Smart home gadgets have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years.
Apps like the Smart Life app use the Internet of Things (IoT) to communicate. But is the Smart Life app secure?
The Smart Life App is relatively safe to use. It’s developed and owned by Tuya, a Chinese smart home company. It has servers across the world and follows local and Chinese privacy and security laws. However, Tuya can’t guarantee complete safety due to technological limitations.
Read on to learn a few important safety facts before using the Smart Life app.
I’ll also share a few useful tips you can follow to protect your private data.
Is Smart Life App Secure?
The Smart Life app daily isn’t as secure as you might think in terms of data privacy. Since the parent company’s headquarters are in China, the Chinese government has extensive access to your information. This is a potential safety concern.
Read more about this and how hackers can use the app to their advantage.
1. The Smart Life App Is Owned by Tuya (a Chinese Company)
We can’t talk about the Smart Life app without talking about its developer.
Volcano Technology Limited created the app, but they’re a subsidiary of Tuya Smart.
Tuya Smart is a major IoT company that develops software and hardware used for smart home gadgets. The company is based in Hangzhou, China.
They’re not on the level of Amazon or Google but are major players in the market.
Their Smart Life app has millions of downloads on the Google Play Store and App Store. So, we can assume it’s a pretty successful app.
However, that doesn’t guarantee that the app is completely safe. There are a few caveats with Chinese companies.
For example, Tuya states that they collect stuff like your IP, wireless connection information, log files, and so on.
The worst problem I see here is that they log files. Some people believe that Tuya collects your data and sells it to advertisers.
This is uncommon, though. Most modern companies, from Amazon to Samsung, sell your data to advertisers!
My point: You’re choosing between trusting a Chinese company like Tuya or an American company like Google.
It’s up to you whether or not you want to trust Tuya. However, you should know that China has some strict privacy laws that Tuya has to comply with.
Moreover, if the Chinese government demands your data from Tuya, they have to yield.
But most of us already have a Chinese smartphone, smartwatch, or gadget. And we have TikTok on our phones. So, Smart Life being a Chinese app isn’t that big of a deal.
I’d suggest disabling all Permissions that the Smart Life app doesn’t need to work.
At the very least, it reduces the type and amount of data Smart Life can access.
Reading tip: Is Tuya Smart Safe? 4 Things You Need To Know
2. Tuya Tries To Protect Your Data, but There’s No Guarantee
Smart Life needs WiFi to work. The data travels from your phone to their servers and your smart device through your home WiFi. This isn’t completely safe.
Your data has to travel quite a bit. Other smart home technologies like Zigbee and Z-Wave don’t need WiFi or servers to work.
Experts say that security and privacy are the primary concerns with IoT.
So, the Smart Life app is as safe as Tuya’s servers. According to the company, their Tuya Cloud is very secure because the data is encrypted.
In case you don’t know what encryption is, it’s a method that scrambles your data.
When the data travels, data thieves can’t understand it without a cryptographic key.
Take a look at Tuya’s Agreement. You agree to it when you download and use the Smart Life app.
Under 8.1, Tuya says they try to protect their software, but they can’t guarantee anything because of technological restrictions.
Now, what does that mean for you?
In a nutshell, if you or they get hacked, you can’t hold Tuya accountable.
3. The Smart Life App Uses IFTTT
If This Then That (or just IFTTT) is a famous smart home service company. The Smart Life app uses its services to execute commands.
For example, you can make your lights turn on when you turn off the morning alarm with Alexa.
IFTTT is an American company, so they follow all regular security practices. They aren’t allowed to sell any of your data without your consent.
So, we can say that IFTTT is safe. Just ensure only you know your password.
You might also like: How to create a scene using Smart Life?
4. Hackers Can Access Your Network
It doesn’t matter how safe an app is if your WiFi doesn’t even have a password.
The bare minimum is to use at least WPA2 with a secure password (numbers 1–8 won’t cut it).
This has nothing to do with the Smart Life app. Your network and smart home gadgets can get hacked at all times, especially if you don’t have a password.
A local hacker could even get access to the Smart Life app.
If that happens, they could unlock your garage door, disable your camera, and enter your home.
So, use a newer router with the latest security and safety features. And create a password with upper and lowercase letters and a few numbers.
5. Your Phone Can Be Hacked or Stolen
What’s worse than a hacker accessing your network? It’s a hacker stealing your unprotected phone.
Hacking an updated Apple or Android phone isn’t very easy. So, stealing is the more likely scenario.
If a hacker steals your phone, they can simply open the Smart Life app and control your smart gadgets.
If you have a habit of misplacing or losing your phone, you can still protect your smart home.
Here are a few tips on how to protect your phone from hackers and thieves:
- Add a password, fingerprint, or face unlock to your phone.
- Keep your phone up to date. Security patches are the foundation of your phone security.
- Don’t use old phones. Old phones don’t have the latest security patches. They’re at a higher risk of getting hacked.
- Never sideload apps. Apps like Smart Life have to go through a lengthy process to get to the App Store or Play Store. Sideloaded apps don’t, so they’re very dangerous.
- Lock your phone if you lose it. You can do this on Google’s ‘Device Manager’ and iPhone’s ‘Find my iPhone’.
BONUS: Smart Home Gadgets Have Individual Safety Risks
You use the Smart Life app to connect all sorts of devices. It’s perfect for home automation.
Smart Life supports devices from many brands, such as:
The safety of your data doesn’t depend solely on Smart Life. It also relies on the security and safety of your smart home gadgets.
Make sure you’re only using the safest devices on the market. If there’s a security breach with only one device or company, your whole home is at risk.
It’s nice that Smart Life lets you connect so many devices.
This communication between smart devices is essential to have a convenient and smarter life.
But a hacker can exploit this interconnectivity. So, only use devices that you can trust independent of the Smart Life app.
Remember that Smart Life works with IFTTT? You can get compatible devices from reputable brands like Kasa.
If you’re looking for a secure smart plug, the Kasa HS103P4 (available on Amazon.com) is perfect.
You can use the plug to switch any non-smart device on or off. Plus, It’s compatible with IFTTT.
Tuya, a Chinese app, owns the Smart Life app. This raises some eyebrows, but China has become more strict with its privacy laws over the past few years.
The Chinese government may be collecting your data. However, many of us already have TikTok on our phones. So, this isn’t a major concern.
Tuya is as safe as any other IoT app. So, it’s relatively safe, but you can make it safer.
Protect your data by keeping your phone up to date and using passwords wherever possible.
And make sure you’re only using smart home devices you can trust.
Check out: 3 Common Reasons Why Smart Life Is Offline + How To Fix It