Cyber Security (Un)Awareness Month: The majority of Canadians are unaware of the cyber threats posed by connected devices in their homes

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TORONTO, ON – October 8, 2019 – ESET, a global leader in IT security, today released findings from its survey on consumer attitudes and actions towards the cybersecurity and privacy of the connected home. The survey was held to support National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The survey, which polled 2,000 Canadians to better understand how consumers are protecting themselves from the risk of compromised smart home devices, such as internet-connected TVs, smart thermostats, home assistants and more, found a lack of awareness about the cyber threats that these devices can bring.

“It’s clear that, while Canadians say they are concerned about privacy and connected devices, they are not taking the steps to secure their homes and data from cybercriminals,” said Bob Bonneau, Canadian Country Manager, ESET. “By not protecting their internet-connected home devices, Canadians are leaving their entire home networks vulnerable to threats.”

Key findings of ESET’s survey include:

  • While 45% of Canadians have between 1 and 5 connected devices in their home and 23% have between 6 and 10 connected devices, fewer than half are concerned about cyber-safety of these devices. 28% of respondents say that are not concerned about cybercriminals accessing their home network; another 34% admit to not knowing if they should be concerned.
  • When purchasing a smart home device, most consumers do not evaluate the data the manufacturer collects, know where it is stored or with whom it is shared. Only 29% of Canadian respondents indicated they do any of this type of research before purchasing a device.
  • More than half (58%) of Canadians cannot name or are not aware of all of the connected devices in their home.
  • Only 38% of Canadian consumers set a unique password for each of their devices; in Quebec, this number drops to only 20% of consumers, while in BC the number jumps to 43%.

“To stay safe and secure online, we recommend setting strong and unique passwords for your devices, using two-factor authentication wherever possible and conducting basic research about the data policies and practices of the devices you are using before you purchase them,” adds Bonneau. “We also recommend purchasing only from reputable manufacturers; a few minutes of research before you open your wallet could save you time and money down the road if your data is breached.”

In addition to these results above, the survey also revealed:

  • Most Canadians (61%) indicated they have not changed their router password or do not know if it has ever been changed since installation.
  • Only 42% of Canadians turn off features that they do not use which collect data. Internet-connected devices collect and share significant amounts of personal data if consumers do not opt-out and nearly three-quarters (72%) of Canadians do not know what data is being shared, where it is being stored or with whom it is being shared.
  • Only 20% of Canadian respondents look for encryption features when buying a smart device.

As more and more home devices become connected, it is important that consumers become aware of the risks and threats these can bring into their homes. To best protect their data against ransomware, malware attacks and cyber-threats, consumers should consider installing cybersecurity software like ESET Smart Security Premium to detect, prevent and take action to disarm malicious software.

Full results of the US and CA surveys can be found here.

Survey Methodology:
The ESET and NCSA Privacy Survey was conducted September 10-15, 2019, via Google Consumer Surveys. ESET and NCSA polled 4,000 consumers (2,000 Americans and 2,000 Canadians) in four separate surveys of 1,000 consumers each. The surveys have a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.

About ESET:
For 30 years, ESET® has been developing industry-leading IT security software and services for businesses and consumers worldwide. With solutions ranging from endpoint and mobile security to encryption and two-factor authentication, ESET’s high-performing, easy-to-use products give consumers and businesses the peace of mind to enjoy the full potential of their technology. ESET unobtrusively protects and monitors 24/7, updating defenses in real time to keep users safe and businesses running without interruption. Evolving threats require an evolving IT security company. Backed by R&D centers worldwide, ESET has become the first IT security company to earn 100 Virus Bulletin VB100 awards, identifying every single “in-the-wild” malware without interruption since 2003. For more information, visit or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact:

Sachin Persaud
Veritas Communications for ESET