Securing the Internet of Things
You may be familiar with the Internet of Things, AKA the rapidly growing network of smart devices that are capable of connecting to the internet. From watches to refrigerators to vehicles, virtually any machine can now be made with integrated internet capabilities. Network connections significantly increase the ease with which your devices are managed, monitored, and used on a daily basis. But with the convenience of using your device to access the internet comes to the risk that someone else will use the internet to access your device.
To mitigate this risk, device manufacturers put extra security measures in place before the product even hits the store shelves. Using a technology called PKI (Public Key Infrastructure), device manufacturers set up a framework for encryption and authentication that restricts access only to authorized individuals.
Take a smart appliance as an example. Before the appliance is deployed in the field, the manufacturer will inject encryption keys using a compliant and secure hardware security module (HSM). The HSM keeps the encryption keys secret within reinforced hardware, keeping unauthorized individuals from viewing the keys and compromising the appliance’s security.
The keys inserted into the appliance are used to set up a mutually authenticated connection in which two endpoints of communication are established as trusted. By exchanging public keys, each endpoint can verify that the other connection is from a trusted source. If an unauthorized connection is attempted, that connection will be rejected because it does not have the appropriate encryption keys to establish trust.
If the business that issued the appliance needs to make updates, such as a firmware upgrade, they can connect to the appliance securely without having to worry about end user involvement because they are part of the circle of trust.
This same process of public key infrastructure and mutual authentication applies to all Internet of Things devices. To learn more about PKI, visit our Resource Library. To learn about how Futurex HSMs can secure IoT devices during manufacture, visit our Manufacturing Solutions page.