Guarding Your Gadgets
In a move to bolster consumer protection in the digital era, the Biden administration revealed plans on Tuesday to introduce new labels for smart appliances and fitness trackers.
This novel labeling system, spearheaded by the US government, aims to guide consumers toward products that are less vulnerable to cyber threats. The initiative looks to award devices that meet strict cybersecurity criteria defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST.
Big tech companies such as Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOGL), Best Buy (BBY), and Samsung (SSNLF) already pledged to amplify the cybersecurity of their products to meet these demanding standards, preparing for the voluntary labeling program’s expected roll-out next year.
The NIST’s cybersecurity standards include requirements for strong passwords, frequent software updates, and more. A new mark of approval, the US Cyber Trust Mark, will be issued to devices meeting those standards — which in today’s world could mean anything from a smart TV to a WiFi-enabled refrigerator.
The FCC is currently seeking public feedback on the proposal before it takes effect next year, while the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency plans to educate consumers about the new label. Other executive branch agencies, including the Departments of Energy and State, also plan to contribute by adapting and disseminating the new standards.
Security Side Effects
The new cybersecurity labeling program could have a profound impact on how you interact with your devices daily.
The program could give Americans renewed confidence regarding the cybersecurity of the gadgets they rely on. For companies, the US Cyber Trust Mark could act as a strong selling point, differentiating them from competitors in an increasingly crowded market.
After all, who wouldn’t prefer a smart fridge capable of keeping both your groceries and data safe?
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