The White House today announced the launch of a new “U.S. Cyber Trust Mark” program, which will label cyber-secure smart devices and help Americans more easily choose devices that are less vulnerable to cyberattacks.

The program, which was first proposed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, will mark products that meet established cybersecurity criteria with a newly created “U.S. Cyber Trust Mark” in the form of a shield logo.

The logo will also feature a QR code that can provide more information on the smart products. Some of these common products include smart fitness trackers, baby monitors, refrigerators, microwaves, televisions, home thermostats, and more.

“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,” the White House said in a press release. “Manufacturers and retailers announcing support and commitments today to further the program include Amazon, Best Buy, Google, LG Electronics U.S.A., Logitech, and Samsung Electronics.”

The new cybersecurity labeling program is expected to be up and running in 2024. The FCC is applying to register a national trademark today with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that would apply to products meeting the cyber criteria.

The program will label products based on cybersecurity criteria published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), such as requiring unique and strong passwords, data protections, software updates, and incident detection capabilities.

NIST said it will also begin work to define cybersecurity requirements for consumer-grade routers, aiming to complete this work by the end of 2023 “to permit the commission to consider use of these requirements to expand the labeling program to cover consumer grade routers.”

“The administration – including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – would support the FCC in educating consumers to look for the new label when making purchasing decisions, and encouraging major U.S. retailers to prioritize labeled products when placing them on the shelf and online,” according to the press release.

Additionally, the Department of Energy announced today a collaborative initiative with National Labs and industry partners to research and develop cybersecurity labeling requirements for smart meters and power inverters.

As for international efforts, the Department of State said it is committed to supporting the FCC and will engage allies to partner “toward harmonizing standards and pursuing mutual recognition of similar labeling efforts.”

“As cyberattacks become more sophisticated and dynamic, cybersecurity labels can provide consumers with clear information about the cybersecurity of smart devices,” said Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) President and CEO Jason Oxman.

“The administration’s new U.S. Cyber Trust Mark will play an important role in equipping consumers with the tools necessary to protect themselves while helping to facilitate greater confidence and trust,” Oxman added. “ITI and our member companies look forward to working with the administration and other stakeholders to promote consumer awareness and foster adoption of the label and advance a safe and resilient Internet of Things (IoT)?ecosystem for all consumers.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.