Following up on the blog PKCS#11 with OP-TEE, this blog dives deeper with a hands-on example of using PKCS#11 on an NXP i.MX93 EVK running Yocto based Linux to securely connect/provision the device on the AWS IoT platform. While...
Open Source Embedded Software Development and Security Blog
Manufacturing Internet of Things (IoT) devices involves installing sensitive material (e.g.: keys, certificates, IP etc.) on the device. Secure provisioning of these secrets requires processor/hardware support along with special tooling or software. Using NXP i.MX8...
With 300+ vulnerabilities being reported weekly in the US National Vulnerability Database (NVD), it is more challenging than ever to maintain the security of open source and third-party software used in embedded system products. One common approach to tackle the problem is to adopt a risk-based vulnerability management strategy in which vulnerabilities that pose the highest risk to your organization are remediated first. This blog outlines how to establish such an process as part of your software development lifecycle while keeping the maintenance cost and risk of exposure low.
This is a summary of a blog post published in full on NXP.com.
Connecting and being connected makes us vulnerable to hackers. With the number of IoT devices forecasted to reach 20.4 billion by 2020, the need for product security becomes even more pressing.
Every week, hundreds of new vulnerabilities are …
CVE Monitoring & Management: Timesys’ Akshay Bhat Offers Security Guidance for Embedded Open Source Systems Part 2
As discussed in last week’s posting, central to the device maintenance process and keeping devices secure after they’ve been deployed is the ongoing monitoring and managing of CVEs that affect your product components. Therefore, it’s essential to have a clear view of relevant CVEs because there are many moving parts that need to be managed.
CVE Monitoring & Management: Timesys’ Akshay Bhat Offers Security Guidance for Embedded Open Source Systems Part 1
Timesys’ Director of Engineering, Akshay Bhat, presented a session on Open Source Security at the Embedded Linux Conference North America 2019 in August. For this two-part Q&A interview, our VP of Marketing Adam Boone asked Akshay to share his views on the challenges and best practices for maintaining security in Open Source Embedded System products.
Vulnerability Management: Making proactive security maintenance a part of your product support processes
Too often, it seems the first notification of a software vulnerability comes from an affected customer or the publicity surrounding a high-profile data breach. Then follows the mad scramble to mitigate the vulnerability, notify customers, update products in the field and so on.
This reactive approach to vulnerability management for your embedded system products simply doesn’t fly in today’s heightened vulnerability environment.
Every week, more than 300 new vulnerabilities affecting software systems are disclosed by security reporting services such as the Common Vulnerabilities & Exposures (CVE) database operated by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
These vulnerabilities run the gamut of low risk security concerns to critical issues. Some vulnerabilities can allow an attacker to take control of a company’s IT systems, gain access to sensitive information …
Constant vigilance is the key to bringing truly secure products to market.
Constant vigilance is what you get with our new real-time security monitoring and management service, Timesys Vigiles.
We named the new service after the famed city watchmen of ancient Rome. Like them, Vigiles is constantly watching, scanning for threats, and …
Poor security of Internet of Things has led the US Federal Government to (again) consider legislation to force makers of IoT devices to improve security.
And the proposed bill comes on the heels of industry concern that IoT attacks against the US power grid are increasingly common and threaten public safety.
This week a bipartisan group of four US senators introduced the “Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity ...
Security is becoming a critical differentiator in embedded system products across a wide range of applications.
And the tools are now available to ensure products can be more secure without sacrificing time-to-market and, in some cases, even accelerating development.
Those are key takeaways from this year’s Embedded World Exhibition and Conference that took place in Germany last week.
The world of embedded systems has gone through a massive transformation in recent years.
The rise of smart devices, the Internet of Things, mobile computing platforms, connected devices and a range of other innovations have driven embedded system deployments through the roof. Industry observers estimate IoT deployments alone account for 23 billion device deployments in 2018, up from 15 million in 2015. And that number is projected to triple in the next six years.
The deployment modes and functionality of embedded systems have evolved rapidly in recent years, thanks to widespread connectivity of Internet of Things devices and associated systems.
Yet the common security practices for most embedded systems remain largely unchanged from the days when they were isolated, air-gapped systems.
The shortfall in embedded system security is leading to sharply escalating risk of cyberbreaches. The trend …
Some product management decisions are hard. Product managers are constantly weighing trade-offs among time-to-market, functionality, competitive differentiation, development costs and other factors.
But some product decisions seem like no-brainers. Would you bring an IT product to market that puts customers at significantly increased risk of security breaches, privacy violations, potentially massive fines and lawsuits?
“Of course not. That would be lunacy,” you can imagine the typical product manager as saying. Yet companies are shipping products every day that introduce this sort of …
In the past few years, there has been an explosive growth in the use of various types of mobile and IoT devices and use of open source based operating systems like Linux and Android. These use cases have forced application developers to test their applications against a rising number of devices with their current and legacy versions of operating systems.
This trend has resulted in the remote access board farm becoming an effective and efficient tool for solving these expanding test challenges, especially if configured as a cloud.
