Homeworkers prioritising price over security on smart devices – survey

The price of a smart device is a greater priority for homeworkers than its security credentials, potentially putting home and business cybersecurity at risk, according to a survey by Blackberry.

The research found that over two-thirds (68%) of European homeworkers do not prioritise security in top three purchase factors, with price, usability, and ease of set up considered more important considerations.

The survey of 4,000 home workers in the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands revealed that over a quarter (28%) of people say that their employer has not done or communicated anything about protecting their home network or smart devices, or they do not know if they are protected. In addition, 75% say their employers have taken no steps to secure home internet connection or provide software protection for home devices.

This failure to extend network security to home devices increases risk of the vulnerabilities created by hybrid and home working being successfully exploited. Hans-Peter Bauer, senior vice president EMEA for BlackBerry Cybersecurity, said: “An increase in unsecured smart devices in Europe is equally ideal for cyber attackers. When consumers drop their guard to focus on price, and businesses don’t extend their security cover to compensate, cybercriminals will take advantage of any unsecured access point that could lead to lucrative personal and corporate data.”

Through even the most simple of devices, bad actors can access home networks with connections to company devices – or company data on consumer devices – and seize the opportunity to steal data and intellectual property worth millions.

Bauer added: “A global hike in the cost of living, potential recession looming, escalating conflict and rising cyber-insurance premiums are creating perfect conditions for cyberattacks. Cybercrime increased during both the financial crisis of 2008-9 and the Covid-19 pandemic, and we expect to see a similar spike over the coming months.

“These conditions compound the challenge of implementing effective hybrid and home working practices in homes that are getting smarter, but not necessarily more cybersecure. So, it is crucial that organisations remember the devices beyond their immediate reach when they are considering their cybersecurity protection and preparing for challenging economic times ahead.”

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