Arrow's support to companies building secure IoT devices

11th May 2022
Sam Holland

Despite major strides, many IoT devices remain challenging to secure or vulnerable to attacks. End users that adopt these devices may become more exposed to hackers and cybercrime. Industrial Journalist Emily Newton discusses what Arrow Electronics is doing to help combat such challenges in the Internet of Things.

Arrow Electronics has created multiple IoT security solutions – including a Security Starter Kit suite, Security Workshop Development Kit, and secure reference platforms – that will help businesses create more secure IoT devices.

Arrow provides IoT developers resources and security

Key security solutions from Arrow include the Security Starter Kit suite, a security platform that integrates various wireless solutions and single-board computers with two security solutions from Infineon Technologies AG.

The suite is marketed to companies looking to add security to their products with a straightforward security implementation path with RoT (root of trust) capabilities. Implementation is further simplified by integration with AWS (Amazon Web Services) IoT Greengrass and Core.

According to the company, the suite provides “ready-to-use examples that take the guesswork out of implementing the most vital security features in their end node and gateway products”.

The suite leverages existing testing kits and SBCs, paired with a security solution that is compliant with a number of modern security standards, including ETSI TS 103 645, NISTIR 8259A, and ISO 27001.

Because the security evaluation solution integrates with AWS IoT Greengrass and Core out of the box, end users can immediately begin software evaluation. They can also use these solutions to develop their own implementations if they prefer other cloud options.

PSA-certified dev kits for secure smart city design

In addition to security testing solutions, Arrow has also created devevelopment kits and tools that businesses can use to build more secure IoT devices.

They unveiled their PSoC 64 IoT Security Workshop Development Kit late last year. The development kit is a secure development solution designed to help businesses accelerate the creation of secure systems that use the PSA Certified certification scheme.

The kit is intended to help developers quickly start their projects and build with IoT security in mind. Components of the kit include “the Infineon PSoC 64 Secure AWS IoT Pioneer Kit, Arrow PSoC 6 IoT Sensor Shield, Shield2Go kits, and AWS cloud enablement”. Together, these components make it much easier to spin up new IoT projects with end-to-end security.

Like the Security Starter Kit, the development kit’s integration with AWS will make it easy for developers to program, deploy, and manage IoT devices that rely on Amazon’s cloud services.

Arrow Electronics has also developed solutions that help companies create industry-specific IoT devices to improve the security of their products. One example is the Shield96 Trusted Platform, a board that comes preloaded with the EmSPARK Security Suite by Sequitur Labs.

The platform provides a secure platform for developers who want to enable secure data and protect device firmware or keys across the lifespan of a product.

Arrow has marketed the platform toward the developers of smart city IoT technology.

Arrow identifies security as being particularly important for smart city devices. Security in these devices has heretofore been lax, often due to the benign nature of the data they collect, and because developers often assumed the limited connectivity of smart city technology would shield them from attack.

Both of these assumptions have been proven mostly wrong. Hackers have plenty of reasons to attack an IoT device, regardless of the data it collects. Limited network connectivity also doesn’t mean much, as hackers can use any Internet-connected device for a variety of purposes, including as part of a botnet that may be leveraged for DDoS attacks.

For these reasons, both IoT security solution developers and smart city technology companies have begun investing more heavily in keeping these smart city devices secure. Products like Shield96 provide the developers of smart city technology with resources that will accelerate the development of secure IoT devices for smart city applications.

IoT security workshops and webinars

In addition to these security solutions, Arrow Electronics has also been active in ongoing discussions around IoT device security. For instance, in February 2021, Arrow Electronics, together with AWS and Infineon Technologies, hosted a virtual workshop on best practices for building secure IoT devices.

Workshops like these are becoming more common as the tech world grapples with the impact that widespread adoption of vulnerable IoT devices may have on security across the business world. For developers and companies creating IoT devices, they provide valuable insights into current conversations around IoT security.

Along with workshops, Arrow has also helped its clients to tackle ongoing challenges in the PCB supply chain. The company recently worked with an OEM that was experiencing both “frequent material shortages” and excess inventory. By providing component kits directly to the OEM, Arrow was able to leverage its global supply chain to reduce expedites and excess inventory.

IoT device manufacturers face a variety of challenges right now, including shortages, supply chain disruptions and a tight labour market. In addition to ongoing supply chain difficulties, they need to implement transportation best practices that will allow them to effectively and safely transport sensitive materials for their products, as well as completed products to retailers and customers.

By assisting industry clients directly, companies like Arrow can help to make these challenges much more manageable.

Why secure IoT has become so important

The IoT market has expanded rapidly over the past few years. IoT devices can be found in almost every industry, with use cases ranging from remote monitoring in manufacturing to smart city devices in urban planning and city management.

Market experts predict that the speed of growth of the IoT space is likely to continue or even accelerate over the next few years.

Despite the growing popularity of these devices, however, many new IoT products don’t come with the security features they need to protect end users from attack. As a result, IoT devices can both increase an end user’s attack surface and provide a more accessible vector of attack for hackers.

While the right security strategies can help users protect their IoT devices, embedded security is still essential.

The uptake of IoT devices across the economy has made IoT device security more important than ever. As a result, businesses like Arrow are working to improve IoT security standards, create resources for IoT developers, and develop new IoT security solutions.

There are serious benefits to adopting IoT devices, but better security will be necessary as these devices become more popular. New security solutions and platforms will help to keep end users safe and provide guidelines for developers that want to prioritise embedded security in their IoT devices.

Easing IoT security development

As the IoT market grows, building more secure IoT devices will become increasingly important. End users, regardless of their niche or how they plan to use IoT technology, will have to contend with the possibility of attacks on their IoT devices.

Security solutions, testing platforms, and components that ease the development of secure IoT devices can be invaluable assets for IoT developers. Products and security solutions, like those developed by Arrow, will help companies of all kinds to build more secure IoT devices.

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