They present an incredibly large attack surface for cyber criminals to target if the security of devices such as smart televisions, cameras, and smart home assistants, isn’t up to scratch.
Digital Minister Matt Warman noted that the plans are aimed at keeping the UK safe but also not stand in the way of technological innovation.
“We want to make the UK the safest place to be online with pro-innovation regulation that breeds confidence in modern technology,” said Warman. “Our new law will hold firms manufacturing and selling internet-connected devices to account and stop hackers threatening people’s privacy and safety.
“It will mean robust security standards are built in from the design stage and not bolted on as an afterthought.”
The government had been keen to champion security in smart home and other IoT devices, having launched its Secure by Design code of practice for consumer IoT security in 2018. While this served as a means to advocate for stronger cyber security practices for internet-connected devices, it is a voluntary scheme at present.
The plans would appear to take the code of practice further, with legislation to be the means of ensuring that IoT device makers don’t bypass best-practice security standards.
Our opinion: This seems to be a move in the right direction because of the sheer volume of devices with weak default passwords would be a major headache in IoT security.