Security

Report: 37% of adults at 'serious risk' of being hacked through their IoT devices

Fitness trackers, smart TVs, and children's toys are extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks, but consumers don't know how to protect them, according to a new report from BullGuard.

Millions of people worldwide are at serious risk of hacking, but are unaware that their internet-connected devices may be vulnerable to attack, according to a new report from consumer security specialist BullGuard.

Of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed, the average adult owned three internet-connected devices, not including smartphones, tablets, and PCs. These devices include smart locks, pet trackers, webcams, and fitness trackers. However, one-fourth of respondents said their devices have no security, while one-third said they had no idea if their smart tech was secure.

Some 37% of UK adults said they did not know how to protect their smart devices from being hacked, the report found. One in three adults said they were not aware of the possible security risks their smart gadgets open up, such as criminals hacking into door locks, baby monitors, and other connected devices. The same number also said they don't think smart device manufacturers provide adequate education to consumers about the dangers of non-secure Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

SEE: Ethical Password Hacking and Security (TechRepublic Academy)

Perhaps even more concerning was that half of respondents were unaware that manufacturers of these devices release software updates to improve security—and 35% said they did not know how to apply updates at all. More than one-third said they do not regularly change the password for their routers.

"Many smart connected devices have little or no security protection," said Paul Lipman, CEO at BullGuard, in a press release. "We've already seen how one attack that used thousands of hacked smart devices took down leading internet services in the US including Netflix and Twitter. Hacks on the smart home could have much more damaging consequences."

A recent Ponemon Institute study found that 94% of risk management professionals believe a security incident resulting from unsecured IoT devices "could be catastrophic." And despite the risks, many security professionals aren't communicating effectively with leadership, and the board isn't requiring strict assessments of IoT risks before moving forward with initiatives, TechRepublic's Conner Forrest reported. It's extremely important for manufacturers to ensure devices are secure, and for enterprise and consumer users to have security protocols in place.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. Some 37% of UK adults said they did not know how to protect their smart devices from being hacked, according to a new report from BullGuard.

2. One-third of respondents said they don't think smart device manufacturers provide adequate education to consumers about the dangers of non-secure IoT devices.

3. It's important for manufacturers to ensure that devices are secure, and for consumers to have security protocols in place.

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Image: iStockphoto/locknloadlabrador

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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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