The time-to-market (TTM) for a new product introduction
The motivation of hackers sometimes can be plain as day. Other times, not so much.
As attacks on Internet of Things (IoT) devices and deployments escalate, it is important to understand what these attackers are trying to accomplish. Understanding these motives, after all, can help us to pinpoint why a security vulnerability represents a risk, to prioritize mitigation and defenses, and to focus responses to attacks.
This analysis is especially important if you provide products and platforms to companies deploying IoT …
Research, reporting and commentary about Internet of Things security has made a flurry of technology headlines over the past several years. And industry observers are commenting that IoT security may finally be gaining the attention it deserves among technology decision makers.
So will 2019 be a milestone year for IoT security?
Or will more IoT security failures lead to more industry regulation, more vendor criticism and more conversation, not enough action?
As 2018 draws to a close, we’ve seen a landmark year in cybersecurity for embedded systems and the Internet of Things (IoT), marked by escalating threats, new regulation, and broader attacks.
Here’s a look back at three important IT security milestones in 2018 and a look forward with some predictions for 2019 and beyond.
2018: Year of Record Vulnerabilities
With a few days remaining in the year, the number of …
This blog post is published as a guest post on Embedded Computing Design.
In mid-November, the total count of vulnerabilities reported in 2018 surpassed the total for 2017, setting a new record for vulnerabilities with six weeks left in the calendar year.
At this pace, we are on track to see the count of Common Vulnerabilities & Exposures (CVEs), the authoritative index of confirmed IT system vulnerabilities, reach 16,000 or more vulnerabilities for this year, according to …
Have you been developing embedded devices for years? Are you considering building your first operating system based product and looking at using embedded Linux? You are not alone.
Many companies that have historically been developing MCU based products are now being pushed by market and customer requirements to offer better, more feature-rich and more capable devices. In order to deliver the desired features, many new designs require a …
As the flood of vulnerabilities continues to rise and with the new National Cybersecurity Strategy announced in the US, attention is turning to how embedded system products can be made more secure.
Almost 20 years ago, the concept of security by design was a popular new trend in software development. The focus on baking in security at product design stages was driven by the massive rise in on-line applications, e-commerce features and other Internet-connected, web-enabled software.
As these systems and applications were deployed and became widespread, the expanding attack surface made
Is your product the “Volvo” of embedded system products? For decades, carmaker Volvo has been known as a maker of safe vehicles.
While all makes of cars are generally much safer than in decades past, and some observers rank some other brands’ models higher in safety, there is no dispute that Volvo has made safety a cornerstone of its brand. Like other car brands have focused on qualities like luxury, reliability or the driving experience, Volvo has emphasized safety as a chief value of its products.
The vulnerability storm continues unabated.
The count of security vulnerabilities has reached another annual record, with six weeks remaining in the calendar year. This week the number of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) hit 14,722, eclipsing last year’s total of 14,714, according to the tracking totals at CVE Details.
CVEs are being added this year at a rate of more than 300 per week on average. If that pace holds, the total should rise by another 2,000 CVEs by year’s end.
Security of smart devices is getting worse, says a penetration testing expert, who blames suppliers of connected devices that ignore security and privacy issue notifications.
Is the answer more security regulations and laws, or is it better product strategy?
The Yocto Project is well known for enabling product developers to quickly and easily customize Linux for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and other embedded systems. But today’s environment is marked by heightened security concerns, skyrocketing vulnerability reports, and high-profile security breaches.
Getting your embedded system product to market fast is important. But getting to market fast without a secure design and a plan for managing future vulnerabilities is a huge mistake.
A classic security breach vector involves exploiting weak authentication. As security researchers like to point out, failing to change default passwords for administrative access remains the top security issue for all types of IT systems.
But a related — and perhaps more devious — attack vector involves exploiting a weakness in a process that is supposed to help ensure device security in the first place: the remote system update.
Embedded system products are often deployed by IT managers struggling with a longstanding tradeoff: Should you sacrifice IT performance to make IT more secure?
The performance-or-security tradeoff has been the subject of technology research and industry analysis for many years. The analysis often focuses on issues like network performance or business application performance and how security measures may impede or otherwise affect throughput or access.
Researchers and the technology media are reporting that the average application now contains more open source software components than proprietary code. And the use of open source components in embedded systems such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices likewise is on the rise.
How is this trend affecting awareness of embedded system security and open source security best practices?
We’re on the verge of setting another annual record in the number of security vulnerabilities being reported. And more and more vulnerability exploits are targeting the Internet of Things.
Botnet exploits are going after IP cameras. Smart home technologies are being hacked. Even children’s toys are being hacked and used for covert surveillance. And in one bizarre case, hackers gained access to a casino’s systems through a smart thermometer in the lobby fish tank.
But these cases raise the question of what really is a vulnerability?
The number of security vulnerabilities continues to skyrocket.
After setting a record last year, the number of reported Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) is on pace to set yet another record this year.
