Cyber-savvy consumers support IoT security by design

Cyber-savvy consumers support IoT security by design

Cyber-savvy consumers support IoT security by design
An Ecobee sensor in a smart home (Credit: Ecobee)

Cyber savvy consumers are well aware of the risks posed by connected devices, as a study reveals that 90 percent of people in six countries believe IoT devices should have security built into the product.

These findings were announced at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas this week by digital platform security company Irdeto. In its Irdeto Global Consumer IoT survey, the company questioned 7,882 consumers in Brazil, China, Germany, India, UK and the US about who they feel should be responsible for implementing IoT security.

That said, they are prepared to take their own share of responsibility when it comes to security. More than half of consumers around the globe (56 percent) think that it is the responsibility of both the end-user and the manufacturer of the product to prevent hacking of smart devices, the survey found. By contrast, only 15 percent of consumers globally think they are responsible, and 20 percent feel the manufacturer of the device is responsible for cybersecurity.

Cyber-risk awareness improves with age

While the majority of respondents seemingly advocate security by design, a surprising 78 percent of respondents claim to be aware that any smart devices connected to the Wi-Fi network in their home has the potential to be targeted by a hacker.

Awareness seems to increase with age, as 72 percent of millennials allege that they are aware of the security implications of deploying IoT devices in the home, where 82 percent of over-55s make the same claim, in contrast with the notion that younger people are more tech-literate.

Despite the suggested levels of cyber awareness, consumers have apparently not been put off IoT devices. According to the study, 81 percent of consumers across the six countries admitted to having more than one connected device in the home, with most households averaging roughly four connected devices each.

Read more: IBM launches new security services for connected cars and IoT

Consumers accept responsibility

Commenting on the study, Mark Hearn, director of IoT security at Irdeto, suggested that, while it is a good thing that consumers understand the burden of responsibility on IoT device manufacturers, “it’s encouraging that they also recognize the important role they play in IoT security.”

“Today’s connected world needs consumers to be vigilant about security threats. On the device manufacturer side, there must be a better ‘defense-in-depth’ approach to cybersecurity that integrates multiple layers of security into a system. This approach, combined with ongoing security updates to protect against the latest threats, is critical to mitigate attacks targeting IoT technologies,” Hearn added.

Read more: “Scary” number of healthcare IT execs put faith in inadequate IoT security