Gamgee and Yissum tackle smart home authentication

  • April 26, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Amsterdam smart home company Gamgee, and Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, are developing machine-learning algorithms that enable seamless identification of multi-vendor IoT devices to help protect and integrate diverse systems.

The two parties aim to develop a technology that overcomes mac address randomisation for identification purposes while maintaining high standards of data privacy.

The ability to identify and authenticate devices on the home network is the cornerstone for the smooth and secure operation of smart home networks. As the complexity of the digital ecosystem at home grows, quality identification and authentication of devices is fundamental for assuring full protection and easy management of the network and improving the digital user experience.

While previously the industry relied on mac addresses for identification and authentication purposes, this has been hampered by forced randomisation of mac addresses pursued by several tech companies.

“The supposed goal of the randomisation of the digital identity of connected smart devices is to improve data privacy,” said Shaul Levi, chief innovation officer of Gamgee. “However, randomising a few smart devices has practical implications for the other IoT devices and wifi network in the home. It restrains the quality of digital services, impedes inter-device operability and, paradoxically, impairs cyber security. Due to the randomisation, other vendor appliances – such as light bulbs, speakers or cameras – would remain unidentified and unverified, turning them into a potential gateway for illicit users to the otherwise protected smart home environment.”

David Hay, head of the Federmann Cyber Security Research Center, and his team at Hebrew University’s Selim & Rachel Benin School of Computer Science & Engineering, will be collaborating with Gamgee to help solve the problem of security for IoT devices.

“Gamgee, along with the researchers of Hebrew University, are developing AI-driven lightweight algorithms that are able to identify, authenticate and protect all connected devices on the home network, regardless of the type of device or the vendor,” said Levi. “Through this collaboration we envision a world where consumers enjoy complete, integrated, multi-vendor interoperable smart home networks that do not leave in doubt the privacy and protection of consumers’ data.”

Itzik Goldwaser, CEO of Yissum, added: “We’re very pleased to have been able to connect Gamgee with Professor David Hay and to facilitate a collaboration that can be mutually beneficial. We were able to find a way for a midsize company to be able to enjoy the technological edge of academic research and reap the economic advantages of such a collaboration. We look forward to facilitating similar collaborations in the future.”

Gamgee is an Amsterdam-based team of software developers and smart home specialists that develop and design technology for consumer smart homes. With its hardware-independent smart home and wifi management system, Gamgee says it can boost the digital experience of users at home by offering plenty of dependable smart services such as parental controls, cyber security and management of the network, users and devices. Gamgee works with broadband service providers and hardware vendors to optimise and enhance their offering.

Yissum is the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Founded in 1964, it is one of the oldest and most successful tech transfer companies worldwide. Yissum serves as a bridge between academic Hebrew University research and a global community of entrepreneurs, investors and industry organisations in need of innovative products. Yissum has registered over 10,750 patents globally, licensed over 1050 technologies and has spun out more than 170 companies. Its business partners include companies such as Elbit, Johnson & Johnson, Intel, Google and Teva.