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Government say strong security is needed in 'smart homes'

08 March 2018

It lays out plans to embed security in the design process of devices, rather than bolt them on as an afterthought.

Ian Levy, technical director of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), also highlighted a need for more clarity for consumers on the need to use secure IoT devices, and to remove the burden of installing complex security software from these end users.

With this in mind, it is kicking off the Government's Security by Design review, developed together with manufacturers and retailers.

Officials believe the Government should work to improve the security of consumer IoT devices by setting incentives for industry.

Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries, said the government wants everyone to benefit from the "huge potential" of internet-connected devices. 'This will help ensure that we have the right rules and frameworks in place to protect individuals and that the United Kingdom continues to be a world-leading, innovation-friendly digital economy.

The UK Government has published draft proposals to improve cyber security in internet-connected smart devices, with manufacturers required to build in new security measures to last the lifetime of the product.

"Today's call by the government is welcomed, but they must set the standards for developing security practices for IoT devices", explained David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

"Shoppers should be given high-quality information to make choices at the counter. We manage it with fat content of food and this is the start of doing the same for the cybersecurity of technology products", he noted.

"If the government allows manufacturers who comply with the standards to display a clearly-visible mark (like the British Standards Institute kitemark), it would provide an easy way for consumers to tell if something is safe, putting manufacturers who don't comply at a disadvantage", he argued.

As the internet of things continues its explosive expansion and more connected devices proliferate, there are certainly obvious reasons why a system ensuring tighter overall security needs to be put in place. 'Companies must ensure that the safety of their customers is the absolute priority when "smart" products are designed.

Responsible IoT (internet of things) manufacturers are already addressing security. However, these opportunities also bring risk and it is important that the IoT market now matures in a sensible and productive way, with security embedded at the design stage.

"In recent years, we've seen how cheap drones, and home automation devices like smart lightbulbs, don't undergo the rigorous development cycles usually expected with best practice".

The initiative forms part of the United Kingdom government's five-year, £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy.

Government say strong security is needed in 'smart homes'