Consumers concerned about connected home privacy, still few implement safety practices

In order to understand what people are doing to protect themselves from the risk of compromised smart home devices, such as internet-connected TVs, smart thermostats, home assistants and more, ESET polled 4,000 consumers.

connected home consumer attitudes

Key findings include:

  • Over a third of all respondents indicated they are concerned about unauthorized access of their home networks via connected home devices (smart TVs, smart thermostats etc.). 35% of Americans and 37% of Canadians indicated so in our survey.
  • When purchasing a smart home device, most Americans and Canadians do not evaluate the data the manufacturer collects or know where it is stored or with whom it is shared. Only 20% of American respondents and 29% of Canadian respondents indicated they do any of this type of research before purchasing a device.
  • Most Americans and Canadians indicated they have not changed their router password or do not know if it has ever been changed since installation. 57% of Americans and 61% of Canadians indicated so in our survey.
  • A plurality of Canadians turn off features that they do not use that collect data. Americans mostly do not do this. 42% of Canadian respondents turn off features they do not use that collect data. 61% of Americans do not turn off these types of features or do not know.

“It’s clear that there is a disconnect for consumers when it comes to the privacy and cybersecurity of their connected home devices,” said Tony Anscombe, global security evangelist and industry ambassador.

“We’ve found that about a third of respondents in both Canada and the U.S. are concerned about the privacy of these devices, but those same respondents told us that only about one in five consumers does any research ahead of time on the data practices of their devices. Those numbers do not add up.”

“To stay safe and secure online, we recommend setting strong and unique passwords for your devices, using two-factor authentication wherever possible, and conducting basic research about the data policies and practices of the devices you are using before you purchase them,” continued Anscombe.

“Only buy devices from reputable manufacturers. Five minutes of research before you open your wallet could save you hours of time down the road in dealing with a data breach or an invasion of your privacy.”

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