Modern households host many networked devices, ranging from laptops and smartphones to a number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices (e.g., connected body scales, TVs). In conventional networks, expert administrators are responsible for managing the network. For example, they identify faulty equipment and take steps to secure end hosts such as applying security patches. In contrast, most home networks do not have a technically skilled network administrator. Both network diagnosis and security pose challenges in home networks.

Home network diagnosis. Home network diagnosis is challenging for several reasons. First, home networks are heterogeneous. The set of devices, configurations, and applications in home networks vary from one home to another; our techniques must be general. Second, there are numerous ways in which applications can fail or experience poor performance in home networks. We must devise techniques that can identify the most likely cause(s) for a given problem from a set of possible causes. Third, even if we can identify the cause of the problem, we must then be able to identify a solution that is “actionable” (i.e., users should know what to do).

Network security and privacy.  Consumer IoT devices are increasingly common in home networks; many IoT devices may be either difficult or impossible to secure. Often, device vendors and manufacturers may be unable or unwilling to release software updates that address vulnerabilities; they may even design the device without any mechanisms for applying updates. There are various examples of insecure devices that ordinary users may connect to the network.  Occasionally, these insecure devices can result in “stepping stones” into the home for attackers to mount more extensive attacks. Users need mechanisms that automatically detect—and mitigate—anomalous behavior that is suggestive of device compromise, infection, or other malfunction. They may also benefit from ways that help define how the data is collected and shared shared. IoT devices may be more diverse than those in a conventional network, in terms of both the devices themselves and the software they run.

Our goal is to assist home users in diagnosing and securing their home networks.

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