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Consumer Reports to factor in cyber security for product reviews

U.S. non-profit group Consumer Reports have begun preparing to include cyber security as a category in their reviews of consumer goods.

By Tom Ball

U.S. non-profit group Consumer Reports, which produces detailed reviews of consumer goods, has outlined plans to begin including cyber security as a rated category within their reviews.

The action has seemingly arrived at a prime time, with fears surrounding the influx of Internet of Things (IoT) devices at a high. Smart home devices have been included in a list of items capable of becoming a security breach through which hackers could access personal data, and inflict other damage.

The group said it had been working with organisations to form a plan of how these rankings can be implemented, and focussing on creating processes to ascertain the strength of security in specific products.

According to a recent IoT security whitepaper by Canonical, 48% of UK citizens remain unaware that their connected devices could be infiltrated and used to conduct a cyber-attack. These devices include Wi-Fi routers, webcams, smart thermostats, and smart hoovers; items that Consumer Reports would feature.

READ NOW: Consumers remain oblivious to IoT security threats, despite £12m government campaign

This percentage reflects a need among the general public for a service that will raise awareness to devices that could compromise the cyber security of consumers. Low awareness to potential dangerous IoT in the UK is persisting despite a £12m online government attempt to draw attention to these threats.

Researchers at Kaspersky have also drawn attention to the threats posed by unsecure IoT, releasing findings that such devices could be making Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks stronger and more formidable.

Consumer Reports have taken up this initiative to bring the cyber security category into its reviews following increasing attacks incorporating devices with their radar of consumer goods.

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As reported by Reuters, Peiter Zatko, a hacker who is director of a group that assisted Consumer Reports, Cyber Independent Testing Lab, said that: “We need to shed light that this industry really hasn’t been caring about the build quality and software safety”.

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