Public Knowledge published a white paper suggesting a new way of protecting customers of IoT devices

29 Jan 2019

The US civil society organisation Public Knowledge published a white paper suggesting a new way to protect customer IoT device security. The paper proposes to create a ‘Security Shield’ label, that will inform consumers whether a product meets the best cybersecurity standards as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The initiative is based on a similar program in the environmental field, ‘Energy Star’ that enables manufacturers to label their products based on their energy efficiency, allowing consumers to make informed decisions.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) includes a wide range of Internet-connected devices, from highly digitalised cars, home appliances (e.g. fridges), and smart watches, to digitalised clothes that can monitor health. IoT devices are often connected in wide-systems, typically described as 'smart houses' or 'smart cities'.

Cybersecurity is among the main concerns of governments, Internet users, technical and business communities. Cyberthreats and cyberattacks are on the increase, and so is the extent of the financial loss. 

Yet, when the Internet was first invented, security was not a concern for the inventors. In fact, the Internet was originally designed for use by a closed circle of (mainly) academics. Communication among its users was open.

Cybersecurity came into sharper focus with the Internet expansion beyond the circle of the Internet pioneers. The Internet reiterated the old truism that technology can be both enabling and threatening. What can be used to the advantage of society can also be used to its disadvantage.


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