PKI

How to Secure IoT Devices with PKI as a Service

IoT (Internet of Things) has connected everything worldwide and has made it more efficient, accessible, and responsive, but it has become easy prey for attackers when it comes to Security. In last year, we have seen a vast number of attacks on smart devices used to collect personal and professional data, causing a massive loss for the industry. PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) has been the most used and needed solution in this environment. It's being used to secure IoT devices because it's a cost-effective and scalable solution. Organizations have been using this technology for a long decade.

Read time: 6 minutes

IoT (Internet of Things) has connected everything worldwide and has made it more efficient, accessible, and responsive, but it has become easy prey for attackers when it comes to Security. In last year, we have seen a vast number of attacks on smart devices used to collect personal and professional data, causing a massive loss for the industry. PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) has been the most used and needed solution in this environment. It’s being used to secure IoT devices because it’s a cost-effective and scalable solution. Organizations have been using this technology for a long decade.

PKI for IoT Security

The exponential growth in the demand for Digital certificates leads to IoT Manufacturers needing encryption , authentication, and identity. This is where PKI comes into the picture.
The critical public infrastructure is a set of hardware, software, policies, and processes for creating, managing, distributing, and updating digital certificates over time. For a long time, PKI has been a significant component of Security, and recently it is rising as a scalable solution for the security needs of IoT devices. However, this could lead to a more complex situation without a proper deployment.

Security Conditions for IoT

  • The authenticity of devices is a must before deployment. Protecting the integrity and confidentiality of data collected, stored, or transmitted by the apparatus is necessary.
  • They must also validate each device by providing digital signatures and certificates.
  • It should meet the industry compliance needs.

Securing IoT devices with PKI

There are various ways by which IoT devices can be secured with the help of PKI:

  1. By using Asymmetric encryption

    By using asymmetric encryption, we can provide the essential methods for strong cryptographic encryption and ensure private communication. It ensures that all the certificates issued are from the single certificate authority, which is trusted.

  2. Establish and Defining Security Standards

    Various standards provided by PKI provide you the comfort of defining a system cryptographically, with various options for revocation, renewal, and standard protocols for enrollment of certificates like EST REST API.

  3. Maintaining Stronger Security

    Talking about digital certificates provided by maintained PKI provides far more safety than traditional means of authentication. With the help of PKI, we have authentication and encryption capability, which helps us maintain robust Security.

  4. By using unique identities

    Using individual identities for every device, you can enable secure network access and code execution throughout the device’s existence. Also, these certificates can be updated as per needs.

Advantages of PKI for IoT

Public Key Infrastructure has been an ecosystem that has been used repeatedly for secure transactions with the help of Digital Certificates; In contrast, digital certificates have also been providing Security to the internet for long decades through PKI. By its main three features, it aims to provide a safe environment for IoT:

Encryption

  • We can provide the essential methods for strong cryptographic encryption and ensure private communication by using encryption.
  • Encryption helps in providing support for various IoT devices.
  • Provides robust encryption for data at rest and data in transit.

Authentication

  • Provides secure authentication without using a password between devices.
  • Establishes trust among devices and users.

Integrity

  • Data Integrity ensures that the data transmitted hasn’t been altered in any way.
  • Digitally signing papers, emails, and other data provides authorization and digital integrity.

Challenges

With PKI giving so many benefits to IoT in terms of Security and consistency, a few challenges come across while working on IoT Devices with PKI. Since IoT is an emerging technology and PKI being in the market for decades, some problems arise.

  • Everything can’t be done with traditional PKI Infrastructure, as traditional PKI Infrastructure is built to work without constraints, and in case of conditions, problems may occur.
  • Scalability for PKI might become an issue, i.e., building IoT-focused Certificate Authority is required.
  • Since IoT has various devices, traditional PKI Implementation may face issues in issuing certificates and implementing Security in IoT.

The Need for PKI to Secure IoT

From the dawn of the Internet, Public Key Infrastructure has been a staple in cybersecurity. Organizations looking to take advantage of IoT’s newest technology must realize that PKI is the key to their security needs. PKI allows the devices that IoT connects to have a proper framework to identify themselves and protect the data being communicated. The capabilities PKI offers an organization are the ability to implement freely, and personalization makes it the best security option. Using best practices for secure implementation will be the key to your success and reputation as an organization.

At Encryption Consulting, we can help your organization maximize Security using proper Public Key Infrastructure implementation and choose the best fit vendor.

Conclusion

IoT, a link between the world, has several security issues that are easy to exploit. PKI is the best solution due to its cost-effective and scalable features. PKI helps to secure IoT by using asymmetric encryption, maintaining more robust Security, and other various ways. PKI gives an advantage to the ecosystem by its three main features: Authentication, Encryption, and Integrity. There are multiple limitations like we can’t implement traditional PKI Infrastructure everywhere. Overall, PKI being the savior gives us a way to succeed in our security needs. At Encryption Consulting, we can help your organization maximize Security using proper Public Key Infrastructure implementation and choose the best fit vendor.

About the Author

Nishiket Kumar is a Consultant at Encryption Consulting, working with PKIs, HSMs and working as a consultant with high-profile clients.

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