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Homing on Smart Home Security? Smart!

December 2015 by Marc Jacob

Cyber security for the Smart Home is essential for the security and safety of those living and visiting it. This ENISA study proposes good security practices that enhance the security of Smart Home devices and services.

Currently “Smart Home Environments” complement traditional home appliances with connected devices that collect, exchange and process data to create added-value services and enhance the quality of life of inhabitants.

Emerging Smart Homes’ cyber threats such as malware on Smart TV, remote access to baby monitors etc., underscore the dependence on various technologies. As the security and privacy implications are not always clear to developers and users, they lead to possible consequences on the life, health and safety of inhabitants and visitors alike.

Smart Homes face several challenges: traditional manufacturers develop connected objects with innovative functionalities but there is only a limited investment to ensure their security. The rapid development of Smart Home devices reuses several third-party components (hardware, software and services) while the security implications of these building-blocks remain a difficult aspect.

In this study, ENISA proposes a holistic approach with actionable good practices to secure Smart Home devices and services. These measures seek to protect various types of devices and services found in Smart Homes in the various stages of their lifecycle: in the development, integration and usage and maintenance until end-of-life and recycling or disposal. Examples of good practices include the testing of security functions at the development stage, the secure peering of devices in the Smart Home, and continuous support for security updates.

In relation to Cyber Security for Smart Homes, Prof. Udo Helmbrecht, Executive Director of ENISA, suggests: “Smart Homes evolve at a very fast pace. Integrating connected devices to an existing environment brings new security challenges with implications on the safety of Smart Home inhabitants and visitors. To ensure safety, manufacturers and developers need to secure the entire lifecycle of their products.”

The Smart Home is an important application of the “Internet of Things” (IoT). As IoT security keeps growing in significance, ENISA responds by developing guidelines for several sectors and application areas of IoT (e.g. public transport, smart cars etc.).

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