Smart homes at greater security risk than ever

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Two out of five smart households are vulnerable to cyberattacks according to new research from the cybersecurity firm Avast.

To compile this year's Avast Smart Home Report 2019, the company gathered insights from over 16m smart home networks to reveal that 40.3 percent of homes worldwide have more than five smart devices connected and 40.8 percent of these smart homes contain at least on vulnerable connected device.

It only takes one vulnerable device to compromise the security of an entire home network and Avast's research clearly illustrates the danger posed by unsecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Avast's President of Consumer, Ondrej Vlcek provided further insight on the report's findings, saying:

“People use their smart TV to watch their favourite Netflix series or connect their baby monitor to their home network, however often they don’t know how to maintain their devices’ security. It only takes one weak device to let in a bad hacker and once they are on the network, they can access other devices, and the personal data they stream or store, including live videos and voice recordings. Simple security steps like setting strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication for all device access, and ensuring software patches and firmware updates are applied when available, will significantly improve digital home integrity.” 

Vulnerable smart devices

The majority (69.2%) of vulnerable devices in smart homes worldwide were discovered to be susceptible to attacks due to having weak credentials in the form of simple passwords or only using one-factor authentication. An additional 31.8 percent of these devices worldwide were vulnerable as a result of not being patched.

Avast also scanned 11m routers worldwide while compiling its report to discover that over half (59.7%) have either weak credentials or software vulnerabilities. Out-of-date software is often the weakest link in the security chain, providing cybercriminals with an easy way to gain access to consumer devices and their home networks.

The report also revealed that the most vulnerable devices worldwide were printers (32.9%), network devices (28.9%), security cameras (20.8%), NAS (7.8%) and media streaming boxes (5.3%).

Printers were the most prevalent vulnerable device worldwide and they made it into the top three list in every country scanned, topping the list in the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, South Korea and Japan.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.