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Smart Device Security & Privacy Checklist

Aiding Consumers During The Holidays
Wed, Dec 9, 2015

Today, the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) released the Smart Device Purchase and Set-Up Checklist to help protect the security and privacy of consumers who buy or receive smart or connected devices. By following the checklist, users can take steps to safeguard their personal information and prevent devices such as TVs, home appliances and thermostats, children’s games, baby monitors and fitness trackers from being hacked or compromised.

OTA released these recommendations to coincide with the holiday shopping season because the organization estimates that more than 50 million connected devices will be sold during this time period. “That’s 50 million opportunities for data and home network compromises as well as privacy abuses, which is why it’s imperative that consumers follow our guidelines,” said Craig Spiezle, Executive Director and President of OTA. “Consumers should not have to pay twice - once with their credit card and then again in perpetuity with their personal data, identity and safety.”

Consumers who fail to follow these guidelines are potentially putting their personal and family data at risk. For example, owners of products with integrated cameras such as baby monitors and smart TVs could be spied on by hackers if the devices are compromised.

“The best deals or coolest features aren't the only things to look for when buying connected devices,” said Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at the Consumer Federation of America. “It’s also important to consider privacy and security, and this checklist will help consumers make well-informed decisions in choosing and using these devices.”

“While people are aware that they need to have security on their connected devices, they don't always take the necessary steps to protect themselves,” said Brian Witten, Senior Director of IoT at Symantec. “Until device manufacturers build security into their products, the responsibility relies with the consumer. That’s why OTA is driving awareness of this issue with easy-to-follow guidelines for consumers. By following OTA’s checklist, more people will be able to make smarter security decisions about their connected devices and better protect themselves."

The Smart Device Purchase and Set-Up Checklist was developed by OTA’s Internet of Things (IoT) Working Group, which is made up of some of the world's most recognizable brands and technology companies in concert with leading consumer and privacy advocates. This consumer protection checklist is a work product of OTA’s ongoing Internet of Things (IoT) Trust Framework global initiative, which provides guidance for device manufacturers and developers to enhance the security, privacy and sustainability of connected home devices, wearable fitness and health technologies, and the data they collect.

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