Security labelling on IoT devices by February 2022

26th Oct 2021

The movement to get IoT device manufacturers to take security more seriously received a shot in the arm this month with the news that a new consumer-focused security labelling program for IoT devices will be delivered to the market by February 2022. The product label is being designed and developed based on work that is currently being carried out by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This is a downstream result of the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act passed into legislation last October.

NIST workshop

In early October, The "Workshop on Cybersecurity Labelling Programs for Consumers: Internet of Things (IoT) Devices and Software," was held by NIST. It included contributions from government agencies, private industry, and academic experts - all working towards the goal of identifying the criteria and components of such a label.

Empowering consumers

The label will be designed to improve the security of IoT products by giving consumers and small businesses the information they need to make security a factor in their purchasing decisions. The proposed label will also communicate the level of security in a product's design, development, and maintenance. Another implication of the label design program is that IoT devices and software, especially those that are considered mission-critical, will require more rigorous testing, and that buyers will have to be trained and informed about the components of the labels and what security means in that context. The label will be voluntary, at least initially, with companies attesting to their own security rankings. Improper ranking of a product will be handled by the Federal Trade Commission as violations of truth-in-advertising laws.

Mender applauds the progress made and can leverage its Triangle of Trust framework for building security by design into IoT devices to help device manufacturers adhere to best in class security standards.