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Rep. Hurd Wants 'Internet Of Things' Companies To Place Security First

Paul Flahive

Congressman Will Hurd says he doesn't want government regulating things it doesn't understand, and that includes smart devices like internet-connected cameras, thermostats and other gadgets that currently number in the tens of billions globally. 

Hurd was speaking at EPIcenter's Internet of Things Summit, and believes that high-profile security breaches are driving consumers towards more secure devices.

"In an increasingly connected world, the consumer wants to make sure their information is protected. And I think we are seeing a level of sophistication, so I think the market decides this," he said.

Hurd called on manufacturers to think about cyber security first, by planning for software updates, encrypting everything, and never sending out machines with default passwords. 

Last October, in a cyber attack using a massive network of vulnerable smart cameras and other devices with default passwords, criminals were able to overload a large provider of Internet infrastructure. It caused massive outages and knocked popular websites like Netflix, Twitter and Reddit offline.

Hurd says when it comes to dealing with negligent manufacturers he wants to give teeth to current rules like those from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

"What are the consequences to not following those? I don't have all the answers, but this is definitely something we should be looking at and doing hearings on in Congress," he said.

Hurd is the chairman of the Congressional Information Technology subcommittee.

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org