Protecting IoT devices from cyberattacks: A critical missing piece: Page 8 of 13

August 10, 2017 //By Alan Grau, Icon Labs
Protecting IoT devices from cyberattacks: A critical missing piece
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.”

Cryptography and secure key storage

Secure communication protocols, data-at-rest protection, secure boot, and secure firmware updates all rely on encryption and certificate-based authentication. A security framework must provide support for the cryptographic algorithms used by these features.

It must also provide the ability to securely store the encryption keys and certificates used to encrypt data, authenticate firmware, and to support machine-to-machine authentication. Secure key and certificate storage is a critical requirement. If a hacker can discover the encryption keys, they can completely bypass an otherwise robust security solution.


Hardware security module support

Many new IoT platforms include a hardware security module providing secure key storage, protected memory regions, and cryptographic acceleration. A security framework must be designed to allow easy integration with hardware-based security features.

Likely candidates for hardware security module support include PUF (Physically Unclonable Functions), security coprocessors such as TPMs (Trusted Platform Modules), and Trusted Execution Environments such as ARM’s TrustZone.

PUF uses random patterns in the silicon to differentiate chips from each other and creates a unique random number. The generated random number is used to seed a strong device ID and cryptographic keys creating a hardware root of trust.

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