Homeworkers putting home and business cyber-safety at risk

BlackBerry published a European research exposing the cybersecurity risk created by cost-conscious homeworkers who prioritise security behind price, usability and ease of set up in their purchase of domestic smart devices.

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32% of European home workers who own a smart device surveyed said security was a top three factor when choosing a smart device, compared to 50% who prioritised price. 28% of businesses aren’t putting adequate security provisions in place to extend cyber protection as far as homes. This heightens the risk of cyberattacks for businesses and their employees, as hybrid and home working become the norm.

The survey of 4,000 home workers in the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands revealed that 28% of people say that their employer has not done or communicated anything about protecting their home network or smart devices, or they don’t know if they are protected.

Furthermore, 75% of Europeans say their employers have taken no steps to secure home internet connection or provide software protection for home devices. This failure to extend network security to home devices increases risk of the vulnerabilities created by hybrid and home working being successfully exploited. Particularly sobering findings for small and mid-sized businesses who face upwards of eleven cyberattacks per device, per day, according to the research.

“An increase in unsecured smart devices in Europe is equally ideal for cyber attackers,” said Hans-Peter Bauer, SVP EMEA, BlackBerry Cybersecurity. “When consumers drop their guard to focus on price, and businesses don’t extend their security cover to compensate, cybercriminals will take advantage of any unsecured access point that could lead to lucrative personal and corporate data.”

Through even the most innocent of devices, bad actors can access home networks with connections to company devices – or company data on consumer devices – and seize the opportunity to steal data and intellectual property worth millions. It’s likely businesses will bear the brunt of cyberattacks caused by unsecured home devices, with knock-on effects to employees themselves.

With device security far down the list for fraught buyers trying to cut costs, and employer protection of smart home devices being afforded to few, a huge opening is left for cybercriminals looking to take advantage of the boom in smart devices in the home.

“A global hike in the cost of living, potential recession looming, escalating conflict and rising cyber-insurance premiums are creating perfect conditions for cyberattacks. Cybercrime increased during both the financial crisis of 2008-9 and the COVID-19 pandemic, and we expect to see a similar spike over the coming months,” continued Bauer.

“These conditions compound the challenge of implementing effective hybrid and home working practices in homes that are getting smarter, but not necessarily more cybersecure. So, it is crucial that organizations remember the devices beyond their immediate reach when they are considering their cybersecurity protection and preparing for challenging economic times ahead.”

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