Sigma Designs beefs up IoT security measures for the Smart Home

Company claims new Z-Wave SDK with Security 2 framework eliminates common ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks and is virtually unhackable

Sigma Designs beefs up IoT security measures for the Smart Home

Sigma Designs announced details of a new Z-Wave Security 2 (S2) framework available in the Version 6.7 software development kit for Smart Homes. Sigma, a provider of intelligent system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for Smart TV and Internet of Things (IoT), said the security measures in S2 will provide the most advanced security for smart home devices and controllers, gateways and hubs in the market today.

Gartner predicts 21 billion IoT devices will be in the market by 2020 and the burgeoning IoT market will be sensitive to security as the sheer number of connected devices means more attack vectors and more possibilities for hackers. According to Parks Associates, 40% of consumers are concerned with the safety and security of their smart home devices, especially door locks and access control systems.

Z-Wave has long featured a robust AES 128 encryption, adopted by all major residential lock manufacturers and virtually all monitored security companies in the US. Z-Wave's new S2 framework takes security to new levels of impenetrability by securing communication not just locally for home-based devices, but also in the gateway which is accessed from the cloud, Sigma claimed.

The company asserted that Z-Wave completely removes the vulnerability of the network during inclusion by requiring a QR code or a pin-code on the device itself. With S2, attacks such as man in the middle and brute force are rendered powerless by the implementation of industry-wide accepted secure key exchange using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH).

For customers implementing IoT Cloud solutions and connecting Z-Wave to the other IP devices, the Z/IP Gateway enables tunnelling all Z/IP traffic through a secure TLS 1.1 tunnel, eliminating cloud vulnerability.

"With leading market share in smart security panels and over 50 million devices in the IoT market today, we felt we had a responsibility to put extensive resources into arming Z-Wave devices with the most secure communication framework possible," said Raoul Wijgergangs, vice president Z-Wave IoT business unit at Sigma Designs. "The need for technology providers to take a leadership role in IoT security exists in a big way, and Sigma is embracing that role."

Key features of Z-Wave security:

• Strong AES 128
• Industry-wide accepted secure key exchange using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH)
• Authenticated deployments removes "man-in-the-middle" attack vector
• Tunneling all Z/IP traffic through a secure TLS 1.1 tunnel eliminates cloud vulnerability

In addition to the added security, the new 6.7 SDK also optimises battery life, improves reliability and reduces latency by using a single command structure replacing the previous 3-step process.

As with all upgrades to the Z-Wave protocol, it will be backwards compatible with every device in the existing Z-Wave ecosystem, allowing all earlier protocol versions to act as repeaters in the network.

"In addition to our internal work, we have submitted the S2 framework to the rigorous scrutiny of third party security advisors and we will continue to invite ongoing challenges," continued Wijgergangs, vice president Z-Wave IoT business unit at Sigma Designs.

"The combination of rock-solid interoperable technology with world class security will continue to remove barriers and encourage adoption in this growing IoT environment."

The new SDK will be available in Beta in February.

 

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