Security and Connectivity for the IoT Edge

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IoT Edge Device Security

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IoT Secure Boot

Secure Boot plays a critical role for embedding trust within an IoT ecosystem to ensure the integrity, safety, and security of the device and larger ecosystem.

The primary goal of IoT secure boot is to prevent the loss of control of an IoT device at power-up. It ensures there is a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) from the moment a device is turned on and execution starts.

Components of Secure Boot


This takes place in the before build stage and in some cases, it is part of the Beginning of Life (BoL) stage.

  • Root of Trust
  • Secure Parameter Storage
  • Supply Chain


The dynamic component of Secure Boot takes place in the Middle of Life (MoL) stage all through End of Life (EoL) and decommissioned and disposal stages of an IoT device’s lifecycle management.

  • Authentication
  • Validation
  • Trusted Remediation

It is specifically responsible for executing trusted routines when devices are turned on to confirm that the  software that powers these devices is legitimate.

  • Is the device running the manufacturer’s software?
  • Was the software published and provisioned by the manufacturer of the device?
  • Is it the correct version of the software?
  • Is the software using the correct parameters?
  • Is the software using the proper configuration elements to run properly and safely and support the  device’s intended use?

IoT secure boot protects against malware injection eliminating the ability of a third-party to reprogram the device. It also enables other security features establishing a chain of trust from initial boot all the way to current applications that are running on the device.

Secure boot mechanisms are processes that utilize technology built into MCU’s and CPU’s. These mechanisms rely on cryptography based on Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and the use of digital signatures that protect, authenticate, and validate particular assets on IoT devices.

These processes facilitate integrity within an embedded trust platform by creating authenticity (is the software valid, did it originate from the IoT device manufacturer) and validity (was all the software received for a particular release of the IoT device, was it present in its entirety).


Why is IoT Secure Boot So Critical? 

The Secure Boot is part of a security architecture designed into IoT ecosystems, and its primary function is to safeguard IoT devices against loss of control leading to breaches that cause denial of service attacks, or hackers exfiltrating data or stealing intellectual property.


Key Characteristics of IoT Secure Boot

Protecting IP: This process is used to protect intellectual property. This would include encrypting key algorithms before they are used. Unencrypting this encryption depends on being able to get through the stages of trusted execution and boot processes.

Trusted Remediation: During the secure boot process if there is a detection of malware injection, the IoT device goes through a remediation process. The remediation process could include the IoT device automatically contacting the cloud resources to make sure it gets a known version of the software or does it take itself offline. If the device is not infected, the boot process continues as normal. The trusted remediation process needs to be built into the secure boot.

Enable Secure Firmware Updates: Secure boot enables remote secure firmware updates to the IoT device.

Secure Connectivity to Cloud Resources: This is essential for the trusted remediation and enabling firmware updates processes.

Security is a continual process; therefore, secure booth cannot be treated as a check box. Secure boot is a process that needs to be designed into the overall ecosystem of how the IoT devices will be managed and secured throughout their lifecycle.

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