Dartmouth to Lead National Effort to Make Smart Homes Secure

Dartmouth has been selected by the National Science Foundation to lead a $10 million national research program aimed at improving security and privacy in homes that use smart devices.

The project—Security and Privacy in the Lifecycle of IoT for Consumer Environments (SPLICE)—will develop tools and approaches that increase user trust in smart products in support of the growing smart-home industry.

For the five-year program, Dartmouth will work with research teams from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, Morgan State University, and Tufts University. More than half of the principal investigators leading SPLICE are from groups underrepresented in computing.

"Home is a place where people need to feel safe from prying eyes," says David Kotz, the International Paper Professor of Computer Science and the lead principle investigator for the project. "Through this leadership position, Dartmouth will be at the center of efforts that could impact households around the country—and the world—for generations to come."

As many as half of all residences in the U.S.—including single-family homes, apartments, hotels, and assisted-living facilities—could have at least one smart device within the next five years. Many such products can increase energy efficiency or assist those with disabilities, but faulty configuration or poor design can raise the risk of harm to people and property. Devices with cameras and microphones, for example, could be exploited by individuals who want to break into a home or steal personal information.

"The technology in the average home today is radically different from even a decade ago and is likely to change even more rapidly in the coming years," says Kotz, a faculty member with Dartmouth's Institute for Security, Technology, and Society (ISTS).

The program will study the needs of residents, landlords, guests, and workers who might have different privacy requirements within the same properties. Dartmouth will receive about half of the NSF award to coordinate the project's activities and to conduct its own research.

The project will also develop programs for students, junior researchers, and community members with the aim of encouraging more people from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in computing.

For more information about this exciting research program click the links below:

NSF Announcement
Dartmouth Announcement
SPLICE Announcement Post
SPLICE Homepage