Consumers think IoT security is a piece of cake; IT pros have another name for it

Surveys find consumers are confident while security professionals are wary

samsung smart tv
Kārlis Dambrāns (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

So you think you can control the security of the connected devices in your house? Ask the IT security professionals: They don't think so.

That was one thing the IT security organization ISACA learned when it surveyed U.S. consumers and professionals about the Internet of Things. Judging by how wary security experts are about IoT, consumers' confidence may be misplaced. 

Internet-connected appliances and wearables can collect a lot of data, and using them is a new experience for consumers. If a thermostat knows when you're home or a "smart" TV can pick up your conversations through a microphone, your privacy might be at risk. How much risk could depend on how hard it is to use a device or app and understand all its settings. 

Most consumers aren't worried, ISACA said. It found 64 percent of respondents were confident they could control the security on their own IoT devices. But in a parallel survey, ISACA asked IT security people if they felt sure they could control who had access to data collected by IoT devices in their homes. The results were flipped: 65 percent said no, they didn't feel confident about that.

Experts think there's more to know about device security that owners probably miss out on. Fully 88 percent of the professionals surveyed said manufacturers don't make consumers sufficiently aware of the types of information connected devices can collect. 

They're also concerned about IoT at work. Half believe their own IT departments aren't aware of all the connected devices in the workplace, and 62 percent said the increasing use of IoT devices has decreased employees' privacy. 

Consumers aren't without fear when it comes to IoT. The survey found 65 percent are afraid their connected devices will be hacked. But that hasn't stopped them from buying them. Users reported they owned, on average, five connected-home devices. Smart TVs were most common, with 43 percent of consumers saying they owned one. Next came Internet-connected cameras, connected cars (including cars with GPS) and then fitness trackers. Smart TVs and watches were at the top of consumers' wish lists. 

The consumer findings came from an online survey of 1,227 users. The results for security professionals were from a survey of about 2,500 members of ISACA.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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