Smart Buildings And Network Security

Smart buildings, which use building automation systems (BAS) to put air temperature, lighting and security on a common network, are popping up on college campuses and in the corporate world:

  • Kenmark Group (a real estate firm in San Francisco) has created an operations center that centrally monitors multiple office buildings using a web portal.
  • Panasonic corporate headquarters is replacing wall-mounted thermostats with virtual thermostats controlled by PCs.
  • Toronto's Pearson International Airport is tying a flight information database to heating, lighting and air conditioning systems at each gate in order to restrict energy use to those periods when gate areas are occupied.
These buildings are converging with traditional IT infrastructure to improve efficiency and real-time control. Building managers are demanding that control systems be integrated into IT networks; the network of sensors and controllers are to be linked into other IT applications.


(LONTalk or BACnet use Ethernet and TCP/IP)

However, sharing the IP backbone raises security concerns among network admins. Yale is trying to address these concerns in a project that consolidates its BAS for 210 campus buildings. They've created an isolated, parallel network protected by firewalls and uses nonroutable IP addresses to keep data off the Internet.

Jerry Hill, director of systems engineering at Yale, says security is paramount. "We don't want a student to hack into our building management systems just because they can," he says.

Security problems show up at every level, due to the lack of standards in the industry. Manufacturers have little concept of directory-enabled security. In some buildings, you can access front door locks through the BAS systems. "Security is a very serious matter," says Mark Kendall, CEO of Kenmark Group.

Science fiction authors have already "tested" building security systems in their imaginations - and the systems often fail. Here's an account that would probably scare the wits out of many systems and building managers from William Gibson's 1984 novel Neuromancer. The technologically savvy Panther Moderns are helping Case and Molly break into the Sense/Net corporate headquarters:

Case ... had only a vague idea of what the Panther Moderns planned as a diversion for the Sense/Net security people. His job was to make sure the intrusion program he'd written would link with the Sense/Net systems when Molly needed it to...

The Sense/Net ice had accepted his entry as a routine transfer from the consortium's Los Angeles complex. He was inside. Behind him, viral subprograms peeled off, meshing with the gate's code fabric, ready to deflect the real Los Angeles data when it arrived...

Nine Moderns, scattered along two hundred miles of the Sprawl, had simultaneously dialed MAX EMERG from pay phones. Each Modern delivered a short set speech, hung up, and drifted out into the night, peeling off surgical gloves. Nine different police departments and public security agencies were absorbing the information that an obscure subsect of militant Christian fundamentalists had just taken credit for having introduced clinical levels of an outlawed psychoactive agent known as Blue Nine into the ventilation system of the Sense/Net Pyramid. Blue Nine, known in California as Grievous Angel, had been shown to produce acute paranoia and homicidal psychosis in eighty-five percent of experimental subjects...

The Panther Moderns allowed four minutes for their first move to take effect, then injected a second carefully prepared dose of misinformation. This time, they shot it directly into the Sense/Net building's internal video system. At 12:04:03, every screen in the building strobed for eighteen seconds in a frequency that produced seizures in a susceptible segment of Sense/Net employees...

At 12:05:00, the mirror-sheathed nexus of the Sense/Net consortium held just over three thousand employees. At five minutes after midnight, as the Moderns' message ended in a flare of white screen, the Sense/Net Pyramid screamed...

Smart buildings with interlinked systems will be the norm in coming years; hopefully, building security won't get lost due to competing standards - or a lack of awareness of how networked systems can be used against their owners. Read more at The Rise of Smart Buildings. See more technovelgy from Neuromancer; thanks to Roland for the tip on the story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/25/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Living Space ")

Seasteading Floating Cities
'It was a remarkable island, circular, about half a kilometer in diameter.' - Otfrid von Hanstein, 1930.

Aequoreas Floating Village 3D Printed From Ocean Junk
'... the Floating Island chain of independent international corporate entities.' - Larry Niven, 2000.

PassivDom 3D Printed House - What If You Could Live Anywhere?
'The houses are prefabricated units...' - Clifford Simak, 1952.

Rosemont Hotel Dubai Has Lobby Rainforest
'The braided waterfalls and hanging gardens that spilled down the arcology's levels..' - Paolo Bacigalupi, 2015.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.

Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'

NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.

Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'

Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'

Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.

Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?

Elon Musk Fears A 'Fleet-Wide Hack' Of Autonomous Vehicles
'Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!''

China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'

iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.

Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.

RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.