Embedded Devices and IoT Security – Encryption for PCI Cards & IoT Devices
Today, we want to return to talking about embedded devices and IoT security (see our previous article here), and some of the innovative ways KeyNexus is building solutions for this quickly evolving industry. One of the catch-22’s involved in the technological innovations of the last few decades is the small form factor contained in many hardware devices. On the one hand, devices and technologies are getting faster, smaller and more complex, which allows for simplicity of use as well as exciting new capabilities related to our ever-present connection to the Internet of Things (IoT). But this is combined with the complexity of the technological eco-system necessary to use these new technologies, which results in problems in terms of the limited functionality and storage capacity of some of the moving parts, creating security problems. Many IoT devices, in particular, operate without human monitoring, offering dangerous vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit. With everything from household appliances to medical/healthcare technologies to vehicles to industrial applications to infrastructure systems including IoT connections, there is a constant flow of sensitive data. This can be exploited by hackers for nefarious purposes, including ransomware, malware attacks to shut down networks, denial of service, or lateral attacks to gain access to enterprise networks and their sensitive data. Adequate security requires data encryption and key management systems that can be deployed in these constrained, and complexly connected, environments. But the hardware presents problems.
PCI cards and IoT edge devices provide a basic example of these security problems. Both are central, connective tissues within any technological infrastructure: PCI cards connect the basic components of computers and their networks; IoT edge devices are the very entry point to broader networks. As connective tissues to your enterprise’s internal infrastructure and to outside networks, these require security mechanisms to prevent loss of sensitive data. Unfortunately, traditional hardware security module (HSM) and software solutions are costly and simply weren’t designed for these types of uses – they are difficult to scale and have a larger, non-optimised footprint. PCI cards and IoT edge devices present particular problems because they are small, inexpensively produced, and lack storage capacity, memory and CPU capacity.
Overcoming these problems requires an innovative, flexible key management solution that can be embedded in small form factor environments, is cost-effective to implement, and replaces the need for a standalone HSM solution. This is precisely what KeyNexus’ pioneering approach to unified key management can provide. To begin with, KeyNexus provides small form factor key management (KMS) software that can be embedded in hardware devices that traditionally weren’t capable of deploying it, including switches, network interface cards, IoT devices, PCI cards and many custom-built appliances. In these instances, your external key manager is embedded directly into the device, which, unlike an HSM, reduces latency and cost. Likewise, as you add more IoT devices to your network, our KMS can scale easily and quickly to your needs. With our unified approach to key management, including a standards based KMIP server, our KMS can also provide support for multiple cryptographic environments, and be used for multiple use cases at once. Deployment in an assortment of environments, including x86 and ARM, is also an option.
When it comes to embedded devices and IoT security, KeyNexus enhances the security of any platform it is embedded on to, bringing HSM security right into the environment where it is needed most. For more information on the benefits of KeyNexus’ embedded solutions, download our Embedded Solutions Data Sheet, contact us, or request a demo.