your Hive account is also protected by a password we ask you to create the first time you log in.

On top of this, we advise all our customers to enable two-factor authentication. It’s a quick way to add an extra layer of security to your Hive account. And means if someone gets hold of your password, they still won’t be able to access your account. If you decide to use it, every time you log in, we’ll 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 thermostat.

What information does Hive collect when I use my Hive devices?

We take your smart home security incredibly seriously and only collect the data we need to ensure you get the very best from our Hive products.

This may include personal information such as your name, email address and Hive account details. As well as data on how you use your Hive products. For example, your Hive hub and app collect information about temperature settings, heating schedules, lighting use or when motion sensors detect movement. You can check out our full privacy policy.

How long does Hive keep personal information?

We will keep your personal information for as long as you have an account with us. After you close your account, we’ll keep it for a reasonable period to maintain our records and legal obligations to you.

For audio and video recordings, we’ll keep your recordings for the period of time set out in your service plan with us. We will then delete your recordings after this period ends.

How to protect your smart home from hacking

If you’re wondering how to secure your smart home, there are some really simple things you can do to minimise your chances of falling prey to cybercrime:

Protect your network

Smart tech uses your home’s Wi-Fi network. So it’s really important your internet is secure. As a start, if you’re still using the default password (the one on the side of your router) it’s worth changing it.

Make sure you use different passwords for everything

One password for lots of stuff? We all do it. The problem is, if one device gets hacked it’s easy for someone to access everything, from your bank account to your boiler. So although they’re more difficult to remember, do try to use different passwords for different things (and not just different numbers at the end of the same word). Nowadays most services and accounts are really good at helping you reset your password if you’ve forgotten it. So mixing things up is definitely the way to go.

Keep all your software up to date

Another way you can help prevent smart home hacking is by regularly downloading any updates for your smart home products. This protects your smart tech against any new security bugs and helps keep them safe from outside interference.

And when your smartphone pings you a software update, don’t ignore it either. As most smart home products can be controlled from your mobile, it’s really important to keep that up to date too.

Reboot regularly

One of the great things about smart tech is that you can forget about it and it will just get on with doing its job, like warming your home to the perfect temperature. But try not to forget about it all the time. Re-booting your smart home devices and router once a month is a great way of keeping your smart stuff safe.

What should I do if I think some of my smart home products might have been hacked?

If you think some of your smart tech may have been compromised, change your password straight away and make sure that anyone else that has access to your account does the same. If you’re still concerned, give the manufacturer a call directly.

Check out Hive’s family of smart home products and what they can do for you.

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