Consumers Worry About Security of Connected Devices

The study found that consumers are very concerned or highly concerned about potential hacking and data theft carried out against their connected devices.

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Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of consumers with advanced technical skills do not feel confident in their ability to keep their connected devices secure, according to a BullGuard survey of more than 1,000 American consumers.

The study found that 58 percent of consumers are very concerned or highly concerned about potential hacking and data theft carried out against their connected devices, with 37 percent having already experienced a security incident or privacy problem in the past.

"Consumers don’t feel prepared to secure themselves against these threats," Paul Lipman, CEO of BullGuard, told eWEEK. "Even people who self-identify as being technically advanced don’t know how to secure their home networks against network-borne attacks and threats."

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of consumers expressed concern about security risks such as viruses, malware and hackers; 65 percent of consumers were concerned over data collected by device manufacturers being inappropriately used or stolen; and 51 percent of consumers said they are also anxious about privacy breaches.

"There is a very high degree of concern regarding the security and privacy risks of [the Internet of Things]," Lipman said. "I believe this is due both to the work that security companies have done over the years to educate consumers about cyber-risks, and also the high degree of prominence that IoT-related threats have recently received in the media."

When asked how they would rate their computer skills, the majority of respondents (70 percent) described themselves as intermediate or advanced.

While 83 percent said they are capable of setting up their own router, when asked if they have changed their router’s password, 45 percent said they had not.

More than a third (36 percent) also admitted that they don’t know how, and a substantial 61 percent do not know how to configure a router to keep a home network secure.

"Consumers are looking to security vendors to solve the IoT security problem," Lipman said. "In the survey, we asked whether people would look to their ISP, device manufacturer or security vendor—and security vendor was the number one choice by wide margin."

Lipman said the key will be for security vendors to deliver products that are incredibly easy to use and simple to configure.

"Network security is substantially more complex than endpoint protection and consumers cannot—and should not—be expected to be experts," he said. "They rely on their security providers to be the experts for them."