Biden-Harris administration initiates cybersecurity labelling for smart devices


The Biden-Harris administration is setting the stage for the enhancement of cybersecurity for smart devices.

\A new cybersecurity labelling programme has been unveiled, in which smart devices that meet specific cybersecurity standards will be marked with a ‘US Cyber Trust Mark’ shield logo. Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has proposed this initiative to boost the security of various smart consumer products and electronics, including climate control systems.

In a statement, the White House elaborated on the programme, “As proposed, the programme would leverage stakeholder-led efforts to certify and label products, based on specific cybersecurity criteria published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).” The NIST criteria encompass requirements for unique and robust default passwords, data protection, software updates, and incident detection capabilities.

Moreover, the initiative is designed to empower consumers, aiding them in making informed decisions about the security of products they plan to purchase. It is expected that this voluntary cybersecurity labelling programme will be in action by 2024.

Major electronics, appliances, and consumer products manufacturers and retailers, such as Amazon, Best Buy, Google, and Samsung Electronics, are already lending their support to the programme. As part of the implementation process, the FCC is registering a national trademark to be placed on certified products and is inviting public comment.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will join the FCC in educating consumers about the new logo and encouraging retailers to prioritise labelled products. A national registry of certified devices, accessible via a QR code, will offer further information about the cybersecurity of these smart products. By the end of 2023, NIST is set to establish cybersecurity requirements for consumer-grade routers.

The US Department of Energy will collaborate with the National Labs and industry members to establish cybersecurity labelling requirements for power inverters and smart meters. The Department of State will support the FCC in engaging with international partners for comparable labelling efforts.

The US concluded, “This new labelling programme would help provide Americans with greater assurances about the cybersecurity of the products they use and rely on in their everyday lives. It would also be beneficial for businesses, as it would help differentiate trustworthy products in the marketplace.”

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