Implementing Improved Security And Connectivity For The Smart Home

Why the Matter standard is so important.


The smart home continues to evolve in available functions and complexity as several different connectivity protocols from numerous suppliers target a variety of products for use in smart homes. However, many consumers (71% according to incontrol) acknowledge fear of their personal information being stolen while using smart home products. At the same time, ease of use for user-installed products has often been elusive.

Working collectively, many leading suppliers and potential suppliers have taken the next step to provide improved interoperability to smart home products using the Internet Protocol (IP). Called the Matter standard, the key to the success of these efforts is security.

The Matter standard
To bring the many diverse parties together and solve interconnectivity as well as security issues, the Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly Zigbee Alliance) created the Matter Working Group. The Working Group consists of experts from more than 170 major players, including names like and others.

The goal of Matter is that if a user buys two Matter-certified devices, they will actually work together. By meeting this goal, consumers will have confidence in their purchases and manufacturers will not have to integrate the required capabilities separately for each of the major and even minor players. The process is intended to enable innovation in IP by letting innovators add new aspects on top of the architecture as devices communicate in a standard manner. Since the need exists for security to be common to all of these devices, a common set of security mechanisms should be used everywhere.

The application and network stack in the Matter specification.

Security is an integral part of Matter. In fact, it is a central layer in the Matter architecture that makes sure that all Matter messages are fully protected. By using a layered approach based on IP, Matter enables interoperability across all devices in the home, no matter which network they support: Wi-Fi, Thread, Bluetooth, etc. All different types of devices use the common Matter protocols from the IP layer up to the data model. In the top (application) layer, all the information specific to a particular type of device resides. For a temperature sensor, this is where the temperature reading would be defined. Matter defines standard application layer profiles for different types of devices, for example a window break sensor, thermostat, door lock, and more. Commands such as turn on or turn off also occur in this layer. By standardizing these commands, readings, and settings in the Application layer and then conveying them using standard protocols, Matter enables broad interoperability across devices and systems from different manufacturers.

Matter security
In a smart home, security is essential to prevent hackers from initiating denial of service (DoS) attacks like Mirai and others. Consumers are aware of the potential for these unauthorized access attacks and realize that smart home devices have had security problems. These concerns are a significant impediment to widespread consumer adoption. To address security concerns, Matter includes several protection features such as device attestation, authentication, encryption, and secured firmware updates. For more information about these features, read the Infineon white paper “Matter: Implementing Improved Security and Connectivity for the Smart Home.”

Hardware-based security is especially valuable for Matter. Instead of using passwords, cryptographic keys stored in hardware security provide a more secure approach for keeping the key out of unauthorized hands. Since the key is a large random number, it is nearly impossible to determine what it is.

Secured Interconnectivity
With the development of the Matter specification by the Connectivity Standards Alliance and 100s of key suppliers, the smart home is poised to provide unprecedented connectivity and security and overcome the concerns of yet-to-be-convinced buyers. With open source standards for connectivity and security and Infineon Technologies’ products to implement them, smart home products and other smart (factory, city and more) concepts can be easily and securely added to users’ networks to improve their lives.

Infineon’s leadership role in Matter is based on years of experience in providing easy to implement and strong security measures for IoT security as a leading supplier of hardware needed to build secured IoT products. The company has contributed code to the open-source implementation, text to the specifications, and capabilities beyond security. These capabilities include communication ICs, IoT processors and memory products that add to the well-established security capability and provide complete system solutions.

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