Securing IoT - ensuring appropriate cybersecurity for smart devices

Securing IoT - ensuring appropriate cybersecurity for smart devices

January 2024

by the 42T Smart Systems Team

According to the UK government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023, UK businesses faced an estimated 2.39 million cyber crimes in the past year, averaging 4.54 attacks per minute. In the dynamic world of smart systems, cybersecurity is a pivotal concern, shaping the future of device development. 

We work with leading businesses worldwide, allowing us to identify firsthand the increasing need for robust cybersecurity as smart devices become more integrated into daily life. This article explores the rapidly evolving field of cybersecurity, emphasising the need to ensure that security is included as part of the design phase of smart devices.

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Smart devices are undergoing a seismic shift, with security becoming a vital foundation of device development. This evolution is driven by the active enforcement of security standards and regulations. Numerous industries are setting new benchmarks in device security and certification programs like PSA Certified emphasise the growing need for verified security in product development. This trend reflects not just a regulatory push but also a response to consumer and user expectations that security should be inherent in every smart product.

The surge in demand for secure smart devices has also propelled a shift towards secure coding practices. Incorporating security throughout the software development life cycle is becoming standard. Key components such as secure firmware update mechanisms, secure boot processes, and integrity checks are now essential in firmware security for smart devices. This shift underscores the importance of a holistic security approach, embedding protective measures at every stage of development.

The concept of zero-trust architecture is gaining traction, reflecting a mindset that no device within a network can be inherently trusted. This approach means a device requires continuous verification, imposing stringent security protocols within networks. As smart devices increase in complexity, often integrating third-party hardware and software components, the potential for vulnerabilities escalates. Validating the integrity of these components becomes crucial, demanding rigorous assessment of third-party integrations.

The stakes in IoT security have never been higher. As smart connected devices become integral to mission-critical systems, the implications of a security breach escalate dramatically.

With the increasing reliance on IoT devices in critical sectors, manufacturers face mounting pressure to comply with evolving standards and regulations. The shift from voluntary guidelines to mandatory compliance reflects a significant change in the industry’s approach to device security. For example, the European Union’s proposed European Cyber Resilience Act is set to enhance security for all IoT devices sold in Europe, mandating default cybersecurity configurations and prohibiting the sale of products with known vulnerabilities. This legislative trend exemplifies the global push towards a more secure digital infrastructure.

This reality means a proactive approach to cybersecurity is paramount and product developers need to stay abreast of best practices, guidelines, and future laws specific to their sectors. Recognising the importance of cybersecurity in the design and deployment of these devices is paramount for the continuation of the IoT industry. The consequences of security lapses can range from financial losses and operational disruptions to more severe scenarios like hacked autonomous vehicles, terrorist attacks, and personal data breaches.

At 42T, our expertise is in navigating these complexities, advising and developing secure products and processes throughout their lifecycle. We specialise in intricate aspects such as encryption key management in manufacturing environments, ensuring that every layer of the product is secure from inception to deployment. As threats evolve, the industry must continuously adapt its response. 

We stand at the forefront of this challenge, offering expertise and solutions that ensure not only compliance with evolving standards and regulations, but also a proactive stance against emerging threats. Our commitment is to safeguard the IoT industry’s integrity and future, ensuring that smart devices remain not just innovative but also secure and reliable.

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