IoT Security, Privacy Concerns Weigh on Consumers

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With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart devices, consumers now have access to a range of gadgets with web connectivity, from wearables to smart home security systems. But, the convenience these devices bring is also accompanied by security and privacy issues.

According to a recent survey by Trend Micro, consumers are concerned about both IoT security (75%) and privacy (44%).

Yet, as recent tests of Apple Watch show, neither is the strong suit for many IoT offerings.

Concerns over privacy were expressed by nearly a quarter (23%) of consumers when it came to IoT devices and slightly less (19%) for wearables. A majority of those asked by Trend Micro (54%) claimed they were either unsure (15%) or didn’t believe (39%) that the benefits of IoT outweighed their security and privacy concerns.

Despite these findings, the adoption of IoT devices seems to be inevitable, as compelling new B2B and B2C use cases emerge. Therefore, it is crucial IoT manufactures ease consumer’s worries.

Trend Micro has listeds seven ways IoT manufacturers can improve security and privacy in their devices and alleviate the public’s concerns. Namely:

  • Follow a principal of “security by design”—embedding defenses from the start rather than tacking them on once a product has been designed
  • Minimize the amount of data collected and limit the duration it is stored to reduce risk of a breach
  • Build a layered security, from endpoints to advanced detection of targeted threats
  • Ensure all employees are well trained and understand the importance of cybersecurity
  • Hold contractors and other third parties to the same high security standards as internal employees
  • Enforce tight access controls along the lines of “least privilege”
  • Provide security patches to devices as soon as issues become known

“Part of the uncertainty stems from a lack of communication by the smart device vendors about how, where and for how long consumer data is used,” said Jon Clay, Trend Micro researcher, in a blog post. “But there’s also a real fear that security faults in devices and [the] ecosystems built around them could cause [malfunctions] or even allow hackers to subvert the systems. As IoT assumes an increasingly central role in our lives, such concerns will only grow.”

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