Smart Home Environment: How the Internet of Things Plays Important Role in Security and Privacy of Data


This blog is for those startups and entrepreneurs, who want to develop Internet of Things based app solution. In this blog, we have discussed how the Internet of Things plays an important role in the security and privacy of data when developing smart home environment solution.

A smart home environment is meant to be a small physical world, consisting of different devices, including sensors, actuators, displays and computational elements interacting and exchanging information with users to provide them with automated, customized, and secured services. These types of environments are designed to make life better and secure through information processing, automation and personalized services.

The potential of smart home environments is huge; for example, smart homes are mainly designed for old-age people because such homes are capable of sensing, processing and relaying their important health information and communicating the data through integrated devices and networks to protectors.

Moreover, smart homes can help old-age people to live an independent and better life.

The need for such automated and digital environments is increasing to provide better facilities and improve the quality of life. The best way to improve the quality of life is turning a home environment into a smart home environment, making it a more comfortable place to live.

It also aims to suffice the experience of individuals from every environment by replacing the hazardous work, physical labor and repetitive tasks with automated agents. It has become possible with the emergence of flexible wearable signs sensors and location tags that can track people’s health status.

As the more personal information is collected and communicated in the wireless network, privacy issues become more pronounced that must exploit the full benefits of smart home environments. Generally, security deals with cryptographic techniques used to secure communication channels by ensuring message integrity, confidentiality, authenticity, whereas privacy studies the issues involved in trust and risk associated in the collection, storage, distribution and association of personal data.

In a typical smart home environment, Internet of Things formed by the integration of these electronic elements that are expected to sense, process and transmit data collected from the mixture of different devices, users and computers connected in the environment with a view to responding with personalized services to users. Different sensors might be placed in different locations like offices, apartments and homes to collect users’ information and medical data.

The network is responsible for collecting, distributing and processing vast amounts of private data with other networks, domains or systems (such as the Internet), which will eventually lead to growing concerns of security, privacy and trustworthiness of the network. Before moving ahead, let’s understand what is the Internet of Things?

What is the Internet of Things?

Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical objects like machines, vehicles, home appliances and more. The technology makes use of sensors and APIs to connect and exchange data over the Internet.

Today, it emerged as a reliable option that enhances the quality of life in smart homes by offering differently automated, interactive and comfortable services. The IoT-based solutions allow people and things to be connected anytime and anywhere using any network and service.

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They are “Material objects connected with material objects on the Internet”. To build the IoT-based apps, a wide range of technologies are involved. For example, RFID for location and device identification, improved personal and wide area networking protocols, web technologies, etc.

These technologies help to build a virtual world of things on top of the physical world where things through Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communicate with each other, through humans-to-machine interactions, provide information to humans or take actions on human inputs or act as passive entities to provide data to intelligent entities.

But, what are the security issues of smart home environment and how the Internet of Things can help to develop a safe and secure smart home environment?

Smart Home Environment Security Issues

People living in the smart home environment are increasingly relying on information from wireless networks that are monitoring, collecting and analyzing important data about them, their vital signs, locations, motions, appliance and utility usage, and sending them to caregivers or other authenticated agencies for decision making.

Such private and sensitive data generated by the interactions between various intelligent devices and sensors are communicated to the outside world via other existing network technologies, and possibly the Interment for further processing, analysis and database storage. The integration of such a wide range of devices, networks and different technologies, together with the Internet, leaves no room for neglecting state-of-the-art security issues, architectures, protection and defence mechanisms.

Moreover, the sensing devices are deployed or positioned inaccessible areas to increase security vulnerabilities. The dynamic nature of sensor networks i.e. node and link failures combined with consideration of prioritizing critical data, location and context awareness, and coordination of heterogeneous devices and sensors add to the security challenges. The traditional security threats, attacks and defence mechanisms that exist for wired and other computer and communications networks and even for the Internet also equally apply for wireless networks.

To provide complete security, Internet of Things security must be integrated into every node of the system otherwise an insecure component in the network could be a point of attack and can make the whole system vulnerable. That is why security must succeed in every aspect of the design of IoT application that will require a high level of security. It is obvious that without any protective mechanism, the network could suffer from attacks or malfunctions and it can disrupt the services provided by the network.

When it comes to talking about the security issues in the smart home environment, following are some important security requirements that must be measured to ensure security.

  • Confidentiality: It refers to preventing disclosure of information to unauthorized people, parties or systems. Internet of Things confidentiality secures the network by preventing unauthorized parties from accessing the data generated, e.g., domain-specific information, such as the user identity, positions and other related information transmitted in the network. In other words, an eavesdropper should not be able to extract the content of a confidential message.
  • Integrity: It refers to preventing falsification, modification of data transmitted in the network by unauthorized people or systems. More specifically in the automation system, this applies to information such as sensor values, or control commands. This objective includes defence against information modification via message injection, message reply, and message delay on the network. Violation of integrity may interfere with safety issues, i.e., modified or false data can malfunction and damage control systems and facilities such as communications and security systems, lighting, heating and hydro systems.
  • Freshness: It means data freshness and key freshness. It is concerned with whether the data produced or measured in the system is recent or not. This is very important in the context of the smart home environment since sensors often sense and transmit time-critical data such as someone’s blood-pressure and heart-rates at certain times which bear more significance than other times and should be handled in real-time for ensuring the safety of lives.
  • Availability: It refers to ensuring that unauthorized people or systems cannot deny access system resources to authorized users. For automation systems, this refers to all the IT elements of the home environment including control, safety, utility and entertainment systems as well as the communication systems between these elements and to the outside world. Simply, it means that the availability of services ensures that only authorized entities can access data, services and other available resources when requested.
  • Authenticity: It is related to confining the identity of a system user or entity and mapping of this identity to a system-internal principal (e.g., valid user account) by which this user is known to the system. In other words, authentication distinguishes between legitimate and illegitimate users in a system

So, these are some of the important security requirements that can be taken care by the Internet of Things network to ensure high-level of security. To develop high-end IoT-based solutions and Internet of Things applications, you can consult a leading IoT apps development company, who have already developed Internet of Things solutions for its clients worldwide.

Still puzzled? Have questions or queries in mind related to the Internet of Things? No worries feel free to get in touch with us through our contact us form. Being an experienced IoT apps development company, one of our sales representatives will analyze your requirements and get back to you in less than 48 hours. The consultation won’t cost you any money.

This blog content is written on the base of the research paper that was written by Drushti Desai, who is a sr. quality analyst at Space-O Technologies.

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This page was last edited on October 19th, 2018, at 1:08.

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