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Germany Considering SOHO Router Security Rules

The German Federal Office for Information Security recently published an initial draft of rules for securing SOHO routers, and are now taking comments. These rules aren’t required to sell routers in the country, but manufacturers who abide by them will be able to feature a compliance notice on the packaging (aka they get a sticker).

There are a lot of recommendations to unpack. Many I would hope are table stakes, but maybe it says something that they need to be spelled out.

One interesting rule would require support of WPA2 and to use it by default. This is kind of interesting for new routers, since WPA3, you know, exists and maybe will be more relevant in the years to come. In fact, the draft rules don’t even mention it.

I also love that there needs to be a rule that passwords for users and admins to not include any information about the router model. Or that user passwords have to be changeable. Then again, this may be a hedge against low cost IoT-type routers coming from no-name manufacturers with unalterable firmware. Then again, those kind of devices aren’t going to care about security certification.

There’s an interesting report from ZDNet regarding pushback from the security community against the rules. Two rules were allegedly killed by manufacturers. One was to require an expiration date on firmware that’s visibile to users before purchasing. The second would be requiring manufacturers to allow for third-party firmware installs after their support has reached EOL. It’s not surprising that these were raised by the OpenWrt project.

We’ll see if and how these rules changes once the comment period is up.

Source: German Federal Office for Information Security

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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