UK government launches fund to boost smart device security

Internet of things

It's estimated that there could be as many as 75 billion connected devices worldwide by 2025, but the increased popularity of 'smart' equipment comes with risk as many products currently on sale lack basic cybersecurity.

In response to this threat the UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is launching a £400,000 ($490,000) fund for innovators to design schemes to boost the security of internet-connected products.

The fund aims to support the development of market of assurance schemes for consumer smart products. Assurance schemes demonstrate that a device has undergone independent testing or a robust and accredited self-assessment process. These schemes are vital in enabling consumers to make security-conscious purchasing decisions.

Digital Minister Matt Warman says:

We are committed to making the UK the safest place to be online and are developing laws to make sure robust security standards for consumer internet-connected products are built in from the start.

This new funding will allow shoppers to be sure the products they are buying have better cyber security and help retailers be confident they are stocking secure smart products.

People should continue to change default passwords on their smart devices and regularly update software to help protect themselves from cyber criminals.

The government is also progressing legislation to bring into law minimum security requirements for smart devices. Proposals announced earlier this year will make sure all consumer smart devices sold in the UK adhere to the three security requirements:

  • Device passwords must be unique and not resettable to any universal factory setting
  • Manufacturers must provide a public point of contact so anyone can report a vulnerability
  • Manufacturers must state the minimum length of time for which the device will receive security updates.

You can find out more about the scheme here and there's also consumer guidance available from the National Cyber Security Centre on how to use smart devices safely.

Image credit: Jirsak / Shutterstock

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