Under new laws proposed by the UK government, all internet-connected devices will be required to abide by a strict set of security standards.
The new measures are designed to protect consumers and businesses against an increasing volume of cyberattacks (opens in new tab). IoT devices - ranging from phones and tablets to smart speakers and cameras - have become a popular target due to poor security standards and, in some cases, discontinued security support.
Beyond scraping information from devices and using them as a route into private networks, criminals can harness hacked IoT devices to perpetrate DDoS (opens in new tab) attacks and take down online services.
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The proposed legislation would require those involved in the manufacture and sale of connected devices (opens in new tab) in the UK to follow three rules:
- All consumer internet-connected device passwords must be unique and not resettable to any universal factory setting
- Manufacturers of consumer IoT devices must provide a public point of contact so anyone can report a vulnerability and it will be acted on in a timely manner
- Manufacturers of consumer IoT devices must explicitly state the minimum length of time that the device will receive security updates at the point of sale, either in store on online
The new security standards were developed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
“Our new law will hold firms manufacturing and selling internet-connected devices to account and stop hackers threatening people’s privacy and safety,” said Matt Warman, minister for digital and broadband at DCMS.
“It will mean robust security standards are built in from the design stage and not bolter on as an afterthought,” he continued.
Until now, the UK has encouraged companies operating in the IoT space to adhere to a set of voluntary security practices. It has reached the conclusion that compulsory measures are necessary to ensure users are protected.
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