Apple confirms HomeKit-secured CCTV and router systems

Now we know which smart security and router systems we should use.

Apple, iOS, iOS 13, routers, HomeKit, smart home, security
Apple

Apple has at last confirmed which routers and smart home security systems will support the HomeKit Secure Video and HomeKit-enabled routers systems it introduced in iOS 13.

Safe as houses?

HomeKit Secure Video and HomeKit-enabled routers patch two of the bigger gaps in smart home security coverage: they give users strong control over who can access video captured in your home and provide a welcome additional barrier against hackers and others attempting to break into home networks via the router.

There have been multiple instances in which smart home devices have been poorly protected, and routers are one of the prime targets for hackers.

Apple is attempting to secure these potential vulnerabilities in a way that won't force users to get a degree in network administration to protect their smart homes.

We’ve been waiting for Apple to reveal which devices support both solutions ever since they were announced as part of the company’s WWDC iOS 13 announcements in June.

The video solution ties online video archives to your iCloud address, making it impossible to access those clips unless authorized by your Apple ID, while the router acts as an additional firewall to mask devices on your HomeKit network.

These are the first HomeKit-enabled routers

Apple has confirmed that the first three HomeKit-enabled routers will come from Eero and Linksys.

These are encrypted systems that add an Apple firewall between smart home accessories and your network. 

Linksys has said:

“We are proud of our long-standing relationship with Apple and are thrilled to be adding HomeKit-compatibility to Linksys Intelligent Mesh routers. We share a commitment to delivering technologies that protect user privacy and that is at the core of the Linksys Intelligent Mesh Technology.”

The first HomeKit Secure Video devices

Smart home security systems usually store video data in the cloud, but HomeKit Secure Video security systems store that video data in the iCloud. You can’t access the video unless using a device logged into the same Apple ID, but because of the use of security tokens, the process of using the system is seamless – it recognizes your device and lets you access your data.

The problem this solves is that video stored in the cloud can be hacked, intercepted or (in some cases) sold. By wrapping the clips up with system-level encryption and linking it to your iCloud identity, Apple makes the video unusable by anyone other than you – even the security device manufacturer is unable to access this.

Apple’s website now confirms the following systems will support HomeKit Secure Video:

The Robin ProLine Doorbell also offers support for HomeKit Secure Video.

Up next

Apple’s decision to make smart home security safer on a platform level should pay big benefits to every user. Both domestic and enterprise users will benefit from these security enhancements, particularly as mesh routers (such as those from Linksys) scale up for larger deployments.

The sad truth is that even the biggest manufacturers have made huge errors when it comes to ensuring their products are secure by design.

One way to protect against such problems is to ensure the networks smart devices live on don’t support dodgy data sharing or communications with unknown servers, and that any personal data that is shared is secured at a platform level.

That Apple is attempting to address these complex challenges with solutions that deliver high degrees of security in ways that are usable by consumers who don’t want to learn about the tech is welcome.

After all, most people don’t want to worry about the right way to configure a firewall, or assign a new password to a router – even if they should. This is why the most popular passcodes in the world still seem to be 1,2,3,4, after all.

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Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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