Internet of Things Security Issues Have Consumers Worried

Survey results indicate a lack of information about the security safeguards in place is fueling respondents’ worries about Internet of Things (IoT).

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Consumers remain about equally divided in their assessment of the pros and cons of the Internet of Things, according to a survey of 1903 people conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Trend Micro.

Forty-four percent of people believe the benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) outweigh their concerns about privacy or security, and 42 percent do not. Fourteen percent of consumers are unsure.

The survey results indicate that a lack of information about security safeguards may be fueling respondents’ worries about IoT. With IoT, devices are capable of collecting and sharing a wide range of personal information.

In addition to tracking browsing behavior, software in devices can report on usage, location, and performance, whether through smartphone applications, video games, metadata from digital cameras, or applications running on personal computing devices.

When asked if manufacturers of devices provided details about how their personal information will be used, 82 percent of respondents said they did not receive any information or they were unsure.

Just 18 percent of respondents said they recall receiving such information, though 53 percent believe personal data is a financial asset similar to traded goods, currencies or commodities.

The report also found that 20 percent of consumers would change their behavior when they experienced events that made them worry about the privacy and security of their personal information. Five years ago, 26 percent said they would have changed behavior. A majority of respondents (61 percent) are privacy sensitive. They consider privacy as important but will rarely change their behaviors or information sharing practices even if they experience an event that affects the privacy or security of their personal information, such as a data breach. Five years ago, 56 percent described themselves as privacy sensitive.

Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents say they have become more concerned about the privacy and security of their personal information in the past five years.

The reasons these respondents worry about their privacy are: the increased use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets (63 percent); they became a victim of a data breach (61 percent), and they use social media more often (53 percent).

Almost half (49 percent) are worried about how their personal information is shared, including the sharing of their medical records with third parties.

However, more than half (56 percent) of respondents said they would be willing to provide their personal data to trusted companies in exchange for money.

On average, respondents would accept $76 for their passwords and $60 for information about their health condition. Social Security numbers are valued at $56.