Sample Architecture Paper on Introduction to Smart Homes

The smart home is a term that refers to modern homes in which different appliances like tv, cooling systems, refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens, and dryers are automated. It also provides many services like water management, gas leakage detection, smoke detection, temperature sensors, electricity reports, and lightening system are automated and are remotely controlled by the owner with a smart mobile phone application. Smart home system uses IoT, image display technology, computer technology and communication technology to connect various facilities through network.

Purpose of Smart Home Devices

  1. Manage All devices from any Place

Smart home architecture Provides the capability of all the home devices connected through on interface. It is the important step to manage home devices.

  1. Flexibility for new devices/appliances

Smart home systems are extremely flexible whenever we need to add some new appliances no matter how your appliances seem today there will be newer developed models in future.

  1. Maximizing Home security

Smart Home systems can connect following security measures like Surveillance Cameras, Automated Door Locks, Motion Detectors etc. You can manage and active them using your mobile phone and can get alerts.

  1. Remote control of home functions

Now a day’s smart home systems provide the ability to manage your home appliances and devices from anywhere from the world using internet.

Current Smart Home Architecture

We realize that indoor communication of appliances and smart network devices uses power fiber optic network interconnection. We get the automatically collected electricity information, analysis and management using the intelligent interactive terminals like smart sockets and appliances etc. Using intelligent interactive terminals, we also achieve the information about smoke detection, anti-theft emergency assistance, gas leak detection, water consumption and other security functions.

 

Following Figure show the Architecture of traditional Smart home Systems

Following appliances are used in current Smart home architecture.

  1. Cameras Track home’s exterior.
  2. Dimmer used to manage brightness of light bulbs.
  3. Video door phones provides video, who is at the door.
  4. Motion sensors sends alert when there is motion around the house.
  5. Door handles can open with fingerprints
  6. Audio systems
  7. Controllers provide the means of activating smart home applications

 

Vulnerabilities in Current Smart Home Systems

Following are the main reasons for vulnerabilities in currents smart home systems

  1. Weak or hardcoded passwords

Use of easily breakable weak passwords, publicly available or unchangeable hardcoded credentials that can grant the unauthorized access to deployed smart home systems.

  1. Direct internet connections

Directly connected devices to internet are the important role in vulnerability of a smart home systems.

  1. Lack of Secure update Mechanisms

Lack of secure update mechanism includes un-encrypted transit of security updates, lack of firmware validation and lack of security changes patch updates.

 

  1. Use of insecure components

Use of insecure software components, libraries, insecure customization of OS and use of third party and insecure software’s are the important role in allowing the devices to be compromised.

  1. Use of insecure data transfer and storage

Unencrypted communication, access control of sensitive data in the smart home systems are the reason for data breech.

 

Potential Mitigations towards above identified Threats

Following steps will help us to mitigate above identified threats in traditional Smart homes architecture.

  1. Use of Changeable and Strong passwords

Use of strong and changeable passwords that are not publicly available can help mitigate the potential threats. Hardcoded passwords are easily compromised. Ability to change hardcoded passwords can help mitigate the unauthorized access.

  1. Use of Firewall

Directly connected devices on the internet can be easily compromised. By using the firewall, unauthorized access can be prevented.

  1. Secure updates

By Validating firmware on devices and applying verified security updates and patches can help us to prevent devices being compromised.

  1. Secure and updated components

Use the secure software’s, components, libraries by secure customization of operating systems platforms and do not use third party software and hardware components.

  1. Secure data transfer and storage

Always use strong encryption methods to transfer data or communication between smart home appliances. Use of encryption methods help us to send encrypted packets rather than plain text.

Improved Architecture of Smart Home Systems

As we have discussed the vulnerabilities in traditional smart home systems and mitigation towards those potential threats identified, we are going to develop an improved security architecture for smart homes.

Following steps will be taken to develop an improved architecture.

  1. Physical Security of devices
  2. Use of Strong passwords
  3. Use of firewall rather than direct connectivity on internet
  4. Secure and authenticated updates
  5. Use of Secure and verified software’s
  6. Use of encryption methods
  7. Use of VPN for remote access
  8. Binding Mac addresses of all devices in DHCP
  9. Apply Network segmentation

Following diagram show an improved architecture with security steps mentioned above.

 

 

Conclusion and Recommendation:

Indeed, life is simpler and easier by installing a variety of home automation systems. Smart home systems serve three main benefits i.e. Simplicity, accessibility, and security. Smart home systems are evolving and becoming more and more advanced. Many appliances are designed to blend with surroundings. There are potential threats and vulnerabilities associated with these appliances. We need to be very careful about the potential threats and mitigate them accordingly.

 

REFERENCES

2020 GLOBAL IOT/ICS RISK REPORT. (n.d.). Retrieved from CyberX: https://cyberx-labs.com/resources/risk-report-2020/?utm_source=google_ads&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=2020_risk_report&utm_term=us_canada&utm_content=iot&utm_medium=ppc&utm_term=iot%20vulnerabilities&utm_campaign=2020+Risk+Report+US+%26+Canada&utm_source=

Paul, F. (2019, Jan 14). Top 10 IoT vulnerabilities. Retrieved from Networkworld: https://www.networkworld.com/article/3332032/top-10-iot-vulnerabilities.html

Smart home conclusion. (n.d.). Retrieved from Smart Home: https://www.smarthome.com/conclusion.html

Stroud, F. (n.d.). What is smart home. Retrieved from webopedia: https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/smart-home.html