Government funding is being offered to support research into the cyber security of office devices to ensure they are properly protected against hackers.
This covers anything which can connect to the internet, such as printers, cameras, and room booking systems, on which thousands of UK businesses rely.
They’re ‘enterprise Internet of Things devices’, and increase productivity and enable hybrid working. The government is funding new research to uncover vulnerabilities in these commonly used enterprise IoT products and assess their cyber resilience.
Smart devices in the workplace can collect sensitive data which can be accessed by other users, making them an attractive target for cyber criminals to exploit. While devices may have some protections built-in, products with poor cyber security can leave companies using them at risk.
For example, in 2019 Microsoft’s researchers found Russian hackers were compromising conference phones and office printers in organisations across many sectors, though Microsoft was able to successfully block the attacks before they could cause any damage.
The successful bidder will be awarded up to £200,000 to test popular devices and help identify if current security measures and guidance, such as international standards and NCSC device security principles, are robust enough to protect businesses from evolving threats.
Cyber minister Julia Lopez said: “Technology played a pivotal role in keeping British businesses going during the pandemic, helping the pivot to hybrid working and boosting productivity ever since.
“This research will ensure we have the right measures in place to protect our economy and keep our offices and workers safe from cyber security threats.”
The grant is part of the government’s £2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy to protect the UK from cyber threats and grow the digital economy. It supports the UK’s objective to take the lead in the technologies vital to cyber power and secure the Internet of Things and connected technologies used by consumers and enterprises.