Protecting IoT devices from cyberattacks: A critical missing piece: Page 9 of 13

August 10, 2017 //By Alan Grau, Icon Labs
When it comes to protecting IoT devices from cyber attacks, both device hardening and security appliance approaches each has its supporters, but there are trade-offs between “device-centric” and “appliance-centric.”

Security co-processors are physically separate chips offering true isolation of private keys. A TPM is an industry-standards-based securing chip that offers isolation and facilities for the secure generation of cryptographic keys, and limitation of their use, and true random-number generation. It also includes capabilities such as remote attestation and sealed storage. Its capabilities come at a price, usually moving deployment to higher-end IoT devices.

A hardware security module (HSM) is another physically separate chip and likely at a lower cost than a TPM. Like the TPM, it safeguards and manages digital keys for strong authentication and provides crypto processing. An HSM traditionally comes in the form of a plug-in card or an external device attaching to the protected device, making it somewhat less suited to an IoT device. Depending upon the perceived and likely threat vectors, an HSM may provide an effective solution.

Trust Zone is a single-chip solution segregating execution space into secure and insecure worlds. Insecure apps can’t access security-critical assets. Those same security critical assets are isolated from tampering.

Design category: