On August 1, a bipartisan group of four senators introduced a bill that would impose specific cybersecurity requirements on providers of Internet of Things devices when doing business with the U.S. Government and provide liability protections for security researchers who disclose vulnerabilities affecting these devices. Though the bill’s security requirements would apply only in cases where entities are acting as contractors to the U.S. Government, if enacted, it likely would be influential on IoT vendors operating in the consumer context as well. The bill is largely consistent with an ongoing multistakeholder effort led by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration aimed at developing voluntary security standards for Internet-connected devices.
How do you ensure that an Internet-connected sensor or device—often inexpensive and designed for lifespans of up to 20 years or more—can be secured against not only the intrusions of today but also those of the future? This question has taken on new urgency as low-cost Internet-connected devices are increasingly being co-opted into massive networks, known as “botnets,” that are capable of causing widespread disruption.