On December 15, 2023, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a Secure by Design Alert and guidance on “How Manufacturers Can Protect Customers by Eliminating Default Passwords.”

The guidance was created by CISA to “urge technology manufacturers to proactively eliminate the risk of default password exploitation by implementing principles one and three of the joint guidance, ‘Shifting the Balance of Cybersecurity Risk: Principles and Approaches for Secure by Design Software”:

  • Take ownership of customer security outcomes.
  • Build organizational structure and leadership to achieve these goals.

It is CISA’s conclusion that if software manufacturers implement these two principles, they “will prevent exploitation of static default passwords in their customers’ systems.” Since threat actors are exploiting default passwords, CISA is urging manufacturers to proactively eliminate them so customers can’t use them, and they can’t continue to be exploited. According to CISA, “Years of evidence have demonstrated that relying upon thousands of customers to change their passwords is insufficient, and only concerted action by technology manufacturers will appropriately address severe risks facing critical infrastructure organizations.”

May software developers listen and respond to CISA’s urging to help keep their customers safe from known threats.

Photo of Linn Foster Freedman Linn Foster Freedman

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She is a member of the Business Litigation Group and the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team, and chair’s the firm’s Data Privacy and Security Team. Linn focuses her practice on…

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She is a member of the Business Litigation Group and the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team, and chair’s the firm’s Data Privacy and Security Team. Linn focuses her practice on compliance with all state and federal privacy and security laws and regulations. She counsels a range of public and private clients from industries such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine and charitable organizations, on state and federal data privacy and security investigations, as well as emergency data breach response and mitigation. Linn is an Adjunct Professor of the Practice of Cybersecurity at Brown University and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law.  Prior to joining the firm, Linn served as assistant attorney general and deputy chief of the Civil Division of the Attorney General’s Office for the State of Rhode Island. She earned her J.D. from Loyola University School of Law and her B.A., with honors, in American Studies from Newcomb College of Tulane University. She is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Read her full rc.com bio here.