Up to £200,000 available to test security of smart devices used by nearly all UK businesses

F.P. Report

LONDON: New funding will assess cyber security of office products connected to the internet such as smart printers and room booking systems

Organisations can now apply for funding to support research into the cyber security of office devices which can connect to the internet, such as printers, cameras, and room booking systems, to ensure they are properly protected against hackers.

Thousands of UK businesses rely on these products, known as enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) devices, to increase productivity and enable hybrid working. The government is funding new research to uncover vulnerabilities in these commonly used enterprise IoT products and assess the cyber resilience of these devices.

Smart devices in the workplace can collect sensitive data which can be accessed by other users, making them an attractive target for cyber criminals to exploit. While devices may have some protections built-in, products with poor cyber security can leave companies using them at risk.

For example, in 2019 Microsoft’s researchers found Russian hackers were compromising conference phones and office printers in organisations across many sectors, though Microsoft was able to successfully block the attacks before they could cause any damage.

The successful bidder will be awarded up to £200,000 to test popular devices and help identify if current security measures and guidance, such as international standards and NCSC device security principles, are robust enough to protect businesses from evolving threats.

Cyber minister Julia Lopez said:

Technology played a pivotal role in keeping British businesses going during the pandemic, helping the pivot to hybrid working and boosting productivity ever since.

This research will ensure we have the right measures in place to protect our economy and keep our offices and workers safe from cyber security threats.

The grant is part of the government’s £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy to protect the UK from cyber threats and grow the digital economy. It supports the UK’s objective to take the lead in the technologies vital to cyber power and secure the Internet of Things and connected technologies used by consumers and enterprises.

This work complements the Product Security and Telecommunications infrastructure bill (PSTI) going through parliament which strengthens the cyber resilience of consumer IoT devices, such as smart speakers and smart TVs.