Consumers Fearful of Future IoT World

Consumers Fearful of Future IoT World

The majority of consumers are worried about a world of connected devices, according to new research by global mobile trade body Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF).

The firm polled over 5000 mobile users in eight markets to assess perceptions of trust surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT), unearthing concerns about the perceived risks that it brings.

Although The Impact of Trust on IOT found consumers recognize the tangible benefits of IoT – just one in 10 said a world of connected devices won’t offer such value – 62% expressed fears over privacy and 54% said they were worried about home security threats as a result.

These trust-related issues were noted twice as often as real-world concerns such as physical safety (27%) or not being able to fix the technology if it breaks down (24%).

Furthermore, although slightly far-fetched, one in five (21%) respondents even admitted to worrying that IoT could lead to machines ruling the Earth one day!

"Whilst this survey shows that consumers are excited about a future connected world, it also clearly identifies the need for the industry to consider how such technology and services are rolled out when it comes to building a trusted relationship with consumers" said Rimma Perelmuter, CEO of MEF.

"The business opportunities surrounding IoT are clear, but only if industry heeds the lessons of the broader mobile ecosystem when it comes to the paramount importance of building consumer trust at the outset,” he continued. “Our 2016 Global Consumer Trust Report demonstrated the demand for transparency in mobile apps and services with 64% saying it's important to be told when an app is collecting and sharing personal information. This new report reaffirms the need for all stakeholders in the ecosystem to take action now to secure a viable future for such technologies."

The security of commercial IoT devices is a common talking point at the moment, so these findings by MEF do not come as a great surprise. Just last week for example Infosecurity reported how, without adequate security, IoT in the home has the potential to lead to infringements on not only sensitive data like bank details, passwords and usernames, but also human rights issues.

David Kennerley, senior manager for threat research at Webroot, told Infosecurity that common design characteristics make IoT devices ripe targets for hackers to exploit.

“This isn’t scare mongering; it’s a security risk with IoT. IoT is nothing new, but it’s gaining a lot of momentum at the moment. The biggest concern is that security it not being built in at the planning phase, it seems to be an afterthought,” he said. 

“IoT manufacturers need to work with cybersecurity professionals as many of the recently highlighted vulnerabilities in cars, for example, show the need for the manufacturers to quickly learn many of the lessons already experienced by the wider tech community years ago.”

“Standards are a must, device security will improve – at the same time, as security professionals we can also do our bit to reduce the attractive attack surface area associated with IoT.”

Source: Information Security Magazine