In an age where connected devices are increasingly introduced to the market, married with the desire to control our home from the touch of a button from our smartphone becoming more appealing to the consumer, the pressure is shifted onto manufacturers of such devices to ensure security remains high in their priorities. Whilst IoT devices have mass appeal for their ability to save us time and money as well as offering huge convenience, there is little concern over the security surrounding these devices, especially from the consumer. In a market where global spending is set to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020, can the issues surrounding security afford to be ignored?

Cast your mind back to October 2016, whilst some of you may not be aware of the Dyn cyberattack that took place which included numerous DoS (denial of service) attacks on major social networking sites, this is a prime example of, and huge insight, into the future of the IoT. Attacks like this will not be a rarity and are imminent in an industry where the focus on security falls short in comparison to innovation, design and development of devices. Numerous experts in the industry anticipate that attacks on the IoT will increase throughout 2017 and thereafter. But does the burden sit solely on the shoulders of manufacturers or does a conscientious effort from consumers also come into play? Sure, some may argue that the consumer doesn’t know what makes a device safe and what doesn’t, but, should it not be their responsibility to at least ask the question – especially when investing in any type of technology. Furthermore, it isn’t uncommon for these devices, by default, to use simple and easy generated passwords, making them an even easier target for hacking. More often than not these passwords remain unchanged; a consequence of consumers lack of interest or merely lack of knowledge of how to change it? Either way the risk is present and ultimately the root of the problem.

The debate on who’s responsible for tackling the issue of security could be infinite but ultimately it comes down to collaborative efforts from both parties (consumer and manufactures) to take a step in the right direction, as Leonard Kleinrock, UCLA professor of computer science, stated in a recent CNBC interview – “if everybody doesn’t cooperate, then everybody is vulnerable”. These views have been echoed throughout the industry; Jan Kniffen, CEO of J. Rogers Kniffen Worldwide, also in a recent interview for CNBC, suggested that “consumers were either unaware or unconcerned about hacking risks and not taking appropriate measures to prevent them”.

What is apparent is the potential of stagnated growth in what could otherwise be an extremely prosperous market if the issues surrounding security are not addressed in the near future. A resistance from consumers to adopt such technology is already a major constraint in the market. Furthermore, the products that already exist in the market are geared around a long product lifecycle. Therefore, security remains a major issue in these devices for consumers who have already purchased them, add to this more documented cases of major security hacks/risks – this could have major repercussions for the Internet of Things and its future.

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