Just a few months ago, the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), announced new details for Matter, the Foundation for Connected Things in its quest to unify IoT devices and protocols. CSA and Matter are made up of over 100 of the largest companies in the world, including Amazon, Apple, Infineon, NXP, and Kroger, the alliance sets standards for interoperability across IoT devices and tools.
Matter began as the CHIP Project, to develop an industry unifying standard to deliver reliable, seamless, and secure connectivity. Built on the internet protocol (IP), Matter enables communication across all smart home devices and ecosystems, which is a standardized set of IP-based networking technologies, starting with Thread, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet.
Taking market-proven technologies from companies in the industry, and beyond, and applying them to a collaborative and open-source methodology, Matter standards simplify development for manufacturers, and increases compatibility which makes devices easier to use for the consumer.
The Smart Home Concept
The “Smart Home,” is no longer just a concept, but a reality in our everyday, workaday lives. The types of devices we find in our homes and offices that are “Smart” vary. From smart lights to ovens, washing machines, and the smart door lock, 13 billion devices are interconnected digitally, and the numbers are growing rapidly.
Typically, these “Smart Devices” are interconnected to a smartphone or tablet, via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Thread. The resulting access allows devices to be automated, optimized and controlled for functions like temperature, lighting, safety, and entertainment.
Security and Safety
As with all types of devices, things can go wrong, and with connectivity, there can be security issues as well as mechanical or malfunction problems. Some of those security and cyber threats and problems are
- DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks
- Product malfunction through remote control
- Data and privacy breaches
- Intellectual property theft
- Potential human threats, psychical and emotional
The development of best practices for mobile, PC and cloud are being leveraged for IoT is great news for the consumer and manufacturer alike.
- Access Control
- Proven Device Identity
- Device Authenticity
- Secure Communication
Some of the challenges that security best practices face in the smart home can be
- how to provision an identity securely into the smart home device,
- how to keep the device secure in a remote environment,
- how to perform software updates securely,
- how to securely reset a device in the case of
Matter addresses these areas directly, with a standardized set of protocols. It addresses security as a fundamental tenet. It is functional security defined to embody five properties.
- Implementing security with a layered approach, with authentication and attestation for commissioning and protecting every message as well as securing over-the-air firmware updates
- Employs a variety of state-of-the-art security techniques, and relies on cryptographic primitives that are well tested, recognized, and are the standard in security.
- Easy to Use
- Matter security is designed with the device makers and consumers in mind. The core specification comes with examples and test vectors for each functional security aspect. Reference implementations are open-source and found on GitHub repository
- Customers buying Matter devices will not have to think about security, it will be there in full and ready.
- Matter security is designed to protect, detect and recover. With many mechanisms built into Matter definitions, common types of denial of service attacks are prevented. The Matter protocols are defined to be resilient even when devices are sleeping or involved in group communication scenarios.
- Crypto-flexibility is front of mind in Matter scenarios and can be addressed as they happen, or new developments in safety and security are found.
Matter has been developed across many areas of IoT, and the white paper lays out the most important aspects of the standard. Find the whitepaper here
Matter, the Foundation for Connected Things
Connectivity Standards Alliance | csa-iot.org
For the past 8 years, I have been writing about embedded technologies, added to my technical, academic, and medical editorial experience, with companies like Elsevier and Cambridge University Press. I tell people to read what I write, not try to pronounce my last name. I am always available for comments and suggestions you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I promise I will take the time to reach back out to you. I live in the North East with my wonderful family.