The University of Auckland

Project #19: Cyber Secure Smart Homes




With the increasing demand for energy, energy flexibility, energy reliability and green energy, the future of generating and delivering power lies in the smart grid. The smart grid creates a network where smart homes are connected to a range of distributors and consumers thus allowing for a dynamic system that can match fluctuating demand in an efficient and reliable way.  Consequently to allow for this, homes are likely to become smarter themselves. The introduction of new loads such as EVs containing built-in IoT components mean that the landscape for homes is quickly changing into a smarter, more-connected one.

With increased connectivity, there comes increased vulnerability to cyber-attacks. Academic literature has identified many cyber-security challenges in large-scale national infrastructures such as the Smart Grids and Smart Substations, but little research has accompanied smaller, local  household networks. Homes would be the weakest link of future smart grid networks and can act as a backdoor to national IoT infrastructure putting these at risk. Therefore the threat lies much beyond the home, and the avenues cybercriminals can use to attack larger corporations increases substantially with each smart home added to the network. In order to protect a home from such an attack, depending on the architecture of a smart home, security precautions must exist on each level of the seven-layer OSI model for a smart home.

This project seeks to investigate the best way to maximise smart home security. This will include a study on what types of attacks can exist on different levels of the OSI model. The level of security required in a smart home will also be analysed; whether a very resilient security model needs to be utilised analogous to smart substations or whether a lower latency, flexible security system will suffice.



-        Khatoun, R., & Zeadally, S. (2016). Smart cities: Concepts, architectures, research opportunities. Commun. Acm, 59(8), 46-57.

-        Arabo, A. (2015). Cyber security challenges within the connected home ecosystem futures. Procedia Computer Science, 61, 227-232.

-        Ul Rehman, S., & Manickam, S. (2016). A study of smart home environment and its security threats. International Journal of Reliability, Quality and Safety Engineering, 23(03), 1640005.



Research Components

●       Investigate communication models/architectures that can be applied to smart homes and the smart grid network

●       Evaluate cyber-security challenges in large and small scale IoT infrastructure

●       Analyse cybersecurity risks pertaining to different OSI levels

●       Research different protection measures

●       Develop a use-case for demonstration purposes


At least one student to register in Power system electives ELECTENG 731 and ELECTENG 703





Partner department supervisor

Partner department Co-supervisor



Lab allocations have not been finalised