Press Release

Open-Xchange looks into online privacy and safety vulnerabilities holding back mass adoption

· Every UK home owns 5 smart home devices on average, which account for half of all home devices*. However, only 15% of UK parents use cyber-software or apps to control access and protect the IoT connected devices.
· 28% of UK parents have no plans to strengthen security measures for their connected devices; but 85% would consider changing their internet provider in the event of a data breach
· 78% of parents would consider not investing in any more smart home devices in the event of a cyber-attack

Open-Xchange announces today the results of a consumer survey in collaboration with Censuswide, looking into the state of privacy for smart home devices within UK families.

The survey results highlight that every UK home is gradually becoming a smart one, with each family owning an average of 5 smart home devices*. Interestingly, only 15% of UK families utilise software or apps to protect the IoT devices in their home, 17% do not use any protection at all, and 67% use anti-virus and anti-spam software to protect only their desktop devices from malware, adware and phishing tactics.

Consumers themselves demonstrate skepticism towards cyber-resilience on IoT devices. A further 28% of parents have no desire to strengthen security measures for their connected devices, despite recent data breaches featuring heavily in the news, with 41% of parents who state they are either not very concerned or not concerned at all by the risk of a potential cyber-attack. However, family protection and managing how children roam the web has become a major concern; 80% of parents would like more control over how much time their children spend online, 85% over which websites their children have access to, and 63% of parents are simply concerned about their children being distracted by using the internet during homework time.

Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange, commented: “The market for connected devices is ballooning as we all scramble to fill our homes with the latest gadgets, all aimed at making our lives simpler. Yet, the convenience of connected home technology should not let us neglect our family’s online privacy and protection. At Open-Xchange, we understand the struggle ISPs face helping customers keep their families safe and manage the threats posed by insecure IoT devices, especially when faced with such antipathy from the end user, while at the same time managing both the financial and reputational costs that can accompany a major attack.

This is why today we are launching OX Protect. OX Protect is a world first, network-based security product, designed to assist ISP’s in meeting the challenge posed by the growing threat of cyber-attacks on connected home devices. Our aim is to help them let customers and parents stay in charge, by creating a profile for each family member and/or any device, and receive real-time notifications if malware is detected. Security features on smart devices are essentially non-existent, so it’s essential we treat them with the same level of caution that we do for our desktops, and ensure we help our ISP customers put parental controls in place to offer a meaningful and safe online experience.”

According to the survey findings, 78% of parents would rethink whether they adopt more smart devices in their home, and 85% would consider changing their internet provider, in the event of a data breach with 21% stating they would definitely consider this.

Neil Cook, Chief Security Architect, Open-Xchange, added: “The steady rise in cyber-attacks on connected devices certainly poses a threat to the growth of the burgeoning IoT sector, set to be worth $267 Billion by 2020.

OX Protect is designed for internet service providers, specifically because they are ideally positioned to help combat online privacy and security concerns. With more than 70% of IoT devices vulnerable to attack, there is a massive opportunity for internet providers to update their offering, raise brand awareness and unlock new revenue streams by offering a truly secure online experience for all”.