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Consumer Reports Launches IoT Cybersecurity 'Nutrition Label'

Stalwart consumer advocacy group says it intends to educate people about cybersecurity and how to choose the safest products.

Consumer Reports (CR) has announced it will expand its advocacy work to help people protect themselves from cyberattacks, thanks to a $5 million grant from Craig Newmark Philanthropies.

The new initiative will scale up its capacity to evaluate a range of cyber threats, including phishing, ransomware, and other malware, as well as how to protect online services and endpoints, such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices and mobile products, from compromise. The imperative to educate consumers on how to choose the most secure solutions is "urgent," the group said in its announcement. 

The new Consumer Reports cybersecurity initiative will include an experimental "nutritional label" to help shoppers understand various products' security and data-collection practices, in addition to free digital tools and the expansion of its existing Security Planner to include personal cybersecurity, the organization said. 

"Today, we know that consumers are increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats, and the tools to secure our data are often complicated, or they don’t even work," said Marta Tellado, DR president and CEO, in an announcement of the new effort to push consumer cybersecurity awareness. "This new initiative will help us educate people so they can better protect themselves, and stand up to demand that industry and government do better.”