Preventing cyber attacks on smart buildings

Tuesday, 14 December, 2021

Preventing cyber attacks on smart buildings

Smart building installations — including those based on KNX — are increasingly becoming the subject of cyber attacks.

Areas where vulnerabilities arise, and ways to keep installations secure, include:

  • If an installation is linked to the internet, the use of a VPN tunnel to access it via the internet is an absolute must. When using a KNX secure tunnelling interface, be sure to use the strong passwords suggested by ETS and do not replace them with personal, weak ones.
  • Special attention should go to installations in public areas, ie, where persons are able to wander around without any surveillance. Any wired automation system in this environment could be vulnerable to attack.
  • Installations using wireless communication are the number one attack target, as communication between devices is completely out in the open, compared to when devices communicate over a dedicated wire. Use of KNX Secure on this medium is therefore highly recommended.
  • If you have a KNX IP Backbone and other IP networks, use a VLAN separation and allow communication between the KNX IP network and other networks only via a suitable firewall.

These cyber attacks can be easily avoided in the case of KNX installations by ensuring the installation is never directly (without a VPN) accessible via the internet.

Following heavy investments from both the KNX members and KNX Association, last year and this year tangible KNX Secure products have become available. All of these products were submitted to the stringent KNX certification process, during which their conformity to AES128 authentication and encryption mechanisms were put to the test. Together with ETS, this allows the installer/integrator to now evaluate in which cases the use of KNX Secure products bring added value to the KNX installation.

The KNX Secure guide and KNX Secure checklist provide tips for ensuring a higher security in KNX installations. This checklist has been designed to make sure that people are not trying to take advantage of possible security loopholes in installations.

Image credit: © Sova

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