October 24, 2018 |

Explosive IoT Growth Slowed by ‘Early Adopter Paradox’ 

Extensive multi-year F-Secure consumer survey finds the consumers most excited about connected home devices are also most aware of the privacy risks

London, UK – 24th October 2018: Adoption of the internet of things (IoT) continues to explode but it could be even more transformative, a new F-Secure survey finds. The consumers most eager to purchase new connected devices tend to delay or avoid new IoT purchases due to privacy or security concerns. This “Early Adopter Paradox” is creating an opportunity for operators who are already uniquely positioned to secure connected homes. 

F-Secure has conducted nearly 20,000 consumer interviews in the United States and Europe over the last 5 years.* The research finds: 

  • Early adopters love the IoT: 89 per cent of respondents in the UK say that they’re excited about the technology.  
  • Privacy concerns hold back investments in smart home devices:   63 percent of early adopters are looking to purchase new devices, but 50 percent have delayed an IoT purchase because of security concerns.  Almost two thirds, 63 percent, of UK early adopters are also worried that new internet connect devices, such as wearables and connected home appliances, could lead to a violation of their privacy.   
  • Security concerns are also prevalent, with 66 percent of UK consumers worried that one of their IoT connected devices could get infected by a virus or malware, or be hacked.  
  • Nearly one in five UK homes, 15 percent, use a digital assistant such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, a category that didn’t exist in 2015. Only the US has a higher adoption rate of the countries surveyed – 22 percent.  
  • Cyber security savvy rises: Awareness of cyber threats has increased considerably over the past three years: 62 percent of UK consumers know what ransomware is compared to just 28 percent in 2015 

“Consumers are moving to connected devices by choice to enhance their lives and by necessity, given that it’s almost impossible to find a TV that isn’t considered ‘smart’ today,” says F-Secure Operator Consultant Tom Gaffney. “But these numbers might be even higher if consumers, especially the consumers most open to considering new technology had more confidence in the IoT.” 

There’s a considerable threat to consumers due to inadequate regulations regarding security and privacy on the IoT. 

“Early adopters’ worries about protecting their personal data are valid, considering the current issues challenging devices that stay online all the time yet aren’t normally secured in the way the most PCs and many smartphones are,” says Gaffney. 

In March of this year, Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, warned, “All devices which can connect to the Internet – collectively called the ‘Internet of Things’ or IoT – are potentially at risk of a cyberattack.”*** In early August, the FBI warned that cyber actors illegally use IoT devices for malicious activities that could spike consumers’ internet service bills and threaten the reliability of their internet connection.**** 

F-Secure’s international network of decoy “honeypot” servers used to track the latest cyber threats network continues to find that variations of Mirai are the most prevalent malware in circulation.***** Mirai targets IoT devices, including cameras and routers, and was used in 2016 to carry out one of the largest denial of service attacks against internet services in history. 

“The good news is that there is a simple solution to securing connected home devices and it comes from a source consumers already invite into their living rooms,” says Gaffney. “As the average household moves toward the use of dozens of connected devices at one time, the demands on service providers will only increase  F-Secure is delivering a comprehensive router-based solution that protects the entire home so that our partners are ready for what we know is coming next.” 

*Source: F-Secure surveyed 19,200 consumers in January and February of 2014, 2015 and 2018.  

**Source: https://fsecureconsumer.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/f-secure_pinning-down-the-iot_final.pdf 

***Source: https://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News/2018/N2018-007 
****Source: https://www.ic3.gov/media/2018/180802.aspx  

*****Source: https://blog.f-secure.com/world-cup-malware/  


More information 

F-Secure Blog: Privacy Concerns Cooling IoT Adoption in the U.S. and Europe  


About F-Secure 

Nobody knows cyber security like F-Secure. For three decades, F-Secure has driven innovations in cyber security, defending tens of thousands of companies and millions of people. With unsurpassed experience in endpoint protection as well as detection and response, F-Secure shields enterprises and consumers against everything from advanced cyber attacks and data breaches to widespread ransomware infections. F-Secure’s sophisticated technology combines the power of machine learning with the human expertise of its world-renowned security labs for a singular approach called Live Security. F-Secure’s security experts have participated in more European cyber crime scene investigations than any other company in the market, and its products are sold all over the world by over 200 broadband and mobile operators and thousands of resellers. 

Founded in 1988, F-Secure is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd. 

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