Cyber Security Expo
 
Security Needs in Embedded Systems by Anoop MS on 07/05/08

The embedded or handheld devices are getting increasingly connected and are more and more involved in network communications. The users of these devices are now able to execute almost all the network/internet applications that run in a PC on these devices. These devices are also increasingly involved in transfer of secure data through public networks that needs protection from unauthorized access and thus the security requirements in embedded devices have become critical.

The secure data falls in different categories requiring different levels of security. According to whose interest the protection of the data is, the secure data can be classified as two: the users private data and the user restricted data. The users private data are those data which when its security is compromised impacts directly on the user. A simple example of compromising such security is having access to a userís internet banking password. But in case of user restricted data, itís not the user but the content (data) provider who suffers direct loss on compromising the security of that data. The examples of such data are digital multimedia content such as copyrighted digital photos, audio and video contents.

The secure data not only requires protection during data transfer but also while handling the data at the end user devices. Vulnerability at the end user device, like easy access to the secret keys that are used to encrypt or decrypt the data, can easily turn down the entire security measures. The protocol involved for the secure transmission of either of the above mentioned contents through a public network uses more or less the same techniques but the handling of the user restricted data at the userís end involves much more care as the content is protected from the user itself!

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