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Industry News

Published on September 28th, 2017 | by The GC Team


Three-quarters of Britons fear smart home risks

Smart home technology is predicted to reduce household bills and the cost of home insurance, but the nation has deep concerns about the impending ‘smart home revolution’, despite the prospective cost savings.

According to a report by MoneySuperMarket, 76% of Britons admit to being ‘fearful’ of the smart home concept, citing unapproved data collection as the greatest worry.

Other concerns included the technology being hacked by criminals (51%), being made unusable by a virus (43%) and recording people without their knowledge (42%).

The UK price comparison website polled over 2,000 people to get the nation’s opinions on smart home technology and the Internet of Things, and found that whilst the majority (77%) had heard of the connected home, only 6% claimed to know a lot about smart home technology. The most popular gadget was a smart TV, owned by 30% of those polled, followed by a smart energy meter, owned by 16%. 

Dan Plant, editor-in-chief at MoneySuperMarket, acknowledging that many people are understandably anxious that the benefits will be countered by threats such as hacking and loss of privacy, said: “It’s up to the makers of smart devices and applications to reassure consumers that they are not putting themselves at risk.”

In the September issue of GC (page 13), our consumer electronics guru George Cole posed a pertinent question relating to smart home security: “Energy ratings are now standard on many products and these help consumers choose the most energy efficient devices. So why not a security rating for IoT products?” he wrote.  “IoT could transform our industry and our homes, but it will be consumer confidence in the products rather than technology that determines whether it becomes a mass market or a niche sector.”

Responding to the MoneySuperMarket report, Cesare Garlati, chief security strategist at the prpl Foundation, said: “IoT consumers need to be aware of the security risks attached to IoT devices, of which there are many. ‘IoT security is broken’ is a well-known phrase in the industry and so the public have every right to be fearful of connected devices in the home.

“Manufacturers and developers need to stop focusing on sales and instead should address these glaring issues. All basic security efforts start with the home router, which is the first, last and only line of defence to every device in the home. Negligence towards security here is like leaving your front door unlocked – your first line of defence against attackers. You are exposing not only your private information but yourself and your family.”

Despite public concern, the MoneySuperMarket report concluded that the benefits of investing in smart home technology are likely to outweigh the fears.

The prpl Foundation Smart Home Security report details the fundamentals of IoT security which consumers can use to reduce the risk of attack.

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