Morgan State University Joins Effort to Build a Secure Smart Home

Research to Focus on Privacy and Security of ‘Smart Things’ in the Home 

BALTIMORE — Morgan State University has been selected to join a team of seven academic institutions that will work together on a national research project to increase the security and privacy of high-tech products used in smart homes. The five-year program to develop trustworthy devices and systems in the home is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace Frontiers (SaTC Frontiers), a cross-cutting program to address fundamental scientific challenges related to privacy and cybersecurity.

Morgan students conduct cybersecurity research at the University’s Center for Reverse Engineering and Assured Microelectronics laboratory. (Photo Courtesy of Morgan State University)

The project—Security and Privacy in the Lifecycle of IoT for Consumer Environments (SPLICE)—comes as households expand their reliance on smart products ranging from refrigerators to baby monitors. These devices can share information with each other as well as communicate with services across the internet. SPLICE includes teams from Dartmouth College, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, Tufts University and Morgan. Dartmouth, who serves as the lead institution for the $10 million project award, organized the program team and will coordinate its research and educational activities.

SPLICE Research Team: Front Row (6x): Avi Rubin (Johns Hopkins University), Carl Gunter (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), David Kotz (Dartmouth), Susan Landau (Tufts University), Michel Kornegay (Morgan State University), Tim Pierson (Dartmouth). Back Row (4x): Adam Bates (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Denise Anthony (University of Michigan), Kevin Kornegay (Morgan State University), Michelle Mazurek (University of Maryland). (Photo Courtesy of Morgan State University)
Dr. Kevin Kornegay, principal investigator and director of Morgan’s Cybersecurity Assurance and Policy (CAP) Center. (Photos Courtesy of Morgan State University)

The program will develop technology and design principles related to smart homes. Breakthrough solutions envisioned for the program include:

  • The first-ever toolkit to discover, identify, and locate cooperative and non-cooperative smart devices within a home’s wireless network – allowing residents to have a complete understanding of their home’s technological environment;
  • Tools that move away from the failed “notice and consent” model of privacy management – shifting the privacy burden away from end users, who are ill-equipped to manage an increase in the number of devices and decisions;
  • Identification of privacy issues in smart homes that must be addressed to advance consumer trust – informing the development of best-practice principles for smart homes.

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