Since computers first became publicly available, there was a risk of getting a virus or being a victim of a cyber attack. Even now, every unprotected computer is prone to being hacked, making online security an important topic. The same thing applies to your smart home system - if it’s unprotected, it’s prone to being accessed by villains and scoundrels. Because of the importance of this topic, many smart home networks already come with a security system. In this article, we will talk about S2 Security, Z-wave’s way of keeping your smart devices secure.
Security 2 - A Brief Introduction
Security for the smart home has two main components; security to avoid local intrusion and security from the broad internet into your home. Z-wave has enjoyed a reputation of Best in Class Security since 2007, making it the most popular technology to be paired with smart door locks. Continuing this tradition, Z-wave has introduced Security 2 (S2 for short), making your smart home network even more secure.
Having a secure door may seem more important than having your network properly protected, but Z-wave technology takes both very seriously. If someone unauthorized enters your smart home network, they’re able to do all sorts of nasty things. Such security breaches can easily result in you being spied on, which can only lead to unpleasant things. Uninvited guests in your network can also simply control your devices, without you knowing. Imagine relaxing in your living room, when all your smart devices suddenly come to life. This is usually a scene from a horror movie, but possibly also a reality for smart homes with poor security.
7 Features That Make S2 Incredibly Secure and Practical
Now we know just how important is having a secure smart home network. Here are 7 reasons, that make Security 2 fit for this task:
- Z-wave slave library - implementing security protocol used to be the domain of the device developer. Now, security has been moved into the protocol for the end devices using the Z-wave slave library. This makes the software developer’s task of implementing the security protocol very easy.
- Z-wave for IP - this technology enables seamless Z-wave communication on IPv4 and IPv6 networks as part of the Z/IP gateway software. This feature further expands this protocol’s interoperability, making it compatible with IP networks.
- IoT cloud solutions - Z-wave over IP enables tunneling of all the data using a secure TLS 1.1 tunnel. This ensures connectivity over IP networks while keeping your data and network safe.
- Separating devices into groups - this feature separates devices into groups, and assigns each group with its own key. This enables access devices, such as door locks, to be in a separate key “silo” for increased security.
- Pairing devices - when pairing a new device into the network, you need to input the device’s PIN or QR code. With this feature, you always know which devices are included in your network, making it impossible for others to add unwanted devices. The only exception is controller devices, which don’t offer any input option.
- Compatibility - as other Z-wave functions, Security 2 is also backward compatible, enabling you to include older, pre-S2 devices into your network
- Single-frame transmission - with older, pre-S2 devices, using security resulted in increased latency and power consumption. Security 2 offers improved battery life, higher reliability, and lower latency by using single-frame transmission instead of the previous three-frame process
Encryption Protocol For Security 2
Having all the above-listed features would still mean nothing without a proper encryption protocol. Z-Wave's S2 security utilizes asymmetric key exchange, an industry-standard also used by other secure protocols, such as VPN networks. This is a cryptographic system that uses keys in pairs: public keys, which can be spread widely, and private keys, which are only known to the owner. Effective security therefore only requires keeping the private key private. Public key can be distributed openly, without compromising security. In such a system, anyone can encrypt their message using the public key. But the encrypted message can only be decrypted using the recipient’s private key. In short, asymmetric key exchange is a robust, verified and therefore trustworthy system.
To summarize, Security 2 is another feature that makes Z-wave an outstanding home automation protocol. It is already integrated, which is a huge bonus for device manufacturers as well as end-users. It is secure, robust, and includes all the features most of you would ever need.