IoT is an emerging technology that has the potential to change many aspects of daily living. However, like most technologies in their infancy, IoT still has many challenges that need to be addressed before truly taking center stage.
A few challenges facing IoT. Image used courtesy of Farhan et al
One of these challenges is the issue of security and how to protect a user’s information on an interconnected device. To address this challenge, two companies, Macronix and Crypto Quantique, recently joined forces.
In this article, let’s discuss why security is particularly difficult for IoT and how this new collaboration hopes to mitigate the issues.
IoT Security Challenges
The very nature of IoT gives it an inherent vulnerability to security threats.
One major challenge is that, in many cases, an IoT platform will consist of hundreds (or more) of connected devices at once. One repercussion of this is that an attacker may have the ability to gain access to information from any device within the network if it can successfully attack one device.
Since an entire network can be compromised in this way, stopping attacks can also become extremely challenging.
Examples of security attacks. Image used courtesy of Wave Computing
Beyond this, IoT security is hindered by the unique resource constraints that it operates under.
Unlike many types of embedded systems, IoT devices are tasked with operating at ultra-low power consumption. This limitation often means that the processing capabilities of an IoT device are sacrificed in exchange for battery life.
With underwhelming processing capabilities, many IoT devices are left unable to employ sophisticated security and encryption schemes, rendering them more vulnerable to exploits than the typical embedded device.
Finally, IoT security is hindered by the diversity of devices and ecosystems that currently exist. In a single smart home IoT network, one can expect to find devices from various manufacturers such as Google Nest, Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, etc.
The challenge here is a single ecosystem consisting of a wide variety of devices, none of which were designed to be explicitly compatible with one another. This incompatibility creates a roadblock in developing security strategies within the IoT, as devices within a platform may be diverse from hardware and software perspectives.
Macronix and Crypto Quantique Team Up
With an abundance of security challenges facing IoT, Macronix and Crypto Quantique announced their new collaboration last week. At the center of this collaboration are Crypto Quantique’s QuarkLink IoT security management platform and Macronix’s ArmorFlash ecosystem.
QuarkLink is a software-based IoT security platform that securely connects IoT devices to server-hosted apps on-premises or in the cloud.
The platform claims to enable end-to-end security across all IoT devices in a network by using fully automated, advanced cryptography techniques to integrate with any root-of-trust.
A general overview of how Quarklink will work within ArmorFlash’s ecosystem. Image used courtesy of Crypto Quantique
ArmorFlash, on the other hand, is Macronix’s proprietary flash memory solution designed explicitly for security in internet-connected devices.
Leveraging Physically Unclonable Function (PUF) technology, ArmorFlash could create unique, unclonable, and secure device identities for Macronix chips, which serve as the memory’s root of trust.
Together, the QuarkLink platform could securely connect the ArmorFlash root-of-trust to edge or cloud-based services and applications. According to the companies, merging QuarkLink with ArmorFlash will afford customers an end-to-end security solution for “provisioning, onboarding, and lifetime management of IoT devices that use its secure memory.”
A Secure Future
Before IoT can find widespread adoption, the industry first needs to address a myriad of security challenges. The collaboration between Macronix and Crypto Quantique is just one step in the right direction in securing the future of IoT devices. As more companies start to consider the need for security, especially at the hardware level, more innovations are sure to come.
Interested in other security-related news? Find out more in the articles down below.
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Xilinx Joins Confidential Computing Consortium With Hopes to Bring Security to Accelerators
Embedded Security Update: Semiconductor Suppliers Fortify Subsystems
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