The UK government is finally cracking down on insecure connected devices

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The UK government has introduced a new bill in its bid to protect smart devices in people's homes from cybersecurity (opens in new tab) threats.

The BBC (opens in new tab) reports that The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill (opens in new tab) lays out specific rules to shield consumers from cyber attacks.

"Our bill will put a firewall around everyday tech from phones and thermostats to dishwashers, baby monitors and doorbells, and see huge fines for those who fall foul of tough new security standards," remarked Julia Lopez, minister for media, data and digital infrastructure.

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Included within the scope of the new bill are a range of devices, from smartphones (opens in new tab), routers (opens in new tab), security cameras (opens in new tab), gaming consoles (opens in new tab), smart speakers (opens in new tab), and internet-enabled toys (opens in new tab), and more.

Securing all tech

For starters, the bill seeks to ban easy-to-guess default passwords (opens in new tab) preloaded on devices. Instead, the products must have unique passwords, and measures to prevent them from resetting them to factory defaults.

Furthermore, manufacturers must inform customers whether the product will receive security updates, and patches, and for how long. 

Importantly, the rules also apply to UK businesses that sell cheap products imported from overseas.

This is crucial in light of the recent investigation (opens in new tab) by Which? that found over a thousand cheap smart gadgets (opens in new tab) replete with security and privacy issues on popular online marketplaces, in the run up to Black Friday (opens in new tab).

The bill also seeks to appoint a regulator to oversee adherence, and the authority to fine non-complying companies up to £10m or 4% of their global turnover, as well as up to £20,000 a day for ongoing contraventions.

Shield yourself online with these best identity theft protection services (opens in new tab), and ensure your computers are protected with these best endpoint protection tools (opens in new tab)

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.