"S in IoT Stands for Security": the world's first law on the protection of smart gadgets is adopted - we understand what the essence

    In California , SB-327 passed a law on the security of IoT devices. It obliges the developers of smart systems to create for them a unique login-password pair. The document has already been sent for signature to the state governor. We talk about the opinion of the community and the impact of the new law on the development of the industry.

    / Flickr / al king / cc

    What is the essence

    Document SB-327 , which is called Information Security: Connected Devices, has been developed by California senators since last February. Under "connected devices" in this case refers to all the gadgets that have an Internet connection, IP address or Bluetooth.

    Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (Hannah-Beth Jackson), who is the author of the bill, says that such a law should have appeared a long time ago. According to her, ordinary consumers are rarely interested in the security issues of the gadgets they acquire, because developers are not in a hurry to fix security vulnerabilities.

    Of particular importance is the problem in the case of children's toys. As an example, in additions to the bill, senators cite the situation with the My Friend Cayla dolls ( document Senate Floor Analyses of August 28, 188 ). They know how to communicate with children and forward the records to the manufacturer’s servers, for example, to analyze a question and find an answer to it. This creates a potential vulnerability to the personal data of the child. For this reason, the sale of such dolls was generally banned in Germany .

    The main requirement of Californian law isin that each IoT device manufacturer will need to provide their gadgets with “appropriate protection”. The degree of protection depends on the function of the device and the information it uses and transmits.

    The law does not say what is meant by “proper protection”, but the requirements for authentication mechanisms are spelled out. If a connected device has access to the Internet, then its authentication system must satisfy one of two criteria. The first is that the manufacturer creates unique combinations of login and password for each individual device. The second - the developer obliges the buyer to change the standard factory data to enter when you first use the equipment.

    All companies that manufacture or sell IoT devices in California fall under the law. SB-327 will enter into force on January 1, 2020.

    Opinions about the law

    New law met ambiguously. Some users and experts agreed that banning standard passwords is a little bit, but it will increase the security of IoT devices. However, the absence of other specific requirements for manufacturers confused the community.

    Cybersecurity experts passed a law skeptical. One of the main critics was Robert Graham (Robert Graham), an expert on cyber security at Errata Security. Robert writes that the wording about “remedies” is too vague, so it will be difficult for organizations to determine the criteria for meeting the requirements of the act.

    Moreover, it is impossible to indicate in the law how to counter specific threats, because new types of attacks appear constantly. Graham believes that the ways to protect IoT cannot be defined in the legislation, and the SB-327 will only lead to an increase in the cost of producing smart devices.

    The law is useless, and according to vice president of product Armis Joe Lee (Joe Lea). His company is creating a platform to protect IoT networks. According to Joe, the security of the Internet of Things is a complex industry that is not limited to password issues for devices.

    A number of security experts supported the new bill. One of these people was Bo Woods (Beau Woods), a security specialist at the think-tank of the Atlantic Council. According to his words, vague wording in the legislation is intentionally used. This will allow companies to develop their own device protection requirements.

    Many experts believe that even an imperfect law is better than its absence. The author of cybersecurity books and cryptographer Bruce Schneier said that SB-327 is a step in the right direction, although this document is not enough to fully regulate IoT.

    “The law should help solve the problem of unauthorized access to devices. However, it is not a panacea, - commented Sergey Belkin, head of the infrastructure infrastructure rental service in the cloud 1cloud.ru . - Unique and secure passwords should make it difficult to hack smart gadgets using a trivial dictionary search. However, there are many other ways to gain access to devices, for example, re-binding the DNS . More than half a billion IoT devices worldwide are subject to this type of attack. ”

    Users generally support the California government initiative. Residents of Hacker News say that manufacturers' passwords may be too predictable and coincide with the serial number. But this solution is better than the standard password for all devices of the same model.

    Some users find the law meaningless. The Slashdot commentator pointed out that most of the security problems of IoT devices are not solved by changing the password and are related to vulnerabilities in the firmware and software modules. For example, in 2017, a bug was found in the gSOAP library, which is used by manufacturers of IoT devices. During the demonstration, security specialists hacked a home camera and got an image from it.

    Who else is making laws for IoT

    Laws on the protection of the Internet of things works not only California. Over the past year, the United States Congress has made several projects on this topic. Among them are the Securing IoT Act of 2017 and the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017, which require federal agencies to develop standard security requirements for IoT devices.

    Prior to this, the US government issued guidelines for manufacturers of smart devices, which collected recommendations on the protection of personal data of users. For example, such a document in 2015 published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

    / Flickr / coniferconifer / CC

    In Europe, too, there are similar documents, in particular, the directiveNetwork Security and Information Systems (NIS Directive), adopted in July 2016. It does not concern the Internet of things directly, but it does establish requirements for the protection of companies' systems in critical areas: energy, finance, healthcare, and the transport industry. The document contains only a list of rules, and each state of the European Union should independently determine the methods for their implementation.

    The IoT Protection Act is also being drafted by the Australian government. According to politicians, they seek to create a balanced document that will protect consumers and will not limit innovation in the IoT. For this, the regulator conducts a dialogue with representatives of the industry. For now politicians are only discussing requirements for manufacturers of smart devices.

    Thus, California law was the first to formulate general requirements for all manufacturers of IoT devices. And although it is not ideal, there is an opinion that the directive will become a guideline for other countries and will initiate active work on the security of smart gadgets.

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