HP: 70% of Internet of Things devices vulnerable to attack

The internet of things

Seventy per cent of Internet of Things (IoT) devices are vulnerable to security risks, new research from hardware giant HP claims.

HP tested ten devices to see how open they are to security risks and concluded that eight out of ten of the devices would potentially allow hackers to access data, such as the owner's name, email address, home address, date of birth, credit card credentials and health information.

An even higher number (90 per cent) revealed information about the device itself or the cloud or mobile application it was running.

Even devices with a password activated weren't able to stop HP accessing the data. The report said 80 per cent of the devices were easy to guess with many of the IoT devices allowing passwords of no complexity to be set up, such as 1234.

Encryption was another concern. Seventy per cent of the devices tested didn't encrypt information sent over the local network or wider internet, while 60 per cent lacked app encryption for software updates.

HP concluded the reason such devices are left open to security risks is because the demand is so high that manufacturers rush them out to the shelf, without considering the consequences.

Gartner predicts 26 billion IoT devices will be in circulation by 2020. However, HP says manufacturers must consider the security risks associated with distributing them too quickly and whether this will have negative effects for consumers.

Mike Armistead, vice president and general manager of Fortify Enterprise Security Products at HP, said: "With the continued adoption of connected devices, it is more important than ever to build security into these products from the beginning to disrupt the adversary and avoid exposing consumers to serious threats."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.