It’s not a secret that we live in a connected world. On the one hand, this ubiquitous connectivity makes our lives more comfortable and convenient and allows for more flexibility. You just need to lift your finger to check weather information right on the dashboard of your connected fridge, turn your ACC on and keep your vehicle cruising at the set speed, set up your robot vacuum through the dedicated app, and much more. On the other hand, living in a world where virtually everything and everyone is interconnected takes its toll on online security. It becomes devastatingly difficult to maintain privacy and cyber security. Now that more and more IoT-powered and embedded solutions hit the modern market, it’s important for industries and individual entrepreneurs to figure out effective ways to secure their connected systems and their users. (To learn more, visit Sirinsoftware.com’s blog at sirinsoftware.com/services/iot-development.)
A Few Words about Embedded Security
Embedded security practices are directed against all sorts of intrusions into your digital space and attacks disrupting the normal operation of your systems or individual embedded devices.
Due to the peculiarities of their hardware modules, their small size in particular, embedded systems don’t normally have plenty of memory and storage capacity at their disposal. What’s more, embedded systems are particularly sensitive to changes in power supply and firmware flaws. Hackers often exploit their vulnerabilities to run their malicious code and get unauthorized access to sensitive data that’s not intended for third-party use. Since a great many machines and devices are connected to the Internet, such attacks begin to threaten the integrity of lots of computer systems and compromise data security. So, robust measures need to be taken in order to prevent and fend off cyber attacks in the most effective way.
To make sure your embedded solutions are safe and unharmed, you need to put in enough effort, time, and investment in ensuring their security. It’s extremely important to find experienced developers and engineers well versed in designing effective tools that help mitigate cyber attacks and improve the overall security of embedded systems.
Embedded Systems Security Practices
In order to ensure the best possible protection of your embedded software, you should keep some essential things in mind.
If your embedded systems are directly connected to the Internet, take care to secure them with reliable enterprise firewalls. These tools can go a long way towards helping you timely spot malicious attacks and nip them in the bud.
Don’t wait until your firmware fails the entire system and compromises your data. The onus is on you to regularly update your firmware and software to the most recent version available. The truth is hackers are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities, which, by the way, also occur regularly, and exploiting them at the earliest opportunity. Not to fall victim to your procrastination, make sure to avail yourself of the updates intended for your solutions. Though it might look daunting to install updates on each and every embedded device, take care to attend to these tedious tasks regularly.
Furthermore, you’ll want to make the most of your trusted execution environment (an area on your processor), which helps isolate security-critical operations and prevent compromising them. For example, you may assign the user authentication procedure to this area, which will ensure the critical data is properly processed and stored by enabling end-to-end security.
It also would be a wise decision to properly segregate different hardware components. For this, ensure that your processor, network interfaces, memory, and other components perform their assigned functions as independently as possible. By doing so, you’ll be able to keep the entire system from crashing down in case a single component stops functioning as intended.
If you work in embedded software development, you know, software applications also should be self-contained and properly packaged. Should your app require a third-party dependency, refrain from installing it globally on your OS. Consider making it part of the application package.
Last, but not list, make sure to safeguard all the data at rest. Encryption tools and private keys can come in particularly handy in this regard. Double-check that your sensitive data, configuration files, passwords, and the like stored on your embedded device is protected against the prying eyes of hackers.