Digital Insecurity – Consumers Worry About Security of IoT Devices

IoT security concerns

As billions of products connect to the Internet each year, Americans are increasingly concerned about IoT security and privacy, including the prospect that a hacking of their own device could expose family, friends and colleagues to risk, a new research survey released today by the Security Innovation Center reveals.

Almost two-in-three American consumers said that the explosive growth of Internet-connected products makes them more concerned about their privacy and security, the survey of 1,015 Americans found. And only 1 in 3 Americans expressed confidence that people they know would not be affected if one of their devices was hacked. These concerns have placed a focus on IoT security when getting Internet-enabled products fixed:  84 percent value the security of their data over convenience/speed of service.

“From smartphones in our hands to fire alarms in our homes to pacemakers in our bodies to sensors on roads and in cars, we are connected to each other like never before,” said Josh Zecher, executive director of the Security Innovation Center. “This interconnectivity will enable opportunities to solve society’s most vexing problems. However, it also brings challenges that can only be overcome by ensuring that privacy and security are the foundational elements of all technology-related policies.”

With nearly 30 percent of American consumers owning six or more products that connect to the Internet daily (smartphones, computer tables, smart TVs, thermostats, home appliances, home assistant, security systems, etc.) and 60 percent expecting to buy more over the next five years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has arrived. Perhaps that is why many Americans report that a hack would do more damage than a burglary to their house.

More than 700 million IoT products have been deployed in the U.S and Americans have high expectations for how they get repaired.

More than 80 percent expect repair professionals to both provide a warranty for their repairs and demonstrate that they are trained or certified to fix their specific product. Further, 75 percent value warranty protections over convenience and 70 percent feel most comfortable having their products fixed by a manufacturer or authorized repair shop. Yet, only 18 percent can determine if an electronics repair shop is protecting their security and privacy.

As we can connect to billions of products, they can connect to us. One compromised product not only affects the owner of the product, but anyone whose information may be on it. And as we connect more “things” those risks could increase exponentially from loss of data to loss of life.

Additional results of the Security Innovation Center survey include:

  • 59 percent fear that one of their Internet-connected products could be used by a hacker as part of a cyber attack.
  • 79 percent hold themselves or a software/app provider most responsible if their devices are hacked.
  • Nearly 50 percent have information on their Internet-connected devices that would be harmful to friends, family or business associates.
  • 73 percent believe they have a personal responsibility to keep data of friends, family members and business associates from hackers.
  • Only 35 percent would purchase a used Internet-connected product with concerns about security and privacy as the number one reason for not buying a used Internet-connected product.
Carlos Casanova

Carlos Casanova

Carlos Casanova is an internationally known speaker, IT architect, leadership advisor, and co-author of The CMDB Imperative. He has over two decades of hands-on experience guiding CIOs and Sr. Leadership to achieve effective IT operations and improve ROI from infrastructure investments. His expansive experience enables him to quickly assess their true needs and achieve better business outcomes. He takes the complexity out of today's cluttered IT and business environments to simplify their goals in order to accelerate achievement and success.