IoT users’ cybersecurity outlook

Issue 1 2023 Smart Home Automation

A new Kaspersky survey exploring the use of smart home devices and attitudes toward their security reveals more than half (68%) of consumers surveyed in South Africa, who own this equipment, feel responsible for its cybersecurity. Millennials, aged 25-34, care most about the protection of smart devices in their home.

The global smart home industry highlights rapid consumer growth, building expectations with market analysts, with some segments such as smart security systems and smart locks, expected to more than double to $106.3 billion1 and $13.1 billion2 by 2030, respectively. The new Kaspersky report unveils how increasing use of smart devices affects users’ attitude toward security and protection issues.

The willingness to accept responsibility for the protection of smart gadgets at home can be explained by fears of being hacked. The survey shows that more than half of users surveyed in South Africa worried about their home network being hacked (57%), and Wi-Fi router or Internet-connected camera system spying on them (54%).

The biggest concerns raised were about security of home monitoring systems (50%), Internet-connected cameras (43%) and smart doors and locks (46%), with about a third of users admitting to being very concerned about their security and protection. Thus, 50% of monitoring/security system users admitted to being ‘very concerned’ about their gadgets’ security and protection. An additional 40% were either ‘concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’.

The list of worrisome gadgets include Internet-connected cameras for monitoring babies and pets, and smart doors and locks, with 43% and 46% locally saying their security is a ‘very concerning issue’ in their opinion.

Among the devices that cause users least trouble are smart cleaning devices such as vacuum cleaners connected to the Internet, with 30% saying their security does not concern them at all. The same applies to climate control systems (22%) and smart lighting (32%).

“As smart device adoption rates grow, we see users are paying more attention to security considerations and are trying to ensure a painless experience as they build long-term relationships with their gadgets. It looks like good digital habits are more inherent in millennials, which is a positive sign for cybersecurity. This also suggests that in the future, we might see IoT device producers and Internet service providers supporting their work by paying more attention to cybersecurity, possibly integrating cybersecurity features to their offering, to meet consumers’ expectations and provide them with a desired level of protection,” comments Marina Titova, VP Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky.

To keep all smart devices secure and protected, Kaspersky experts compiled the following tips:

• Buying second-hand smart home devices is not a safe practice. Their firmware could have been modified by previous owners to give a remote attacker full control over users’ smart home ecosystems.

• It is also important not to forget to change the default password. Instead, use a strict and complex one and update it regularly.

• Maintain your network security by keeping serial numbers, IP addresses and other sensitive information private. Do not share users’ smart devices on social networks.

• A reliable security solution would also be very helpful in securing and protecting the entire smart home ecosystem.

• Having decided on a particular app or device, be sure to stay in the loop about updates and the discovery of vulnerabilities. Install all updates released by the developers in a timely fashion. 

The full report is available at this link.


1 Source: Acumen Research and Consulting.

2 Source: Astute Analytica.

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