Market Dynamics Encourage Weak Security in Consumer IoT

Cybersecurity in U.S. consumer Internet of Things (“IoT”) electronics is remarkably weak and this vulnerability is driven, in large part, from the economics behind these devices. Consumers lack the knowledge to make cybersecurity-informed purchasing decisions even if they are willing to do so – and many are not, particularly for low-end items. This means manufacturers are not rewarded for building good cybersecurity into their devices and may even be punished. Developers who take the time to build security into their devices may lose the race to the market and the advantages that come with getting a product there first. Collectively, these factors make it unlikely that market dynamics alone will improve cybersecurity in the consumer IoT market. Policy interventions will be necessary to mitigate some of these economic incentives. Written by NYU Cyber Scholar Samuel G. Bieler