The Internet of Things - Device Security and Data Privacy

The Internet of Things is connecting more devices every day.  Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US released a report which found that 25 billion objects are already connected online worldwide, gathering information using sensors and communicating with each other over the internet.

This number is growing quickly - Gartner has claimed that a ¼ billion connected vehicles will be on the roads by 2020 -  as electronics manufacturers look to capitalise on the commercial possibilities of IoT; the global value of the industry may well exceed £255bn a year by 2020.

Yet the FTC warned that as manufacturers work to make communication between smart devices more seamless, privacy and security could become a serious consumer concern. The sheer amount of data that IoT devices can generate is staggering. An FTC report entitled "Internet of Things: Privacy & Security in a Connected World" found that fewer than 10,000 households can generate 150 million discrete data points every day. This creates more entry points for hackers and leaves sensitive information vulnerable.

And an AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report surveyed more than 5,000 enterprises around the world and found that 85% of enterprises are in the process of or intend to deploy IoT devices. Yet a mere 10% of those surveyed feel confident that they could secure those devices against hackers. 

A recent BullGuard survey of over 6,000 of its customers underlines the scale of the problem and the concerns that many people have about the security of their smart devices. 66% of survey respondents said they are highly concerned about the security of connected devices, while 72% do not know how to secure them properly. The problem is set to accelerate with over 25% respondents saying they are planning on buying more smart devices in the coming 12 months. .

David Rogers, founder of Copper Horse Solutions, confirms, “Device security is currently very poor, with many companies knowingly pushing cheap, insecure products.” Privacy also very much concerns him, “It seems that many companies are happy to offer free services in exchange for all the information you generate, however it is completely opaque to the user how that data is used or sold. I find it incredible that privacy specialists are considering the concepts of “the right to solitude” or the “right to intimacy” when it comes to peoples own homes.  I think there is another way and it is time that companies started to produce products which truly respect user choice and which don’t gather data unnecessarily.” Much to ponder for us all!

 

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