Call to regulate the IoT sector

Australia risks lagging other jurisdictions in the regulation of Internet of Things devices to improve cybersecurity, according to Secure Logical chief executive Santosh Devaraj, and government should be considering enforcing standards sooner rather than later.

Last week the UK government unveiled a voluntary IoT Code of Practice, which aims to improve baseline security for smart connected devices, and to ensure they are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation.

The Californian state government also passed legislation covering smart devices. Laws coming into effect from 2020 will require any manufacturers of an IoT device to equip it with “reasonable” security features to prevent unauthorised access, modification or information disclosure.

This includes requiring a unique password for each device.

“The Australian government needs to follow these jurisdictions and introduce legislation requiring all IoT products – made in Australia and imported – to have strong cyber protections,” Mr Devaraj said.

“At a minimum, the legislation must require manufacturers to give each device a unique password, ensure customers are adequately prompted to install software updates and patches, and to invest in an IoT security education program.

“If the proper investment is made in the product development phase, security can be managed without a detrimental impact on cost or customer experience.

“We want to be proactive, especially around IoT. What we’re trying to do is to work with other industry peers to promote awareness within government.”

The federal government recently provided more than $200,000 for a research project to explore “opportunities, risks and consequences of IoT”.

It would explore the economics of IoT, its social and cultural perspectives of deployment, the educational needs, governance requirements and technological standards.

Mr Devaraj said he would now look to meet with other figures and companies in the industry to work together to lobby government for the legislation.

“It all starts with the industry. We’re talking to industry peers and trying to have them all support the idea of approaching the state government and federal government to assist in forming the framework and policy subset to them. We’re at the beginning of the journey,” he said.

This article first appeared on InnovationAus