Government IoT security enforcement may be on the way

July 23, 2020

With IoT technology rapidly advancing, the UK government is looking to stay ahead of the curve and ensure its security before it’s continuing deployment across industries.

A recent update revealed that it would be setting up a new regulatory body to enforce IoT security laws. The body’s remit could include actions such as temporarily banning sales during product testing, completely banning products found to be insecure and issuing recall notices, among other regulatory behaviours. Additionally, they could potentially apply to the court for an order of confiscation and destruction of a device deemed to be particularly dangerous.

This follows the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s proposed legislation on IoT security, which it published at the beginning of the year. This law would require three specific security requirements for all Smart/IoT devices sold in the UK:

  • Unique passwords for each device, which could not be vulnerable to a factory reset
  • An easy contact point to the manufacturer, to report any bugs or security vulnerabilities
  • A stated minimum amount of time that updates will be available, which can be easily found by consumers or clients

Of course, these standards may be difficult to enforce as many IoT devices are manufactured and sold abroad. However, with the UK’s recent involvement in the global ETSI standard for consumer IoT devices, it is clear that they are keen to try to keep up with cyber security standards and legislation.

20 billion smart devices already in circulation – but only about 13% of those have basic cyber security safeguards built-in. As consumer products can be an easy entry point for cyber attackers – exemplified by notorious cyberattacks such as the 2018 Mi-Cam Baby Monitor hack – it is imperative to provide security solutions strong enough to mitigate any vulnerability.

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