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Amazon, Google Back Global Cybersecurity Standard for Smart Home Devices

smart homes, smart devices, connected homes, Internet of Things

In an increasingly interconnected world, the proliferation of connected devices has become ubiquitous, reshaping the way people live, work and interact with technology.

From wearable gadgets to sophisticated smart appliances, the Internet of Things (IoT) has permeated nearly every aspect of consumers’ daily routines.

According to research from PYMNTS Intelligence, the average consumer now owns six connected devices, with millennials and bridge millennials leading the charge with an average ownership of seven devices. 

The study also highlighted a steady uptick in the adoption of smart home devices and connected appliances, underscoring the growing embrace of smart technologies for their convenience and efficiency in daily life. For instance, ownership of smart refrigerators rose from 5% in 2019 to 9% in 2023, while connected thermostat ownership rose from 10% to 15% during the same period. 

Beyond convenience, smart home gadgets are also recognized for their role in enhancing home security. Another PYMNTS Intelligence study revealed a 31% increase in consumers using smart home technology to bolster security, with 33% more leveraging devices like Nest or Philips Hue to monitor and ensure the safety of their homes.

Notably, the study found that an additional 21 million people adopted smart home gadgets in 2022 alone.

Private Sector Addresses Connected Device Cybersecurity Concerns

As consumers embrace the benefits of connected technologies, cybersecurity concerns have surged in parallel, highlighting the need for robust measures to safeguard consumer privacy and protect against potential cyber threats. 

To address these concerns, major industry players such as AmazonGoogle and Silicon Labs, among nearly 200 member companies forming the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), are backing a new cybersecurity standard and certification program for connected devices.

Announced on Tuesday (March 19), the initiative seeks to streamline the certification process by providing manufacturers with a one-stop solution to certify their devices, ensuring compliance with multiple international regulations and standards through a single evaluation. 

“As consumers embrace the convenience and value of IoT devices, the Alliance is dedicated to helping to create more comprehensive protection for consumers,” Steve Hanna, chair of the product security working group steering committee, said in a press release, adding that the Product Security Verified Mark and IoT Device Security Specification 1.0 “will make it easier for manufacturers to address consumer IoT security requirements around the world.” 

Additionally, the globally recognized security certification aims to instill trust and confidence in consumers regarding the security of the smart devices they use and rely on in their everyday lives. “When displayed prominently on certified product packaging, store signage, and online platforms, this Verified Mark builds trust by serving as a marker for secure IoT devices,” the release further noted.

Government Involvment

The introduction of this new global standard closely follows the recent approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of a voluntary cybersecurity certification and labeling program for wireless consumer Internet of Things (IoT) products.

According to the FCC, the new “U.S. Cyber Trust Mark” will help consumers “make informed purchasing decisions, differentiate trustworthy products in the marketplace and create incentives for manufacturers to meet higher cybersecurity standards.”

The initiative, first announced by the Biden-Harris Administration last July and supported by major manufacturers and retailers including Amazon, Google, Best Buy, Samsung and LG Electronics, aims to set a higher cybersecurity standard for popular devices such as smart refrigerators, microwaves, televisions and fitness trackers.

The objective is to empower Americans to make informed choices by selecting safer and more secure smart devices that are less vulnerable to cyberattacks.

In essence, while the road to achieving comprehensive IoT security may be long, these efforts by major industry players and government bodies represent key milestones in establishing a robust security framework for the growing array of smart home gadgets available on the market today.

These initiatives also highlight the ongoing need for collaboration to tackle cybersecurity challenges and foster trust in the rapidly evolving connected device landscape.