Alexa is listening (and telling fraudsters)... and other security worries putting us off smart home tech

A recent survey reveals that fear of security vulnerability – not cost – puts most people off smart technology

smart assistant styled next to books by john lewis & partners
(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

The subject of many a conspiracy theory – you know the government, fraudsters and Amazon are listening to you, right* – it's fair to say that smart home tech is somewhat controversial. And now, new research from Clutch reveals that, despite the work of smart technologists to reduce fear surrounding new technologies, security vulnerability remains the biggest turn off for us, when it comes to smart home technology.

More so than expense, the research revealed that, for many, concerns surrounding the security of smart home devices doesn't outweigh the benefits of the convenience of being able to control devices from afar. In fact, 21 per cent of those asked suggested that fears regarding security deterred them from investing in these new technologies.

Commenting on this new research, Andrew Sullivan, president of Internet Society, an organisation that advocates for a free and open internet, suggests, 'It’s clear that manufacturers and retailers need to do more so that consumers can trust their (smart) devices.'

While we recognise that it's important to be cautious when it comes to protecting your smart home system from infiltration by cyber criminals, we also don't think that this fear should be enough to put you off. After all, there are a number of simple steps that can be taken to improve the security of your smart set-up, allowing you to benefit from these new technologies, without the fear of compromising security. 

Our top recommendations for improved smart home security include:

  1. Rename your router we'd recommend opting for something random that doesn't relate to your name, address, or location;
  2. Change your passwords – this one may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people think 123, password, and the like are strong enough passwords. Something random, with a mix of numbers, letters and symbols is your best bet;
  3. Keep your software up to date – while it can be tempting to ignore manufacturers' demands to update your software, it could be the case that it's been triggered by a security breech, so is definitely worth your while to oblige;
  4. Check your settings – don't just assume that your smart system is automatically set up with your best security interests in mind. Take time to make changes that will reduce accessibility.

For more information, read the full report over on Clutch.

*we can neither confirm, nor deny, any conspiracy theories