The British Fight for Cybersecurity on Connected Devices

The National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), a part of the United Kingdom government, wants retailers to stop selling connected devices that do not adhere to their cybersecurity guidelines. The guidelines, while not required by law, state a code of conduct necessary to secure devices like pacemakers, webcams, and smart cameras.

A task force of security experts created the code, which includes thirteen recommendations for manufacturers. The NCSC recommends that manufacturers provide consumers with a disclosure vulnerability policy and that they stop using default passwords. They also recommend that devices have the capacity to perform security updates. While the code is voluntary, legislation is imminent, although the exact date of drafting or execution remains unknown.

cybersecurity-illustration
Cybersecurity Illustration

Many businesses remain indifferent to the code of conduct and do not implement its recommendations. While the code is “a step in the right direction…it’s unlikely that the industry will act upon it, given that it is voluntary,” says John Sheehy, vice president of strategy at IOActive. Only two companies have adhered to the code so far: Centrica Hive and HP.

Unlike most of its competitors, HP holds security at the core of its operation, designing products “with security built-in not bolted on, not only designed to protect, but also to detect and self-heal from cyber-attacks,” says George Brasher, HP’s UK managing director.

Consumers in the UK are not the only ones who are vulnerable to cybersecurity issues. Last month, California passed the first internet of things (IoT) cybersecurity law. Bill SB-327. The law aims to protect consumers from unauthorized parties who could gain access to their smart home devices. Manufacturers must provide “reasonable security features,” mostly determined by password requirements. On a federal level, multiple bills regarding cybersecurity standards have been drafted. As technology rapidly expands, the legislation necessary to protect consumers’ privacy has lagged behind. Governments around the world are facing an uphill battle in the fight against cybersecurity.

 

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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