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New cyber laws to protect personal tech from hackers

Consumers will be better protected from attacks by hackers on their personal devices thanks to a new law introduced by the government.

The ownership and use of connected tech products has increased dramatically in recent years. On average there are nine in every UK household, with forecasts suggesting there could be up to 50 billion worldwide by 2030. People overwhelmingly assume these products are secure, but only one in five manufacturers have appropriate security measures in place for their connectable products.

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill will allow the government to ban universal default passwords, force firms to be transparent to customers about what they are doing to fix security flaws in connectable products, and create a better public reporting system for vulnerabilities found in those products.

A recent investigation by Which? found a home filled with smart devices could be exposed to more than 12,000 hacking or unknown scanning attacks from across the world in a single week. in the first half of 2021, there were 1.5 billion attempted compromises of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, double the 2020 figure.

Julia Lopez, Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, said: “Every day hackers attempt to break into people’s smart devices. Most of us assume if a product is for sale, it’s safe and secure. Yet many are not, putting too many of us at risk of fraud and theft. Our Bill will put a firewall around everyday tech from phones and thermostats to dishwashers, baby monitors and doorbells, and see huge fines for those who fall foul of tough new security standards.”

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