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|Can a voluntary code still ‘hack it’?|
Weaknesses in the cyber security of internet-connected consumer devices can undermine the privacy & safety of individual users and can be used for large-scale cyber-attacks.
This POST (Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology) briefing looks at the cyber threats associated with consumer devices and their causes, as well as initiatives to improve device security, and the related challenges.
There is a growing UK market for internet-connected devices such as smart home appliances and home monitoring systems. These devices can provide economic & social benefits, but stakeholders have expressed concerns about the poor security of many devices.
The poor cyber security of these devices can lead to data loss, privacy infringements and risks to physical safety and security. Large-scale attacks involving many insecure devices have resulted in the widespread disruption of online services. Common targets include devices with default or common passwords, known software vulnerabilities, or software that is out-of-date.The UK Government has produced a Voluntary Code of Practice for the development, manufacturing and retail of connected consumer devices which it may decide to enforce through regulation. The guidelines aim to encourage a “secure by design” approach, reducing the burden on consumers to ensure that their devices are secure. The Government is also considering a labelling scheme to help inform consumers.