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Home insights

One in five UK consumers have smart home devices, and most of them (84 per cent) find they simplify their life. However, while they welcome the added convenience of internet-connected thermostats, TVs, gaming consoles and baby monitors offer, consumers’ lax security habits and overconfidence in connected devices are leaving them vulnerable, according to an IT security product company.

According to the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, a survey of nearly 21,000 consumers globally including 1000 in the UK, people are beginning to recognise that with each connected device purchase, a new avenue opens for hackers to launch attacks in their home. Two in three (70 per cent) believe that as connected home devices become more popular, hackers will start targeting them more often.

More than half (53 per cent) believe it’s more likely someone could gain unauthorised access to their connected home device than to their physical home. And 78 per cent believe connected home devices provide hackers new ways to steal their personal information

Yet despite acknowledging the security risks that come with the smart home, device vulnerabilities and poor consumer security habits are the IT firm says acting as an easy on-ramp for hackers to access them.

One in four connected home device users in The UK don’t have any protective measures in place for their devices.
Nearly one in eight admit their Wi-Fi network is not password protected; one in seven do not change the default password when setting up their Wi-Fi network; and more than half (53 per cent) admit they don’t know how to set-up a secure home Wi-Fi network or router or keep its software up-to-date (74 per cent). Two in five (39 per cent) of consumers surveyed don’t believe there are enough connected device users for them to be a worthwhile target for hackers.

More than half (55 per cent) consumers said they believe connected home devices were designed with online security in mind. However, Symantec researchers identified security vulnerabilities in 50 different connected home devices ranging from smart thermostats to smart hubs that could make the devices easy targets for attacks.

Nick Shaw, vice president, Consumer Business Unit, Symantec, said: “There have been an array of high-profile attacks in recent months demonstrating how cybercriminals are taking advantage of poor device security to hijack consumers’ home networks, spread malware and launch botnet attacks unbeknownst to their device owners. While smart devices may offer some notable benefits and convenience, there are also risks associated. Just as hackers learned to benefit from targeting social media and financial accounts, they are on their way to learning how access to connected home devices can be lucrative.”



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