Smart home and IoT devices are amazing. But they are certainly not without security risks. This is why the UL IoT safety rating was created. And yes, these standards are created by the same UL organization responsible for safety assessments on millions of products you use every day. The organization’s goal has always been to “make the world a safer place.” As the IoT continues to grow, this is another area that needs more checks and balances to make the world a safer place.
What is UL IoT Safety Rating?
Even though you probably use IoT or smart home products in your home, you can’t always rely on them to be safe. Of course, it’s not just personal devices that are the problem. Even medical devices have been hacked, putting lives at risk.
The UL IoT safety rating aims to measure the security levels of connected products. Each of the five levels must meet specific security guidelines. Manufacturers wishing to become UL certified must prove that their products meet the necessary standards.
While IoT makers don’t have to be UL verified, it is a way for consumers to find out if the product they are purchasing has verified security features and how secure the device is.
Another advantage is that each UL certified product has a unique identifier. You can check the integrity of the rating by entering the identification number on Check UL. Each note has an expiration date, which can be renewed. You can check if the note is still valid to see if it still meets current security standards, which will change and adapt as technology and hackers evolve.
The five levels of security
There are five levels of UL IoT safety classification. These range from bronze to diamond, bronze being the least safe. However, even to achieve Bronze, connected devices must demonstrate some basic cybersecurity protections to keep users safe.
Each tier adds additional standards, ensuring that any products that reach the Diamond tier are some of the most secure connected devices you can buy. Of course, you should always remember that hackers are determined and that no device is completely secure while it is connected to the Internet. In addition, certain security measures are also the responsibility of the user, such as choosing more secure passwords and security of the home or work network.
Diamond – The most secure
The Diamond level has three main criteria that make these products stand out. First, data is stored to help keep a user’s identity completely anonymous. Any connected device will store data, but that shouldn’t send you back. Otherwise, hackers have immediate access to your identity during a hack.
The devices are also able to detect malicious code injections and prevent modification of the device. Finally, the device prevents multiple failed login attempts, making it nearly impossible for hackers to simply guess your password before being locked out.
Under the Platinum rating, the devices have been thoroughly tested against all known cybersecurity threats. Note that these are “known” threats, not potential new threats. However, firmware and software updates can keep known threats up to date.
There is also malware protection. The code on connected devices does not accept an unknown code.
As a last precaution, users should reconnect regularly to prevent a hacker from using a connection and staying connected to a user’s network.
Gold – Moderate security
The Gold UL IoT security rating ensures that all data transmitted uses the latest industry leading encryption standards. In addition, the devices are optimized with the best security settings without any real user intervention, apart from setting a password, of course.
The final standard also protects the applications of connected devices. After all, if the app is hacked, the device can be hacked.
Money isn’t necessarily just for the most secure devices. While devices need to be monitored for security concerns and maintained to protect users, there is no real protection when it comes to user data. However, users should be informed about all data collected as well as how it is used and stored. Users must give their consent for data to be collected, but failure to consent will limit the usability of the device.
Finally, all areas, such as device settings, that contain personal information should include authentication methods to protect the information.
Bronze – The least secure
Bronze devices have only the most basic safety precautions. These devices do not have pre-programmed passwords that hackers can exploit. Security updates should be checked before they are installed to prevent the installation of malicious updates. Also, the reset button should safely delete all stored information completely.
Rely on UL
While the UL IoT safety rating isn’t perfect, it’s a start to empowering the industry. Moreover, it finally gives users a way to check at least some security features before purchasing.
Image Credit: UL Identity Management and Security
Is this article useful?