About the exam

The new CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ (FC0-U61) exam ​is now live!

The beta exam has ended.
For those who took the CompTIA ITF+ beta exam (FC1-U61), your exam results will be emailed to you after September ​11. Thank you for supporting the IT industry by taking the beta exam. 

The CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ exam focuses on the essential IT skills and knowledge needed to perform tasks commonly performed by advanced end-users and entry-level IT professionals alike, including:

  • Using features and functions of common operating systems and establishing network connectivity
  • Identifying common software applications and their purpose
  • Using security and web browsing best practices

This exam is intended for candidates who are advanced end users and/or are considering a career in IT. The exam is also a good fit for individuals interested in pursuing professional-level certifications, such as A+.

More information on both versions of the exam is available at this link.

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cybersecurity excuses blog entryWhen you run into excuses like “There’s no HIPPA police,” or “I have cybersecurity insurance,” here are some measured ways you can respond.

‘Cybersecurity’s not in the budget.’ 

The CompTIA cybersecurity search report says nearly 60 percent of companies don’t have top notch IT security because it costs too much. When you hear “It’s not in our budget,” help them develop a better budget, said Neal Bradbury, vice president of channel development for Barracuda MSP and vice chair of CompTIA’s IT Security Community.

Bradbury advises asking clients: “Is downtime or data loss in the budget? What about the cost of a break in?” For clients that deal with patients, like hospitals, a data breach can cost $400 per head. Clients who bill by the hour will lose money every minute the system is down. Get your client to quantify their risk, he recommended, and then offer to do a free data assessment. Show clients the real cost of a security breach and make your price tag look like a bargain.

‘We’re just a small business.’ 

People think their data isn’t valuable to hackers because they have small client lists and data that doesn’t appear valuable from the outside. Convince your clients that all data is valuable — even data from small businesses — and point out that small businesses can be an easier target for hackers. As more and more companies get hacked, you’re going to be challenged by your customers to see that you’re complying, Bradbury said. 

‘We just did a cybersecurity assessment. Why do we need another?’ 

Information and networks change daily, and a security assessment is a snapshot in time. Because security changes frequently, assessments truly should be a lifecycle done periodically, said Andrew Bagrin, CEO of OmniNet Inc., also a member of CompTIA’s IT Security Community.

“By the time you present a pen-test to a customer, things have already changed,” Bagrin said. “You can say, ‘Here’s your risk today, that changes tomorrow.’ And the longer you wait to do an assessment, the more risk and change there is.” 

Every time you do a risk assessment it’s a snapshot in time that helps IT security experts remain proactive, which is why Bagrin sells clients on security assessments as a lifecycle. 

“They need to be done periodically,” he said. “It’s not a one-and-done activity.” 

‘My people know cybersecurity. We don’t need outside help.’ 

CompTIA’s new cybersecurity research reports 43 percent of companies use third-party firms for security projects. From the half that tries to make do with security in-house, you’ll hear a lot of “My IT guy already does our security” or “Security is everyone’s responsibility.” 

“Ask yourself: If your people found a problem that would get them fired, would they tell you?” Bradbury said. Specialized security teams have a responsibility to mitigate risk and their own reputation to uphold. It’s their job to protect your employees.

‘I have cybersecurity insurance.’

Some companies think they can insure themselves against hackers, but buying a policy isn’t enough, Bradbury said. “The chances are it doesn’t really cover everything you’re looking to prevent from happening,” he said. 

When clients bring up cyber-insurance over IT security, ask if they know what the policy covers and if they had a security assessment prior to purchasing the policy. As a third-party security team, you can work with insurance providers to help clients understand and implement a cybersecurity plan that complies with the coverage. 

For more on how companies are building third-party IT security teams and how you can offer services companies want to hire, click here to download 2018 Trends in Cybersecurity: Building Effective Cybersecurity Teams and here to get involved with CompTIA’s IT Security Community.

Michelle Lange is a writer and designer living in Chicago.

Those who identified themselves as managers experienced a median pay increase from $120,000 to $125,000. That’s the highest mark ever in this survey; the previous record was $121,000 set in 2016.

