Story image

One-third of connected homes in Australia at risk of cyber attack

01 Apr 2019

Avast announced that two out of five digital households worldwide are vulnerable to cyber attacks. 

The Avast Smart Home Report 2019 contains insights from over 16 million smart home networks, revealing that 40.3 per cent of homes worldwide (47.1% in Australia) have more than five smart devices connected and 40.8 per cent (33.4% in Australia) of these contain at least one vulnerable connected device.

The report illustrates that just one connected device can compromise the security of the whole home network.

Avast consumer president Ondrej Vlcek says, “People use their smart TV to watch their favourite Netflix series or connect their baby monitor to their home network. However, often they don’t know how to maintain the security of that device.

“It only takes one weak device to let in a bad hacker and once they are on the network, they can access other devices and the personal data they stream or store, including live videos and voice recordings. Simple security steps will significantly improve the integrity of digital homes.”

“For example, the setting of strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication for all device access, and ensuring software patches and firmware updates are applied when available.”

Weak credentials and out of date software

The majority (69.2%) of vulnerable devices in households worldwide (55.4% in Australia) were discovered to be vulnerable due to having weak credentials, such as simple passwords or the use of one-factor authentication. 

A further 31.8 per cent of these devices worldwide (45.1% in Australia) were vulnerable due to not being patched.

Avast also scanned 11 million routers worldwide and found that over half (59.7%) worldwide either have weak credentials or software vulnerabilities. 

Out-of-date software is often the weakest link in the security chain, making it an easy gateway for cybercriminals looking to access other connected devices.

The most vulnerable devices

Based on a scan of 117,773 Australian home networks, the research found that the top seven most vulnerable devices in Australia were:

  • Printers 35.8%
  • Network nodes 19.7%
  • NAS 19.4%
  • Security cameras 11%
  • Media boxes 8.5%
  • TVs 3.2%
  • Gaming consoles 0.5%

Printers were found to be the most prevalent vulnerable device worldwide, featuring in the top three list in every single country scanned and topping the list in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Singapore, South Korea and Japan. 

Media streaming boxes (e.g. set-top boxes, Chromecasts, TiVos) have entered the top five, and are incidentally the third most prevalent IoT device found in digital homes, after TVs and printers.

GitHub launches fund to sponsor open source developers
In addition to GitHub Sponsors, GitHub is launching the GitHub Sponsors, GitHub will match all contributions up to $5,000 during a developer’s first year in GitHub Sponsors.
Check Point announces integration with Microsoft Azure
The integration of Check Point’s advanced policy enforcement capabilities with Microsoft AIP’s file classification and protection features enables enterprises to keep their business data and IP secure, irrespective of how it is shared. 
Why AI will be procurement’s greatest ally
"AI can help identify emerging suppliers, technologies and products in specific categories."
Are AI assistants teaching girls to be servants?
Have you ever interacted with a virtual assistant that has a female-based voice or look, and wondered whether there are implicitly harmful gender biases built into its code?
Google 'will do better' after G Suite passwords exposed since 2005
Fourteen years is a long time for sensitive information like usernames and passwords to be sitting ducks, unencrypted and at risk of theft and corruption.
Hackbusters! Reviewing 90 days of cybersecurity incident response cases
While there are occasionally very advanced new threats, these are massively outnumbered by common-or-garden email fraud, ransomware attacks and well-worn old exploits.
Data#3 to exclusively provide MS licences to WA Government
The technology services provider has won two contracts with the Western Australia Government, becoming its sole Microsoft licence provider.
Why cash is no longer king in Australia
Australia is leading the way in APAC for granting credit on B2B transactions.