4 min

Testing keeps hackers out of your kitchen

75.4 billion home and industrial devices will be connected to internet in 2025. The Internet of Things (IoT) puts the world at bigger risk of hacking, cyber terrorism or just simple malfunction. Testing and certification of devices and standards are of utmost importance to keep our connected devices safe.

Our everyday devices are making life more efficient and more connected than ever before. Our smart refrigerators, ovens, door bells, lighting and cars make things easier. The Internet of Things, the network that enables devices to connect and exchange data, is growing at an unprecedented rate: in 2015, there were 15.4 billion connected devices, and information analytics company IHS predicts this will grow to 75.4 billion by 2025.

Test, certificate and be safer

'The technology has always been there, but today it costs a fraction of what it did just a few years ago to add sensors and include an internet connection to devices. Manufacturers can integrate it into just about anything.' says Dave Robinson of Product Compliance Specialists (PCS), part of Kiwa UK. 'But the more connected we are, the more we could be putting ourselves at risk of hacking, cyber terrorism, or just simple malfunction. Testing and Certification of wireless technology devices keeps users safe by ensuring the radio used to transmit the signal complies with rigorous standards.'

Two IoT disciplines

IoT can be divided in two disciplines: Consumer Products IoT and Industrial IoT. There are some similarities between these disciplines, like the integral chain approach. However, the two disciplines are used in a different way. This implicates the safety requirements differ, for example in severity, when both disciplines are brought into practice. The requirements can be more strict for one application when compared to another:

  • Consumer Products IoT: products or devices which are used by the end consumer. Like a smart doorbell.
  • Industrial IoT: processes which have an industrial purpose. This is for instance a production process of a boiler in which collected data is used to make the process ‘smarter’.

Three main topics for safety in IoT

When looking at safety in IoT we can distinguish three main topics. The vulnerability in smart devices is in most cases caused by unawareness about possible failures during installation of the end-product. There are very specific technical parts which should be applied with relevant expertise and specialization to reach the required safety level.

The three main topics for safety in IoT are:

  • Technology: this is the technical development which provide us the IoT functionalities. Like encryption, radio technology, modulation, building materials etc.
  • Processes: the technology is part of processes that consist of predefined procedures to provide a service to people.
  • Human interaction: the way people use the technology and processes.

Testing IoT safety: standards

Several standards have been developed to ensure product compliance and the user’s safety. Two important examples are:

ETSI EN 303 645

The standard ETSI EN 303 645 contains guidelines for the protection of consumer electronics that are part of the Internet of Things. The standard not only focusses on the smart device itself, but also on sensors and operational parts of the device.

IEC 62443

More and more industrial Automation Control Systems are equipped with components that make use of the internet in a clever way in order to work more efficient and safe. De connection to the internet provides security challenges. This standard takes up these challenges.