“U.S. Cyber Trust Mark” Label to Impact Appliance Sector

July 19, 2023

The Biden-Harris Administration has announced a cybersecurity certification and labeling program to help Americans more easily choose smart devices that are safer and less vulnerable to cyberattacks. The new “U.S. Cyber Trust Mark” program proposed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel would raise the bar for cybersecurity across common devices, including smart refrigerators, smart microwaves, smart televisions, smart climate control systems, smart fitness trackers and more.

Several major appliance, electronics and consumer product manufacturers, retailers and trade associations have made voluntary commitments to increase cybersecurity for the products they sell. Manufacturers and retailers announcing support and commitments to further the program include Amazon, Best Buy, Google, LG Electronics U.S.A., Logitech, and Samsung Electronics. Under the proposed new program, consumers would see a newly created “U.S. Cyber Trust Mark” in the form of a distinct shield logo applied to products meeting established cybersecurity criteria. The goal of the program is to provide tools for consumers to make informed decisions about the relative security of products they choose to bring into their homes.

“Smart devices make our lives easier and more efficient – from allowing us to check who is at the front door when we’re away to helping us keep tabs on our health, remotely adjust the thermostat to save energy, work from home more efficiently and much more,” said Rosenworcel. “But increased interconnection also brings increased security and privacy risks. 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. This voluntary program, which would build on work by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, industry and researchers, would raise awareness of cybersecurity by helping consumers make smart choices about the devices they bring into their homes, just like the Energy Star program did when it was created to bring attention to energy-efficient appliances and encourage more companies to produce them in the marketplace.”

Thomas Yoon, president and CEO of LG Electronics North America, said, “LG Electronics USA strongly supports the groundbreaking new U.S. Cyber Trust Mark program, which aligns perfectly with LG’s brand promise: Innovation for a Better Life. Through this voluntary program, manufacturers and consumers will benefit from increased transparency, consumer aware-ness, and informed decision-making.

“By incorporating a digital label with a QR Code, we will be able to deliver comprehensive and up-to-date cybersecurity information to customers, foster interactive engagement, gather valuable analytics, and promote sustainability. The program will help foster a culture of security and interoperability, promote market incentives for manufacturers, and ultimately contribute to a more trustworthy IoT ecosystem.”

Acting under its authorities to regulate wireless communication devices, the FCC is expected to seek public comment on rolling out the proposed voluntary cybersecurity labeling program, which is expected to be up and running in 2024. As proposed, the program would leverage stakeholder-led efforts to certify and label products, based on specific cybersecurity criteria published by the NIST that, for example, requires unique and strong default passwords, data protection, software updates and incident detection capabilities.

—By Leslie Clagett, KBB managing editor

Image: Copy of the logo the FCC filed for a certification mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Courtesy FCC.