Four US senators have proposed a bill that, if adopted, will impose certain cybersecurity requirements for technology companies that sell Internet of Things (IoT) devices to the US federal government. Titled ‘Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act’, the bill will require companies to ensure that their products are patchable and do not include ‘hard-coded’ passwords (that cannot be changed). Companies would also have to notify the purchasing agency of any known security vulnerabilities or defects that they become aware of for the duration of the contract. The bill would exempt cybersecurity researchers from liability under the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act when engaged, in good faith, in researching the cybersecurity of IoT devices.
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'.