Security issues are a major roadblock in the large-scale adoption of IoT, but not all consumers are aware of the vulnerabilities in their home devices; vulnerabilities they most often facilitate themselves.

In most cases, manufacturers rush to market and forget about security. Throughout their purchase journey, users are more often driven by the latest trends or whims, and don’t carefully look into product reviews or demand manufacturers look into strong security algorithms in the device lifecycle. Even though IoT security flaws are stalling its growth and global adoption, the segment gaining real traction is home security alarm services.

Often, users are not even aware that they own a smart home and don’t know its implications. “A fifth or fewer realize they live in a smart home,” confirms a Bitdefender global study on IoT adoption and smart homes.

The most common smart devices in people’s homes are smartphones, desktop computers and tablets, followed by smart TVs and wireless gaming consoles, the study found. US households lead adoption, with an average of 13 smart devices or accessories each.

Bitdefender research found personal information theft or leaks through smart gadgets is a top concern for consumers, as well as hackers taking over their devices to spy. But what they don’t know is that hackers don’t target the device itself, they just want to use it as an entry point into the home network so they can ultimately break into other connected machines to steal any unsecured information or to use the compromised “things” to take other targets offline.

There are two downsides to connected homes: yes, there will always be hackers going out of their way to spy on you, corrupt your baby monitor, harass your family or mess with your smart pet feeder, but more frightening are those who exploit the vulnerabilities in your connected devices to use them for large-scale network attacks.

Hackers simply take advantage of your weak smart home infrastructure, not because they really want to see you have lunch or talk to your kid, but because they need your network to create something of more impact – botnets that launch massive DDoS attacks, as we have recently witnessed.

Mirai attacks have been in the news quite a lot and although, for now, attacks seem to have ceased, DDoS attacks generated by Mirai infections are expected to keep coming our way. As security experts believe we’ve only experienced the tip of the iceberg, Mirai and malware of its like are spreading, taking over DVRs and routers, sooner or later taking its toll on consumer life.

Despite poor authentication mechanisms in IoT devices, users make it very easy for hackers to bypass security and infiltrate their networks because they forget to change default credentials, run software updates or use a strong security agent for their home.  So if your password is still “admin”, “123456” or something easy to guess based on your personal information, you are a perfect candidate for brute-force attacks. As many as 16 percent of US residents use the same password for all devices. Don’t join their club!

Make sure your communication is encrypted to prevent hackers from performing man-in-the-middle attacks to steal private data in your network. Provided you have taken all measures to secure your smart home, you can still deploy a smart connected devices solution, such as the one developed by Bitdefender that protects every computer, phone, tablet and smart device on your network.