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New rules for smart device sellers in UK

April 29, 2024

Smart device manufacturers now have to adhere to stricter rules if they want to sell their gadgets in the UK following a new law coming into effect.

The law is designed to ensure there is enhanced security around devices such as televisions, fitness trackers and smart speakers that are linked to the internet. These gadgets can pose a risk to users as cyber-criminals use them to hack into home networks and steal private data.

The new law makes three new requirements:

  • password procedures must be more secure, including ensuring any set by the manufacturer are not left blank or using easy-to-guess choices
  • that there is clarity around how to report bugs or security issues
  • that manufacturers and retailers inform customers how long they will receive support, including software updates, for the device they are buying

Failure to meet these minimum requirements, known as the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) regime, can lead to fines.

The government said the new rules were a “world first” that would protect give UK consumers and businesses “piece of mine” and boost the country’s resilience against cybercrime.

Responding to the news, Alex Tofts, broadband expert at Broadband Genie, commented: “With cybercriminals constantly on the prowl, securing your home Wi-Fi router is crucial. While the onus is on manufacturers to improve security measures, there are steps consumers can take at home to bolster their online security. One of the main security concerns which can leave consumers vulnerable is not updating their router’s password from factory default settings. Alarmingly, our research shows that nearly half of UK broadband users have never done this – and this leaves them wide open to hacking attacks.”

“To boost security, consumers should enable WPA3 encryption if available, and regularly update the router’s firmware for the latest protections. But the most important and simple step – which millions have neglected – is using a strong, unique password at least 12 characters long with mixed letters and numbers, and updating that password routinely. For 75 per cent of consumers, the barriers to updating router settings are simply not understanding why it’s needed and 19 per cent don’t know how to do it. If unsure how to change passwords, enable encryption, or update firmware, you can check your provider’s website or customer portal for straightforward guides. A little proactive router security can save you a world of headaches from identity theft, financial fraud, or the newest cyber threats,” added Tofts.

Categories: Articles, IoT, Policy, Regulation

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