Despite fast adoption of IoT, 72% don’t know how to protect their smart devices

66 per cent of consumers are worried about hacks and breaches against their IoT devices, and 72 per cent don’t know how to protect themselves from these risks, according to new research from BullGuard.

The mobile and internet security provider surveyed over 6,000 UK residents, finding that 34 per cent have already experienced a security incident or privacy problem.

The report reveals that 78 per cent of consumers expressed concern about security risks such as viruses, malware and hackers, while 66 per cent of consumers expressed concern over data collected by device manufacturers being inappropriately used or stolen. 57 per cent of consumers are also anxious about privacy breaches.

“Most of us have been working with internet connected devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets for some time, but the Internet of Things is changing our perception of personal security, for both ourselves and our data. It’s not just those who consider themselves ‘technophobes’ that have these concerns – tech savvy users are saying the same,” said Paul Lipman, CEO of BullGuard.

An IoT (Internet of Things) device is an appliance or similar device that connects to the internet. This ranges from automobiles and smart TVs to heating thermostats, security systems, baby monitors, surveillance cameras, dishwashers and garage doors. Additionally, connected smart coffee makers, batteries, light bulbs and even toothbrushes are also available.

With over a quarter of consumers planning to buy IoT devices in the next 12 months, the IoT sector doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon.

Clearly there are still issues to address when it comes to reassuring and educating consumers, even those who consider themselves technically literate.

When asked how they would rate their computer skills, the majority of respondents – 63 per cent – described themselves as ‘intermediate or advanced’.

81 per cent said they are capable of setting up their own router, yet when asked if they have changed their router’s password, 63 per cent said ‘no’. 49 per cent also admitted that they don’t know how, and a substantial 72 per cent do not know how to configure a router to keep a home network secure.

“Consumers are clearly not equipped to handle the myriad of security risks presented by connected devices,” commented Lipman. “With devices such as security cameras, alarm systems and door locks now being connected to the internet, physical security is becoming as much of a consideration for consumers as data security. Keeping these devices secure is absolutely imperative.”

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