Australia is high on a lot of lists — best places to go for a holiday, best location for wine makers — but one we don’t want to be high on is for cyber security. And yet we are.

A recent report by Trend Micro has cited something rather alarming: internet security at home in Australia may not be as good as people had hoped, leaving households possibly vulnerable for when the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes something more than a buzzword on the tips of the tongues of marketers and salespeople.

According to Trend’s “2017 1H Smart Home Network Security Summary” — yep, that’s the name it went for — more than 1.8 million cyberattacks have been attempted on home routers over the past half year, and in a good eight percent, the attackers were able to access a device in the home, breaking in and running security software to grab passwords or information transmitted on the home router.

That might just be the beginning, and the bad news is that Australia is relatively high up there, sitting in the top ten of most affected regions around the world. Granted, we’re behind the United States, China, the UK, Hong Kong, and Canada, but sitting at position six, we’re definitely at risk, especially when you consider our population of 24 or 25 million people.

“America is the top target for IoT threats due to its high population base and due to its high up take of connected devices, with the average US household having more than 12 connected devices,” said Tim Falinksi, Consumer Director for Trend Micro on Australia.

According to Falinksi and the folks at Trend Micro, it’s expected that homes will have as many as 25 connected devices in the next three years, growing from the roughly 14 we have now. When you realise that this includes phones, computers, and video game systems now, it’s important to realise that this will grow thanks in part to connected speakers, appliances, and more, as the home truly becomes more net savvy.

Protecting your home will require a little bit of work, and while there are paid solutions available (including at least one made by Trend Micro), it’s not the only way to keep your network under lock and key.

“First and foremost it is essential that consumers change the default passwords on not only their home router, but also any on any other connected devices. By keeping the default passwords, users are unwittingly providing cybercriminals easy access to their network or devices,” said Falinksi.

Passwords aren’t the only way to help safeguard your home network, keeping hardware always up to date with regular firmware updates, not to mention the software in your home. According to Falinski, “overlooking these updates can make you more vulnerable to attacks”, while older hardware that is no longer updated should be replaced later on.

“Cybersecurity threats have continued to grow hand in hand with the increase of connected devices,” he said. “Smart home devices such as routers are incredibly vulnerable to cybercriminals, and many households are unaware to the risk they present.”

That means going forward, it’s very likely that if you’re not investing in internet security, you’ll want to, not just for your computer, but the resort of your home, too.

A technology journalist working out of Sydney, Australia, Leigh has written for publications including The Australian Financial Review, GadgetGuy, Popular Science, APC, PC & Tech Authority, as well as for radio and TV since 2007.

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