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Surprised? Turns out, consumers don’t trust IoT security

What customers and developers think of IoT security

November 06, 2015

TL;DR: Auth0 recently surveyed both developers and consumers and it turns out everyone has concerns over device and application security when it comes to the Internet of Things.

While IoT is one of the world’s fastest growing technology sectors, it is also poised to become one of the fastest growing sources of security vulnerabilities for both consumers and enterprises. Here at Auth0, we were curious about both developer and consumer sentiment when it comes to the current state of IoT security, and what people think about the future (especially with the upcoming holiday season where folks are more likely to make bigger IoT purchases), so we decided to find out.

We started with consumers that were either familiar with or currently use an IoT connected device. When asked about IoT devices on the market right now, we found that nearly 52 percent of consumers believe that these products do not have the necessary security in place.

In a separate survey, we also polled our own network of subscribers (developers) to determine what they thought about the state of IoT security. When asked if they’ve ever felt pressured to rush an application to market despite security concerns, over 85 percent of developers admitted that they had.

With data breaches from major companies appearing constantly as headline news, we believe consumers are cognizant that security is a major issue, but they may not have insight into why that is. According to developers we surveyed, one reason for this is because IoT devices are often pushed to market too quickly, forcing developers to cut corners. If adding security components is resulting in a slower time-to-market, the chances are greater that they won’t be implemented at all. The best security measures are the ones you actually deploy, so simplicity in implementing strong security is critical (hint: Auth0 can help with that 😉).

Developers echoed and amplified the consumer concern for better security, with a majority 90 percent of respondents believing that the IoT devices on the market currently don’t have the necessary security in place.

Do you believe that IoT devices are secure?

What’s most interesting, though, is that we found the concern over security isn’t stopping consumers. We found that nearly half (49 percent) of respondents don’t trust having their personal and private data tied to IoT applications, but continue to use these devices nonetheless. Consumers are aware of the general security vulnerabilities that have been associated with this category of products and applications, but are still willing to put their personal data at risk – showcasing how the demand for these technologies is compromising the need for proper security.

Interestingly, millennials (ages 18-34) were nearly split on future use, with 54 percent claiming that they did not plan to purchase or regularly use IoT devices within the next two years. Participants aged 35-54 were slightly more skeptical, with nearly 63 percent not interested in buying IoT devices over the next two years.

Statistics like these would typically slow progress, innovation and growth in the IoT space, with consumers and developers hesitant to use and support these technologies due to the lack of security offered for their personal and private health, home and financial data. However, even the recent breaches that large companies have experienced (e.g., Chrysler, JP Morgan, Ashley Madison, Anthem Health, Target, Home Depot) have not had a massive impact on consumer trust or interest.

Nearly 35 percent of consumer survey respondents claimed that the breaches of major brands have not had much of an effect on the trust or consumer interest in these brands.

"The best security measures are the ones you actually deploy"


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As consumers continue to question the security of Internet of Things devices, developers and CIOs will need to find ways to simplify the implementation of strong identity security (hint: use Auth0! 😉) and be well equipped to stay up to date on the latest security vulnerabilities - keeping their devices, applications and, ultimately, their consumer and enterprise data safe.

Do you trust your personal data tied to an IoT device?

Summary of results from the consumer and developer surveys:

  • 52% of respondents believe that most IoT devices on the market right now DO NOT have the necessary security in place
  • 49% of respondents don’t trust having their personal/private data tied to IoT devices – but still use them
  • Only 18% of people trust having their personal data tied to IoT devices
  • Nearly 35% claimed that the breaches of major companies have not had much of an effect on the trust or consumer interest in these brands
  • 85% of developers surveyed have felt rushed to get an application to market due to demand/pressure in the last 6 months
  • 90% of developers surveyed do not believe that IoT devices on the market currently have the necessary security in place
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