Smart homes rising, their security not so much

Home routers need much more protection than they're currently getting from their owners.

Smart homes aren’t something that’s going to happen in ‘the near future’ – smart homes are happening today. They’re no longer reserved for the early adopters or geeks, too – in some places, they’ve reached the ‘tipping point’ – they’re basically mainstream now. 

This is according to a new and fairly extensive research by the non-profit prpl Foundation. Its study, “The prpl Foundation Smart Home Security Report,” surveyed 1,200 people in the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, and concluded that people should be more careful with their home routers. 

Comparing them with the front door, the foundation says home routers are extremely important, because traffic of all internet-connected home appliances goes through them. However, owners aren’t protecting them properly. More than half (57 per cent) update its firmware once a year, while 20 per cent have never done it, and 23 per cent didn’t even know they could.  Almost all (93 per cent) consumers leave a port open on their router firewall, usually thinking they need to, in order to have their devices working properly. 

According to the report, this isn’t true. And finally, almost half (46 per cent) have never configured their router’s security settings. 

What’s also interesting is that Japan, traditionally believed to be the most high-tech country in the world, has just one smart device per home, on average. The UK, on the other hand, has 2.6, while France leads the pack with 5.8 devices.  

“What we’ve uncovered is that the smart home is actually mainstream, as 83 per cent confess to having connected devices, not including laptops, computers and smartphones, in use in their homes. Game consoles, wireless printers and smart TVs were the most popular and yet security concerns have been raised about all three over recent years,” said Art Swift, president of the prpl Foundation.

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