Tech manufacturers could face ‘heavy fines’ under new cyber bill

The government has announced a new cyber bill designed to protect people’s personal tech devices from hackers.

The bill will require manufacturers, importers, and distributors of digital tech which connects to the internet or other products to make sure they meet tough new cyber security standards, with “heavy fines” for those who fail to comply.

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) Bill, introduced to Parliament today, will allow the government to ban universal default passwords, force firms to be transparent to customers about what they are doing to fix security flaws in connectable products, and create a better public reporting system for vulnerabilities found in those products.

The government said that consumers will be better protected from attacks by hackers on their phones, tablets, smart TVs, fitness trackers, and other internet-connectable devices thanks to the new “world-leading law.”

The Bill also aims to speed up the roll out of faster and more reliable broadband and mobile networks by making it easier for operators to upgrade and share infrastructure.

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the reforms will encourage quicker and more collaborative negotiations with landowners hosting the equipment, to reduce instances of lengthy court action which are holding up improvements in digital connectivity.

“Every day hackers attempt to break into people’s smart devices. Most of us assume if a product is for sale, it’s safe and secure,” said Julia Lopez, minister for media, data and digital Infrastructure. “Yet many are not, putting too many of us at risk of fraud and theft.

“Our Bill will put a firewall around everyday tech from phones and thermostats to dishwashers, baby monitors and doorbells, and see huge fines for those who fall foul of tough new security standards.”

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