Despite the predicted growth in demand for smart home devices in the years to come, consumers are still not fully aware of the threats associated with owning these devices.
The fact is that in today’s era, smart homes are gradually becoming an essential part of households. According to Finland’s F-Secure, the Millennial and Generation Z age groups are most inclined to purchase smart home devices due to their desire to make their home as technologically advanced as possible. However, these groups are not alone in this regard.
Smart home market growth
There were initial worries that the market for these products would suffer due to COVID-19; however, a recent survey conducted by Xiaomi shows that the demand for these products has increased in the pandemic. Xiaomi also claimed that, on average, consumers bought two new smart devices since March 2020, with Generation Z consumers purchasing three on average.
Sales units of smart home devices are forecasted to rise to more than 1.4 billion sales worldwide towards the end of 2024, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).
Parks Associates estimate that the increase in sales is not down to simply luck or a pandemic-based trend as nowadays consumers rely on smart devices for making their lives easier.
Smart home security issues
The rise in popularity does come with its drawbacks. As is the case with any technological device, security and privacy are always in question.
Smart home devices do not possess a screen that would alert the user towards any suspicious activity occurring on their device. Alongside this, the nature of these devices involves them being online all the time, which allows their security system to be bypassed much more conveniently.
Smart homes are usually very intuitive and utilize cutting-edge technology. However, the material itself is built from cheap hardware that has vulnerabilities easily exploitable by bad actors sniffing around a home network. If hacked, a smart home device can be accessed remotely, leading to valuable information being stolen, compromised, misused, or destroyed.
Smart home threat ignorance
Although people are undoubtedly aware of the security risks smart home devices carry, there is a sense of ignorance amongst consumers about their efforts to prevent the threats they face.
Comcast disclosed in its 2020 Xfinity Cyber Health Report that 95% of respondents underestimated the gravity of cybersecurity attacks they face each month. Their responses were well below the figure of 104 attacks monthly, calculated by the company.
Though people were aware of the devices which were targeted most (computers and laptops, smartphones, etc.), most respondents displayed behaviors that would compromise their devices. The chief among these behaviors was setting similar passwords for multiple websites, allowing hackers to access multiple accounts with a single password.
Tips for smart home cybersecurity
To avoid having your privacy violated through your smart home devices, certain measures must be followed. Comcast’s vice-president of connectivity services, Patti Loyack, has provided a few simple tips that can go a long way towards protecting your home:
- Do not click on unknown or suspicious links that you come across in your email.
- Set unique and strong passwords for all your accounts, especially on websites that store your personal information.
- Multi-factor authentication should be used wherever possible.
- Auto-updates should be enabled on smart home devices to add new security features or patch holes.