Japanese telecommunications company Softbank Technology Group has announced a partnership with US-based semiconductor company Rambus, aimed at securing what it describes as the “overall lifecycle” of IoT devices.
Two SoftBank subsidiaries in particular, Cybertrust Japan and Miracle Linux Corporation, will work closely with the Silicon Valley-based chipmaker.
Although it’s not formally explained as part of this news, we can infer from the breadth of Softbank’s existing IT stack what the firm means by “overall IoT device lifecycle”: from architectural design aligned to a particular device’s chipset configuration, to embedded software deployment/debugging, and onward to core provisioning and higher-level device management, Softbank aims to straddle multiple elements of each device’s operational make-up.
“We are excited to partner with Softbank Technology Group and its subsidiaries, Cybertrust Japan and Miracle Linux Corporation [as we use] our CryptoManager Platform to deliver secure connected device management,” said Ron Black, CEO of Rambus. “Our combined expertise brings a secure solution that [covers] in-field device updates, safeguarding sensitive information and mitigating cyber-attacks.”
Rambus points to the obvious vulnerabilities that exist in many IoT devices today and says that many lack even the most basic security functionalities. This is (obviously) problematic, because an unsecured IoT ecosystem introduces real-world risks that include malicious actors manipulating the flow of information to and from network-connected devices or tampering with the devices themselves.
From chipsets to updates
Rambus CryptoManager will secure IoT devices by facilitating secure mutual authentication between an IoT device and the cloud with an embedded security core. The key functionalities present in Rambus provide us with (arguably) further clarity into what might now be regarded as ‘overall IoT device lifecycle’.
This technology will allow only legitimate, verified cloud services to communicate with each other by detecting (and thwarting) unauthorized communication attempts. It will also help by verifying secure over-the-air (OTA) updates, another stage of the lifecycle.
With secure IoT device management platform, this partnership plans to provide features such as a secure stage for electronic certification of integrated circuit (IC) chips and confirm the owner’s identity by linking with the authentication system — this certification stage, then, provides us with another step in the lifecycle.
The IoT device lifecycle is clearly not a plug-and-play affair; perhaps soon developers will be able to think about security from the IC chipset right through to the OTA update.
SoftBank, of course, is also the owner of UK-based chipmaker ARM.