Cybersecurity report: Average household hit with 104 threats each month


The most vulnerable devices include laptops, computers, smartphones and tablets, networked cameras and storage devices, and streaming video devices, a new report found.

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Image: iStock/nuclear-lily

In recent months, organizations around the globe have adopted remote work policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Many schools and universities have also switched to online learning curricula during the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, cyberattacks have surged as cybercriminals attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in technical infrastructure vulnerabilities in the age of remote work and virtual learning. On Sunday, Comcast released its first Xfinity Cyber Health Report detailing home network security risks, consumer perception regarding cyberattacks, and more.

SEE: Identity theft protection policy (TechRepublic Premium)

“The cyber threats facing even the most lightly connected homes have grown so numerous and so complex, that ordinary people can barely keep track, much less protect themselves,” said Noopur Davis, chief product and information security officer at Comcast, in a press release.

The most vulnerable connected home devices include laptops, computers, smartphones and tablets, networked cameras, networked storage devices, and streaming video devices, according to the report.

The report combines Xfinity’s Fi Advanced Security system data and the results of a survey conducted in September involving 1,000 US adults. Since January, xFi Advanced Security “blocked nearly six billion cybersecurity threats;” meaning that households have experienced approximately 104 cybersecurity threats each month on average, according to Comcast.

SEE: IoT botnets: Smart homes ripe for a new type of cyberattack (TechRepublic)

Nearly all of the respondents (95%) underestimated the monthly cyberattack volume targeting their households. On average, respondents believed they faced 12 attacks monthly; one-ninth the number of average monthly attacks blocked by xFi Advanced Security for each household.

In August, we detailed a recent Georgia Tech study about cybercriminals potentially using botnets comprised of compromised IoT devices to manipulate energy markets by intermittently activating a number of smart devices to consume electricity. Such attacks could go largely unnoticed because it can be difficult to determine whether a device has been compromised.

According to the Comcast report, more than eight-in-10 consumers said they were not confident “they’d know if one of their non-screen devices – such as a wireless printer or security camera – had been hacked.”

Households using Xfinity xFi have an average of 12 devices in their home, although “high-end users” have up to 33 devices, per the report. While more than eight-in-10 users (85%) said they were “taking necessary security precautions to protect their home networks,” 64% simultaneously said they also shared passwords with family members and friends, as the author of the reports note, these activities potentially expose households to an attack.

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