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Secure and private connectivity in smart environments

Reference number
Project leader
Papadimitratos, Panagiotis
Start and end dates
Amount granted
33 000 000 SEK
Administrative organization
KTH - Royal Institute of Technology
Research area
Information, Communication and Systems Technology


Wireless networks transform our environments into smart ones: ubiquitous medical services, smart energy production & distribution, automated logistics chains, smart buildings, more effective tactical operations, more efficient and safer transportation. We have every reason to embrace smart environments but without new dangers for the systems and their users. The SURPRISE project provides an advanced yet pragmatic approach for practical security and privacy (S&P) for smart environments: solutions that catalyse a broad set of applications and services, relying on well-understood and rigorously evaluated components that significantly advance the state of the art. We tackle fundamental problems with far-reaching importance and relevance to potentially any smart environment. Our goal is to develop three key S&P enablers: (a) trust management, including identity and credential management for S&P, (b) lean, resilient S&P preserving communication and networking, and (c) data validation and S&P preserving processing. The measurable outputs are: - Designed and analyzed schemes, with implementations, for each work packages – each tightly mapped to our objectives and the leading expertise of the consortium - Pilot demonstration, with its resultant measurements and user experience - Remotely accessible testbed open to the community - Open source components and tools - Education of researchers and students, synergies with industrial partners, top-level publications.

Popular science description

The Internet has already reshaped the ways we live and conduct business. Everyone has information at their fingertips, access to services across the globe, and practically ubiquitous connectivity. Even though sectors were made obsolete, businesses have embraced new technologies. Companies with the highest capitalizations, the highest amount of cash, to put it simply, often exceeding the size of the economy of an entire country, are Internet giants. The same trend now emerges for the physical world, Internet for living and production spaces, measuring everything: our own bodily functions (e.g., when we are in-patients or when we do sports), our homes (e.g., energy consumption, heating, locks, lighting), sophisticated machinery (e.g., robots on the production floor, or tools in a mining field), cars, trucks, trains, and airplanes (e.g., to protect us, making transportation safer, more efficient and thus sustainable). We can, in the end, be surrounded by truly smart environments: not only know about our physical world but have a 24/7 ability to control and make everything more efficient, more comfortable, safer. The question is why have we not yet reaped the benefits promised by smart environments? The answer is simple: we cannot still entrust our lives, our wellbeing, to them. These exciting technologies are still vulnerable to abuse, they may even give new ways for perpetrators (be it the hacker next door, an industrial spy, a radical, a criminal) to disrupt our everyday lives and business. The SURPRISE project comes to address this, securing smart environments, making them resilient to attacks, and protecting the privacy of their users, protecting sensitive information. We take a holistic approach, rather than addressing a slice of the problem or focusing on a specific application. Yet, we are pragmatic and distill three key targets, three cornerstones of security and privacy for smart environments: (a) trust management, making everything and everyone accountable even though we protect privacy, (b) lean and resilient communication, to ensure information can be reached even from low-cost devices with little power, even against powerful disruptions, (c) data validation, storage, and analytics, to ensure we work with and keep safe verified physical-world data without leaking, unnecessarily, valuable information. These three key contributions, this tool-set, is what SURPRISE will deliver to empower any future smart environment designer.