Cybersecurity is now a primary requirement for all embedded devices. Connecting devices to the Internet only makes this requirement a higher priority, as this opens up the devices to network cyberattack, which is the greatest cyberthreat.
Embedded developers are expert at creating marvelous embedded device software. But, they typically have little knowledge of cybersecurity, or how to include cybersecurity in their systems. Efforts to include cybersecurity often amount to some minimal effort, such as adding crypto or access control in some form, with the result that the system is far from secure.
Cybersecurity is a complicated discipline that requires extensive and detailed knowledge of the principles and practices of cybersecurity to create effective solutions. Conversely, cybersecurity experts are usually schooled in enterprise systems and have little knowledge or understanding of embedded systems. So, cybersecurity solutions created for embedded systems by experienced security professionals are far from perfect. Indeed, cybersecurity solutions in general are left wanting, as is evidenced by the continual stream of new vulnerabilities and exploits that are revealed. The effectiveness of cybersecurity with embedded systems is far less.
Embedded devices are often unprotected by the enterprise cybersecurity systems that typically include 24/7 staffed watchfloors and systems to react to cyberthreats on short notice. Instead, embedded systems need to defend themselves from cyberattack. Embedded systems are often used in critical applications where property and lives are at risk such as: industrial controls, flight controls, and medical devices. The result is that embedded systems need the most protection, yet are among the most vulnerable to cyberattack.
This combination of properties of embedded devices: most critical systems, lack of enterprise cyberprotection, and developers who are not expert at cybersecuity, leads to a situation where embedded systems are at great risk from cyberattack.
Embedded developers are unlikely to become world class cybersecurity experts in order to create the cybersecurity solutions needed by the systems they develop. Instead, developers need cybersecurity tools to handle the challenges of cybersecurity in an effective manner. This is not a novel idea, as developers of all types rely on SDKs for various capabilities to develop their applications. These include: networking, GUIs, math functions, etc. Using SDKs allows developers to gain the results of experts in these various fields, without they themselves having to become experts in all of these fields. So why not cybersecurity as well?
Cybersecuity SDKs provide the cybersecurity capabilities of cybersecurity experts, and make those capabilities available to embedded system developers. Thus, embedded systems gain the best of both worlds, the benefit of expert embedded developers and the capabilities of expert cybersecurity system developers. Now embedded systems can go from being among the least secure to being the most secure systems.
Cognoscenti Systems is proud to provide ControlMQ, the premier cybersecure middleware SDK that enables embedded Linux developers to build highly securely communicating distributed solutions.