30 December 2020 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , News Media , Security

Smart home hubs and Wi-Fi routers from local brands Aztech, HomeAuto Solutions and Prolink are the first technology products to carry cyber-security labels similar to the energy-efficiency labels on home appliances.

Sold on e-commerce platforms such as Lazada and Shopee, four products from these three brands have been given the Level 1 rating under the Cybersecurity Labelling Scheme (CLS), which is aimed at helping buyers gauge how exposed they are to risks.

The Level 1 rating means the device maker has ensured that there is a unique default password and that software updates are automatically pushed to the products. The CLS - a voluntary tiered rating system administered by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) - was launched in October.

Checks by The Straits Times found that the prices of the four CLS-labelled products are comparable to those of non-labelled counterparts. For instance, a single unit of the labelled Wi-Fi router from Prolink costs $150, while one unlabelled Wi-Fi router from TP-Link's Deco X20 line is priced at $149.

Experts have, however, said that labelled products could cost markedly more - such as when, for a higher rating, a manufacturer sends its product to an external laboratory to test its resistance to cyber attacks. This is because complying with the requirements for higher ratings involve "significant effort and resources", said Associate Professor Goh Khim Yong from the National University of Singapore's School of Computing.

While some consumers said they would be willing to pay a small premium for a more secure product, most indicated that they would prioritise other factors such as user-friendliness and reliability over cyber security.

The Straits Times, 29 December 2020