FCC Endorses the ‘U.S. Cyber Trust’ Program. Whew...

Last October, S&V’s man about town and all-around tech expert Ken Pohlmann wrote about a government-sponsored cybersecurity labeling program designed to give consumers peace of mind that TVs and other smart products they buy are essentially hack-proof.

On March 14th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve the “U.S. Cyber Trust Mark” Program Ken examined and commented on. (Check out his post here.) It’s a voluntary labeling initiative intended to “help consumers make informed purchasing decisions and encourage manufacturers to meet higher cybersecurity standards.” The program covers a broad range of “wireless IoT” (Internet of Things) products.

I’ll let the FCC take it from here, quoting directly from its official press release:

“Under the program, qualifying consumer smart products that meet robust cybersecurity standards will bear a label — including a new ‘U.S Cyber Trust Mark’ — that will help consumers make informed purchasing decisions, differentiate trustworthy products in the marketplace, and create incentives for manufacturers to meet higher cybersecurity standards.

“With today’s action, the Commission has adopted the rules and framework for the program to move forward. Among program highlights:

  • “The U.S. Cyber Trust Mark logo will initially appear on wireless consumer IoT products that meet the program’s cybersecurity standards. [I feel much safer now.]

  • The logo will be accompanied by a QR code that consumers can scan for easy-to-understand details about the security of the product, such as the support period for the product and whether software patches and security updates are automatic. [Hmmm… Support period and automatic updates… See Ken’s post.]

  • The voluntary program will rely on public-private collaboration, with the FCC providing oversight and approved third-party label administrators managing activities such as evaluating product applications, authorizing use of the label, and consumer education. [Oh, so the government will approve administrators and manage activities… What could possibly go wrong? ]

  • Compliance testing will be handled by accredited labs. [Oh good… hand-picked by the Federal Government. What could possibly go wrong? ]

  • Examples of eligible products may include home security cameras, voice-activated shopping devices, internet-connected appliances, fitness trackers, garage door openers, and baby monitors. [And let’s not forget that TV in your living room...]
“The Commission is also seeking public comment on additional potential disclosure requirements, including whether software or firmware for a product is developed or deployed by a company located in a country that presents national security concerns and whether customer data collected by the product will be sent to servers located in such a country. [They wouldn’t be talking about the People’s Republic of China, would they? Nah. The Chinese government has an impeccable record in the global community.]

“There are a wide range of consumer IoT products on the market that communicate over wireless networks. These products are made up of various devices, and are based on many technologies, each of which presents its own set of security challenges. Last August, the Commission proposed and sought comment on developing the voluntary cybersecurity labeling program for IoT. The rules adopted today are based on that record.

“According to one third party estimate, there were more than 1.5 billion attacks against IoT devices in the first six months of 2021 alone. Others estimate that there will be more than 25 billion connected IoT devices in operation by 2030. The cybersecurity labeling program builds on the significant public and private sector work already underway on IoT cybersecurity and labeling, emphasizing the importance of continued partnership so that consumers can enjoy the benefits of this technology with greater confidence and trust.” [With our Federal Government at the helm, we can all now breathe a sigh of relief.]

Did I mention that you should check out Ken’s post?

Bruce Labadie's picture

Immerse yourself in the haunting world of Poppy Playtime Chapter 3, where you must summon your courage and wit to survive the twisted horrors that await.