IoT Security: Bringing Trust to the IoT

Thales e-Security’s HSMs provide the root of trust for connected devices to ensure only authorized devices – running approved code – can connect to, and participate in, organizational networks.

Internet of Things (IoT) Security

Organizations have only just begun discovering and benefiting from the opportunities provided by the Internet of Things. The ability to distribute connected devices across geographies offers valuable functionality and creates both new revenue streams and cost savings. However, the IoT also exposes organizations to new security vulnerabilities introduced by rapidly expanding network connections. And advanced attackers have demonstrated the ability to pivot to other systems once they have exposed a vulnerability.

nShield HSMs from Thales e-Security provide IoT security, brining trust to the IoT and address these security concerns.

Vulnerable Connected Devices

Once connected devices are deployed in the field, they become attractive targets for criminal actors seeking to:

  • expose protected content stored on or transmitted by the device
  • use the device's trusted status to gain access to other connected system
  • take control of the device for other illicit activities
Unauthorized Device Production

Sophisticated cybercriminals or insiders with privileged access can take advantage of unsecured manufacturing processes to produce counterfeits and clones, resulting in decreased revenues and damaged brand reputation. This is particularly relevant at remote or third-party facilities, where the device vendor has no physical presence.

Introduction of Unauthorized Code

Malicious actors may seek opportunities to inject unauthorized code during the manufacturing process or when device code is updated, e.g., when the manufacturer needs to update the firmware to provide additional functionality or correct a performance issue.

Strong Device Authentication

Using nShield HSMs and a supporting security application to create and protect the underlying keys, each device can be manufactured with a unique, cryptographically-based identity that is authenticated when a connection to gateway or central server is attempted. With this unique ID in place, you can track each device throughout its lifecycle, communicate securely with it and prevent it from executing harmful processes. If a device exhibits unexpected behavior, you can simply revoke its privileges.

Secure Device Manufacturing

Thales nShield HSMs, used in conjunction with security software, enable manufacturers to secure their production processes. For example, Microsemi, a leading provider of semiconductor solutions, uses nShield HSMs in combination with security software to generate unique codes that can only be decrypted by the device for which each was generated. By controlling the number of authorization codes generated, they can also limit the number of systems built.

PKI Supports the IoT

Establishing strong authentication is just one part of the puzzle. The IoT demands large scale management and protection of digital certificates and the underlying keys, all supported by a well-designed public key infrastructure (PKI). The accepted PKI best practice to secure your most sensitive keys and business processes is to use an HSM. Whether you work with one of our industry-leading PKI partners or tap into our Advanced Services Group’s knowledge and expertise, Thales HSMs will provide a high-assurance, independently-certified foundation for your PKI, regardless of complexity or scale.

Defense Against Attacks and Data Loss

Limiting access to protected systems and data to only authorized devices enables you to defend against many of the potential threats associated with the IoT, such as APTs and data breaches. By using cryptographically-based identifications underpinned by HSMs - a recognized best practice - for authentication, you can create a secure network of trusted IoT devices.

Reduced Operational Costs

Through secure control and monitoring of geographically-dispersed devices, organizations can lower the cost of device maintenance and updates. The cost savings extend to the removal of untrusted devices; if a device exhibits unexpected behavior, instead of deploying a technician to physically inspect and take it offline, you can simply revoke its privileges remotely.

Protected Revenue and Reputation

By securing the process of manufacturing devices, organizations can protect against lost revenues and brand damage resulting from the sale of unauthorized black market units. Secure connected devices also provide opportunities for new revenue streams, as companies can use their connectivity to deliver functional upgrades or to serve up premium content and services.

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