Plans for new laws for Internet connected devices announced

1 min read

Plans which are looking to make sure millions of connected household items are better protected from cyberattacks have been unveiled by the Digital Minister Margot James.

The announcement was made today at the PETRAS Living in the Internet of Things conference, by the Digital Minister. The options under review will include a mandatory new labelling scheme that would tell consumers how secure their products are, for example Smart TVs, toys and appliances.

The move means that retailers will only be able to sell products with an Internet of Things (IoT) security label.

The consultation follows the Government's voluntary 'Secure by Design' Code of Practice for consumer IoT security launched last year. The Code has advocated far stronger cyber security measures to be built into smart products right from the design stage, and has been backed by Centrica Hive, HP Inc Geo and more recently Panasonic.

This latest consultation will focus on mandating the top three security requirements that are set out in this practice (see below).

“Many consumer products that are connected to the Internet are often found to be insecure, putting consumers privacy and security at risk," the Digital Minister said. "Our Code of Practice was the first step towards making sure that products have safety features built in from the design stage and not bolted on as an afterthought.

“These new proposals will help to improve the safety of Internet connected devices and is another milestone in our bid to be a global leader in online safety.”

The security label will initially be launched as a voluntary scheme, helping consumers identify products that have basic security features and those that don’t.

National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Technical Director, Dr Ian Levy, said, “Serious security problems in consumer IoT devices, such as pre-set unchangeable passwords, continue to be discovered and it’s unacceptable that these are not being fixed by manufacturers."

Levy concluded, “This innovative labelling scheme is good news for consumers, empowering them to make informed decisions about the technology they are bringing into their homes.”

Secure by Design

IoT device passwords must be unique and not resettable to any universal factory setting.

Manufacturers of IoT products provide a public point of contact as part of a vulnerability disclosure policy.

Manufacturers explicitly state the minimum length of time for which the device will receive security updates through an end of life policy