NewsMarch 15, 2018 @ 3:31 PM

Survey: Security the Most Important Consideration When Purchasing Smart Home Devices

Security is the most important consideration for web users in the U.S. when looking to purchase smart home devices, a consumer survey revealed.

According to McAfee’s “New Security Priorities in an Increasingly Connected World,” 36 percent of U.S. internet users said they consider security when shopping for a smart home device, as reported by eMarketer. That’s a higher percentage than those who admitted that they prioritize price (32 percent), ease of use (13 percent) and reviews from other users (8 percent).

Security Priorities Vary by Demographic

Security doesn’t affect all users’ purchasing decisions equally. Broken down by gender, women (38 percent) were more likely than men (33 percent) to consider security when purchasing smart home devices.

Age also plays a role: Users between the ages of 18 and 20 placed the greatest emphasis on security (40 percent), followed by individuals aged 41–50 (38 percent) and those aged 51–55 (37 percent). Consumers between the ages of 21 and 30 are least likely to consider security (34 percent).

Although the majority of users in the U.S. don’t think about security when purchasing smart home devices, they still worry about the security of the devices they do purchase. More than half (63 percent) are concerned about identity theft in the event that someone breaches the connected home’s network.

Even so, 52 percent admitted they don’t know how to secure their smart home apps and devices. As a result, 43 percent of users said they were concerned about their lack of control over companies’ collection and use of their personal information, while just 24 percent said they were confident in their ability to control this data, according to eMarketer.

Protecting Smart Home Devices

Consumers looking to protect their smart home devices from threat actors can reference frameworks such as the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP)’s “IoT Security Guidance,” which advised users to consider segmenting new IoT devices on a dedicated network.

It also suggested creating strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) on those products. Finally, consumers should avoid entering personal information into IoT devices whenever possible and disable any unused physical ports through each device’s admin interface.

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David Bisson

Contributing Editor

David Bisson is an infosec news junkie and security journalist. He works as Contributing Editor for Graham Cluley Security News and Associate Editor for Tripwire's "The State of Security" blog.