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Why is the regulation of ‘vulnerable’ IoT an important topic for UK businesses?

Regulate the Internet of “vulnerable” objects,is a topic of growing importance to businesses in cybersecurity and has been hotly discussed at NEPIC Conference on Digitization and Cybersecurityheld recently.

Here, Paul Armstrong, UK managing partner of international law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD), which advises clients in the manufacturing and technology sectors on cybersecurity, IT, privacy and data issues, shares a summary of key takeaways for businesses to consider. .

Leading a discussion on the regulation of the “Internet of Things (IoT)” in the manufacturing space and bringing the broader context of cybersecurity risks into the picture, Paul commented:

“The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is smart devices used to create business efficiencies. These devices tend to be much better than humans at capturing and analyzing real-time data. They are also better at communicating important information to help make business decisions faster and more accurately. The IIoT holds great potential for quality control, sustainability and green practices, supply chain traceability and overall supply chain efficiency, and is often key to processes such as predictive maintenance, field service improvement, energy management and asset tracking”.

Paul continued, “However, one of the biggest risks associated with IIoT devices is their security vulnerabilities. For example, it’s relatively common for IIoT devices to continue to use default passwords even after they go into production, and many devices transmit data in clear text. It is also relatively easy for an attacker to intercept data from an IIoT device and, in some cases, take control of the device and use it to launch an attack against other network resources.” .

Paul has developed the regulatory approaches to IIoT across the world: “Here in the UK there is product safety and telecommunications infrastructure law, although its scope is limited, the focus being more put on the IoT in the consumer sphere, so from an industrial perspective it’s not very useful, but the metrics are indicative of what might happen later in an industrial environment.

“The EU is at proposal stage with a Cyber ​​Resilience Bill, which will potentially be more beneficial than current UK legislation as the scope is wider, extending protection to consumers and businesses.

“The picture is more fragmented in the United States where there is no federal law regulating IoT or privacy law in general. Instead, it has a patchwork of laws that can regulate companies using this technology.

Paul summarized: “IIoT devices are here to stay and bring real benefits – they can reduce production costs and increase revenue streams, but the security risks associated with their use must be understood and mitigated to the extent possible. possible”.

Representatives from WBD and the North East tech space will meet to discuss the current position of the region’s tech sector, recent and upcoming inbound investment opportunities, and how the North East is opening up the path using digital for good at the North East Digital Sector 2023 Outlook Event, Wednesday 8th February 2023 at The Catalyst, Newcastle Helix.

For more information or to register for the free event, visit:

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