Tech makers will be forced to state length of time devices will be secure under new law – inews

Smart devices will carry a stated length of time they’ll be supported for under a new proposed law

Monday, 27th January 2020, 7:28 pm

Makers of smart electronic devices would have to state the length of time they’ll receive security updates (Photo: Getty)

Manufacturers of connected electronic devices will be forced to reveal the minimum length of time a device will be eligible to receive security software updates before a shopper commits to buying it under a new proposed law.

The proposal, which the Government hopes to deliver “as soon as possible,” will require all device passwords to be unique and not resettable to any universal factory setting, while manufacturers will also be forced to provide a public point of contact for users to report any vulnerabilities.

The new law has been designed to protect millions of smart devices from potential cyber-attacks given that the number of internet-connected devices, including smart TVs, cameras and smart speakers, is expected to reach 75bn by the end of 2025.

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The measures were developed in conjunction with the business sector and the National Cyber Security Centre, and are intended to give shoppers increased peace of mind the devices they’re investing in are safe.

“Our new law will hold firms manufacturing and selling internet-connected devices to account and stop hackers threatening people’s privacy and safety,” said Digital Minister Matt Warman.

Insecure devices in the home could leave it vulnerable to hacking (Photo: Getty)

“It will mean robust security standards are built in from the design stage and not bolted on as an afterthought.”

Security no longer ‘an afterthought’

In-built obsolescence is a concern among consumers, leaving many shoppers angered when the devices they bought a few short years ago are no longer eligible for security updates or no longer work.

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Certain versions of the products were being manufactured as recently as 2015, prompting anger among owners the company was benefiting from planned obsolescence of its products.

Given the advances in wireless networking and Bluetooth technology in the past decade, the older models have been “stretched to their technical limits in terms of memory and processing power,” the company said in a statement.

Sonos will cease updates for the models from May, causing access to services and “overall functionality” of the sound system to deteriorate over time, it said, adding that owners of the unsupported products will be eligible for 30 per cent off newer ones.

As Sonos speakers are designed to act as a system, newer products connected to the older models will also fail to receive software updates and features.


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