Tips on IoT security

More and more IoT implementations

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a reality. Physical devices are now accessible through the Internet. In addition, intelligence allows devices to communicate with each other. Ultimately, these devices are able to gather information, analyze it and make an action accordingly. As a result, IoT implementations are everywhere in private households and industries.

Security blind spots

Throughout the years, technology becomes more and more mature. However, connected devices can also create security blind spots and become vulnerable to cyber attacks. In 2017, WikiLeaks disclosed details of CIA hacking IoT and mobile devices to acquire information. Furthermore, people underestimate the critical needs to implement the highest level of security in every connected device, from a kid’s toy to an industrial machine. However, high development and maintenance costs have limited strong security implementing in devices.

Seven properties of highly secure devices

So what can we do to improve IoT security? A team in Microsoft Research NExT Operating Systems Technologies Group has introduced the seven properties of highly secure devices. The team believes that these seven properties are essential for protecting devices. Additionally, manufacturers can easily implement those properties.

The key concept of the seven properties is that hardware and software of a connected device must work seamlessly. In other words, the device security is rooted in hardware but guarded with secure and evolving software.

  1. Hardware-Based Root of Trust
  2. Small Trusted Computing Base
  3. Defense in Depth
  4. Compartmentalization
  5. Certificate-Based Authentication
  6. Renewable Security
  7. Failure Reporting

Azure Sphere: a solution for secure connected microcontroller devices

In 2018, Microsoft introduced Azure Sphere, a new solution for creating highly-secured, Internet-connected microcontroller (MCU) devices. Three components in Azure Sphere help to protect and power devices:

  1. Azure Sphere certified microcontrollers (MCUs)
  2. Azure Sphere OS
  3. Azure Sphere security services

First of all, the MCU combines real-time and application processors with built-in Microsoft security technology and connectivity. Second, the OS offers unequaled security and agility. Last but not least, cloud services guard device security.

With all three components, Azure Sphere meets all seven properties of highly secured devices.

Azure Sphere in qiio solution

After Microsoft introduced Azure Sphere, qiio became the OEM partner of Azure Sphere. qiio provides hardware with Azure Sphere because security is fundamental for connected devices. Such a solution was showcased in Mobile World Congress 2019 and embedded world this year. For some highlights of MWC and embedded world, check this blog article.

In addition to hardware built with Azure Sphere, qiio also provides two other pieces of hardware with different performance. In the blog post about end-to-end IoT solution, we introduced what elements are needed for an end-to-end solution and how qiio solutions meets all elements.