ESET study shows much room for improvement in security education

Bob Bonneau, country manager for ESET Canada

Canadians have a long way to go when it comes to issues of security and privacy in the increasingly-connected home. ESET Canada recently backed a survey of Canadians’ attitudes about security. And in talking to 2,000 Canadians, it found a distinct disconnection between the level of concern respondents had about security and privacy, and the actions they took to improve their positions.

Canadians say they know they have a growing number of connected devices in their houses — 45 percent reported between one and five devices, and 23 percent said between six and ten. But more than a quarter said they were concerned about their home networks being breached. Another third of the respondents said they did not know if they should be concerned about those risks.

And a majority — 58 percent — weren’t even sure they were aware of all the connected devices in their homes, or could not name all such devices.

In terms of locking down the devices in their home, Canadians generally get a failing grade. The study found that about 38 percent of Canadian consumers set a unique password for each device. Quebec fares particularly poorly, with only 20 percent of respondents saying that did so, while B.C. fares the best, with 43 percent putting in unique passwords.

And speaking of passwords, in a figure that should make anyone with knowledge of networking security cringe, 61 percent of respondents said they have never changed the password on their router or do not know if it has ever been changed since the router came into their home.

How about the privacy of the connected devices people are using in their homes? Only 29 percent said they do any kind of research around what data the manufacturer of a device collects, where it’s stored or with whom it’s shared prior to purchase. As a result, three-quarters of those polled said they did not know those details of the devices in their home. In a slightly brighter note, 42 percent said they did turn off features they do not use that collect data.

And only 20 percent of respondents said they look for encryption features when buying a smart device.
“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, country Manager for ESET Canada, in a prepared statement. “By not protecting their internet-connected home devices, Canadians are leaving their entire home networks vulnerable to threats.”
The research is into the security attitudes and behaviours of Canadian consumers but should prove eye-opening for solution providers because so many of those consumers also use technology in their business. And in a nation of small businesses like Canada, many MSPs’ customers are used to relying on consumer-level security knowledge and tools to protect their businesses.

This disconnect shows there is still significant growth opportunity for solution providers offering managed and professional services around the basics of security and reinforces ESET’s long-held belief that every employee in an organization needs more training around cyber-security challenges. And solution providers are in an ideal and trusted place to offer access to that much-needed training.

Robert Dutt

Robert Dutt is the founder and head blogger at He has been covering the Canadian solution provider channel community for a variety of publications and Web sites since 1997.