In 2017, more than 14,000 CVEs were reported, affecting a vast range of devices, systems and applications. So far in 2018, more than 12,000 CVEs have been reported, and if that pace continues, we should move past last year’s record number in the next two months.
IoT device security vaulted into the public consciousness in recent years. Media coverage of successful attacks against IoT devices and supporting systems, botnets powered by compromised devices, and a range of other security issues have raised public concern.
But now California is on the verge of enacting the first actual law in the US to mandate IoT device security.
Unfortunately, according to some in the industry, the bill now awaiting the governor’s signature will do little in its present form to improve the security of IoT, or the companies deploying it, or the people using it.
It often helps to look at cybersecurity from the attacker’s point of view.
This approach, in fact, is the foundation of common techniques for penetration testing. That’s when “white hat” hackers will put a company’s IT systems through a range of attacks, looking for security vulnerability issues and defense gaps.
So when we consider Internet of Things device security and the defenses that protect an enterprise’s IoT deployments, it’s important to adopt the mindset of an attacker.
What’s an attacker looking for when they are prepping IoT attacks?
There is an old saying in the IT security space, one that applies really across any type of security: Complexity is the enemy of security.
It’s hard to pin down exactly who coined this phrase. Among the earliest references to it are from IT security guru Bruce Schneier. And Schneier’s discussion of this principle is probably among the clearest: systems get harder to secure as they get more complex. And since our systems are getting more complex all the time, security is becoming more challenging.
Today’s poster child for the Complexity-Security inverse correlation is Internet of Things device security.
Devices connected via IoT technology are spreading across multiple industries at unprecedented rates. But the benefits of enhanced connectivity are accompanied by increased security risks.
IoT technology is used in everything from healthcare devices, to transportation infrastructure, to industrial control systems supporting operationally critical processes.
According to Forbes, some 80 billion devices will be connected to the internet by the year 2025. In terms of customer convenience and effective performance, this trend could be game-changing for people who rely on technology to explore, work, and live.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a warning about Internet of Things device security issues, the latest in a continuing string of IoT attack and security vulnerability warnings from the US’s top law enforcement agency.
Attackers are using compromised IoT devices as proxies to mask various illicit activities, the FBI said, citing spamming, click-fraud, illegal trade, botnets for hire, and other crimes being committed using IoT devices.
The Bureau said IoT device vulnerabilities are being exploited by these attackers, naming routers, media streaming devices, Raspberry Pis, IP cameras, …
The traditional IT security architecture has been through a mammoth, global stress test in recent years thanks to the environment of escalating attacks and huge data breaches.
But perhaps the biggest challenge of all to the traditional IT security architecture has been in the IT evolution driven by the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Edge Computing and related innovations.
Data breaches in recent years have already been reaching epidemic proportions with millions of records compromised in typical breaches. Researchers report that the number of data breaches in 2017 were an order of magnitude larger than in 2005.
If you make devices that support enterprise operational tasks, sensor data gathering, or a range of other enterprise processes, then your device’s security posture is a major concern for your customers.
But if you are not in the IT security industry, the security posture for your device may not even be something that is clearly defined in product requirements. Besides the obvious security-oriented features, such as encryption and authentication and compliance-mandated features, security requirements are often embedded in a host of other functions and processes that may be covered by your device requirements.
IT security has never been more of a hot button topic than it is today. Increasingly, the focus is on the security of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the embedded systems that support these devices.
And so far, the traditional enterprise security architectures and procedures are failing to protect these systems from being compromised. The evidence is trumpeted in the headlines documenting successful compromises, emerging breach patterns, and the exploding volume of vulnerability advisories.
Discovering and Fixing Vulnerabilities Quickly: Securing Embedded Open Source IoT Devices in the Wild
The web of Internet of Things (IoT) devices continues to grow each day. In fact, by the year 2020, Gartner predicts that 95% of new electronic product designs will contain IoT technology; Forbes expects at least 80 billion IoT devices to be available by 2025. But with such a vast number of devices in use across the world, how can you hope to find flaws and address vulnerability concerns in a timely manner within your own IoT products?
14,000+ CVEs were discovered in 2017. In April of 2018 the CVE list had surpassed 100,000 entries, and that number grows every day. So how do you protect your embedded devices and open source embedded systems in IoT and IIoT deployments from this endless onslaught of security threats?
Traditional IT security isn’t protecting embedded open source systems in IoT and IIoT deployments
Here at Timesys, we’ve been noticing some concerning trends when it comes to open source embedded software security and the rise of Internet of Things (ioT) and other intelligent devices. We’ve been hard at work developing a solution that can help ease your burden of carefully developing, monitoring, and maintaining security measures on your devices.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly led to the deployment of ubiquitous, unattended devices throughout our homes, offices, factories and public spaces. In this continuously expanding connected world of devices and IoT, the need to update/upgrade your product’s software/firmware is a certainty. There is no single software update approach that fits all, but there are key questions you should consider when designing your approach. They are: Why, When, What and How.