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Vormetric, a Thales company and a leader in enterprise data protection for physical, virtual, big data and cloud environments, announced in conjunction with Wakefield the results of its survey about Americans’ use of internet-connected devices (sometimes called the Internet of Things or IoT), and their concerns about the hacking of these devices. The survey revealed participants most fear the hacking of their cars (61%) and home security cameras (also 61%).  Other top findings include:

  • 52% thought a virtual personal assistant such as Amazon Echo would be vulnerable to hacking
  • 45% were concerned about the potential to hack smartwatchest
  • While medical IoT security has received much attention, medical monitors register with less than a quarter of respondents (20%) and tie with refrigerators (also 20%); these devices are followed by fitness trackers (18%), thermostats (14%) and lightbulbs (9%)

Low ratings for the risk of hacking for some of these devices may simply reflect lack of knowledge about how dangerous the information collected could be in the wrong hands. A smart thermostat or lightbulb, for instance, can tell when people are at home – thereby opening up the possibility of theft when absent. A hacked medical monitoring device could become life threatening. In addition, any inadequately secured IoT device has the potential to compromise home computer systems through a home network connection.

“Consumers don’t seem to recognize the amount of sensitive data that these devices collect,” said Tina Stewart, VP of marketing at Vormetric. “Consider fitness trackers. These generate a continuous stream of location and health data that can pinpoint where a person is at all times when wearing the device. There are already manycases in the courts where Fitbit data is being used to corroborate testimony and check on people’s whereabouts. It’s important that people take the time to investigate the data security of their IoT devices. After all, personal and financial health could be at stake.”

Although still considered an emerging area, Americans are eagerly adopting IoT technologies. Almost half of the respondents polled are using internet-connected devices, with boomers (46%) lagging behind millennials (56%). The most popular devices already in use are:

  • Autos (24%)
  • Wearable fitness trackers (18%)
  • Home security cameras or similar devices (9%)
  • Thermostats (8%)
  • Lightbulbs (7%)
  • Smartwatches (7%)

“Given the exponential growth in the number and type of IoT devices, security should now be top of mind,” saidPeter Galvin, chief marketing officer of Thales e-Security. “From our experience, we’ve found that forward thinking companies are protecting themselves and their customers by ensuring that their IoT devices can be trusted, and access to the data generated controlled with encryption throughout its lifecycle – on the device, in transit as well as where stored and analyzed.”

For more information on how Thales helps organizations deliver digital trust across connected devices, applications and platforms, read about how Samsung is using Thales solutions to solve IoT security problemshere.

The Vormetric Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+ in July 2016, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

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