HKIRC Announces the ”Internet of Things – Users’ Awareness of Security” Survey Results | Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited
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HKIRC Announces the ”Internet of Things – Users’ Awareness of Security” Survey Results


HKIRC Announces the ”Internet of Things – Users’ Awareness of Security” Survey Results

More than half of the company respondents have incorporated IoT technology in the business settings, and nearly 40% of individual respondents suspect they are experiencing or might have experienced data breach on their IoT devices. 

Hong Kong, 28 August 2019,Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (“HKIRC”) today announced the survey results of “Internet of Things – Users’ Awareness of Security” (the “Survey”). With the arrival of 5G era, Internet of Things (“IoT”) technology have been seen widely adopted in everyday lives and commercial settings. The Survey aims to look into the IoT device usage habits and security awareness of local enterprises and individual end users, and as well measure their perception of public education and implementation of cybersecurity measures associated with IoT. In late July, HKIRC commissioned the Internet Society Hong Kong (“ISOC HK”) to conduct a two-week research study through email and the Web, which successfully collected nearly 600 responses from local enterprises and individuals. Most respondents ranged in age from 18 to 65 and they covered major business sectors including information technology, education, manufacturing, services and finance.

With IoT technology gaining popularity more than ever, Gartner, the international research and advisory company, predicts that 20 billion devices will be Internet-connected by 2020; and by then, more than 65% of enterprises worldwide will adopt IoT products to experience the convenience bring about by the technology. The Survey revealed that around half of the company respondents have leveraged IoT devices in the business settings, though nearly 90% of the company and individual respondents opined that public education on IoT security was inadequate. Moreover, company respondents were perceived to have weak awareness on IoT security, with less than half (41%) of the companies responded having delegated staff member(s) to oversee and engage in IoT and cyber security related tasks; meanwhile, only less than a quarter of company respondents would arrange cybersecurity training for staff members annually.

IoT devices have been widely adopted by the public for long, laying a solid foundation for a smart city
According to the Survey, Hong Kong companies have taken the lead in embracing IoT technology, in which Wi-Fi CCTV/ camera systems (74%) and Wi-Fi router (71%) were the most frequently used devices. When making purchase decisions, price, functionality and safety were the top three factors cited by the company respondents. With regard to the convenience brought about by IoT technology, access to GPS (55%), auto connect to Wi-Fi (59%) and linking to Bluetooth (37%) were the major features chosen by the company respondents. 

Among the individual respondents who have used IoT devices, the two most commonly used IoT devices were smart watch/ wrist band (73%) and Wi-Fi router (59%). The major concerns to take into consideration while purchasing an IoT product were: functionality, cost, and security respectively. Individual respondents also regarded the following features to be the most convenient, namely: linking to Bluetooth (51%), access to GPS (48%) and auto connect to Wi-Fi (48%).

The general public should act expeditiously on improving IoT security to prevent customer/ personal data breach
Although IoT products have long been largely attainable among the general public and enterprises, both parties showed limited awareness of IoT-associated security issues. More than 20% company respondents and about 40% of individual respondents suspected that they might have experienced data breach on their IoT devices. Looking into the responses of local enterprises, only 24% respondents would arrange cybersecurity training for staff members annually to keep abreast of the development of IoT security. As for the responses of individual users, quite few (29%) respondents have read through the privacy policy provided by the IoT product manufacturer, not to mention only a relatively low percentage of respondents (34%) would update the product firmware as recommended by the manufacturer. 

Mr. Wilson Wong, Chief Executive Officer of HKIRC, said, “The study findings reflect that there is a need to strengthen the awareness of IoT security. The security measures commonly adopted by the public currently are to download and install updates regularly for patching security vulnerabilities and to change the preset password of the device. But simple as they could be, measures like switching off the devices or disconnecting the devices from network while they are not in use can already reduce the potential security risks effectively. IoT users should pay attention to IoT manufacturer-side security provision, and at the same time take further steps to protect personal data to prevent loss associated with data breach.”

Public education on IoT security in need of strengthening
A majority (89%) of respondents opined that there is an inadequacy of public education on IoT security. Ways to educate the public about using IoT technology safely and the potential loss associated with the security risks as suggested by the Survey respondents include organizing seminars, promoting Awareness of data protection and launching integrated advertising campaigns. 

Mr. Simon Chan, Chairman of HKIRC, remarked, “We are very pleased to witness that IoT technology is gaining its place locally. From day-to-day life to business setting, the incorporation of IoT is demonstrating promising breadth and depth. If the public can take the initiative to increase their understanding of IoT security practices, and in conjunction, the manufacturers take steps to enhance the security features of products, then these could well improve the quality of the local IoT ecosystem as a whole. Being the Internet domain registry of Hong Kong, HKIRC has always been dedicated to fostering a safe Internet environment with focus on cybersecurity, in particular, continuously improving the stability of smart city infrastructure. HKIRC would take responsibility to provide the general public with a smooth, enjoyable and safe technological experience, and ultimately, striving to create favorable conditions for Hong Kong to become a human-oriented smart city.”

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Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (HKIRC) is a not-for-profit, non-statutory company limited by guarantee designated by the Government of the HKSAR to undertake the administration of Internet domain names under the .hk and .香港 country code top level domain. HKIRC provides registration services for English domain names ending with,,,,,, .hk and Chinese domain names ending with .公司.香港, .組織.香港, .網絡.香港, .教育.香港, .政府.香港, .個人.香港, .香港, and other domains to be introduced from time to time in Hong Kong.
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Survey Results PowerPoint