Half of UK citizens aren’t aware of IoT cyber threats

The UK government’s Cyber Aware campaign, which was launched in an effort to highlight online threats, has been branded a flop by a new whitepaper

The research, which was published by Ubuntu-maker Canonical, has found that 79 per cent of UK citizens have not read or seen any recent news surveys regarding internet of things (IoT) security or privacy, with48 per cent UK citizens unaware that their connected devices pose a cyber threat.

Including research from over 2,000 UK citizens, the research highlights the lack of impact that consumer awareness campaigns are having when it comes to internet security and the internet of things. One such high-profile campaign is the UK government’s Cyber Aware campaign that was launched with much fanfare in January 2014. According to the latest figures, the site, which has cost the government £12 million, has cost an average of £6.37 for every person who clicked on the website since launch.

The research goes on to say that consumers seem largely ignorant of the escalating threat demonstrated by the high spike in IoT attacks in 2016. 79 per cent say that they have not read or seen any recent news stories regarding IoT security or privacy, and 78 per cent claim that their distrust of IoT security has not increased in the last year.

Also highlighted by the research are the limited benefits of better education: consumers are simply not that motivated to actively apply security updates, with the majority applying them only ‘occasionally’ or in some cases – not at all.

Commenting on these findings, Thibaut Rouffineau, head of devices marketing at Canonical said: “These figures are troubling, and should be a wake-up call for the industry. Despite good intentions, government campaigns for cyber awareness and IoT security still have a long way to go.

"But then that’s the point: Ultimately the IoT industry needs to step up and take on responsibility. Government education of consumers and legislation will have a part to play, but overall the industry needs to take charge of keeping devices up to date and find a way to eliminate any potential vulnerabilities from devices before they can cause issues, rather than placing the burden on consumers.” 

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