For women working in IT, the news wasn’t quite as good. They averaged about $10,000 less per year than their male counterparts. Female staff made $80,000, compared to $90,000 for male staff. Female managers earned a median salary of $115,000 compared to $125,000 for male managers. However, women did see sharper increases between 2017 and 2018 than the men did, so the gender gap appears to be narrowing.

Overall, IT professionals are happy with their pay. Fifty-seven percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their pay, and only 3% were very dissatisfied. That seems to translate well into job satisfaction because 59% said they were satisfied or very satisfied with all aspects of their jobs.

And, when asked what matters to them most about their jobs, respondents said it really is the money. Among participants, 54% selected base pay and 47% said benefits were among the most important aspects of their jobs (up to seven responses were allowed).

The following slides dive into the salary data in more detail and include median total compensation for 12 of the most popular job titles in IT, from the CIO all the way down to the help desk. You can download the full report here.

Cynthia Harvey is a freelance writer and editor based in the Detroit area. She has been covering the technology industry for more than fifteen years. View Full Bio

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Here’s Gartner’s list of Top Strategic Predictions for 2019

1. Through 2020, 80% of AI products will remain alchemy, run by wizards whose talents won’t scale widely in the organization.

Skills will continue to be a major concern as organizations look to bring their artificial intelligence products up to speed and scale. Plummer said that organizations need to rally the skills that they have in data science, computer engineers, application engineers and DevOps specialists first.

“Those are the people you need to be tapping on the shoulder and saying ‘AI, AI, how do we get there?'” Plummer said.

What to watch for in the near term: By the end of 2019, research in data science automation will increase faster than AI data complexity, allowing skills to begin to catch up.

2. By 2023 there will be an 80% reduction in missing people in mature markets compared to 2018 due to AI face recognition.

That means we are going to find people faster, Plummer said. AI recognition can be scaled by taking pictures of all of us all the time. 

“When you are walking along the street in a major city you pass on average 15 cameras for every city block,” he said. “What happens when mobile phone devices are also used to capture people in the background and facial recognition is used to identify people?”

What to watch for in the near term: Through 2019, fears of public shootings will reduce outrage about public surveillance.

3. By 2023 emergency department visits will be reduced by 20 million due to enrollment of chronically ill patients in AI-enhanced virtual care. 

Only 30% of visits to the emergency room are for accidents, Plummer said. The rest are patients with chronic conditions, and the ER departments can’t handle the load.

But AI and monitoring devices deployed with patients who have these chronic conditions can instantly detect when something is going wrong and can help with preventative and reactive care. These patients can be cared for without their going to the ER.

“AI allows wellness and preventative care to scale,” Plummer said.

What to watch for in the near term: By year-end 2019 an affordable care organization will have acquired an AI-based mobile trainer/coach company.

4. By 2023 25% of organizations will require employees to sign an affidavit to avoid cyberbullying, but 70% of these initiatives will fail. 

Cyberbullying is much more common than you think, Plummer said. Anytime someone uses any kind of electronic media to talk about you in a false and negative way, whether you realize they are doing it or not, that’s cyberbullying. And 52% of cyberbullying comes from managers, Plummer said.

One of the tasks will be to teach people to recognize cyberbullying. Organizations must also make sure that leaders model respectful behavior.

What to watch for in the near term: By 2019 there will be 44% more federal lawsuits related to workplace harassment than in 2017.

5.Through 2022, 75% of organizations with frontline decision-making teams reflecting diversity and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets. 

“That’s because of productivity. That’s because of ideas. That’s because of better delivery,” Plummer said.  “Teams perform better when they are diverse and inclusive.”

Yet only 40% of employees agree managers foster an inclusive environment. What can you do? Create a diversity and inclusion impact scorecard. You can also build scale and engagement of this with technologies.

What to watch for in the near term: By 2020, 15% of large enterprises will be recognized as inclusive workplaces through consistent identification of related behaviors.

6. By 2021 75% of public blockchains will suffer “privacy poisoning” — inserted personal data that renders the blockchain non-compliant with privacy laws.  

Blockchain has a lot of open text fields.

