SINGAPORE: A new cybersecurity labelling scheme to help consumers make informed purchasing choices about network-connected smart devices will be launched this year.
Introduced by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, the Cybersecurity Labelling Scheme (CLS) will address a "growing area of concern", which is Internet of Things - devices such as home routers and home hubs, said Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary on Tuesday (Mar 3).
"We expect that usage of these devices will proliferate even more going forward. This poses a challenge - these devices typically have weak security and can be exploited by attackers," said Dr Puthucheary. "Users are often oblivious to these security risks and may not take adequate precautions to secure them."
The scheme will also raise consumer awareness on more secure products and encourage manufacturers to adopt additional cybersecurity safeguards, he added.
The CLS is a first for the Asia-Pacific region and will first be introduced to two product types - WiFi routers and smart home hubs.
This is part of efforts to "better secure Singapore's cyberspace and raise cyber hygiene levels", said the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).
"The CLS will serve to differentiate smart devices with better cybersecurity provisions in the market, and aims to incentivise manufacturers and product vendors to develop products with recognised and improved security features," said MCI. "Currently, consumer smart devices are often designed to optimise functionality and cost.
"These products are also characterised by a short time-to-market cycle, where there is less scope for cybersecurity design to be incorporated at the beginning."
The cybersecurity labels will provide an indication of the security provisions in registered products. This will be based on a series of assessments and tests on the absence of common software vulnerabilities as well as products meeting basic requirements such as ensuring unique default passwords, among others, added MCI.
The scheme will also be aligned to "widely accepted global security standards" for consumer Internet of Things products, the ministry said.
The CLS is an initiative under the Safer Cyberspace Masterplan - a larger plan to empower a cyber-savvy population, safeguard activities in cyberspace and secure Singapore's digital core. More details on the master plan will be announced later this year.
Further details on the CLS will also be announced in due course, said MCI.