CableLabs security chiefs: With DOCSIS 3.1 security nailed down, challenge moves to locking down home Wi-Fi environment

CableLabs has established an effective security protocol for its DOCSIS 3.1 cable network technology standard and is now looking to lock down the home Wi-Fi area, the consortium's chief security architect, Steve Goeringer, said to FierceCable

"DOCSIS, in the past, has presented some security challenges that are unique to the cable industry, but we really got on top of that," Goeringer said. "We're now taking the lessons we've learned from securing that [platform]. We're talking to groups like the Wi-Fi Alliance, looking for better ways to secure the wireless environment, as well."\

As CableLabs tries to make a home Wi-Fi environment burgeoning with iOT devices more secure, Goeringer describes the security challenge as being one of human engineering — designing effective but easy-to-use systems in an environment in which the customer is in complete control. 

"There's a lot of devices that need to go into the home," he said. "Homes today look like medium-sized enterprise environments from a decade ago. Some have hundreds of devices in them. Some may or may not be secure. It's hard for an operator to get on top of that environment."

Speaking alongside Goeringer, Mike Glenn, director of global cyber security initiatives for CableLabs, said the consortium's goal is work with various standards groups to create Wi-Fi security protocols that can serve as a "competitive advantage" for the cable industry in a competitive market for network services. 

"When security gets out of the way of the user, it works best," Glenn said. "Leveraging zero sign-on authentication in Wi-Fi networks is an example. You can make it so users don't have to know passwords anymore, and you can create a safer environment with a better user experience. We don't want users to face a complicated enterprise environment in their home."

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