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HOME NEWS Analysis › CONTEXT launches smart home security manifesto

CONTEXT launches smart home security manifesto

by Stuart Wilson, Friday 4 December 2015

With over one third of consumers in the UK, Germany and France now owning a smart home product, and nearly half expecting to be living in a smart home within the next three to five years, privacy and security are now becoming key concerns.

CONTEXT, a leading European IT market analysis company, has worked with the Smart Homes & Building Association (SH&BA) security panel to create a smart home cyber security manifesto focused on three areas: data security, data policy and consumer support.

Adam Simon, global managing director of retail at CONTEXT, said: “We brought together a panel of retail experts at the forefront of the smart home to discuss how we encourage adoption and protect consumers. This manifesto provides the industry with a clear understanding and set of principles for approaching security within the smart home. If device manufacturers and service providers adopt them, consumer trust will grow and adoption of the smart home will accelerate.”

The smart home cyber security manifesto comprises the following recommendations for the industry across its three focus areas:

Data security

1. The smart home must be secure by design – security cannot be added as an afterthought. Products and services must be secure across design, development, promotion and maintenance stages, and throughout the entire supply chain.

2. The smart home must be able to authenticate all users – From knowing your heating preferences, to recommending which movie to watch, it is vital that everyone connected to the home network can be accounted for.

3. All data that flows through the smart home must be encrypted – This is especially true of the personal and financial data of users.

4. More must be done to deliver end-to-end security – As most smart home devices and services will connect through the cloud and other data centres, each step must be secure and not endanger the end-user.

Data policy

5. 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.

6. 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.

Consumer support

7. All smart home devices and services must be accessible and understandable for all users, regardless of technical prowess – The end-user should never be blamed for a security vulnerability that arises in the installation or the running of a product or service.

8. All devices and services must launch with long-term support – This means regular security updates and on-going support must be made available to ensure consumer peace of mind.

Richard Curran, Intel security officer EMEA, commented: “Security and privacy is a fundamental right for everyone. And with the evolution of the smart home and the digital economy, we in the industry, and all those in design, planning and construction, need to ensure that that right is available, affordable and pervasive across the UK. Interoperability across platforms is key from the device to the cloud.”

Jon Carter of Deutsche Telekom’s connected home business unit, added: “Deutsche Telekom is placing immense focus on ensuring its partners’ customers are always in control with regard to what data leaves the four walls of their home. Key to ensuring consumer trust is keeping it simple, and guaranteeing that everything related to data usage is transparent to the consumer.”

Stephen Pattenden, secretary of the SH&BA, stated: “SH&BA is concerned that insecure home systems will cause issues for users and damage the reputation of the market. We want to encourage people to use their smart home and security is key to that. Smart home devices and appliances must be secure by default. This means they should ship with individual IDs and passwords, removing easy to guess generic usernames and passwords that many products now use.”

CONTEXT will host a Smart Channels Summit at DISTREE EMEA 2016, focused on how the European retail channel is evolving to deliver smart technologies, solutions and services to consumers.

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April, 2020

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