Park Community Credit Union - The Internet of Things May be a Boon to Hackers

The Internet of Things is upon us, as the number of connected devices has grown to include everything from garage door openers to coffee makers. This may not be an entirely good thing.

According to new research from consumer security specialist, BullGuard, millions are at serious risk of hacking and don’t know it – with fitness trackers, smart TVs and even children’s toys among the most vulnerable items.

BullGuard recently released a study of consumers in the United Kingdom, and came to some startling conclusions.

Excluding Smartphones, tablets and PCs, the average UK adult owns three internet-connected devices, including locks, pet trackers and web cams.

However, a third of respondents have no idea if their smart tech is secure, a quarter said their devices have no security – and half don’t know if the protection they have is stringent enough.

The BullGuard research of 2,000 UK adults who own smart devices also revealed that one in three people are not aware of the possible security risks faced by their gadgets – which include people hacking into baby monitors, door locks – and even fridges.

Paul Lipman, CEO at BullGuard, said: “Many smart connected devices have little or no security protection. 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 third of Brits don’t think smart device manufacturers do enough to educate consumers about the implications of not securing internet connected devices.

And over a fifth of people said they are reluctant to buy additional smart devices because they have doubts over how secure they are.

While six in 10 respondents would be encouraged to buy additional smart devices if manufacturers did more to put consumer’s minds at ease regarding the security risks.

Almost half were not aware manufacturers of smart home devices release software updates that could improve the security – and 35 percent do not know how to apply the updates.

Paul Lipman added: “Many IoT device manufacturers rarely prioritize security and when they do it can be too complex for the average consumer to understand. When you buy a car, you don’t expect to twiddle with the engine to get it running so why should you be expected to know how to apply updates to your smart devices to keep them running securely?”

37 per cent of survey respondents admit they don’t know how to protect their smart devices from being hacked and over a third do not regularly change the password on their routers.

Eight in 10 said they are worried cyber criminals could hack into their smart tech – with 91 per cent concerned hackers could monitor their every move.

While three in five people are worried hackers could watch or listen to their children through web cams or baby monitors.

These are real concerns. Perhaps the best defense is to shun smart devices where we can, since apparently they aren’t smart enough.

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