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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
2. Direct internet connections
Directly connected devices to internet are the important role in vulnerability of a smart
3. 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.
4. 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
5. 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
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.
2. Use of Firewall
Directly connected devices on the internet can be easily compromised. By using the
firewall, unauthorized access can be prevented.
3. Secure updates
By Validating firmware on devices and applying verified security updates and patches
can help us to prevent devices being compromised.
4. 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.
5. 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.
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