“If you use an open text field to put in personal information, either maliciously or carelessly without encrypting it, that information goes into the blockchain, and the blockchain is immutable, through the evolution of its life it can’t be deleted,” Plummer said. You can’t delete it, and it’s not compliant with privacy laws.

“Privacy may be the Achilles heel of blockchain if we don’t address it quickly,” he said.

To do that organizations should embrace privacy by design principals.

What to watch for in the near term: Active enforcement of ePrivacy regulation will become reality before Q1 of 2020.

7. By 2023 ePrivacy legislation will increase online costs by minimizing the use of “cookies” thus crippling the current internet ad revenue machine.

That means at some point consumers may no longer offer their personal information for free. 

Ad-based revenue will decline, and direct pay models for premium content and features will increase.

What to watch for in the near term: By year end 2019, advertising revenue for five major commerce marketing technology companies will decline by 10%.

8. Through 2022, a fast path to digital will be converting internal capabilities to external revenue-generating products.

Many internal IT organizations have developed unique capabilities that may be viable to sell on the commercial market. You should identify external prospects who might benefit from your data and algorithms

“Start looking at the internal things you do and consider, ‘can we sell it?'” Plummer said. You may fail in some of these efforts, but when you fail, you learn.

Need help to get from here to there? Consider acquiring an analytics technology company to fill in any holes you have in capabilities.

What to watch for in the near term: In 2019, top performers will shift from cost cutting to revenue building.

9. By 2022, companies leveraging the “gatekeeper” position of the digital giants will capture 40% of global market share on average in their industry.

“The top 4 companies in any industry are going to have 40% or more of the total market share,” Plummer said. “All the rest will have to divvy up the remaining 60%. We are saying market concentration is going to happen. Top players will have more and more of your money.”

In that kind of an environment that is dominated by digital giants such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook, organizations should balance interoperability efficiencies against single ecosystem risks. Plummer said you will need to deal with multiple partners rather than finding a single long-term partner.

What to watch for in the near term: By the end of 2019, market concentration will spread from a national to a global trend.

10. Through 2021, social media scandals and security breaches will have effectively zero lasting consumer impact.

Plummer admits that this conflicts with what another analyst said during Gartner’s opening keynote this week about how people are deleting their social media accounts. Plummer asked the audience how many of them had deleted their Facebook accounts and counted about five people who raised their hands. 
“You guys keep using this stuff, so stop complaining,” he said. “You got no privacy! Give it up!”

What to watch for in the near term: The number of people using social media every day will increase steadily through 2019.

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG’s Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise’s eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology’s MSPmentor. She’s passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, … View Full Bio

 

Predictions Gartner2018

Slaght is a firm believer that internships and apprenticeships are the way to meet this demand by providing a clear pathway from high schools and community colleges to cybersecurity jobs. The CCOE’s Internship and Apprenticeship Pipeline and Link2Cyber programs connect students and recent graduates with career opportunities in the region.

The CCOE is working to create what Slaght calls cyber’s “blue collar workforce,” or a new class of employees who are working secure, high-paying jobs that do not require college degrees.

“We found bright kids coming out of high school who can get a few certifications for networks and land a $65,000-$80,000 job,” Slaght said. “We really want to create a template for how to approach this moving forward.”

Slaght entered the cybersecurity field after a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, where he retired as a Rear Admiral and served as commander of the Space and Naval Warfare Command Systems and the USS Flint.

After retiring from the Navy, he served as Vice President of General Dynamics Information Technology. He holds a master’s degree in Computer Systems from the Naval Postgraduate School and spent 15 years acquiring and providing IT solutions to the Navy.

While the CCOE is working to increase the number of cyber graduates in the San Diego region, it’s also trying to attract more cyber employers to the area by creating an environment that’s conducive to existing companies and entrepreneurs alike. Those companies can become thought leaders in the region and take advantage of the high quality of life San Diego offers, Slaght said.

San Diego is home to Navy and Marine Corps bases, and Slaght sees veterans on those bases as one untapped constituent group to help fill the cybersecurity career pipeline. Slaght has been involved with efforts to transition veterans from the military into the private sector.

“Veterans are a huge potential source for the cyber workforce,” Slaght said. “We are working to ensure that they military producing the right number and the right kind of veterans to fill these open positions.”

