Last week at Singapore International Cyber Week and the ETSI Security Conferences, the international community gathered together to discuss cybersecurity hot topics of the day. Amidst a number of important cybersecurity discussions, we want to highlight progress on connected device security demonstrated by joint industry principles for IoT security transparency. The future of connected devices offers tremendous potential for innovation and quality of life improvements. Putting a spotlight on consumer IoT security is a key aspect of achieving these benefits. Marketplace competition can be an important driver of security improvements, with consumers empowered and motivated to make informed purchasing decisions based on device security.
As with other IoT security transparency initiatives globally, it’s great to see this topic being covered at both conferences this week. The below IoT security labeling principles are aimed at helping to improve consumer awareness and to foster marketplace competition based on security.
To help consumers make an informed purchase decision they should receive clear, consistent, and actionable information about the security of the device (e.g. security support period, authentication support, cryptographic assurance) before purchase – a communication and transparency mechanism commonly referred to as “a label” or “labeling,” although the communication is not merely a printed sticker on physical product packaging. While an IoT label will not solve the problem of IoT security on its own, transparency can both help educate consumers and also facilitate the coordination of security responsibilities between all of the components in a connected device ecosystem.
Our goal is to strengthen the security of IoT devices and ecosystems to protect individuals and organizations, and to unleash the full future benefit of IoT. Security labeling programs can support consumer purchase decisions that drive security improvements, but only if the label is credible, actionable, and easily understood. We are hopeful that the public sector and industry can work together to drive harmonized policies that achieve this goal.