German experts answer ... How can smart home data be protected?  |  The world

German experts answer … How can smart home data be protected? | The world

Some smart home devices, such as a smartphone or laptop, cannot be easily reset to factory settings and cannot be continuously linked to the first owner’s account, and the company must ensure that it provides appropriate support in these situations.

A smart home is characterized by communication and communication between various systems such as lighting, music system, cameras, thermostats, door locks or lawn mowers or window shutters.

Smartphones and tablets have become a central control unit in smart home systems through a variety of applications.

But the proliferation of smart home networks has led to more information being obtained through these systems, and a question arises for the user about the paths these data take, and how secure are communications on smart home networks?

Tim Brower, of the German technology portal, explains that there are different possibilities for connecting home appliances to networks, and that “bridge technology is often used to control smart home”.

Bridge technology

The technology is a type of distribution device for devices connected to a home network, where the bridge connects one or more smart home appliances to the Internet, and the devices communicate with the bridge in encrypted form, the German expert said. Via smart home standards such as Bluetooth technology or ZigBee (ZigBee) Z-Wave.

Another alternative to connecting smart home devices are pure local area networks, and these systems usually require a router in all cases.

“In this case, the smart home devices are only connected to the home network, and there is no internet connection, and the advantage of these networks is the very high level of privacy and data security, but the disadvantage is the low level of comfort, since the cameras can not be used remotely.

The third alternative to connecting smart home devices is pure cloud computing systems, and George Geiger of the specialized German magazine “Chip” explains, “With this type of smart home network, user data, settings and configuration data are stored on external servers. This applies to Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

To create user settings, he must access the server of the service provider.

The level of data security with these systems is relevant to the user and the company that makes the smart home devices, and Jaiger added, “The user must use data encryption technology in all data flows.” Makes it harder.

Bridge technology is a type of distribution device for devices connected to a home network, in which a bridge connects one or more smart home devices to the Internet (Getty Images)

New communication standard

This situation is expected to change with efforts to improve smart home standards, with the support of all major manufacturers and Internet companies in the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA).

The new Matter connection standard ensures that smart devices can operate on each other regardless of the manufacturer, the CIP for the home that was previously connected via IP. In addition to providing greater security and reliability.

Jaeger adds, “Security on devices depends on firmware or firmware updates, and security holes will appear if these updates are not released regularly.” This can be a problem for older devices when manufacturers stop supporting them and release new updates, but the router must be up-to-date and always protected with a strong password.

In addition, users should rely on international companies and well-known brands because they care more about unknown companies or anonymous products that are scattered around the Amazon and other electronics stores at cheaper prices, and well-known international companies usually provide updates on a regular basis and security updates are automatically downloaded .

On the other hand, companies offering cheaper products are often unclear about the origin of these products and the location of their servers, in addition each service must have a separate password for each account login, and the browser here is advised to use password management programs to help manage the various services and accounts.

Good smart home products allow the user to check and identify changing data. “User data is often transferred in bulk to the manufacturer, but here they may oppose these systems and then intervene to change them,” Jaeger said.

Internet access via the user interface can often be adjusted, and Arnold said that “if the user drops this feature it will definitely increase the quality of security” and that it would be useful to fix this functionality temporarily, such as disabling access. For robot lawn mower through the internet in winter.

The effects of hacking

If device data reaches strangers, there is usually no damage to the home network, and Arnold says, “The manufacturer’s service is often the gateway to malicious software leaks, which hackers rely on to gain access to user data and access to devices. ”The consequences of these attacks are hardware failures and access to user data and password breaches.

Brower suggests that the manual control of smart home devices should be an alternative, for example, manually raising the window shutter by obtaining a traditional key if the smart key fails or if the manufacturer’s server is not accessible. .

The German expert concludes that care and caution should be exercised with particularly used devices, and he justifies that “some smart home devices cannot be easily returned to factory settings such as a smartphone or laptop”, but in the first instance they are taken into account. “In cases like this, it is important to make sure that the company provides appropriate support in these situations.

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