How Native Security Impacts IoT Device Manufacturing

June 26, 2020

Internet of Things (IoT) technology and devices are continuing to change the way we live and work. Today, almost anything, big or small, can become an IoT device. The question is: what can we do to protect our data and create IoT devices with security in mind?

A digital padlock on a circuit board.

Security Concerns for IoT Devices

The term “IoT device” refers to the billions of devices that can transfer data without human-to-human interaction — this is far from a new concept. Devices have been connecting to the internet and transferring data for decades. As we continue to rely on these devices more and use them to transfer sensitive information, our data security concerns continue to grow.

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How Are IoT Devices Typically Manufactured?

IoT devices can be manufactured with or without native security. For example, some IoT devices are created with mechanisms that lock them into a network or a user. They can also be designed to lock into a server, so communication can’t be rerouted between the device and the server.

The best way to protect the data on your IoT device is to combine hardware with software security in different degrees. However, some IoT devices are manufactured without this security in place. These concerns are neglected until the later stages of the development life cycle. If you rely only on software security, there is a much higher risk that data will be compromised.

When Should Native Security Be Part of IoT Device Manufacturing?

To decide if you should include native security in the manufacturing of an IoT device, you should consider the following factors:

  • The deployment scope of the device.
  • The target market.
  • The importance of the data the device will collect.
  • Where your devices are manufactured and the security of that environment.

Often, native security solutions for devices that will transfer sensitive information are developed at the chip level. These are difficult to change because they’re done in manufacturing by the vendor or provider of the respective chip.

How to Prevent Cyber Theft on IoT Devices

Beyond native security at the time of manufacturing, you need to address all the methods for protecting data in the early stages of your architecture design. You must pay close attention to how you will securely do application or firmware updates.

You can also protect the data on IoT devices by encrypting the data. Then, the server can decrypt the data using a private key, which allows you to be confident in your data integrity and ensure that the information on your device comes from a trusted source. When data is encrypted end-to-end, it is never seen by a “middle-man,” reducing security risk.

Still, encrypting data and using keys isn’t enough to protect your data. You also need to think about how you will manage and store those keys to keep your information out of the wrong hands.

How Security Impacts IoT Device Manufacturing

Ensuring IoT Device Security

The most important thing to know about IoT device security is that there isn’t one solution. Having several layers of security is the best way to protect your data. Use the Telit module selector to find the best IoT module for your application and security needs.