Towards the Secure and Privacy-Preserving Design in IoT: A Case Study on Connected Smart Homes

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 11:00
HUM 207
Jianqing Liu

The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is a new paradigm encompassing inter-connected embedded devices, which are expected to provide intelligent monitor and control for applications like energy, transportation, health care and industry automation. However, the coupling of cyber and physical subsystems is worrisome because this bidirectional communication enlarges the fault and threat models for both ends, which breads a vast new range of potential security and privacy problems that do not always show up on the radar of traditional engineers. The cyberattacks often cause devastating consequences, for example, hundreds of thousands of households losing power due to the cyberattack on Ukrainian electric utilities in 2016.

In this talk, I focus on one specific IoT application - the smart home, and investigate the secure and privacy-preserving data transmissions to mitigate one specific cyberattack called traffic analysis attack. In contrary to conventional cryptography-based approaches (e.g., Tor, anonymous routing), we exploit a network of smart homes, called smart community, to obfuscate each smart home’s digital traffic. Specifically, we take the resource constraint of IoT devices into consideration and develop a differential privacy framework to obtain a sound balance between privacy and utility. A secure multi-hop routing protocol is further proposed to achieve source-destination unlinkability against untrusted intermediate devices. We evaluate the effectiveness of our solution based on one community model in Gainesville, FL, and the results demonstrate improved privacy and reduced utility loss compared with other benchmark approaches.


Mr. Jianqing Liu is a PhD candidate of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Florida. Mr. Liu received the B.Eng degree in electrical engineering from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China, in 2013. Mr. Liu’s research interests focus on security and privacy designs in a variety of cyber-physical system applications such as wireless communication systems, vehicular networks, smart homes, etc. He has published 13 technical papers in top-tier journal and conference venues such as IEEE Journal of Selected Areas in Communications, IEEE Internet-of-Things Journal, IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems. Mr. Liu is also the recipient of the Best Paper Award from IEEE International Workshop on Microwave & Millimeter Wave Circuits & System Technology in 2012. From 2014 to 2017, Mr. Liu served as the system administrator in IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology. He also served as the technical program committee (TPC) member in several flagship conferences such as 2018 IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC). ​