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Picking Secure Smart Devices May Get Easier With New FCC Label

A new logo may make it easier to spot smart TVs, speakers and other devices that meet cybersecurity standards.

Jessica Rendall Wellness Writer
Jessica is a writer on the Wellness team with a focus on health news. Before CNET, she worked in local journalism covering public health issues, business and music.
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Jessica Rendall
2 min read

Shopping for a new smart home device may feel a little more secure in the future, if a proposal announced Tuesday by the Federal Communications Commission goes into effect. 

A red and blue image of the Cyber Trust Mark logo

According to the proposed program (PDF), which is expected to be accepted, internet-enabled smart devices (think the Amazon Echo, Google Nest and beyond) that meet the FCC's security standards will bear a US Cyber Trust Mark -- a logo of a shield that consumers can look for before they buy. It'll also sit alongside a QR code, so you can scan for more information. 

To get one of those labels, companies and products would have to meet cybersecurity criteria as laid out by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, according to a White House press release. This includes criteria around things like data protection, default passwords, software updates and incident detection capabilities.

The pending label and program behind it will "raise the bar" for cybersecurity in the home, the Biden-Harris administration said in the release. The FCC described it as working similarly to how the Energy Star program labels appliances that are more energy efficient.

"Increased interconnection also brings increased security and privacy risks," FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in the commission's announcement. "Today I am proposing that the FCC establish a new cybersecurity labeling program so that consumers will know when devices meet widely accepted security standards." 

Read more: Amazon to Pay $30M for Ring and Alexa Privacy Violations

An image of the US Cyber Trust Mark in blue, yellow and green gradient

What devices might get a label? 

The US Cyber Trust Mark Program isn't yet in effect, so no exact details are set in stone right now. But, according to the White House, a full sweep of smart devices would be eligible for a label, including but not limited to: 

Per the White House, major companies that make these devices have expressed support, including Amazon, Google, Samsung, Logitech and more.

When will the proposal go into effect? 

It's not clear right now when the label will be rolled out at a consumer level. 

The FCC said that the program could be "up and running by late 2024." But before it goes into effect, the Commission will have to officially vote it in, with a public comment period to follow. 

The FCC is applying Tuesday to have its label registered as a national trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Read more: Home Security Cheat Sheet: Our Best Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe