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Tips to Ensure Cyber Hygiene and Protect Your Smart Home Devices

Tech360tv recently visited SATSCO, a Cybersecurity Lab tasked by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) to test the security vulnerability of smart devices. We want to learn more about securing connected devices as hacking and scams involving them have been on the rise.

With so many internet-connected gadgets in our home and many of such products being rushed to market without proper security, it can be difficult to determine which are more secure. Less secure products may lead to privacy breaches and botnet attacks exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities.

Recognising the importance of this issue, the CSA launched the Cyber Labelling Scheme (CLS) and collaborated with Finland and Germany to establish a global cyber security standard for consumer smart devices. They are also in discussions with other countries over combating bad actors.

Asus is one of the first few companies to recognise the importance of the CLS program. They have certified many of their router models through the scheme at Level 2 or higher and aim to certify all their future routers. Kelvin Chia, Director of Product Management at Asus, reiterated that the CLS certification can enhance brand reputation and trust with consumers, businesses and partners. Certification also unlocks opportunities in industries requiring compliance and assurance of secure products.

In order to evaluate the security of these devices, CSA collaborated with security companies such as SATSCO to test the devices' security and to award them a security rating. The certifications are easily spotted on the device's back or bottom, as well as on their outer packaging.

CSA Labelling Scheme

Samuel Mak, Senior Security Analyst at SATSCO, shared about the different levels of Cyber Labeling Scheme (CLS) certification:

  • Level 1 establishes baseline security requirements.

  • Level 2 focuses on enhanced security requirements aligned with international standards.

  • Level 3 evaluates life cycle requirements and final security analysis.

  • Level 4 certification involves black box testing on top of other requirements to mimic real-world usage and identify errors.

Level 4, Black box testing is a type of testing that simulates real-world usage and is beneficial for discovering flaws that code examination alone misses.This time-consuming operation thoroughly assesses all input, including UI menus and login functions. This explains why obtaining a Level 4 certification is such a prized achievement. According to CSA, the majority of ASUS routers passed Level labelling, making them the most secure Wi Fi 6 router brand in Singapore.

Hacking On Router

When tech360tv pressed about the pre-installed apps on devices, Samuel said SATSCO would test the security of those default apps, how they handle information and check for malware or vulnerabilities. This is important as many security issues can arise from pre-installed rather than third-party downloaded apps.

As for devices allowing third-party apps, Samuel noted CLS does not evaluate external apps due to following default configuration guidelines. However, if vulnerabilities are found in pre-installed apps, developers must fix them or explain why they are not a problem.

Good Cyber Hygiene Checklist

Samuel also provided some advice to consumers on how to maintain their cyber hygiene. His top recommendations were:

  • Seek for the CLS mark for guaranteed security

  • Change passwords on a regular basis

  • Update device firmware for improvements

While certification can help, individual cyber hygiene is still crucial for safety.


Content In Partnership with ASUS

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