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How secure by design appliances can help reduce cybersecurity risks

Digital Interviews 01 Jun 2022

What does it mean for home appliances to be ‘secure by design’? And why is this critical? Michał Zakrzewski, APPLiA Digital and Competitiveness Policy Director, covered this and much more in the fifteenth episode of APPLiA’s digital interviews. 

  • Why is cybersecurity important for the sector and what does it mean for a product to be ‘secure by design’?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity have grown to be an integral part of Europe’s efforts to become a global hub for trustworthy AI, with the ever evolving technological advances. From smart washing machines automatically starting when energy cost is at its lowest to fridges which can track expiration dates and create shopping lists, ensuring the safe use of appliances is  crucial to establishing trust between manufacturers and consumers toward progressing the innovation of the home appliance sector in Europe. To truly inherit the vast affordances AI has to offer it is key to establish a secure and robust cybersecurity system which safeguard against any potential threat to users' information. “If home security systems are disabled by an attacker, this could compromise the safety of the home and of the people who live in it, including possible loss of personal data,” highlighted Zakrzewski. This is where the concept of ‘security by design’ enters into play, ensuring  “the application of security controls already in the development process of the appliance, through the creation of  a layering of defences to protect the device, its information, and its place in the network.” 

  • What is the key concern of the industry as Europe strives towards a digital transition? 

When it comes to enabling  the digital transition, allowing for flexibility on product regulation is of critical importance. The introduction of different, disconnected pieces of legislation addressing cybersecurity  may stagnate technological innovation while ultimately negatively impacting the competitiveness of the industry. ”An immature ecosystem bearing a fragmentation of legislations and standards risks falling short on the security side, while hampering the well-functioning of the Single Market,” warned Zakrzewski. 

  • What would APPLiA like to see in the new policy landscape to address cybersecurity?  

The advent of the Cyber Resilience Act marks  a key point of progression toward ensuring the safety of all applications. In this regard, “the industry  deems it important to introduce a centralised legal reference for product regulation on cybersecurity, via this Act, with an eye to establish a horizontal framework,” respecting New Legislative Framework principles, while also  playing a pivotal role in ensuring legal certainty, cutting business costs, lowering prices for consumers and making EU industries more competitive on the global market. 

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