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FTC and the Internet and Things

The Federal Trade Commission is asking the public to develop a tool that addresses security vulnerabilities in IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

The Internet of Things is the networking of everyday physical objects. The Internet of Things trend will lead to more smart homes, smart appliances, and even smart furniture.

On January 4th, 2017, at the CES conference in Las Vegas, LG announced that from this point on all its premium appliances will come with wifi built in, letting them communicate with each other.

This presents a new danger that goes beyond the current dangers of hacked computers.

“Consumers want these devices to be secure, so we’re asking for creativity from the public – the tinkerers, thinkers and entrepreneurs – to help them keep device software up-to-date,” said Jessica Rich, the director for the Bureau of Consumer Protection on the FTC blog.

The competition is called the “IoT Home Inspector Challenge” and the prize is up to $25,000 with $3,000 available for each honorable mention winner. The deadline for submission is May 22, 2017, at 12:00pm and the winners will be announced around July 27th, 2017.

The FTC has awarded cash prizes for software enhancements in the past. In August 2015, a cash prize was awarded for a mobile app that blocks illegal robo calls.

With the market already stepping into the realm of IoTs, it’s an important step from the FTC to invest in protecting its consumers.

 

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