Sentek Global CEO Eric Basu is a founding member of CCOE’s board and said Slaght’s leadership helped streamline a frenetic environment and align multiple stakeholders around a single vision.

“RADM (ret) Slaght literally forged order out of chaos, bringing all of the cyber security players in San Diego together for the first time,” Basu said. “The CCOE has been one of the most successful industry organizations in San Diego, running on an extremely lean administrative budget for four years.”

Jim Skeen, Founder | Partner of Lockton San Diego and another CCOE founding board member and said Slaght’s leadership helped form productive relationships with education and industry partners.

“His professional credentials and collaborative nature were and remain key to CCOE being accepted as cyber’s connective tissue delivering a community asset,” Skeen said.

Looking to the future, Slaght hopes to see cybersecurity education take an even more significant role in the K-12 curriculum.

“Everyone should have a second language, and I would offer that the second language should be coding,” Slaght said. “C++ and other skills are going to become essential moving forward, not just for cybersecurity jobs, but for nearly any type of career path a student wants to take.”

To learn more about the CCOE, visit sdccoe.org.

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Ken Slaght m with Co Hosts Kevin Dinino Bob Ryan BISTalk1


The pathway is divided into the following segments:

  • Phase one: Computer retail sales
  • Phase two: Help desk/user support
  • Phase three: IT technician
  • Phase four: Cybersecurity or networking specialization

The pathway is offered as part of the Information Communication Technologies and Digital Media (ICT-DM) sector in the Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy — Strong Workforce Program.

Shawn Monsen, a faculty member at Sierra College and ICT-DM product development lead, is working to align the pathway’s recommended courses with four-year colleges so that students can earn a good job right away and create the foundation to earn a bachelor’s degree and increase their earning potential even more.

“This program provides students with a path to gain industry certifications to get better paying skilled jobs,” Monsen said.

Articulation pathways have been established between California Community Colleges and National University which allows courses taken in the pathway to be used toward NUs Cybersecurity and IT Management bachelor’s degrees. In the end, the more universities that

offer these degrees and provide articulation pathways that lead to those degrees, the better positioned California will be to meet its current and future IT needs.

“The industry has a desperate need for these skilled workers,” Monsen said. “The pathway provides a means for students to get those skills, earn those industry certifications and move into those jobs.”

The IT technician Pathway also aligns with efforts to increase cybersecurity education at the K-12 level through CyberPatriot and other cyber competitions. These events bring students from all walks of life together to learn how to keep networks safe against cyber threats.

Middle and high school students participating in cyber competitions already have many of the foundational skills needed for the IT technician and can advance through it to a high-paying job even faster.

The California Cyberhub coordinates cybersecurity education efforts across the state and is a key partner in the IT Technician Pathway, particularly the cybersecurity specialization.

While the impact on students is immense, it’s not the only benefit to utilizing the pathway model for IT education. By forging partnerships between community colleges and four-year universities, California is positioning itself as a leader in technology education and creating a model that can be implemented nationwide.

“Over 27,000 students take one or more IT courses at the California Community Colleges per year. With 64 Cisco Academies, 24/7 online computer labs, and over 330 IT Faculty — 70 percent with master’s degrees — they are the best kept secret in the cybersecurity solution, said Information Communication Technologies-Digital Media Sector Navigator Steve Wright. “The IT Technician Pathway is a uniform statewide guided pathway for entry level and advanced upskilling workers. Articulation to a four year degree completes the journey to a professional education and better wages.”

For more information on the IT Technician Pathway, visit ict-dm.net.

About Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy – Strong Workforce Program

Doing What MATTERS for jobs and the economy is a four-pronged framework to respond to the call of our nation, state, and regions to close the skills gap. The four prongs are: Give Priority for Jobs and the Economy » Make Room for Jobs and the Economy » Promote Student Success » Innovate for Jobs and the Economy.

The goals of Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy are to supply in-demand skills for employers, create relevant career pathways and stackable credentials, promote student success, and get Californians into open jobs.

