The UK government is finally cracking down on insecure connected devices

smart home
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

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

The BBC reports that The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill 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, routers, security cameras, gaming consoles, smart speakers, and internet-enabled toys, and more.

Securing all tech

For starters, the bill seeks to ban easy-to-guess default passwords 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 by Which? that found over a thousand cheap smart gadgets replete with security and privacy issues on popular online marketplaces, in the run up to Black Friday.

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.

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Mayank Sharma

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.