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Smart home cybersecurity manifesto
Consequently, CONTEXT has launched a smart home manifesto targeting the security of the home dividing it into three different categories: data security, data policy and consumer support.
The document was put together with input from companies and institutions including Deutsche Telekom, Nottingham University, Intel, D-Link and Dixons Carphone.
Simon explained that the company was trying to address the whole ecosystem, including government, retailers, manufactures and academics, and particularly create a dialogue between retailers and manufacturers.
"The question is: who ultimately is responsible if faulty goods allow privacy to be assaulted? The industry has to work very closely together to make something happen on it.
"We have one controversial thing in the manifesto that not everyone will agree with, which is ‘all data in the home should be encrypted’."
Data encryption falls under the data security vertical of the manifesto. In the same category the firm said that first, the smart home must be secure by design and security cannot be added as an afterthought.
Secondly, the smart home must be able to authenticate all users, and thirdly, all data flows through the smart home must be encrypted.
As a last key point in data security, the firm said that more must be done to ensure end-to-end security, as devices communicate to the cloud and data centres.
Moving on, Simon set the data policy aspect, "probably one of the most important things in the manifesto".
"First, companies must adopt transparent data policies. It must be made explicitly clear what personal data is collected and what that data is then used for. Consumers must be told if any company sells their data to marketers or any other third party.
"We think that is the core of it. In the same way you give permission for data to be used in many different applications, that is the type of thing we think should be the case. Transparency. This is what consumers would like and what they should expect."
As a second principle in data policy, the manifesto says that all smart homes must offer the same level of privacy as homes do now. "That means when the doors are closed, and the curtains pulled down, no company or person should expect to be able to access any activity of the home owner."
Lastly, in the consumer support space, the manifesto says that all smart home devices must be accessible and understandable for all users, regardless of technical power. The end-user should never be blamed for a security vulnerability that arises in the installation or the running of a product or service.
As a last note, CONTEXT states that all devices and services must launch with lifetime support, with regular updates and on-going support for the consumer for as long as the product or service is live.
Simon said: "Security needs to be provided since the item is designed until the item is disposed."
Nonetheless, while the industry still needs to work around security, mass adoption of smart home technology will most likely not come from the general public buying products, but from developers and contractors.
Selling smart home devices to developers and constructors would get a lot of IoT technology out there and would indeed start a revolution in the building sector making smart home technology the norm. As a consequence, knowledge around smart home technology would rise allied with the desire to own smart products.
Simon said: "There is a big opportunity there. Manufacturers are targeting the opportunity. There is a smart buildings opportunity, which is a B2B opportunity, which sits in parallel with the smart home opportunity."