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The standards were developed by educators who served on an advisory committee, using work already done by the Computer Science Teachers Association. They’re designed to increase access to CS instruction for all students as a core subject. As the latest draft published to the Commission’s web page explained, “Computer science instruction empowers students, giving them confidence to use computers and computing tools to solve problems. As students learn computer science, they build an understanding of the importance of computing and computing tools. The standards prepare all students to enter college and career as both critical consumers, and also thoughtful creators and innovators of computing technology.”

The standards also provide guidance to teachers, including sample lessons, for broadening participation of CS to include students otherwise under-represented. That’s an important consideration, officials noted, in a state where 60 percent of the student population is Latinx or African American, but only a quarter of the students who take high school CS courses and 15 percent of tech employees are from those demographic groups.

The standards cover a handful of core computer science concepts:

  • Computing systems;
  • Networks and the internet;
  • Data and analysis;
  • Algorithms and programming; and
  • Impacts of computing.

They also include seven “core” practices:

  • Fostering an inclusive computing culture;
  • Collaborating around computing;
  • Recognizing and defining computational problems;
  • Developing and using abstractions;
  • Creating computational artifacts;
  • Testing and refining computational artifacts; and
  • Communicating about computing.

It makes sense to address CS as an academic requirement in a “forward-leaning state [that’s] home to Silicon Valley,” noted State Board Member Trish Williams, in a statement. “California’s new standards will not only enable students to understand how their digital world works but will encourage critical thinking and discussion about the broader ethical and social implications and questions related to the growing capabilities of technology.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson added that he expected the new standards to help improve CS education in California and support students as future employees. 

“California’s economy, including a high-tech industry that leads the world, will also benefit because employers will be able to hire workers with a better understanding of computer science and technology, and the skills to use technology to solve problems.”

Next, the state agency will finalize a plan for scaling up CS education, including how to support teachers. That’s expected to be approved by March 2019.

Draft versions of the standards are available on the state’s “Computer Science Education” website.

About the Author: Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media’s education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser

There are organizations dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology, like Girls Who Code and the Anita Borg Institute. There are also special days and key moments in time like Women’s Equality Day and Equal Pay Day, which bring awareness to the challenges women face in technology. It’s because of initiatives like these that young women today are better prepared to face the challenges of a male dominated industry. While it’s great to see progress being made, there is still much more work to be done, and I believe now is the right time to inspire and support more women who are interested in the field.

One of the ways I hope to show my support and pay it forward to the next generation of women technologists is by sharing my story at this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration, the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. It’s taking place this week in Houston. Applying to present at Grace Hopper is something my daughter encouraged me to do, and I could not be more proud to take her advice and share my experiences navigating the workforce.

Given my role at Workday, which includes managing a team that works on everything from data science and machine learning, to core technologies and user-centric design, and my experiences guiding my daughter, I’m able to reflect back on the young worker I was. Using these experiences, I can share my top tips and practical advice for my daughter — and legions of young women like her — to help them build successful, happy, and rewarding careers. Though my goal is to help women, these tips can be useful for all young people entering the workforce straight from college.

1. Build meaningful connections. A workplace can seem a lot like college. There are many different types of people, each with their own values, ambitions, and desires. However, at work, you don’t get to choose who you hang out with. You collaborate with many different people, and the ability to connect with those people, despite differences, is essential. Look to draw bridges, not lines in the sand, and be deliberate about making connections.

Take the relationship you have with your boss, for example. Your manager plays a large role in your success at work, and a good relationship can positively impact the trajectory of your career. The first step towards a better bond is gaining his or her respect. Listen to your manager’s visions and up your game in that area to make his or her job easier.

Or, let’s say you don’t work well with someone on a team, try making a personal connection. When I first started working, I didn’t even know who the San Francisco 49ers were. I couldn’t participate in certain conversations about sports while my fellow coworkers were bonding and strengthening their connections with each other, which translated into better working relationships. So, I learned about sports, and as it turns out, now I love football. Sports might not work for everyone, but find something to bond over, a shared interest. The most successful people I know are connectors. They connect with people at a human level. Be a connector.

