Millions are at serious risk of hacking and don’t know it

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, according to new research from consumer security specialist, BullGuard.

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 per cent 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.

“People have good reason to be concerned about hackers breaking into their smart devices and smart home networks. A hacked smart camera for instance could easily lead to stalking and the victim wouldn’t know anything about it,” said Paul Lipman.

BullGuard has just launched a dedicated smart home security device in the US called Dojo by BullGuard. It is the only smart home security solution that enables consumers to use smart devices from a wide range of manufacturers without compromising their privacy or security and is set for launch in Europe later this year.

Dojo is powered by machine learning and AI technology, so the more it familiarizes itself with a home’s smart devices, the smarter it becomes in detecting abnormal activity. It detects and blocks threats without looking at the device or user data but instead focuses on understanding device and service patterns. These are continuously analyzed by Dojo’s cloud-based intelligent platform, building up a highly dynamic knowledge base that evolves to keep pace with the growth in smart home devices.

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