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Smart machines to take over the Earth..? Concerns over IoT security grows

11 Apr 2016

While an overwhelming number of people see the benefit of the Internet of Things, more than half are also concerned about the perceived risks and threats of a world of connected devices, according to a new report by the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) that looks at the Impact of Trust on IOT.

The global survey of more than 5,000 mobile users in eight markets looked at everyday people’s perceptions about the future of a connected world. Supported by online security company, AVG Technologies, the survey found only 1 in 10 people say a world of connected devices won't deliver value, but more than 50% worry about the risks associated with IoT security.

Globally 60% of people are worried about the Internet of Things, and especially so in growth markets. Trust-related issues privacy (62%) and security (54%) were the number one concern, named 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%).

Home security is the IoT application about which people have the greatest concern at 30%, a marked increase over, for example, connected cars (12%) or connected heating systems (6%).

A quarter (24%) of respondents consider health-related information as the most sensitive data when it comes to connected devices. By contrast, in more mature markets, there is heightened sensitivity around location data (52% and 50% respectively, as compared to a global average of 43%).

Rather dramatically, 1 in 5 people (21%) even worry that IoT would result in machines taking over the Earth, the survey found.

"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," says Rimma Perelmuter, MEF CEO.

“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," Perelmuter says.

"Nothing less than a technology evolution is underway, opening a world of possibilities to explore the Internet of Things (IoT)," says Todd Simpson, AVG Technologies chief strategy officer.

"And yet, as the network of IoT devices grows, so, too, do consumers' understandable concerns about what this increased connectivity and data sharing means for security. If the IoT is to stand any chance of long-term, safe adoption that will benefit not just innovative companies but also the customers they're here to serve, we need to make secure by design a fundamental standard, no matter the device," he says.

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