Infrared (IR) communication is one of the wireless communication methods mainly used to manipulate consumer electronics devices. Traditional IR devices support only simple operations such as changing TV channels. These days, consumer electronic devices such as smart TV are connected to the internet with the introduction of IoT. Thus, the user’s sensitive information such as credit card number and/or personal information could be entered with the IR remote. This situation raises a new problem. Since TV and the set-top box are visual media, these devices can be used to control and/or monitor other IoT devices at home. Therefore, personal information can be exposed to eavesdroppers. In this paper, we experimented with the IR devices’ reception sensitivity using remotes. These experiments were performed to measure the IR reception sensitivity in terms of distance and position between the device and the remote. According to our experiments, the transmission distance of the IR remote signal is more than 20 m. The experiments also revealed that curtains do not block infrared rays. Consequently, eavesdropping is possible to steal the user’s sensitive information. This paper proposes a simple, practical, and cost-effective countermeasure against eavesdropping, which does not impose any burden on users. Basically, encryption is used to prevent the eavesdropping. The encryption key is created by recycling a timer inside the microcontroller typically integrated in a remote. The key is regenerated whenever the power button on a remote is pressed, providing the limited lifecycle of the key. The evaluation indicates that the XOR-based encryption is practical and effective in terms of the processing time and cost.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the Institute of Information and Communications Tech‐ nology Planning and Evaluation grant funded by the Korea government (No. 2019‐0‐00533, Re‐ search on CPU Vulnerability Detection and Validation/No. 2019‐0‐01343, Regional Strategic In‐ dustry Convergence Security Core Talent Training Business) and the National Research Founda‐ tion of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. NRF‐2019R1A2C1088390).
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Infrared communication
- Secure IoT system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry
- Information Systems
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering