How Smart Devices Put Policyholder Privacy at Risk

How Smart Devices Put Policyholder Privacy at Risk

Your policyholders may not even be aware that their networks are part of the Internet of Things. All it takes is adding any kind of smart device that connects to the internet, such as a baby monitor, TV, virtual assistant, thermostat, security camera or any type of appliance, to their home network. These devices add convenience to our lives—but they are also a convenient way for hackers to gain access to our networks and personal information.

Related webinar: My Refrigerator Just Boiled the Milk: Cyber Risk and the Internet of Things

Studies have found that IoT devices are an ideal target for hackers because at times they have averaged 25 vulnerabilities per product. Moreover, by 2020, some analysts project that manufacturers will be producing and shipping more than 193 million household devices per year. The cyber risks your policyholders face as they add new devices are complex and potentially very financially and emotionally damaging. That’s why there is a growing need for new types of coverage that protects policyholders in a fast-evolving cyber world.

The different types of devices policyholders connect to their home network present hackers with a multitude of opportunities. For example, if a device includes a microphone or camera, then a hacker may be able to listen in on or watch what’s happening in a household. One research study of nine baby monitors found that most could be easily exploited to see and hear whatever is happening on camera.

Beyond providing a way to listen to or watch what goes on in households, IoT devices gather all kinds of data that could be valuable to fraudsters or thieves if they are able to able to gain access to it. Researchers discovered a way to steal Gmail login credentials through a smart refrigerator, for instance. Or a smart thermostat could reveal everything from a home address to heating and cooling schedules, which are good indicators for when people are not at home. What’s more, devices could provide back doors into policyholders’ network that allow hackers to gain access to important information stored on other devices.

Protecting policyholders against cyber risks

Many policyholders don’t become aware of the risks of Internet-enabled devices until their lives are personal or financial lives are affected in some way. When that happens, it’s only natural for them to turn to their insurance provider for help. Providing with education and resolution solutions is a great way to build trust and loyalty, and stand out in the marketplace. The key is to provide solutions that help your policyholders:

  • Minimize exposure to cyber risk by providing them with education and cost-effective technology solutions
  • Monitor personal information with a flexible platform providing fraud-focused defense services
  • Manage the damage to their identity, privacy, and security in the event of a breach