A project to protect the smart home from unwanted guests

A project to protect the smart home from unwanted guests

Promoted by the CNR and financed with European funds, it aims to create safety standards for smart home devices

Ifa 2018 (Getty Images) "Alexa, wake me up tomorrow at 7.00 with Beethoven's ninth symphony ". "Hey Google, call my mom." Home assistants are the most intimate devices we have at home. And it is likely that they know us better than anyone else, because they are able to cross a mountain of data but then, very naturally, also to advise us on the best choices, including purchases.

Comfort, efficiency, hospitality and cuddle. That's the smart home.

Nice, right? Except that it is a castle, yes, but of cards, at risk of cyber attack. Some time ago, Which? of the British Consumers' Association carried out a test with a fake smart home full of connected devices and waited to see what would happen. In one week, the smart home was the victims of 12 thousand cyber attacks.

You will tell me: it's technology, baby! Instead: it depends on the type of technology. Because there are always alternatives. On the occasion of the Internet Festival, which was held a few days ago in Pisa, the Institute of Informatics and Telematics of the National Research Council (Cnr) illustrated the Sifis-Home project, which aims to offer a security for smart home environments. Sifis-Home allows the development of applications capable of detecting and dynamically reacting to cyber attacks and respectful of privacy, thus increasing the control and trust of smart home end users.

The risks for the smart home

The smart home system is an emerging application paradigm that is gaining more and more popularity. According to data from the Politecnico di Milano, the market value of smart home devices in 2021 is 505 million euros (albeit down by 4% compared to the previous year).

"In this market they are still present significant barriers and concerns, mainly related to the IT security of each device and the security within smart home systems, as well as the privacy and integrity of the data produced and consumed, most of which are personal and sensitive ", reports Andrea Saracino, CNR researcher and coordinator of the Sifis Home project: “Many smart home devices use customized and proprietary security solutions that do not take into account interactions with other devices. Furthermore, developers must develop applications that are adaptable to different systems and architectures, and security aspects are often neglected or badly addressed ".

Sifis Home is therefore a full stack security framework for smart home environments, a service with sending data to the cloud only if anonymized. Financed with Horizon 2020 funds, in partnership with Intel, Ericson, Politecnico di Torino, it consists of four development lines: privacy software design and cybersecurity by design; creation of certification mechanisms; promotion of rewarding marketplaces for compliant smart devices; design of a proactive home operating system.

“It is a project that aims to create an alternative system to the predominant one of big tech, with a strong emphasis on security, as well as functionality. Any company producing smart devices that wants to comply with these standards will be able to be certified and awarded on the marketplace ”, Saracino predicts. The rest will have to be done by the market. That is ourselves.

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Cybersecurity Internet Smart home globalData.fldTopic = "Cybersecurity, Internet, Smart home "

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