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Half of Americans Scared to Buy Connected Devices

Many researchers believe that by the year 2020, there will be as many as 50 billion connected devices in the marketplace. However, about half of Americans won’t be buying them anytime soon.

Security fears are having a chilling effect on purchases. A survey conducted by IT security firm ESET, in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), found that more than 40% of respondents are not confident that Internet of Things (IoT) devices are safe and secure, with more than half of consumers saying that they have chosen not to purchase a connected device because of security concerns.

In fact, only 24% of consumers report using an app to control a connected device, such as an appliance or thermostat, in their home.

Awareness overall is hearteningly up: 88% of consumers have thought about the potential for hacking associated with IoT devices—and 75% of them said they’re more concerned with hackers getting into their devices than rats getting into their homes.

Unfortunately for holiday retailers, toys are one category consumers are especially wary about—more than 36% were “very concerned” about internet-connected smart toys and their security and privacy risks, followed by 40% who were “somewhat concerned.”

Furthermore, nearly 77% of consumers are aware that some cars may be vulnerable to hacking. And 45% are very or somewhat concerned that their own car might have the potential to be hacked.

People are also highly aware of web cam hacking, with 85% indicating that they know their webcams have the potential to be accessed by an unauthorized party. About 14% of people still tape their webcam, and 21% use security software to protect it.

That said, the original connected device in the home—the Wi-Fi router—has escaped this scrutiny and fear. Nearly 29% said they have not changed their home router password from its default setting, and another 20% can’t remember if they have. Only 30% know for sure that they have indeed changed it—leaving another 21% somewhere in limbo on the question.

This leaves a gaping attack surface: About a quarter of respondents said they have four to seven devices connected to their routers. An additional 15% said they really didn’t know how many devices were connected.

Also, despite web cam hacking awareness, 36% said they have not taken any protective measures in that arena.

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