New labelling scheme for smart devices to better protect consumers
Labels that indicate security provisions will be stuck on the products for consumers to judge cyber risks
It has been described as the main door to the digital spaces that can be opened from within homes and small businesses, but many people are oblivious to the risks as they use weak passwords for their Wi-Fi routers.
To ensure better protection, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary announced yesterday that the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore will roll out a cyber-security labelling scheme for home routers and smart home hubs.
The labels, which will indicate the security provisions present in the smart devices, will be stuck on Wi-Fi routers and smart home hubs to begin with, to help buyers better judge their exposure to cyber risks.
Speaking during the debate on his ministry's budget allocation in Parliament yesterday, Dr Janil said: "The scheme will raise consumer awareness of more secure products and aims to encourage manufacturers to adopt additional cyber-security safeguards."
The labelling scheme will be extended to more Internet of Things (IoT) or connected devices to help users.
Increasing in popularity, IoT devices have weak security that can be exploited by attackers to flood targeted systems and disrupt operations, said Mr Feixiang He, a cyber-security expert from Group-IB, who applauded the latest initiative.
If a Wi-Fi router is compromised, he said it can expose all devices on the network to cyber- and data-security risks.
And there is even more risk for devices like smart home hubs and smart speakers.
Said Mr He: "Such devices can carry out actual physical behaviour.
"Say you have a smart kettle controlled by the home hub, the safety catch can be compromised and cause a fire hazard."
He added that if the voice and audio recording functions of such devices are compromised, a hacker can get in on the user's private conversations.
To be launched later this year, the labelling scheme will initially be voluntary, and more details will be announced later.
The initiative is part of Singapore's new Safer Cyberspace Masterplan, which will be launched later this year.
It is meant to help secure Singapore's digital core, safeguard activities in the cyberspace and empower a cyber-savvy population.
Dr Janil also revealed yesterday that in order to ensure greater accountability and data security from organisations, the Government will review the Personal Data Protection Act.