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Government pledges £400,000 for IoT security assurance schemes

The UK government has unlocked £400,000 of funding for the development of new assurance schemes to bolster the security of internet-connected products.

The schemes will demonstrate the security of internet of things (IoT) devices that have gone through independent testing or a self-assessment scheme aligned to the government’s code of practice for consumer IoT security.

Under the plans, retailers will be encouraged to only stock devices which have been assured under the scheme, in an effort to give security-conscious manufacturers an edge over their competitors.

The move forms part of a wider strategy to boost the security of consumer IoT devices, which are often vulnerable to hacking and can leave networks exposed to further exploitation. IoT is a rapidly growing sector and it is estimated that globally there will be 75 billion connected devices in homes by 2026.

Digital minister Matt Warman said: “We are committed to making the UK the safest place to be online and are developing laws to make sure robust security standards for consumer internet-connected products are built in from the start.

“This new funding will allow shoppers to be sure the products they are buying have better cyber security and help retailers be confident they are stocking secure smart products. People should continue to change default passwords on their smart devices and regularly update software to help protect themselves from cyber criminals.”

In January the government announced that it would introduce legislation to mandate a minimum level of security for IoT devices, including a ban on default device passwords, the designation of a public point of contact for vulnerability disclosure and the publication of a the minimum period devices would receive security updates.

Writing for NS Tech at the time, Warman said: “We want to make the UK the safest place to be online, without hindering innovation. Thanks to this legislation, robust standards will be built in from the design stage and mean people have confidence in the power of technology to improve people’s lives.”

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