Even though there are at least 9 smart home devices in an average UK household, a majority of Brits are worried about potential risks associated with such IoT devices.
Despite reducing bills and cost of home insurance, smart home devices feature poor security and are very likely to be hacked.
More than three in four Brits are fearful about the potential risks associated with smart home devices, especially with regard to their data being collected without their permission, price comparison website MoneySuperMarket has revealed.
A survey conducted by the website has also revealed that over half of all Brits are concerned that their smart home devices could be hacked by cyber criminals, 43% of them believe their smart devices could be bricked by viruses and 42% believe their smart devices may record them without their knowledge.
What are the benefits of smart home devices?
Despite their concerns, what Britons are sure about is that smart home devices make their lives more convenient by automating many tasks that they previously had to perform manually.
At the same time, smart home devices also help users reduce bills and cost of home insurance, and this offers enough incentive for 58% of Brits who said they’ll buy such devices despite security risks.
A number of Brits also want new smart home devices to be invented that could make their lives simpler and less hectic. For example, a list of devices that users want to be able to purchase includes self-cleaning ovens, self-emptying bins, self-pouring wine fridges, dog walkers and self-emptying dishwashers.
According to the MoneySuperMarket survey, the benefits that smart home devices are likely to outweigh their security concerns, and despite the slow progress in improving their cyber security, there will be 25-30 billion ‘Internet of Things’ devices worldwide by the early 2020s.
‘Smart technology promises to transform our homes by enhancing security, improving energy efficiency and generally making our domestic lives smoother and more efficient. However, many people are understandably anxious that the benefits will be countered by threats, such as hacking and loss of privacy,’ says Dan Plant, editor-in-chief at MoneySuperMarket.
Due to security concerns, citizens who are serious about securing the privacy of their families and homes would hesitate before buying new smart devices. Plant adds that makers of smart devices and applications must reassure their customers that their devices would not put their data at risk.
In July, a survey of 1,000 U.K. citizens by Unisys also revealed a significant concern shared by almost half of the citizens that government organisations and third parties ‘can, and will, listen to or watch them via their smart televisions and other smart devices’.
The survey revealed that while citizens have embraced many new IoT devices and concepts, a lot of them are concerned over who can access their details and how they plan on using them. It revealed that while 79 percent Brits support using a button on their smartwatches to alert police to their location, only 41 percent support police being able to monitor their fitness tracker data at any moment to determine their location at a certain time.
What’s the best way to reduce security concerns about IoT devices?
In July, Durham chief constable Mike Barton rocked the smart home devices industry when he said that cyber security ratings should be displayed on all internet-connected devices so that people can purchase devices that will ensure their security and privacy.
“You’ve got a situation where we don’t know what the security is like in the devices we are buying in the internet of things. It’s just not reported. And yet that is the most significant component of what it is you are buying,” he said.
If customers are given at-a-glance information on IoT devices’ security credentials, just like the way they view energy-efficiency ratings in devices, they will be able to make informed choices while buying products that will ensure their security and privacy for as long as they will use them.
“It’s not just how many yoghurts you are eating that is at risk, it’s that your internet of things are all plugged into the same network. That is a back door into your network,” Barton added.