7 out of 10 fear security implications of Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is oft-discussed among network managers and security is still the top concern.

The IT realm is experiencing the rapid advance of technology that connects, monitors, and shares almost every aspect of the digital age, thanks to what is now referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT promises to provide unprecedented access to the devices that make up everything from assembly lines to transportation systems to weather sensors. IDC projects that the IoT market will grow to $7.1 trillion over the next six years.

However, unfettered access to that much data is becoming a recognized security concern, and the onus of security is being placed on network administrators. With that in mind, security hardware vendor Fortinet set out to survey consumers to find out how big of a concern IoT security actually is.

The resulting report, "Internet of Things: Connected Home," was produced in partnership with GMI, a division of Lightspeed Research. More than 1,800 consumers between the ages of 20 and 50 who claim to be tech savvy participated in the survey, which was administered in 11 countries around the world, including the United States, Australia, China, Germany, India, and the United Kingdom.

The majority of respondents believe that an environment where appliances and electronics are seamlessly connected to the internet is "extremely likely" to be a reality in the next five years. The actual number was 61% in the US, and an overwhelming 84% in China.

Backing up that adoption reality is the fact that 4 out of 10 people surveyed indicated they'd be willing to pay more for a home that was optimized to take advantage of IoT technologies (nearly half if you include the "maybe" group). Half of those surveyed also said they'd be willing to pay more for better internet service capable of smoothly handling an IoT connected home environment. Fewer than 20% of respondents from the US stated they would absolutely not pay more for Internet service to accommodate IoT. The survey also indicated that there was significant concern about sensitive data being exposed as a result of IoT. Some 70% of the survey participants indicated that they are "extremely concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about data breaches or having sensitive personal information compromised. The majority of respondents expressed fear over privacy and trust issues and nearly 60% of those surveyed in the US agreed with the statement, "Privacy is important to me, and I do not trust how this type of data may be used."

 Image: GMI

As far as the possibility of a breach is concerned, 67% of Americans answered they would feel "Completely violated and extremely angry to the point where I would take action" if personal data was accessed without knowledge or consent. A fact further strengthened by majority of those surveyed offering that their government should regulate how data is collected, and what vendors are allowed or not allowed to do with it once it's collected.

With such phenomenal growth predicted and potential adopters voicing their security and privacy concerns, it becomes very clear that network administrators must start immediately considering how IoT will impact security across the enterprise, and should already be planning for the security technologies, encryption schemes and access policies that will bring security to the data collected. What's more, that data may need to be incorporated into big data analytics platforms, meaning that more layers of security will become necessary. The lesson here is to approach IoT with care and consider the value of the data gathered, as well as the impact any type of breach may have. That should provide the fodder for building security systems that can deal with the sudden rise in data collected, stored and mined.


Frank J. Ohlhorst is an award-winning technology journalist, author, professional speaker and IT business consultant. He has worked in editorial at CRN, eWeek and Channel Insider, and is the author of Big Data Analytics. His certifications include MC...


IoT connected to a Smartphone connected to the Cloud is now and will continue to be a big security risk.  See my presentation video on this and a solution calling for a paradigm shift in Information Processing that can correct the problem ( ).  

Frank, I agree with your urgency in addressing this problem. We already have millions of smart meters out there that have shown the security and privacy issues from these IoT technologies.  And we are going to connect these IoT to an Android OS to create a smart home?  There are ways to secure this and we need to do this first this time or we will be creating a mess too large to fix. Feel free to contact me directly on the video presentation and solution.   Good discussion.    


I can't wait! Nothing upsets me more than somebody stealing my last beer. My 2020 fridge will solve the security issue and let me know via an Apple gadget app exactly when some thief swipes it. And of course it will order a fresh cold six pack for fast delivery and charge it to the thief's credit card. The fridge knew who took the beer by reading the chip drilled into his forehead at birth. It's an NSA thing they don't admit to. The beer will be delivered and properly placed in my 2020 fridge by an eight bladed GPS guided UAV courtesy of Amazon. The fridge is now operating in fast chill down mode due to sensors embedded in the beer molecules by the NSA. They like cold beer too so they let that one leak out. Provided of course it knows the algorithm to my Schlage electronic lock on the front door. They need to get that from the NSA but they still won't admit they have it so the UAV will need to send a signal to my computerized security system. I can remotely open the front door with my "I" something after verifying it is in fact Miller Light on my picture in a picture curved HD TV.   

And through all of this I won't even have to get my butt off the couch and I won't miss a single play. Nor will the thief who is watching the game sitting beside me. But! He is promptly notified on his IPhone of the pre-authorized charge to his account by my 2020 fridge. He subscribes to Life Lock.  :)

You techie's crack me up! How did we ever watch football back in the 60's?


61% in US and 84% in China say it is extremely likely that there will be an environment where appliances and electronics are seamlessly connected to the internet in five years. I wonder what these people expect to do with this connectivity. Many articles I see refer to the refrigerator which keeps track of what you need to buy. Has a study been made of what is put in a fridge. Everyone I know has a very variable content because they eat a varied diet so are they expected to keep some of everything they may ever eat in the fridge so that it can remind them of what is missing. Surely people know what is there when they open the door and can remember to buy what they will need in the near future.

As for the control of lights, heating etc. Will it be secure enough to stop hackers having fun. I would much rather keep to my present practice and use a local plugged in timer and thermostat. 

As to how soon these things could be common I have grave doubts about the five year prediction. My deep freeze is 20 years old and still works perfectly. I know this is not common nowadays but even current models should last about seven years. The Internet of Things is in the initial hype stage with super claims and I expect it will take those five years to get a realistic measure of what it will actually achieve.


Ugh.  7 out of 10 feeling IoT is not secure means 30% of respondents are absolutely NOT tech savvy.  Then again anybody who says about themselves that they are "tech savvy" can probably figure out how to get their iPhone to connect to their TV but have no idea what IT security is.  Methinks we are headed for a hell of a broken network with this IoT thing. 


Only problem is that the degree of belief in something has no relationship to the degree of truth in the position. People are scared of all sorts of things that can't actually hurt them. We are often more scared of things that don't harm us than things that do.

Belief is unrelated to real risk.

Someone famous once asked "tell me what's important, how it looks or how it is". You can't kick you toe on a stone you believe to exist, only one that does.


@dogknees  Belief is what drives our actions, and our actions drive and interact with the reality of other actions made by others, or by nature itself.  Our economy is more belief than reality - as soon as something bad happens people sell their stocks and the markets crash.  Belief or perception as I'll parallel them here, is the abstraction layer between us as individual and the world around us, but who's to say we're not in the Matrix :) Anyway, on this IoT thing, I believe we are fk'd big time for the first 5-8 years, then afterwards some stuff might start to mature in the embedded device market.  We won't hear about most of the stuff that goes on though - you can't nurture a $7.1trillion market by telling the public about it's flaws now can you.  Nape, most people will continue on in ignorance, and perhaps that's as it should be, since it is. 

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