Embedded Systems: Securing the Future

With embedded systems increasingly tending to boast internet connectivity, new features and possibilities are appearing all the time. However, this trend is also increasing security concerns, leading those in the industry to ask some very serious questions about how to ensure security evolves fast enough to stay in step.

Vulnerability Concerns

Concerns have partly been sparked by the high-profile emergence of one such vulnerability in the form of the Heartbleed Bug. This bug allowed devices protected by the very widely-used SSL or TLS encryption protocols to be accessed by hackers and a variety of different types of sensitive information to be read.

Fixes were released as soon as possible after details of the bug first emerged. In the meantime, however, and for some time before the bug emerged, millions of devices were left potentially vulnerable. Because this was down to an intrinsic bug in firmware, there was little users could do until the relevant update was released.

Bugs, Patches, and How to Fix Them

Naturally, no security protocol includes a “back door” of any kind when working as designed and intended. Rather, vulnerabilities are the result of bugs that interrupt the correct operation of an embedded system’s security protocols and create an opening through which intruders can gain access. Therefore, simple but thorough use of software testing services such as https://www.bugfinders.com/ goes a long way towards maintaining safety and indeed is becoming more important than ever.

Embedded Systems

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However, it may be that the companies that manufacture the devices also have to take an increased share of responsibility, and this all comes down to the reasons behind the increased level of security concerns. This is not just the result of more widespread, consistent, and integrated internet connectivity in a wider range of devices; it also has to do with the sheer variety of devices involved and the inadequacy of off-the-peg security solutions to cope.

Many security protocols and other integral software tools are developed originally for desktops, where regular security updates and patches are the norm but are co-opted by manufacturers for other devices. They are then left to function in an environment that is not quite their intended home and where updates may be less frequent. The only effective way to fix this across such a wide and varied playing field could be for manufacturers to more effectively customise these solutions.

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