UK’s new ‘world first’ laws crack down on smart gadget cyber attacks

UK's new 'world first' laws crack down on smart gadget cyber attacks

The UK government has implemented groundbreaking laws, effective from Monday, to safeguard consumers and businesses from hacking and cyber-attacks by imposing minimum security standards on all internet-connected smart devices.

Under these new regulations, manufacturers are prohibited from using weak, easily guessable default passwords such as “admin” or “12345”. Instead, users will be prompted to change any common passwords upon start-up. A recent investigation by the Which? consumer group revealed that a UK household with smart devices could face over 12,000 hacking attempts in a single week, with nearly 2,700 attempts to exploit weak default passwords across just five devices.

UK Minister for Cyber, Viscount Camrose Jonathan Berry, emphasized that these laws will provide consumers with greater peace of mind regarding the security of their smart devices, ensuring the protection of personal privacy, data, and finances.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology highlighted that manufacturers are now legally required to shield consumers from hackers seeking to access devices with internet or network connectivity, encompassing smartphones, gaming consoles, and even connected fridges. These measures are part of the UK government’s GBP 2.6-billion National Cyber Strategy aimed at safeguarding and advancing Britain’s online presence.

UK Data and Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez emphasized that these regulations are a significant step towards establishing the UK as a global leader in online safety, advancing the nation towards a digitally secure future.

These laws fall under the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure regime, designed to enhance the UK’s resilience against cyber-attacks and prevent adverse impacts on the national and global economy. In addition to password security, manufacturers will be required to provide contact details for reporting bugs and issues, while retailers must be transparent with consumers about the expected timeline for receiving critical security updates.

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