Strengthening IoT Security with Smart Cards

Russell Thomas, Enterprise Security Magazine | Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Smart cards can be used to authenticate IoT device users and administrators and can secure both device-to-device interactions and device-to-human interactions.

FREMONT, CA: From connected homes to international industrial applications, it is no longer possible to consider the Internet of Things (IoT) as a new concept. Over five million new devices are being connected every day. By 2020, the world will have over 20 billion connected devices. Security is an inherent requirement to offer safe and reliable IoT services ranging from the cloud to connected devices. Each IoT ecosystem demands to evaluate its security needs and its ability to impact systems' security and decide the level of protection that should be deployed.

Smart cards have long been leveraged for securing various types of human-network transactions. They are used to make secure payments for purchases over the banks' payment network. Smart card access control enables employers to give specific, controlled access to buildings and facilities. They can also be integrated with other authentication tools like passwords, pins, and biometrics to deploy a stronger authentication protocol. The secure microcontroller inside a smart card allows it to store and process data and safe interaction with smart card readers.

The need to secure IoT devices gave way to the manufacturing of special chips known as secure elements. A secure feature is a chip that can store, process, and protect that in an isolated, trusted environment in a connected device. They can store cryptographic keys and improve memory security. They also provide a tamper-resistant environment for cryptographic data. Different secure elements with improved interface logic can be integrated into IoT devices and industrial connected devices to offer smart card level digital security. Secure elements aid in ensuring that access is granted only to authorized applications and users.

Smart cards will enable the user to securely use connected IoT devices and encrypt key management between the card, user, and the device. This will ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the sensitive data being transmitted. In summary, IoT devices demand security by design instead of security being an afterthought. Improved smart chips can be embedded into the IoT device to authenticate devices, and applications like smart cards are used to authenticate users.

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