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January 31, 2017

Consumers remain oblivious to IoT security threats, despite £12m government campaign

“These figures are troubling, and should be a wake-up call for the industry".

By Tom Ball

A new study has indicated that nearly half of the population of the UK are unaware of the IoT security threats posed by connected devices.

The findings reveal how consumers are left in the dark when it comes to how devices, such as Wi-Fi routers, webcams, smart thermostats, and smart hoovers are susceptible to infiltration and can be used to initiate a cyber-attack.

According to Canonical’s IoT security whitepaper, 48% of UK citizens remain unaware that their connected devices could be infiltrated and used to conduct a cyber attack.

Smart home devices pose threat

Despite the government’s most recent online cyber awareness campaign, which cost  £12m, 37% of consumers still believe that they are not ‘sufficiently aware’ of the risks that connected devices pose.

79% say that they have not seen or read any news stories regarding IoT security and privacy, while 78% say that their distrust of IoT security has not grown over the last year. This figure is congruent with a wide underestimation of the risks posed by cyber-attacks, with businesses as well as individuals being warned of the risks of a lack of preparation.

“These figures are troubling, and should be a wake-up call for the industry. Despite good intentions, government campaigns for cyber awareness and IoT security still have a long way to go,” said Thibaut Rouffineau, Head of Devices Marketing at Canonical.

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“But then that’s the point: Ultimately the IoT industry needs to step up and take on responsibility. Government education of consumers and legislation will have a part to play, but overall the industry needs to take charge of keeping devices up to date and find a way to eliminate any potential vulnerabilities from devices before they can cause issues, rather than placing the burden on consumers.”

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