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Security tops IoT concerns at Embedded World

Steve Rogerson
March 21, 2017
 
The notion of security has to change with the dawn of the IoT, according to Ray Upton, vice president for connected microcontrollers at Texas Instruments, speaking at last week’s Embedded World show in Nuremberg.
 
“What we think of as security has to change,” he said. “There is a lot of discussion about what it means.”
 
He said security was the top concern of those involved in the IoT, followed by complex standards, finding the required expertise and power consumption.
 
“If you think about the IoT and how it is developing, the opportunities this creates for semiconductor companies is quite interesting,” he said. “The connected device market is exploding, and at an exponential rate. It is hard to keep up with something that is developing as fast as this market is.”
 

 
Pelle Svensson (above), product marketing manager at Swiss company U-Blox, added: “For the IoT to take off, security has to be taken care of. In some markets security is taking off faster than in others.”
 
But he said that in markets such as medical and industrial, security was essential.
 

 
Upton (above) was speaking at the launch of TI’s SimpleLink microcontroller platform that unites hardware, software and tools under a single development environment. Built on a shared foundation of drivers, frameworks and libraries, the platform’s software development kits enable scalability with 100 per cent code reuse, reducing design time and allowing developers to invest once and leverage across multiple products.
 
With the ability to choose any device from a portfolio of 32bit wired and wireless ARM-based MCUs, IoT and industrial products can adapt to changing design or application requirements.
 

 
“There is a new level of security, not just wifi or the internet, but at device level,” said Mattias Lange (above), TI’s general manager of embedded connectivity. “Security is a top concern. Unless we can make products that are really secure then that will damage the market for the IoT. Everyone understands that security is important but not everyone knows what to do about it.”
 
TI also announced the SimpleLink CC3220 wifi MCU and CC3120 wireless network processor. The CC3220 products are built with two physically separate execution environments in a single chip. They include embedded security features such as secure storage, cloning protection, secure boot and networking security. Through these features, developers have tools to help them protect IoT devices from intellectual property and data theft or other risks without using an external secure MCU or element.
 
In addition, as with other SimpleLink products, these new devices enable Apple HomeKit technology. 
 
The SimpleLink platform delivers security features along with connectivity protocol support and analogue integration, combined with low power wireless MCUs. It is a single development environment that delivers flexible hardware, software and tool options for those developing IoT applications.
 
With a single software architecture, modular development kits and free software tools for every point in the design lifecycle, the SimpleLink MCU ecosystem allows code reuse across the portfolio of microcontrollers. It supports various connectivity standards and technologies including RS485, Bluetooth Low Energy, wifi, sub-1GHz, 6LoWPan, Zigbee, Ethernet, Thread, RF4CE and proprietary RF.
 

 
Robert Day (above), vice president of marketing at Lynx Software, pointed out the dangers of not adding adequate security.
 
“There are risks from inadequate IoT security,” he said. “There can be dangers to health and safety when the devices are used in industrial IoT and automotive applications. If you don’t have adequate security and you get hacked or breached, the consequences can be quite serious.”
 
He was speaking at the announcement of a collaboration between Bosch subsidiary Etas and Lynx Software to bring the automotive safety-critical world together with high levels of security to meet the needs of connected and autonomous vehicles.