Can Smart Home Devices Be Hacked?

While smart home devices offer undeniable convenience, from remotely locking doors to adjusting the thermostat with your voice, they also introduce a new layer of security concerns.

Just as you secure your home from physical intruders, protecting your smart home from intruders in cyberspace is equally important. While smart homes are getting popular among homeowners, one question needs an answer: Can smart homes be hacked? 

So, Can Smart Home Devices Be Hacked?

Let’s face it: No system is 100% secure and safe, especially in cyberspace. Determined hackers will always try to find ways to exploit vulnerabilities and hack into any device if they really want to. 

Many of the biggest tech companies in the world even fall prey to cybercriminals through data breaches, phishing, and malware, among others. 

According to a report, there were around 343 million victims of cyberattacks in 2023 from 2,365 cases of cyberattacks. By 2025, the total cost of damages by these crimes is expected to ramp up to a whopping $10.5 trillion. 

Many cyberattacks on smart homes are not necessarily sophisticated, but hackers typically are in a “stealth-like” movement to keep their activities under the radar. 

It’s important to be diligent in keeping your network safe and tamper-free. And that you’re choosing smart home device providers that keep their units and software updated with security features. Here are some common vulnerabilities that can leave your smart home exposed:

1. Weak Default Passwords

Many smart devices are often shipped with default passwords which are quite easy to guess. If these passwords are left as they are, they will provide the hackers with a starting point to easily access your smart home system. 

Manufacturing firms are progressively making their processes smart and connected, which means they are increasingly connected to the internet; in some cases, default passwords given by manufacturers are available using a basic web search which hackers can easily exploit.

2. Outdated Software

Just like any computer program, smart home device software can contain security loopholes. Programs usually come with a free update which can have a fix for some bugs that are associated with security issues. 

Devices with older software installed are more likely to be hacked because it has not kept up with the current times. More recent smart devices have continuous software updates than older ones. 

3. Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks

Your Wi-Fi network can be considered as the essential infrastructure through which your smart home devices will operate. Using an unsecured Wi-Fi network is akin to leaving your front door wide open. 

Hackers can easily intercept data transmitted between your devices and the internet, potentially compromising your smart home security. If your network is unsecured or has weak encryption, hackers can easily spy on the information exchanged between devices and the web.

4. Insecure Device Protocols

Not all communication protocols used by smart devices are created equal. Some older protocols may not offer robust encryption, making it easier for hackers to eavesdrop on communication or even inject malicious commands. Protocols like Zigbee and Matter implement ways to keep smart homes secure through their encryption and consistent updates.

Aqara’s Commitment To Smart Home Security

At Aqara, we understand the importance of creating a secure and trustworthy smart home experience. We’re on a mission to make your life easy in every way and home security is one of the ways we do that. 

We are dedicated to providing robust cybersecurity solutions that deter potential threats and keep your home safe. Here’s how Aqara safeguards your smart home from cyberattacks:

1. Secure Element Hardware for Data Encryption

Aqara devices incorporate a secure element chip, a tamper-resistant hardware module that encrypts sensitive data like passwords and access keys. This adds an extra layer of protection against unauthorized access.

A secure element is a piece of hardware used for data encryption to ensure that sensitive data does not come into the wrong hands. Data is encrypted by secure element hardware present in Aqara devices. This innovation ensures that information such as passwords and users’ information cannot be accessed by other individuals.

2. Zigbee with AES-128 Encryption

Aqara devices primarily communicate using the Zigbee protocol, known for its reliability and low power consumption. Zigbee utilizes the robust AES-128 encryption standard, ensuring secure communication between your Aqara Hub and connected devices.

3. Multi-Factor Authentication

Aqara offers multi-factor authentication (MFA) as an additional security layer for your account. This requires a second verification step, typically a code sent to your phone, to access your Aqara account, further deterring unauthorized login attempts. Even if a hacker gets your password they will need to type a one-time password to integrate with your devices. 

4. User-Initiated Over Data Storage Location

Aqara empowers you to choose where your data is stored. You can choose cloud storage options located in secure data centers within your region, ensuring compliance with local data privacy regulations. We also support cloud storage within our Aqara ecosystem as an additional option if you choose our smart home products. 

5. Regular Security Software Updates

Aqara is committed to ongoing security improvements. We regularly release software updates that address vulnerabilities and patch security holes, protecting your Aqara devices against ever-evolving cyber threats. 

Additional Tips for Strengthening Your Smart Home Security

While Aqara provides robust security features, keeping your smart home secure remains within your hands. Being proactive and educating your family members about cybersecurity also play a great role in strengthening your smart home security.

1. Use Strong and Unique Passwords

Ensure all your Aqara devices have a password and check that the passwords are unique and hard to guess. It is also crucial to avoid using easily identifiable passwords like the number 123456 or the word ‘password’ as well as birthdays because these are usually the passwords that hackers will first try. 

However, choosing a word or a combination of words with numbers and symbols makes it one of the toughest passcodes to crack. Habitually clean keypads on your smart door locks as well so outsiders will not know which numbers you usually press on the lock.

2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication Where Available

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a method of confirming a user’s identity by requiring two methods of identification as opposed to one. Ideally, you should activate 2FA in your Aqara account and other smart home devices. This adds an extra layer of security that makes it much harder for unauthorized individuals to gain access.

3. Regularly Update Aqara Hub and Device Software

Don’t neglect software updates! Regularly updating your Aqara Hub and device software ensures you benefit from the latest security patches and bug fixes. We frequently roll out software updates to constantly improve the performance and security of our smart devices. 

4. Secure Your Wi-Fi Network

The foundation of a secure smart home is a secure Wi-Fi network. It is important to ensure that the wireless network you’re using is secure, and has password protection, and WPA2 encryption. 

With a proper and memorable password for the Wi-Fi connection, only you and your devices enjoy the internet and all the data shared between connected devices and the internet.

5. Consider Using A Guest Wi-Fi Network

For devices that are not critical to your smart home security, consider connecting them to a separate guest Wi-Fi network. This can help to isolate them from your main network and potentially reduce the risk of an attack spreading. 

This would be helpful if you have a short-term rental, an event space or you typically host people in your property. In places where people come and go, and when you don’t know them well,  sharing your main network might not be the best idea. 

READ MORE: Best Budget-Friendly Smart Home Security System

Secure Your Smart Home Online With Aqara

Aqara is the leading provider of smart home devices committed to making your life easier. We offer smart home security devices to keep your home safe inside and out. Check out our Where To Buy page to get our products from stores near you.

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