Our world is becoming increasingly networked. This creates many new application possibilities which were hardly practicable in the past. But it also creates new points of attack for hackers and criminals. Every type of digital communication is in danger and this does not even stop at KNX installations. The fact that unauthorised persons switch the light in the living room is still the smaller danger. Much more critical are cases where the programming of the devices is manipulated or deleted. This can lead to the complete breakdown of the building technology, accompanied by considerable economic damage for repair and loss of use.
The KNX Association recognised this issue at an early stage and developed the system upgrade KNX Security, together with the manufacturers. In the meantime, numerous secure devices from different manufacturers are already available on the market. KNX Security is also fully supported by the ETS®.
KNX IP devices have achieved a very fast market acceptance. Secure KNX IP interfaces or routers can also be used with unsecure KNX devices. Even existing installations can be protected without much effort from the IP side, which is often the biggest target for cyberattacks.
For even further protection, the standard with KNX Data Security also offers the possibility to encrypt the telegrams on the KNX bus or via KNX RF. This protects the running function as well as the configuration of the devices. As security can be activated or deactivated individually for each object or for each group address, the new devices can also be connected to non-secure devices without any problems. In this case, the protection of the device configuration can still remain activated.
As a system provider for KNX, the Weinzierl company was one of the first manufacturers to introduce devices for KNX Security. Already in 2019 the first KNX IP devices were delivered in a secure version:
- KNX IP Interface 732 secure
Programming interface via IP, 1 unit, bus-powered
- KNX IP Router 752 secure
IP line coupler with programming interface, 1 unit, bus-powered
Now security is gradually finding its way into Weinzierl’s whole product range. In the Match 55 series, secure push buttons and push button interfaces are already available for the KNX bus as well as for KNX RF:
- KNX TP Push Button Interface 420 secure
KNX push button interface 4-fold
- KNX TP Push Button 420 secure
KNX push button with 1 or 2 rockers for 55 mm frame
- KNX RF Push Button 440 secure
KNX wireless push button with 1 or 2 rockers for 55 mm frame
Especially with RF, the protection of the communication is very important. To integrate KNX RF devices into wired installations, a corresponding media coupler is available:
- KNX RF/TP Coupler 673 secure
Coupler between KNX RF and KNX TP
The new Modbus TCP Gateway also supports KNX Security:
- KNX Modbus TCP Gateway 716 secure
KNX Modbus Gateway with KNX IP programming interface
Three devices from the ‘KNX Compact IO’ series are now launched as secure version:
- KNX IO 510.1 secure (2O)
Switching actuator with two relay outputs
- KNX IO 511.1 secure (1O2I)
Switching actuator with one relay output and two binary inputs
- KNX IO 546.1 (1D1O) secure
Dimming actuator with one output for 1..10 V and one relay output
All three devices are characterised by their extremely compact design with a width of only 1 unit (18mm). Three multicolour LEDs and two buttons visualise the device status and enable manual operation.
The commissioning of secure devices with the ETS is only a little different from the known procedures. An essential step is the scanning of the device certificate if secure devices are inserted into the project. The certificate is usually printed on the devices as a QR code and can be scanned directly using a webcam, for example. It is even easier with a corresponding hand scanner. The certificate contains an initial key that ensures secure commissioning from the beginning. During the first download, this key is replaced by the ETS. This means that even the manufacturer would no longer be able to access the devices.
Even if many users are still hesitant about security, it will be essential in the future to ensure security in the digital infrastructure. Last but not least, regulatory and legal requirements will also point the way.
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