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By Rich Handley

DHS Releases Strategic Principles for Securing Internet of Things

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a document titled "Strategic Principles for Securing the Internet of Things (IoT), Version 1.0." These principles highlight approaches and suggested practices to fortify the security of the IoT, according to the DHS, and will equip stakeholders to make responsible and risk-based security decisions as they design, manufacture and use internet-connected devices and systems.

"The growing dependency on network-connected technologies is outpacing the means to secure them," said Jeh Johnson, the DHS's secretary of homeland security, in a prepared statement. "We increasingly rely on functional networks to advance life-sustaining activities, from self-driving cars to the control systems that deliver water and power to our homes. Securing the Internet of Things has become a matter of homeland security. The guidance we issued today is an important step in equipping companies with useful information so they can make informed security decisions."

The purpose of these principles is to provide stakeholders with tools to comprehensively account for security as they develop, manufacture, implement or use network-connected devices. According to the DHS, these principles represent a first step toward motivating and framing conversations regarding positive measures for security among IoT developers, manufacturers, service providers and the users who purchase and deploy the devices, services and systems.

The principles focus on the following key areas: incorporating security at the design phase, advancing security updates and vulnerability management, building on proven security practices, prioritizing security based on potential impacts, promoting transparency across the IoT ecosystem, and connecting carefully and deliberately.

"Today is a first step," said Robert Silvers, the DHS's assistant secretary for cyber policy, in the prepared statement. "We have a rapidly closing window to ensure security is accounted for at the front end of the Internet of Things phenomenon. These principles will initiate longer-term collaboration between government and industry. Together, we will work to develop solutions to address the resilience of the Internet of Things so that we can continue to benefit from the remarkable innovation that is driving our increasingly connected world."

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