Manufacturers of ‘smart’ devices will be expected to build-in tough new security measures that last the lifetime of the product
Bosses behind ‘smart devices’ such as televisions, toys and speakers found in millions of homes will be expected to build-in tough new security measure that last the lifetime of the product, as part of plans to keep the nation safe from the increasing cyber threat.
Estimates show every household in the US owns at least 10 internet connected devices and this is expected to increase to 15 devices by 2020, meaning there may be more than 420 million in use across the country within three years.
Poorly secured devices threaten individuals’ online security, privacy, safety, and could be exploited as part of large-scale cyber attacks. Recent high-profile breaches putting people’s data and security at risk include attacks on smart watches, CCTV camera and children’s dolls.
It will encourage firms to make sure:
- All passwords on new devices and products are unique and not resettable to a factory default, such as ‘admit’;
- They have a vulnerability policy and public point of contact so security researchers and others can report issues immediately and they are quickly acted upon;
- Sensitive data which is transmitted over apps or products is encrypted;
- Software is automatically updated and there is clear guidance on updates to customers;
- It is easy for consumers to delete personal data on devices and products;
- Installation and maintenance of devices is easy.
Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “We want everyone to benefit from the huge potential of internet-connected devices and it is important they are safe and have a positive impact on people’s lives. We have worked alongside industry to develop a tough new set of rules so strong security measures are built into everyday technology from the moment it is developed.
“This will help ensure that we have the right rules and frameworks in place to protect individuals and that the UK continues to be a world-leading, innovation-friendly digital economy.”
Alongside these measures for ‘Internet of Things’ manufacturers, the report proposes developing a product labelling scheme so consumers are aware of a product’s security features at the point of purchase. The Government will work closely with retailers and consumer organisations to provide advice and support.
Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said: “With connected devices becoming increasingly popular, it’s vital that consumers are not exposed to the risk of cyber-attacks through products that are left vulnerable through manufacturers’ poor design and production.
“Companies must ensure that the safety of their customers is the absolute priority when ‘smart’ products are designed. If strong security standards are not already in place when these products hit the shelves, then they should not be sold.”
This initiative is a key part of the Government’s five-year, £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy which is making the UK the most secure place in the world to live and do business online.