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New law aims to improve gadget security

Internet-connected household devices would be better protected from hacking under proposals from the UK government.

A growing number of everyday devices — including televisions, cameras, home assistants and health & fitness gadgets — are internet-enabled and there are concerns that many of these items lack basic security features.

The new law would require manufacturers of smart gadgets sold in the UK to:

– Ensure all consumer internet-connected devices have a unique password;

– Provide a public point of contact so anyone can report a vulnerability; and

– State the minimum length of time for which a device will receive security updates.

The move follows a seven-month consultation with GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), manufacturers, retailers and academics, BBC News reported.

SLR Camera

Nicola Hudson, director of policy and communications at the NCSC, said that the legislation “will give shoppers increased peace of mind that the technology they are bringing into their homes is safe, and that issues such as pre-set passwords and sudden discontinuation of security updates are a thing of the past”.

Research suggests there will be 75 billion internet-connected devices in homes around the world by the end of 2025.

“We want to make the UK the safest place to be online with pro-innovation regulation that breeds confidence in modern technology,” said Digital Minister Matt 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 voluntary Secure by Design Code of Practice for consumer Internet of Things (IoT) security, launched in 2018, advocates for stronger cyber security measures to be built into smart products at the design stage and the government said it is working with international partners to ensure that the guidelines drive a consistent, global approach to IoT security.

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