New research from London-based BullGuard, www.bullguard.com, provider of mobile and Internet security, reveals 58% of consumers are worried about hacks and breaches against their IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and 61% don’t know how to protect themselves from these risks.

BullGuard surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. residents and revealed about a quarter of consumers are planning to buy IoT devices or appliances in the next 12 months alone. These devices range from automobiles and smart TVs to heating thermostats, security systems, baby monitors, surveillance cameras, dishwashers, and garage doors. Additionally, connected smart coffee makers, batteries, light bulbs, and even toothbrushes also are available.

BullGuard found 58% of consumers are ‘very concerned’ or ‘highly concerned’ about potential hacking and data theft carried out against their connected devices, with 37% having already experienced a security incident or privacy problem in the past. Roughly 68% of consumers express concern about security risks such as viruses, malware, and hackers, while 65% of consumers express concern over data collected by device manufacturers being inappropriately used or stolen. Fifty one percent of consumers also are anxious about privacy breaches.

The IoT industry has yet to establish common security standards among devices, according to the company. Smart device manufacturers tend to adopt their own approach to security while updates to ensure device security often are too technical and complex for consumers to carry out, even those who are technically literate. BullGuard’s research revealed 24% of consumers with advanced technical skills are not confident in their ability to keep their connected devices secure. Intelligence agencies across the world have acknowledged these vulnerabilities.

When asked how they would rate their computer skills, 70% described themselves as ‘intermediate or advanced,’ while 83% said they are capable of setting up their own router. Yet when asked if they have changed their router’s password, 45% said ‘no.’ Additional questions revealed 36% don’t know how to change the password, and 61% do not know how to configure a router to keep a home network secure.

Router security is essential in the realm of IoT. An IoT device provides a gateway to a home network via a router, allowing cyber criminals the ability to essentially ‘scope out’ home networks and remain undetected.

Consumers are looking to antivirus vendors to help them solve this problem; 54% of consumers believe antivirus vendors are responsible for securing their connected devices. The antivirus vendor was selected as the primary choice, even ahead of the device manufacturer and the ISP (Internet service provider).

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