IoT Threats: Security Pros Say Security; Consumers Say Privacy, Costs

Security professionals see various threats around the Internet of Things while many consumer concerns seem to be focused in other areas.

A recent survey of security experts found that their main perceived threats had to do with security relating to connected cars, home entertainment systems and wearables.

Meanwhile, other recent studies indicate that consumers are much more concerned about the costs of smart things and privacy issues that may arise.

At a recent conference in London, security company Lastline surveyed IT professionals about the categories within IoT that they are most concerned about from a security standpoint.

Although smart home entertainment systems were named as the top concern by more than a third (37%) of respondents, there was no clear area that drives significantly more attention than any other.

Here is the breakdown of where security professionals see the most potential threats in IoT:

  • 37% -- Home entertainment systems
  • 34% -- Health Care/health-monitoring devices
  • 32% -- Connected cars
  • 29% -- Wearables
  • 28% -- Smart home devices
  • 18% -- Toys

On the flip side, consumers might not be as concerned about the potential security risks as those involved in IoT technology, according to another recent McKinsey study.

That study, comprising a survey of 2,000 households, found that most (66%) of consumers rated cost as the barrier to purchasing IoT devices, specifically related to the home.

Privacy was almost at the bottom of the list, with about a quarter (27%) of consumers saying they were concerned about privacy. The study also showed that 24% of consumers don’t see security as a big concern.

The consensus among consumers might be different internationally, however.

Another recent study, comprising a survey of 5,200 mobile media users across eight countries conducted by On Device Research for  the Mobile Ecosystems Forum (MEF), a global trade body, found that most (62%) consumers are concerned about privacy in IoT. Slightly more than half (54%) of consumers said they are concerned about security.

Of those worried about IoT security, the study found home security to be the biggest concern with 30% of consumers saying they are worried about others remotely unlocking and opening doors to their house. Only 10% of consumers said they are concerned about security breaches in home entertainment systems.

The landscape of potential threats in the internet of things seems to be varied from the perspective of industry professionals.

“The very nature of hacking dictates that people will find the new and innovative hacking targets, such as hacking into toys, smart TVs and refrigerators which are seemingly harmless, and try and compromise them - simply because they can,” said Brian Laing, VP of product development at Lastline.

“IoT presents one of those unchartered territories where people are opening themselves up to all sorts of maliciousness, purely because these devices are connected to the internet.”

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