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New cyber laws aim to ‘put a firewall around’ citizens’ smart devices

Firms that breach guidelines could face multimillion-pound fines

Credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The government has claimed that new laws designed to increase protection for connected devices will “put a firewall around” smartphones and internet-enabled consumer products including televisions, doorbells and thermostats.

As well as increasing protective measures for devices, the legislation also makes provisions for a tough new regulatory environment, in which companies in breach of the law could face multimillion-pound fines.

Put before parliament this week, the Product Security and Telecommunications (PSTI) Bill proposes a requirement for the makers of phones and other smart devices to implement a number of security measures, including the clear provision of a point of contact to whom security researchers and consumers can report product bugs or flaws.

The laws will also introduce a ban on default generic passwords being pre-installed; each individual device will need to be equipped with its own unique password – which cannot then be reset to a standard factory setting.

All products will also need to provide consumers with clear information – at point of sale – about the minimum length of time for which a device will receive patches and other security updates. If a product will receive no such updates after the point of purchase, this must be made clear at the outset, and buyers must also be kept updated with any changes in policy.

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