Hardware and software tools for testing security in IoT designs


The growing threat of cyberinfrastructure intrusions by hostile actors is driving the creation of new security testing mechanisms for Internet of Things (IoT) software and hardware. This will allow embedded system developers to comply with new guidelines issued by the White House amid recent high-profile cyberattacks.

On the software side, a new application security test mathematically guarantees bug-free code in embedded designs. The automated source code analysis technique launched by cybersecurity software company TrustInSoft uses formal methods to speed up the testing process by producing a mathematical twin of the C/C++ source code and thus proves the absence of source code bugs for any input (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Analyzer automates formal methods to provide a synthetic view of source code bugs. Source: TrustInSoft

Traditional static and dynamic analysis methods slow down IoT design deployment because tests are replicated for each process. The new embedded IoT test, based on TrustInSoft’s Analyzer tool, uses formal methods to provide the equivalent of static and dynamic analysis of C/C++ source code and thus ensure the absence of undefined source code behaviors.

TrustInSoft claims that the new testing tool reduces IoT device deployment time by up to 40x and code verification time by up to 4x. According to Fabrice Derepas, founder and CEO of TrustInSoft, a bug discovered after the release of a product can cost up to 640 times more than if it was discovered during the development phase. “Life is never error-free, but your source code can be.”

On the hardware side, Arm offers an IoT test chip and development board that allows developers to evaluate security credentials in their embedded designs (Figure 2). Arm released the Musca-S1 IoT test chip and development board in collaboration with Samsung Foundry, Cadence and IC design services company Sondrel.

Figure 2 The Musca-S1 embedded security test platform provides more choices for IoT chip designers. Source: Arm

The IoT test solution is based on a 28nm fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) magnetoresistive random-access memory (eMRAM) chip. It offers advantages over traditional embedded flash memory (eFlash) technology to scale below 40nm process technology.

The above hardware and software testing solutions enable IoT developers to prototype their designs for end-to-end security and quickly bring IoT devices to market while adhering to essential cybersecurity guidelines.

Majeed Ahmad, editor of EDN and Planet Analog, has covered the electronics design industry for over two decades.

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