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User Perceptions & Preferences for Smart Home Device Updates



Susanne M. Furman, Julie Haney


IoT smart home updates are a critical mechanism by which manufacturers can remediate security vulnerabilities and one of the few tools users have to secure their devices. Yet, security professionals view difficulties in patching IoT devices as a major threat. However, consumers' perspective on smart home updates, including needs and preferences, had not been fully explored. We will describe our research efforts to better understand consumers' experiences and challenges with smart home updates, including how those relate to security and privacy perceptions and practices. In an interview study investigating consumers' experiences with smart home devices, we began to uncover challenges associated with updates. We followed up with a survey of 412 consumers to explore these challenges and identify consumer updated preferences. We will summarize the results of both studies, using participant quotes from the interview study to illustrate points found in the broader survey. Results include: participant's attitudes towards update importance, urgency, and purpose; challenges participants experienced; insights into current device update mechanisms and notifications and user's preferences for those; concerns about end-of-life device support. We will also discuss relationships between user's perceptions about smart home security and privacy and their update attitudes. We will then provide practical implications on how our results can be employed by smart home device manufacturers and security guidance developers. Attendees will gain novel insights into consumer perceptions, experiences, and challenges with smart home updates from both a usability and security perspective. They will also leave with recommendations for how the design of smart home device update mechanisms and notifications can be improved to provide a more usable platform for manufacturers to deploy critical security patches when necessary.


smart homes, internet of things, updates, usability, cybersecurity, privacy


Furman, S. and Haney, J. (2021), User Perceptions & Preferences for Smart Home Device Updates, [online], (Accessed June 13, 2024)


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Created November 5, 2021, Updated November 29, 2022