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Gen Z and millennials are very worried about their smart home devices being hacked

Meanwhile, baby boomers are more trustful of their IoT devices, according to a survey from BlackBerry.

Gen Z and millennials are very worried about their smart home devices being hacked
[Source photo: rawpixel.com, Ash @ModernAfflatus/Pexels]

Earlier this week, the White House announced plans for a new labeling system for Internet of Things (IoT) devices—the “smart” products we use in our homes, such as speakers, baby monitors, and even refrigerators. The upcoming labeling system is a way for consumers to determine how secure a device is against cyberattacks. The labeling system will be voluntary for device makers, but a recent survey from BlackBerry suggests that adopting it could help gain the attention of Gen Z and millennial consumers.

Late last year, BlackBerry conducted a survey asking consumers about their concerns over the security of smart home devices. Among other things, the survey found that:

  • 86% of millennials would feel safer using IoT products if the products had a cybersecurity star rating system.
  • 80% of Gen Z would also feel safer.
  • 44% of Gen Z respondents and 42% of millennials currently have IoT devices not connected to their internet due to cybersecurity fears.
  • Baby boomers are more trustful of their IoT devices, with only 14% not having their IoT devices connected to the internet.
  • But when it comes to a child’s use of an IoT product, baby boomers are much more cautious; 69% say they wouldn’t let a child use an IoT product unsupervised.
  • And manufacturers take note: 75% of Gen Z buyers, 69% of millennial buyers, and 55% of baby boomers would pay more for a device that was labeled secure through a cybersecurity star labeling system.

“Our homes are our havens, and our smart devices are supposed to bring us peace of mind,” Christine Gadsby, VP of product security at BlackBerry, said in an emailed statement. “Without understanding the level of cybersecurity baked into these products, we may unintentionally allow strangers to shatter our sense of security and violate the sanctity of our homes. So it’s no surprise four in five consumers surveyed by BlackBerry believe the rollout of a cybersecurity labeling system would make them feel safer and more informed when using Internet-connected devices, and two-thirds would be prepared to pay more for products with higher rankings.”

The White House says the new labeling system will be out in 2024 after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) receives public feedback and then finalizes the program. BlackBerry’s survey was conducted among 1,088 respondents in October 2022.

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Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com More

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