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.