California bans the sale of IoT devices with simple passwords or no passwords.
About why passwords should be difficult, on Habré to speak once again it is not necessary. We can only recall the consequences of the weak protection of IoT gadgets that have been turned into a zombie virus by the Mirai virus , ready to obey the commands of a remote hacking operator.
After this and many other incidents, device manufacturers continue to neglect cyber defense of gadgets. Yes, the design and UX of many of them are high, the functions are good. But the use of most "cloud" gadgets like the game "hack me if you can", where the winner is almost always a cracker.
In the state of California, USA, they decided to stop the games and oblige device manufacturers to take care of selecting difficult “login password” pairs to protect gadgets. All systems that are sold in the state must be modified accordingly by 2020. The law sets a number of requirements that must be fulfilled by the developers of hardware network solutions, be it a router, a surveillance camera, or a smart refrigerator.
The bill passed the approval procedure in August, and last week it was signed by the governor of Jerry Brown.
“Weak methods of protecting devices connected to the network expose their users in California to dangers, and also allow hackers to use electronic devices against the owners themselves,” reads one of the state senators who support the law. "The document gives confidence that technology works for the benefit of California residents, and also that safety will not be considered the least important issue now," he continued.
And indeed, since the Internet of things is gradually developing, more and more gadgets are connecting to the network - this is not only cameras, sensors of various kinds, but also microwaves, baby monitors, air conditioners and other equipment. Immediately after connecting all these devices become targets for hackers. Most often, cybercriminals are not interested in single gadgets, but in networks that unite thousands and thousands of such devices. We are talking about botnets, with the help of which hackers can do a lot - from DDoS attacks to hacking attempts to networks of banking and financial organizations.
As mentioned above, IoT gadgets are often deprived of even the weakest protection, which is what hackers use. Thus, even scripts can create a small botnet from hacked devices. The results of all this are visible to the naked eye. Two years ago, under the control of hackers were millions of devices - now, probably, such gadgets even more. And the more manufacturers produce IoT-systems for home and office, the greater the risk of the owners of such systems.
Why the law is directedon manufacturers of the equipment? The fact is that far from all buyers of the connected devices have the necessary level of technical knowledge in order to protect the purchased device from hacking on their own. Yes, one has only to change the banal “admin / admin” combination to a complex alphanumeric-character password, and in most cases botnets cannot control such a device. But how to change the password, knows a relatively small percentage of users, and those who really change it, even less.
Recently, a survey was conducted, the purpose of which is to find out how many users of IoT gadgets tried to protect themselves from hacking by replacing default admin data. As it turned out, about 82% did not even think about it. As for the default data, passwords are far from always simple, but since the manufacturer himself publishes them in the technical documentation supplied with the devices, it is easy for hackers to know the access data.
New California law now obliges equipment manufacturers to create a unique and reliable login / password combination for each device. Of course, this is not a panacea, but still a definite shift in the issue of strengthening cybersecurity policies by manufacturers of IoT gadgets. Perhaps, looking at changes in state law, manufacturers will not wait for them to be forced to do the same and other states and countries, but will change their cybersecurity policy in the direction of gain in advance.