Concerns as half of devices used for pets have net access

Published on: 20 Jun 2018

Pet owners are putting their animal at risk by using smart technology to monitor, feed, entertain and track their pets.

Almost one in four pet owners (23 per cent) use some type of digital device with their domestic pet, according to a survey of 7,740 household pet owners from 15 countries around the world.

However, for 39 per cent of respondents, the use of such technologies ended up posing a risk to the animal or its owner when the device malfunctioned.

Research by Kaspersky has found that a malfunctioning or unsecured smart device can have devastating impacts for both an animal and the person who takes care of it, such as a faulty fish tank temperature controller or an unresponsive auto-feeder.

According to the survey, half of the devices (53 per cent) used for pets can access the internet, making them potentially vulnerable to a cyber attack.

And the worst does happen: 14 per cent of pet owners reported that at least one of the digital devices they use for their pets had been hacked, while close to a third (32 per cent) said a device stopped functioning or worked incorrectly, resulting in a risk to the pet’s life or health.

David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said: “With the help of technology, we can protect our pets [and] take care of them [but] any device can break down or be hacked by a cyber criminal.”