June 4, 2019
As consumers continue to welcome connected devices into their homes, they are unwittingly putting their home networks at increased risk of a cyber attack, according to the recently released 2019 Smart Home Security Report at Mobile World Congress, published by Avast.
Of the 16 million smart home networks analyzed, two out of five (40.8 percent) contained at least one device that was vulnerable to a cyber attack, the report found. Given the lack of focus on security in the production of IoT devices, it’s not surprising that hackers target them.
Connected devices from printers to security cameras, baby monitors and media boxes have become commonplace in homes around the world, but routers currently pose the greatest risks. The study found that nearly 60 percent of household routers worldwide are vulnerable, though the majority of those vulnerabilities exist because 59.1 percent of users have never logged into their router or updated its firmware.
“Despite widespread warnings to consumers to change passwords and pick strong and unique ones for all devices, over 69 percent of vulnerable devices are still at risk due to default or weak access credentials, which offers hackers easy access and the opportunity to seize control of these devices,” the report said.
As the market continues to explode, it’s likely that more devices will make their way into homes before security is able to catch up to production. “It only takes one weak device to let in a bad hacker and once they are on the network, they can access other devices, and the personal data they stream or store, including live videos and voice recordings,” said Avast president Ondrej Vlcek.
“Simple security steps like setting strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication for all device access, and ensuring software patches and firmware updates are applied when available, will significantly improve digital home integrity.”