Discovering and understanding the security hazards in the interactions between IoT devices, mobile apps, and clouds on smart home platforms

Wei Zhou, Yan Jia, Yao Yao, Lipeng Zhu, Le Guan, Yuhang Mao, Peng Liu, Yuqing Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

A smart home connects tens of home devices to the Internet, where an IoT cloud runs various home automation applications. While bringing unprecedented convenience and accessibility, it also introduces various security hazards to users. Prior research studied smart home security from several aspects. However, we found that the complexity of the interactions among the participating entities (i.e., devices, IoT clouds, and mobile apps) has not yet been systematically investigated. In this work, we conducted an in-depth analysis of five widely-used smart home platforms. Combining firmware analysis, network traffic interception, and black-box testing, we reverse-engineered the details of the interactions among the participating entities. Based on the details, we inferred three legitimate state transition diagrams for the three entities, respectively. Using these state machines as a reference model, we identified a set of unexpected state transitions. To confirm and trigger the unexpected state transitions, we implemented a set of phantom devices to mimic a real device. By instructing the phantom devices to intervene in the normal entity-entity interactions, we have discovered several new vulnerabilities and a spectrum of attacks against real-world smart home platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 28th USENIX Security Symposium
PublisherUSENIX Association
Pages1133-1150
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781939133069
StatePublished - 2019
Event28th USENIX Security Symposium - Santa Clara, United States
Duration: Aug 14 2019Aug 16 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 28th USENIX Security Symposium

Conference

Conference28th USENIX Security Symposium
CountryUnited States
CitySanta Clara
Period8/14/198/16/19

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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  • Cite this

    Zhou, W., Jia, Y., Yao, Y., Zhu, L., Guan, L., Mao, Y., Liu, P., & Zhang, Y. (2019). Discovering and understanding the security hazards in the interactions between IoT devices, mobile apps, and clouds on smart home platforms. In Proceedings of the 28th USENIX Security Symposium (pp. 1133-1150). (Proceedings of the 28th USENIX Security Symposium). USENIX Association.