Imagination, Intrinsic-ID Bring Affordable Security Solutions To IoT Devices

Security experts are constantly warning about the impending security nightmare that the Internet of Things will bring. Imagination and Intrinsic-ID hope to avoid that scenario by giving IoT device makers access to affordable security solutions.

Imagination previously announced a security solution for some of its MIPS chips called OmniShield that could isolate data in up to eight security domains, through hardware virtualization. OmniShield is a cutting edge security solution and the only one of its kind for the embedded chip market.

OmniShield allows apps, various components of a system, or even entire operating systems to be securely isolated from other parts of the system, while being deployed as a single cost-effective platform and security solution.

Intrinsic-ID offers a security solution called “physical unclonable functions” (PUFs) that can be used for secure key generation, device authentication and chip asset management, based on the “silicon fingerprint” of the chip itself.

Intrinsic-ID’s solution can extract unique identifiers for the hardware from the innate characteristics of semiconductors. Thus, the technology can be used to generate unique cryptographic keys on the fly, so no keys need to be stored in the hardware, even when it’s powered down. This makes the devices resistant against hardware attacks, as well.

Imaginaton and Intrinsic-ID collaborated so that Intrinsic-ID's key extraction and management functions can be done securely in software thanks to Imagination’s OmniShield technology.

“Chip vendors face a growing burden since they are responsible for programming all product keys used for device, user and data authentication. Since Intrinsic-ID’s PUF technology doesn’t require any change on the silicon, it can be deployed widely and inexpensively. Providing the highest security at the lowest cost, it is a natural choice for chip vendors,” said Pim Tuyls, CEO of Intrinsic-ID.“The multi-domain environment created by Imagination’s OmniShield technology combined with Intrinsic-ID’s PUF technology provides a differentiated security platform addressing challenges from key provisioning and authentication to root of trust and supply chain protection,” he added.

Recently, Imagination also offered its OmniShield technology as a potential solution to the recent FCC order to lock down radio firmware. Imagination believes that router makers could use its MIPS chips (already found in many routers) along with the OmniShield technology to isolate the radio firmware from the main router firmware. That would mean users could continue to change the main firmware of the router as they see fit, without negatively impacting the radio spectrum.

Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. You can follow him at @lucian_armasu. 

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.