IoT cyber attacks cost UK economy £1bn each year

IoT network with hackers
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Cyber attacks targeting Internet of Things (IoT) devices could cost the UK's economy 1 billion annually, according to research.

IoT devices are seen as "low-hanging fruit" by cyber criminals who seek to take advantage of the technologies weak security measures.

Research from Dutch software firm Irdeto found that IoT attacks cost UK businesses 244,000 on average last year, with malware attacks the most common form of breach.

"Insecure IoT devices and companion apps are essentially low-hanging fruit for cyber criminals, who are increasingly finding new, creative ways to turn our technological dependence into their own nefarious gain," said Steeve Huin, Irdeto's VP.

"It's clear that, if not addressed, a lack of IoT security could pose a serious financial threat to the wider UK economy. With so many devices entering the market and being deployed in critical businesses, the need for improved security measures is without question."

More than half of the businesses questioned in the report experienced a service outage as a direct result of an IoT-related attack, suggesting that breaches are becoming more widespread - particularly as more and more IoT products are being introduced into critical industries, such as healthcare, transport and manufacturing.

In March, a report by Fortinet also highlighted the risks IoT has for business security, with half of the top 12 security exploits reported in the fourth quarter of 2018 relating to insecure devices.

The UK's government is currently working on mandatory measures for connected devices that force manufacturers to have to label their products with security guarantees and give a clear indication as to what security measures have been built in by default.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport will host a public consultation with business leaders, security analysts or anyone with an interest in the area to extend the reach of the 'Secure by Design' initiative, originally launched in October 2018.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.