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The road to failure

15 December 2016

Canonical argues, after conducting a survey, that the IoT industry is on a road to failure if it doesn’t stop placing the IoT security burden at consumers’ doors.

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Only 31 percent of UK consumers who own connected devices perform vital firmware updates on their devices as soon as they are available, leaving them vulnerable to botnets, hackers and cyberattacks. Worryingly, a further 40 percent of those who own connected devices have never performed any kind of firmware update on them. This is according to a new IoT security survey from Ubuntu Core, the connected devices division of international software provider Canonical. 

Canonical’s survey of 2,000 consumers provides insight for a forthcoming Canonical security whitepaper, due to be published in January. 

Nearly two-thirds of respondents feel that it is not their responsibility to keep the firmware of their devices up-to-date. Instead, 22 percent believe that it is the job of software developers, while 18 percent consider it the responsibility of the device manufacturers themselves.

Despite the importance of keeping internet connected devices up-to-date, there is a real split in awareness about the dangers. Almost half (48 percent) were unaware connected devices in the home, such as Wi-Fi routers, could be used to attack other devices, spy on their owner or bring down websites. 

“These findings highlight a dangerous disconnect between industry guidelines and the behaviours and understanding of the average consumer,” commented Thibaut Rouffineau, Head of Devices Marketing - IOT, Phone, PC at Canonical Ltd/Ubuntu. “Purely educational approaches to IoT security aren’t working, so the IoT industry must step up, take charge and stop placing the full burden of security at consumers’ doors. For IoT to truly succeed, we need regulators to force manufacturers to assume the costs and liabilities associated with security failures, better automatic mechanisms to fix vulnerabilities remotely and we need to actively ban the dreaded ‘default password’, as Canonical has done with Ubuntu Core 16.”
 
In January 2017 Canonical will launch its blueprint: ‘Taking charge of the IoT’s security vulnerabilities’. To register interest please visit: http://ubunt.eu/ey14Y2.


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