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UK government sets out rules to improve 'smart' device security

Tyrone Stewart

Smart connected homeThe UK government has laid out guidelines to make internet of things (IoT) devices safer as it steps up its attempts to protect the country from the increase in cyberattacks.

The guidelines encourage firms to make sure that all passwords on new devices and products are unique, make sure they have a vulnerability policy, assure that all data is encrypted, automatically update software, make it easy for consumers to delete personal data, and make installation and maintenance easy.

On top of the guidelines laid out in the ‘Security by Design’ review, the government has proposed developing a labelling scheme so that consumers know about a product’s security features at the point of purchase.

“We want everyone to benefit from the huge potential of internet-connected devices and it is important they are safe and have a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Margot James, minister for digital and creative industries. “We have worked alongside industry to develop a tough new set of rules so strong security measures are built into everyday technology from the moment it is developed.

“This will help ensure that we have the right rules and frameworks in place to protect individuals and that the UK continues to be a world-leading, innovation-friendly digital economy.”

The initiative is part of the government’s £1.9bn national cyber security strategy, but the guidelines are purely recommendations and it is up to manufacturers if they choose to implement them or not.