Should You Be Concerned About Smart Home Data Security?

September 6, 2018 - 5 minutes read

In most technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), developers worry about implementing functionality before cybersecurity. And while this plan of attack may work nicely for executives, it often leaves software vulnerable to an expensive security breach that costs more to fix than to build in from the get-go.

According to Gemalto Security’s Breach Level Index report, the total number of breaches per second, minute, hour, and day doubled in 2017 from 2016. The Index also calculates that almost 10 billion records were lost or stolen in the past five years.

Improprieties and Solutions

With Facebook’s recent scandal with London-based Cambridge Analytica, data was acquired by a developer following Facebook’s rules. But the developer then illegally sold this data to Cambridge Analytica, who used it to inform digital ad campaigns for Trump’s 2016 Presidential run. The data breach impacted almost 90 million Facebook users.

Many IoT companies know data breaches are no joke and are working hard to gain consumer trust. 69% of surveyed companies are rethinking their methods of collecting and using data from smart devices in light of recent data privacy concerns, according to the 2018 Connected Home and Building Technology Trends Survey by Jabil. Higher numbers were reported for manufacturers that make connected devices.

Some governments are also playing their role in data privacy implementation. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) initiative forced almost every website on the Internet to make users explicitly consent to data collection with a button or checkbox.

The GDPR rules also required companies to explain what data would be collected as well as its intended use, let users submit requests for data deletion from the company’s dataset, and give users an immediate notice if any data was breached. Most websites all over the world had to comply because the laws apply to websites who are trying to market to European users.

Self-Regulation of Data

These rules have impacted many companies and their ways of thinking about data and cybersecurity. 55% surveyed by Jabil said they intend to monitor their user’s sentiments surrounding data security. A further 62% of surveyed companies said they’re upping their monitoring of regulations surrounding data privacy and cybersecurity.

In the U.S., one of the biggest consumer markets for almost everything, there are no mandatory regulations for connected device manufacturers.

This lack of leadership in cybersecurity across first-world nations is concerning, and it led to manufacturers weighing cybersecurity as a cost vs value entity. But that way of thinking only benefits the manufacturer’s bottom line; the customer gets what they pay for, and this could mean no cybersecurity features at all.

Alleviating Consumers’ Concerns

When 2,000 U.S. consumers were surveyed, 72% who already have smart home data security setups report being worried about providers using their connected devices to invade their privacy. And consumers have a right to be worried, too; no manufacturer has implemented a robust-enough set of security guidelines that would protect their customers and alert them immediately when a data breach happens.

99% of IoT solutions providers said their products will collect data, but some are uncertain where they’ll store the collected data. 66% of the 99% will store the data on the device itself, while others will use the cloud or other local devices.

Knowing data is planned for collection is important, but most solution providers seem to forget the next step: securing the data against possible breaches. Until security is prioritized above product release dates, consumers may never be able to put their minds at ease.

Have you taken the plunge and bought any smart home devices? Are you concerned about the implications of possible security breaches of your connected devices? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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