As we move deeper into the Information Age, security measures are evolving to secure our more widely dispersed data and identities. Gone are the days of only looking for the “https” in URLs. We can no longer feel secure seeing a lock symbol next to the URL in the browser. Carefully “blocking the view” when inputting PINs, and even two-factor authentication is not enough.
We have heard of the Internet of Things (IoT) since the early 1980s when a Coca Cola vending machine appeared to perform magic. In a 2016 Dataversity article, Keith Foote wrote, “the IoT consists of a gigantic network of internet-connected things and devices.” That simplified view does not begin to describe the presence of technology in our lives.
With network technologies (i.e., 5G) introducing orders of magnitude improvements in speed, lower latency, and capacity, devices and information are everywhere – from heart monitor implants to biochip transponders in farm animals chip-based authentication on credit cards to biometric sensors to unlock mobile devices. Highly critical identity, financial, and security information is dispersed across an internet still in its infancy. As Kevin Kelly, Executive Editor of Wired, wrote, “The Internet is still at the beginning of its beginning.”
How have we been securing our data?
In recent years, network security focused on security appliances and network firewalls. These solutions were adequate in their time, but software updates and replacement hardware were unable to keep pace with evolving methods of security threats and attacks.
A 2017 report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology summarizes how cryptographic security measures can protect information against attacks. The publication covers essential security services, including confidentiality, integrity, authentication, and authorization. For decades, and continuing today, digital signature keys and digital certificates using public and private keys have been the security standard for the Internet community.
Machine Learning and AI security algorithms provide rapid and critical responses to new cyberattack tactics. Still, it is vital to keep in mind that cyberattacks and threats are also using Machine Learning and AI to improve their methods’ efficiency.
Instead of software-only approaches to cybersecurity and cryptology, hardware is once again, an essential component to protect the immense quantity of data dispersed throughout our technology-centered economy.
The Root-of-Trust (RoT) is a source that can always be trusted within a cryptographic system. It is the foundational component of a connected device. Security solutions currently on the market either use passwords or digital certificates for user or device credentials.
We have all experienced the frustrations and know the weaknesses of passwords. Just check the sticky note on the inside of your coworker’s desk drawer or even attached to their display.
When working with digital certificates, the private key is generally stored in software that can easily be stolen. When this happens, organizations expose themselves to potential security attacks. We have also experienced the undesired results caused by an expired certificate.
Apple provides a layer of security built into their hardware. The Secure Enclave coprocessor is found on newer Apple computers and mobile devices with the Apple T2 Security Chip. The Secure Enclave is Apple’s Chip-based Root-of-Trust. It is the foundation for Apple’s data encryption, biometrics, and the macOS secure boot.
While Apple uses hardware security for some of its services like biometric data, for Face or Touch ID, as well as Apple Pay data, Exium extends hardware security to all applications and services on all devices. Every single bit transmitted over the network is protected with high-grade encryption rooted in the silicon.
Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) offer cloud-hosted Hardware Security Module (HSM) services that allow you to host encryption keys and perform cryptographic operations. When a Key Management System (KMS) generates keys and distributes key information, it interacts with its dedicated HSM to generate, retrieve, encrypt, and share the keys to the authorized target.
Effective Root-of-Trust practices generally include a hardened hardware module. Security-focused service companies provide hardware solutions at the core infrastructure and edge technologies, including IoT devices.
The hardware-based Root-of-Trust is a game-changer. It is utilized in applications that demand the most stringent security requirements in the market, such as high-end smartphones, e-passports, and hardware wallets for cryptocurrency.
Senior Vice President of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics, Dongho Shin, said,
“In this era of mobility and contact-less interactions, we expect our connected devices, such as smartphones or tablets, to be highly secure so as to protect personal data and enable fintech activities such as mobile banking, stock trading, and cryptocurrency transactions.”
Intelligent Cybersecurity Mesh™ provides a scalable solution to address the unique security issues created by technology’s shift to more devices and more dispersed information.
In our interconnected digital world, cyberattacks and threats are a challenge for businesses in all industries. Innovations like Chip-based Root-of-Trust move the needle to the business side, better securing the critical information needed to achieve success. Exium is a new Intelligent Cybersecurity Mesh solution utilizing Chip-based Root-of-Trust technologies.
Chip-based Root-of-Trust is a strong move in the right direction, but we must always beware that emerging technologies are developing technologies. Security chips still have improvements to make and won’t ever be 100% perfect – nothing is. The much higher security level is reassuring, especially when more and more of the data impacting our way-of-life are increasingly dispersed across more devices.
Awareness is crucial in a well-designed, correctly managed security strategy with the number of devices and the amount of information we access daily. Most companies have handled their own security for decades. Keeping up with continually evolving, invasive, and elusive cyberattacks and threats using advanced security technologies and services is vital.
In a January 2020 report written by Nicholas Fearn of ITPro, he includes a quote by a leader in the security sector saying,
“Hackers come with new ways to attack designed security systems, but it will continue to be a race between hackers and security experts. Thanks to more secure chips, we can make it much more difficult for hackers to reach their goals.”
Traditional cybersecurity approaches are not enough to protect the device and information increases resulting from advancements in technology. Chip-based Root-of-Trust is a new and significant component of any security efforts taken by technology companies and device manufacturers.
We know those working to acquire personal and financial information are utilizing the best technologies available to them. Any industry collecting and using sensitive and confidential information must demonstrate the latest and most effective strategies to secure and protect that data. Chip-based Root-of-Trust is one method to stay ahead of the inherent dangers in a technology-based economy.