U.K. Reveals New Law to Improve IoT Security

U.K. Reveals New Law to Improve IoT Security

The U.K. government is looking to step up IoT security against cybercriminals.

We have heard time and time again: If it can be connected to the internet, it can be hacked. Now, the U.K. government has revealed a drafted law that aims to protect millions of internet-connected devices from cyber attack.

The law, announced on Wednesday by Digital Minister Margot James MP, will mandate that all internet connected devices be sold with a unique password. 

By selling a device with a unique password, the chances of your smart thermostat, appliances and webcams being taken over by a malicious source is significantly lowered. This protects against opportunistic hackers who just scan for devices still using the default password it came with, or no password at all.

This is not just a future problem we are dealing with. This has already happened on a massive scale. Two years ago, the Mirai botnet brought down Dyn, a company that provides domain name services to major sites, for a brief period of time by automatically connecting to thousands of IoT devices. The outage knocked out dozens of major websites, including Twitter, Spotify and SoundCloud.

The U.K.'s new law, if passed, would allow consumers to buy devices that are "Secure by Design," said James. Consumers would be more inclined to buy if they understood that each device comes out of the box with a baseline of security.

“Many consumer products that are connected to the internet are often found to be insecure, putting consumers privacy and security at risk,” said James. “Our code of practice was the first step towards making sure that products have security features built in from the design stage and not bolted on as an afterthought.”

While the U.K. has the right idea about IoT devices and their passwords, they are not the first to make this move. Back in October, California passed a law that banned default passwords in connected devices that will go into effect in 2020.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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