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New Internet of Things Law Offers Protections for Users of Popular Devices

Last year, President Trump signed the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Act of 2020 into law. The mandate aims to improve cybersecurity for government owned or controlled Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Generally, IoT devices are nonstandard computing devices (laptops, smart phones, and tablets) that connect wirelessly to a network and transmit data. Examples of IoT devices include, but are not limited to:

  • connected appliances;
  • home security systems;
  • smart watches; and
  • smart home devices.

The law requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop standards and guidelines for the federal government on the use and management of agencies of IoT devices “owned or controlled by an agency and connected to information systems owned or controlled by an agency.”

To keep your IoT devices secure, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recommends isolating IoT equipment on a separate WiFi network that is different from the one you are using for primary devices such as computers and smartphones. By keeping IoT devices on a separate network, any compromise of a “smart” device will not grant an attacker a route to a primary device, where data is typically stored.

The FBI also suggests changing the device’s factory setting from the default password, using longer passwords for IoT devices, and updating devices regularly.

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