AUCKLAND, 2nd May 2019 – Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, today announced the findings from its latest research into consumer approaches to smart homes and connected device security in New Zealand. The research reveals that while Kiwis are looking to embrace smart home technology, with more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of them open to new technologies like self-driving cars and home-cleaning robots, they’re letting themselves be out-smarted when it comes to securing these devices, which are set to see more security challenges as smart home penetration is expected to reach 42 per cent by 2023, according to Statista.
Despite a slew of recent high-profile hacking incidents of smart devices, such as baby monitors, hackable cardiac devices and even a Jeep SUV, 79 per cent of New Zealanders believe their connected devices are at least moderately secure. This is despite almost one-in-five (17 per cent) not taking any security measures for these devices and more than half (56 per cent) admitting they don’t check their home network for unknown or unwanted devices.
The research found that many Kiwis may not fully understand what a smart or connected device is, as over four-of-five (80 per cent) of New Zealanders report they own only 1-5 connected devices. In comparison, Trend Micro recently found that the average New Zealand home now has 29 smart devices, a stark contrast that hints that connected devices include more than just smart lightbulbs or elaborate fridges.
“We keep hearing about the rise of the Internet of Things and the smart home but many Kiwis may not realise that it’s already here and is only set to grow,” said Tim Falinski, Senior Director, Consumer, APAC, for Trend Micro. “What’s concerning is that many people assume these devices include adequate in-built security when they don’t, as we’ve seen a number of times when they’ve been hacked. What we’re seeing is that New Zealanders are putting too much trust in smart devices and not necessarily applying some of their own ‘smarts’ to the process.”
Surprising security risks
According to the research, Kiwis top concerns around smart devices are that their personal information will be stolen (85 per cent), their bank account will be hacked (73 per cent) or that they will experience someone gaining control of their devices (56 per cent). Over one-third (40 per cent) also believe that someone could watch them, tapping into concerns from recent breaches of video-based devices.
Router-based attacks are one of the most significant home network threats as they are targeted by cybercriminals for cryptocurrency mining and pharming attacks. 42 percent of all router events detected by Trend Micro in 2018 were related to the Telnet default password login, shining light on the fact that routers shouldn’t be overlooked as a crucial part of internet connectivity and a key way to secure smart devices. Almost one-half (45.5 per cent) of Trend Micro’s Home Network Security stations have blocked a threat in ANZ, indicating the prevalence of cyber-attacks on New Zealand homes.
“Connected devices hold a lot of possibility for improving the lives of Kiwis as self-driving cars and other emerging tech start to hit the market, however they also are seen as a wealth of opportunity by cybercriminals looking for new ways to exploit devices. As always, it’s important to understand that inbuilt security often isn’t as strong as you think, or may not even exist at all,” continues Falinski.
“We suggest Kiwis tap into their own smarts to protect their smart devices; be aware, look for additional security and always take the time to get the basics right – such as updating default passwords to be highly secure.”
Other takeaways from the study include:
The research surveyed 1,000 New Zealand consumers in March 2019 on their misconceptions on smart homes and smart device security, to understand how they’re tackling cybersecurity, and whether their thoughts are being translated into taking action to protect themselves online.
About Trend Micro
Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, helps to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Our innovative solutions for consumers, businesses, and governments provide layered security for data centres, cloud environments, networks, and endpoints. All our products work together to seamlessly share threat intelligence and provide a connected threat defence with centralised visibility and control, enabling better, faster protection. With more than 6,000 employees in 50 countries and the world’s most advanced global threat research and intelligence, Trend Micro enables organisations to secure their journey to the cloud. For more information, visit www.trendmicro.co.nz.