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FTC Launches IoT Security Challenge

Due to recently exposed vulnerabilities of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the Federal Trade Commission is launching the IoT Home Inspector Challenge, challenging the public to create a tool that will address security vulnerabilities caused by out-of-date software in IoT devices.

This is the FTC’s fourth government contest under the America Competes Act and the first one addressing IoT issues.

According to the agency, the tool can be a physical device that the consumer adds to his or her home network that would check and install updates for other IoT devices on that home network, an app or cloud-based service or a dashboard or other user interface.

Contestants also have the option of adding features such as those that would address hard-coded, factory default or easy-to-guess passwords.

“Every day American consumers are offered innovative new products and services to make their homes smarter,” said Jessica Rich, director of bureau of consumer protection, FTC. “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.”

An expert panel of five judges will judge the contest, and the agency is offering a cash prize of up to $25,000 for the best technical solution, with up to $3,000 available for up to three honorable mention winners.