2. Embrace your soft skills. In college, there are clear lines of success, like getting straight A’s. In the workplace, the criteria is not as transparent. It isn’t just about what you know, or how many lines of code you churn out. Instead, soft skills, including the ability to connect, play a big role in success. Another critical soft skill is how you present yourself. Express your ideas with confidence and figure out how to make them heard. Earlier in my career, I would say something and it would take me a while to realize that people weren’t listening, that my point hadn’t been heard or wasn’t being debated. I had to learn how to become more vocal. College doesn’t always prepare you for this different kind of working environment, so set your expectations now and learn how to be agile. Whatever your situation, find strategies that work for you.

3. Ask for what you want. One of my early mistakes was to assume that working hard would translate into new opportunities. I thought that if my boss and senior leadership team were aware of my contributions, I would be rewarded. So, I sat back and waited. Too often, I missed out on the most important assignments. Finally, I gathered up the courage to speak to my manager. He told me that, because I didn’t tell him I wanted the opportunity and someone else stepped up, they got the assignment. Ask for what you want and clearly communicate your interest. Your personal success is there to be created if you speak up openly and honestly.

4. Respect everyone’s time, including your own. “Time is money.” I couldn’t agree more. You lose credibility in the workplace if you waste your time or your colleagues’ time. Admittedly, in my first year on the job, I was often late to meetings, even the ones I organized. I attributed that to being busy, to company culture, and I didn’t think anyone noticed. But my coworkers did. People started skipping my meetings because they started late, ended late, and weren’t the most productive use of my colleagues’ time. I changed my habits and started managing my time effectively. The most respected leaders are unfailingly punctual. Be punctual, be prepared, and make your meetings useful.

5. Take care of self care. I used to think that working long hours was the only path to success, so I worked 18-hour days. Then a close friend pointed out that I was irritable, anxious, and stressed. Today, I know that when I am more charged and relaxed, I do better at work and at home. In this era of constant connectivity, disconnecting is hard and I think this will be the hardest thing for my daughter. But you have to disconnect every day and do at least one thing that brings you joy outside of work. Paint. Dance. Run. Hike. Volunteer. Go to the gym. It is easier to motivate and inspire others when you recharge yourself.

Diverse workforces fuel innovation and drive market growth, and women play an important role in this. That’s why it’s critical to offer support to the next generation of women technologists and empower their careers. I hope this advice helps more women grow in their careers and that, one day soon, they will find themselves in a place where they can become a connector for the next generation.

Written By: Madhu Venkatesh. She is senior director of software engineering at Workday. Within this role, she manages a team that researches emerging technologies to drive innovation and deploy the next generation of products for the company. Prior to Workday, she was a director of engineering at Advisor Software and oversaw cloud-based projects that enhanced a wealth management platform for financial advisors. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Saint Mary’s College of California.

The InformationWeek community brings together IT practitioners and industry experts with IT advice, education, and opinions. We strive to highlight technology executives and subject matter experts and use their knowledge and experiences to help our audience of IT … View Full Bio

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REAL IT STORIES

Women working in IT often hold interesting, flexible positions that keep them intellectually stimulated and involved. In these Real IT Stories, women explain how they got into IT and what feels the most rewarding. Hear from some interesting people

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Share the message that technology is a great place for women and girls. Find a group to speak to and use the Dream IT Speaker Resources to get a great start on your presentation. Materials are available for the U.S., UK, Australia and New Zealand.

  • 83 percent of the analyzed routers were found to have vulnerabilities to potential cyberattacks;
  • Across all severity levels, 32,003 vulnerabilities were found in a sample of 186 routers— on average, routers contained 172 vulnerabilities; and
  • 28 percent of the vulnerabilities found were categorized as “high risk” or “critical” with an average of 12 critical vulnerabilities and 36 high-risk vulnerabilities for each router.

According to the study, the problem is likely to be more common for IoT devices since cyberattacks can cause massive damage to all connected devices.

“Simply resetting your router is not enough,” the study warns.  “Automated updates are by far the most feasible option to keep IoT devices and consumer data safe.”

The study stresses the severe consequences of Wi-Fi router manufacturers leaving IoT devices unpatched for known vulnerabilities and the urgency for these manufacturers to commit more resources to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in open source to reduce cybersecurity threats that put consumers, the infrastructure, and the economy at risk.

A full copy of the study is available online here.