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Fortify your smart home's defence

Posted: 03 Sep 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Fraunhofer FKIE  smart home  botnet  cyber defence  Internet 

The researchers additionally examined the conventional communications standards of building automation, and building upon these, they have developed rules for data traffic. If arriving data do not adhere to these rules, then the communications flow is modified. "The software operates like a firewall with normalisation components," explained Wendzel. All the results that are sent on their way to the systems are tested for plausibility by an "analyser." If the alarm goes off, then the incident is immediately dispatched to the "normaliser." This either blocks the incident in its entirety or modifies it accordingly. The basic research has been concluded successfully. "In the next stage, we want to make the technology production-ready with an industrial firm. In no later than two years, there should be a product on the market," indicated Wendzel.

In their analysis of Botnet attacks, the researchers sketched out definitive threat scenarios for smart homes. "From my perspective, the most compelling issue is monitoring," the cyber defence researcher said. When the attacker hacks into the building operations IT, he or she will learn where the residents or tenants are located and what they are doing, in a worst case scenario. That includes everything, right down to going to the toilet. Intruders, for example, could use this data in order to prepare for a burglary or raid. In this case, the hacker is acting in a passive capacity, simply tapping data. However, he or she could be equally capable of actively invading the systems. Take a contractor from the energy industry, for example. He could profit from more oil or gas sold if the consumption of multiple heating systems is artificially elevated. A recent example demonstrates how real this scenario is: last year, there was a gap in the security system of a heating system connected to the Internet. Attackers had the ability to shut down or damage heaters. Therefore, Wendzel is advising against carelessly linking all building functions in private homes to the Internet.

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