- Consumer Reports announced Monday the launch of its own security standard and testing protocol for connected devices in an effort to help safeguard consumer security and privacy.
- The company said it hopes to get device manufactures to meet security standards when building and designing connected devices, software and mobile apps. Consumer Reports will also evaluate and rate connected products on their security and help consumers compare them, addressing a gap it says exists in the marketplace.
- Consumer Reports collaborated with several organizations on the project, including the Cyber Independent Testing Lab (CITL), which has also built an automated tool for testing whether or not products meet specified security practices.
As more products incorporate sensors connected to the internet, Consumer Reports sees security as an area of growing importance. While internet-connected washing machines, baby monitors, security cameras, health-and-fitness apps and automobiles are just starting to catch on today, the area is set to grow substantially.
An estimated 8.4 billion internet-connected "things" will be in use globally this year, up 31% from 2016, according to Gartner. By 2020, that number could rise to 20.4 billion. If device manufacturers don’t pay more attention to security, there could be huge implications.
Security is IoT's Achilles' heel, and Consumer Reports wants to change that, making manufacturers realize they have a responsibility to protect consumers and ensuring they follow specific steps, like requiring users to change the default username and password before using a new device. Consumer Reports plans to release its draft to the public for input.