IoT devices becoming an increasing security risk

IoT smart home security
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The rise in IoT devices may be leading to better connectivty and a boost in your Netflix consumption, but could also be putting your home at risk of cyberattack, new research has claimed.

A report from security firm Avast and Stanford University has found that about 40 percent of households across the globe now contain at least one IoT device

However many of these use outdated secuerity protocols or still have the default password in place, leaving households, offices and other workplaces at risk.

IoT security

In order to get its results, Avast scanned 83 million IoT devices across 16 million homes worldwide. It found that 94 percent of all IoT devices are manufatcured by just 100 vendors, with media and television-related devices the most common.

More worryingly, though, the study found that obsolete protocols like FTP and Telnet are still used by seven percent of total devices, meaning millions of devices are especially vulnerable. 

This was also the case for 15 percent of home routers, which is also worrying, as such devices can act as a gateway into the home network, opening up multiple devices to attack.

Surveillance devices such as security cameras were also found have the weakest Telnet profile, along with routers and printers - which again culd put them at rise of compromise, as seen in the hugely damaging Mirai botnet attacks. 

“The security community has long discussed the problems associated with emerging IoT devices,” said Zakir Durumeric, assistant professor of computer science at Stanford University.

“Unfortunately, these devices have remained hidden behind home routers and we’ve had little large-scale data on the types of devices deployed in actual homes. This data helps us shed light on the global emergence of IoT and the types of security problems present in the devices real users own.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.