Security and Connectivity for the IoT Edge

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IoT Edge Device Security

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IoT Edge Device Cryptography

IoT is all about the exchange of data, and the decisions that are made with this data. Enterprises that integrate IoT technologies into their products or applications must first and foremost ensure that the data that flows between devices and systems is secure. And this requires embedded trust.

Embedded trust is achieved in IoT devices by incorporating a validated and certified cryptography solution.


Embedding Trust in an IoT Device 

Three crucial characteristics must be present to achieve embedded trust in an IoT Device.

Data is only useable by someone who is meant to receive it. In case of a data breach, cryptography restricts access to the data without the appropriate keys to decode it.

The source of the data, and who it is intended for, must be identified. This is implemented through a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) architecture to safeguard the data.

Verifying the source of the data, and validating that the entire message has been received and has not been altered.


How Cryptography Secures IoT Ecosystems

The role of cryptography is to secure embedded trust in IoT devices, applications and ecosystems so vulnerabilities and liabilities associated with data breaches are significantly mitigated.

Cryptography defends IoT devices and ecosystems against four major threats across two threat categories: Data and Control.


  • Influence: Manipulation of data so that an analysis is distorted – changing the data to tell a different story.
  • Exfiltrate: Removing data from the IoT ecosystem so it can be used elsewhere for other purposes – e.g. stealing medical records to secure access to other platforms.


  • Botnets: Executing Distributed Denial of Service attacks to bring systems down or render them useless – junk messages to throttle systems that come from multiple IP addresses so the attack is difficult to defend.
  • Intellectual Property Theft: Gaining access to proprietary IoT algorithms – stealing this insight so it can be used elsewhere.

Cryptography provides the capability for “Defense in Depth” or Multiple Independent Levels of Security (MILS) that protect systems with layers of security and safeguards against these threats – each of which can have a significant and damaging impact on a business or enterprise.


Cryptography and FIPS 140-3 Validation

Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-3 were established by government agencies to provide assurance that the cryptography did what it is designed to do – render data useless if IoT systems were breached.

To obtain FIPS 140-3 validation, a cryptography library (source code or binary) is submitted to an independent lab (e.g. AES, Shaw, Blowfish) for inspection and repeated testing. If the cryptography meets the stringent test requirements, a “quality stamp” is issued.

Test reports are then validated by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), who issues a certificate. This certification is required for products marketed to federal, state, and local government entities.

FIPS 140-3 validation is common for desktop and enterprise environments, but not for IoT applications due primarily to a lack of resources and expertise. Without FIPS validated cryptology, these applications are susceptible to serious data breaches.

Open source cryptography offerings do not solve this problem as they are not normally developed for IoT environments. Most software in the open-source domain has not been validated by an independent testing lab for FIPS compliance.

Allegro’s FIPS Validated 140-2/140-3 Cryptography Solution

Allegro’s FIPS Validated Cryptography solution confers IoT technologies with embedded trust – without the need for specialized and high-priced programming expertise and validation testing. This dramatically reduces product development costs and time to market.

The Allegro Cryptography Engine (ACE) is a platform independent, high performance, resource sensitive, embedded FIPS 140-2/140-3 Validated cryptography engine superficially engineered on the rigors of embedded computing.

ACE enables OEM manufacturers to add sophisticated FIPS approved encryption technology to their designs to dramatically speed their development cycles. The ACE cryptography library is designed specifically from the ground up to meet the stringent requirements of FIPS 140-2/140-3 validation.

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