A recent study sponsored by Intel Security called “Internet of Things and the Smart Home” showed just how much people value their personal data. The study was conducted in July 2015 by Vanson Bourne and collected information from 9,000 consumers.

Everyone has their price, and in this survey of consumers in nine different countries, a majority of respondents indicated they might be willing to share their personal data collected from their smart home with companies in exchange for money. Notably, 70 percent agreed companies should give coupons and discounts to customers in return for data about device usage. That is somewhat depressing.

The Personal Data Disconnect

Here is the disconnect: 92 percent of those surveyed were very concerned about their smart home data being hacked by cybercriminals, even though many were looking forward to living in a smart home.

“Security has to be foundational to the Internet of Things, and when done right, it can be an enabler of IoT,” said Steve Grobman, the chief technology officer for Intel Security, in a statement.

That’s the problem: It is rarely done correctly. While the market for smarter home-based devices such as thermostats, security monitors and safety equipment is booming, few consumers have considered the information security aspects of these devices or what personal data they can collect.

Many of these devices have open IP ports or simple default administrative credentials that leave backdoors cybercriminals can easily exploit. Computerworld reported on an HP study that found 10 different IoT-connected home devices such as smart TVs, webcams and baby monitors are full of security vulnerabilities.

While none of the home IoT suppliers have been sued for a cyber break-in, it is only a matter of time. The potential for obtaining personal information from one of these vendors may not be that far behind, especially given how lax many are with cybersecurity.

Making matters worse is that there is a sizable gap between the real and imagined popularity of connected home devices, described in detail in the “Internet of Things and the Smart Home” report.

Securing Smart Buildings

Mashable is just one source that published a series of suggestions that potential home IoT vendors should consider. Some recommendations include:

  • Have clear statements about privacy policies that are easily accessible from your website’s home page.
  • Implement a process to regularly update firmware with the latest security patches and improvements.
  • Require customers to change default passwords upon installation and enforce stronger password policies.
  • Choose default settings that offer more data privacy protection.
  • Have as few open IP ports as necessary.

Obviously IoT isn’t going away, and its lure for more home-related devices is certainly strong. But the right level of information security should be baked into a vendor’s business model — and its products, too.

To learn more watch the on-demand webinar: Securing the Internet of Things

More from Data Protection

Vulnerability resolution enhanced by integrations

2 min read - Why speed is of the essence in today's cybersecurity landscape? How are you quickly achieving vulnerability resolution?Identifying vulnerabilities should be part of the daily process within an organization. It's an important piece of maintaining an organization’s security posture. However, the complicated nature of modern technologies — and the pace of change — often make vulnerability management a challenging task.In the past, many organizations had to support manual integration work to get different security systems to ‘talk’ to each other. As…

Cost of a data breach 2023: Geographical breakdowns

4 min read - Data breaches can occur anywhere in the world, but they are historically more common in specific countries. Typically, countries with high internet usage and digital services are more prone to data breaches. To that end, IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023 looked at 553 organizations of various sizes across 16 countries and geographic regions, and 17 industries. In the report, the top five costs of a data breach by country or region (measured in USD millions) for 2023…

Cost of a data breach 2023: Pharmaceutical industry impacts

3 min read - Data breaches are both commonplace and costly in the medical industry.  Two industry verticals that fall under the medical umbrella — healthcare and pharmaceuticals — sit at the top of the list of the highest average cost of a data breach, according to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023. The health industry’s place at the top spot of most costly data breaches is probably not a surprise. With its sensitive and valuable data assets, it is one of…

Cost of a data breach 2023: Financial industry impacts

3 min read - According to the IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023, the global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.45 million, 15% more than in 2020. In response, 51% of organizations plan to increase cybersecurity spending this year. For the financial industry, however, global statistics don’t tell the whole story. Finance firms lose approximately $5.9 million per data breach, 28% higher than the global average. In addition, evolving regulatory concerns play a role in how financial companies…