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Moving house is an exciting yet unsettling time. Once you’re in your new place, there’s 101 things that need your attention straight away, from organising mail redirection to choosing paint colours, sorting out unexpected building niggles and getting the broadband working. Right at the very top of your to-do list should be home security.
According to recent press reports, a spike in burglaries is predicted for 2021. “Just as legitimate businesses are looking forward to a post-pandemic sales bounce, criminals will also be looking to recoup their losses, with burglars missing out on £103.2million worth of crime in 2020,” says one home insurance expert.
That said, these days it’s not just about physical security. With so much of our lives now conducted online, not to mention the exponential rise in remote working, protecting your WiFi access and mobile phone security is equally important. As industry insiders peruse the lessons learnt from recent cybersecurity attacks, we need to take a holistic view of what it means to stay safe in our homes.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most important security measures you should implement as soon as you can in order to protect your property and everyone in it.
One of the non-negotiable things every new homeowner must do is to change all locks; this includes keys to front and back doors, garages, outbuildings and security gate codes. Since you have no idea who might have access to the existing keys or codes to your property, the only way to guarantee complete safety is to replace them all as soon as you’ve moved in. Also have a spare key made and give it to a trusted person, perhaps a neighbour, and never ever leave a key under the doormat or in a flowerpot – it’s the first place any opportunist thief will look!
Check the windows next to ensure they are all secure and lockable, particularly those on the ground floor, and fit additional restrictors to sliding windows to further hamper access. Make putting up curtains or other window treatments a priority job after moving in. Not only will this give you more privacy in your new home, but it will keep prying eyes from peeking inside to see what valuables you may have.
Finally, take a look at your boundaries, ensuring garden walls, fences and hedging are fit for purpose to keep your property safe. Double-check that any ladders or tools are locked away, so they don’t inadvertently help a burglar gain entry into your home.
Enhanced protection of your home can be achieved by a variety of home security technologies. Intruders hate to be detected, so anything you can install that makes them feel more vulnerable must be a good thing. At the very least, consider plenty of outdoor lighting, ideally with motion sensor technology, and perhaps lay a gravel path or drive that’s noisy underfoot – this should deter the majority of would-be thieves. You could also consider getting a dog.
For greater peace of mind, CCTV cameras or an intruder alarm could be a good investment, especially for homes in isolated locations or high crime rate areas. For the ultimate in home security protection, the latest fully monitored smart systems offer customised alerts via text, push notification or phone, as well as HD video connectivity of your home from anywhere in the world via a secure connection on your computer or smartphone.
Your home wireless network represents a doorway to your personal and financial information, which makes it an absolute necessity to protect it from unauthorised access and lock it down. Most households have networks of devices linked to the internet such as computers, tablets and smartphones, TVs and gaming platforms and various smart home devices. Just think of the damage that could be done if your systems were breached – it doesn’t even bare thinking about.
To keep any hackers away from your home network, start by ensuring that all internet-enabled devices run the latest operating system, web browsers and security software. You should also use a firewall. Secure your wireless router by changing its name and the preset password, enable WPA or WPA2 encryption, which is more secure than the WEP option. For maximum security, it should go without saying that any passwords and phrases you use must not contain your name, home address or anything that could be used to identify you.
Finally, if you work from home using your own devices and sharing information online with others in your company, the blurred line between private and professional communication increases the risk that sensitive information may fall into an insecure environment. Hopefully, your employer will be aware that your cloud documents, emails and attachments, instant messages and other third party services are all vulnerable to attack, with a remote working policy in place to mitigate the risk.
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