New cybersecurity effort will help consumers choose safer devices

Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 10:01 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Biden Administration and Consumer Technology representatives have launched an effort to put a nationwide cybersecurity certification and labeling program into place. The Cyber Trust Initiative program is to help consumers choose smart devices that are less vulnerable to hacking.

In recent years, home security cameras and smart devices have become more vulnerable. People use them to watch their kids, pets and even their deliveries. Without the right precautions, you might not be the only one watching.

“Security standards have been lacking for quite a while in networking, and if, anything they can do to raise that, that’s a net positive,” said LB Computers Specialist Jason Dugas.

“Like anything to standardize it to where it’s at a level where it’s like, yes, this is good, is a good thing,” said LB Computers Specialist Nicole Reon.

Cybersecurity labeling would identify specific devices that are less prone to hacking.

“I think it is an overall positive thing. It’s going to help consumers pick things that are more secure and it’s going to make standards go up,” Reon said.

Smart devices that meet the U.S. Government’s Cybersecurity requirements will bear the “Cyber Trust” label, a shield logo, as early as next year.

“If they can get on your network in any way, yeah, your computer may be safe, but those less sophisticated devices are more vulnerable because, you know, the nanny cam thing, if you’re on the network, nine times out of 10 you are going to get access to any of those things,” Dugas said.

Experts say changing and strengthening your passwords are one of the best ways to prevent a hack.

“It needs to have capital letters, it needs to have multiple lowercase letters, numbers, symbols,” said Reon. “Then the longer you make it, the harder it is to crack. And the harder it is to crack, the less time the hacker is going to spend on you.”

“Any password length longer than 12 characters, it literally goes from cracking in minutes to hundreds of years,” Dugas said.

One insecure device can often give a cyberintruder a dangerous foothold on a home network.

“Your router is your gateway to the internet. All of your devices go through there to get to the internet and vice versa,” Dugas said,

“Like having a brick wall versus a chain link fence,” Reon said.

“So stronger router protections and a better password, that’s going to be 100% more security,” said Dugas.

Once in effect, the Cyber Trust Initiative will inform consumers which devices are equipped to detect intrusions.