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As useful as technology certainly is for helping us stay safe and deter all sorts of crimes, you do need to be mindful about how you use it or you could potentially be putting yourself at risk.

For example, if you go on holiday and you upload photographs in real time while you’re away, criminals monitoring social media networks could see that your home is vacant and break in, safe in the knowledge that you’re not at home.

But the technology itself could also potentially be putting your home at risk, with new research from Queen Mary University of London and the Chinese Academy of Science revealing that internet-connected security cameras installed on properties and monitored remotely could be used to predict when a house is occupied or not.

The uploaded data can be tracked passively, without the criminals watching the video content itself, allowing them to even predict future activity based on past traffic generated by the camera.

It was also possible to detect when the camera was uploading motion, as well as distinguishing between different types of motion, such as running or sitting – all by looking at the rate the camperas uploaded data via the internet.

Senior lecturer at Queen Mary Dr Gareth Tyson said: “Whilst numerous studies have looked at online video streaming, such as YouTube and Netflix, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study which looks in detail at video streaming traffic generated by these cameras and quantifies the risks associated with them. 

“By understanding these risks, we can now look to propose ways to minimise the risks and protect user privacy.”

This isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t have these systems installed but it’s good to be aware of any potential issues and risks. There are lots of other ways you can also go about protecting your home, whether you decide to install motion-activated lights, a gravel driveway so you can hear someone approach, CCTV or something else.

During the summer months, always make sure that you close the house up properly, no matter how warm it is. Don’t leave downstairs windows open after you go to bed, as burglars are often opportunistic and an open window is all the invitation they need.

Don’t leave any valuables within reach of open windows or near the front door, as it’s very easy for someone to simply reach in and grab them. Cars are often stolen because people keep their keys near the front door, so always hide them out of sight.

And if you’re spending lots of time outside, enjoying the weather, make sure the front door is locked and any windows secure so you don’t have to worry about something happening while you’re out in the garden.

If you ever need a locksmith in Cheam or the local area, get in touch with Ideal Locks to see how we can help.

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