Quantum-resistant security wins best-in-show at ARM TechCon

Future-proofing 8- and 16-bit processors that could be in the market for years to come is no simple task.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer

Security was front and center at the latest ARM TechCon, as reported by my colleague.

In a conference defined by IoT security concerns, SecureRF, which makes quantum-resistant security tools for the Internet of Things, received honors for "Best Contribution to IoT Security."

Other finalists included CENTRI Technology's IoTAS solution for device authentication and protection of data and Orbbec's Astra Mini QUAD, a hardware platform that uses four ultra-wide angle cameras to build 3D maps of environments.

SecureRF won recognition for using public-key solutions and digital signature algorithms to provide what the company calls "future-proof authentication and data protection for low-resource devices."

IoT security is obviously a pressing need, and the challenge is growing significantly. More and more IoT devices are running on 8- or 16-bit microcontrollers that don't have the computing power or memory resources for robust security methods.

It's also been difficult for engineers to future-proof IoT processors, many of which could be in the market for a decade or more. On that timescale, quantum computing attacks will likely compromise current cryptographic protocols, such as ECC.

To compete, low-resource security architecture needs to run on the smallest ARM Cortex-M series processors and be built to withstand the threat from quantum computing. SecureRF is providing IoT security solutions to meet those needs.

Also: Your forgotten IoT gadgets will leave a disastrous, toxic legacy

The company won bragging rights at ARM TechCon for its proprietary Ironwood KAP and Walnut DSA solutions.

Available in both hardware and software implementations, they use up to 140 times less energy than elliptic curve cryptography, according to specs provided by the company. They also don't require management of a key database or a network connection.

The solutions are used to address wireless sensors, NFC, Bluetooth, and RFID tags as well as embedded platforms including FPGAs, microcontrollers, and ASICs.

Expect the emphasis on security to dominate global IoT news in 2018 as microcontrollers continue to proliferate markets as varied as robotics and logistics.

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