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Sarah Turner

The University of Kent

When Googling it doesn’t work: the challenge of finding security advice for smart home devices

“Googling it provides incomplete information that might work or might just make things differently bad.”


  • Why googling cyber security tips doesn’t work? Because half of the results were from news and sites without a specific link to the device they are advising about, so threats were barely explored. Some are contradictory, for example, “cyber security is a significant investment.”
  • If someone doesn’t know their dangers, one might not recognise the importance of managing them. In terms of internet advice, other than having a strong password, the advice given on the internet was objectively confusing and complex (e.g., turn off the whole device, limit the device’s data).
  • Users of IT devices need to be supported to understand the actual threats to them. In short, if we have more precise, readable, and understandable information on the issues that matters from the organisations involved in the security of these devices available and accessible, this would make life a lot easier and more secure to many.

More about Sarah

Sarah Turner is a PhD Researcher in the School of Computing at the University of Kent, and a member of the Institute for Cyber Security for Society (iCSS). Her research focuses on how families address the cyber security issues arising from using Internet of Things devices at home.

Prior to studying at Kent, Sarah received an MPA in Digital Technology and Public Policy from UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy, and spent some time working as a Research Associate at PETRAS, the National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity. Her professional background before returning to academia was in financial services regulation.