Industry support for Platform Security Architecture to protect IoT devices

At this week’s Arm TechCon (24 to 26 October, Santa Clara, California, USA), Arm will introduce a common industry framework to protect the projected trillion connected devices.

The Platform Security Architecture (PSA) is a holistic set of threat models, security analyses, hardware and firmware architecture specifications, and an open source firmware reference implementation. It defines a secure foundation for connected devices and is endorsed by leading cloud, hardware and silicon providers, says the company.

While consumers protect devices, they trust that the technology industry is doing everything it can to protect devices and data.

Arm has long held the view that security cannot be an after-thought across all parts of the value chain from device to cloud. Particularly for the Arm ecosystem which expects to have shipped 200 billion Arm-based chips by 2021. 

Arm is introducing what it believes is the first common industry framework for building secure connected devices. Platform Security Architecture (PSA) was designed for devices being connected to the internet that need to be secure without sacrificing their diverse profiles or characteristics.

PSA delivers representative IoT threat models and security analyses, and hardware and firmware architecture specifications, built on key security principles, defining a best practice approach for designing endpoint devices.

There is also a reference open source implementation of the firmware specification, called Trusted Firmware-M.

Significantly, PSA enables ecosystems to build on a common set of ground rules to reduce the cost, time and risk associated with IoT security today.

Arm says it will deliver an open source reference implementation firmware that conforms to the PSA specification. Development initially targets Armv8-M systems, with source code release expected in early 2018.

PSA is operating system-agnostic and is capable of being supported by all of Arm’s RTOS and software vendor partners, including the latest version of Arm’s market-proven Arm Mbed OS. In addition, PSA is scalable for all connected devices, offering common ground rules and a more economical approach to building more secure devices.

Arm also announced additions to its portfolio of security IP. The first is Arm TrustZone CryptoIsland, a new family of integrated security sub-systems providing on-die, smartcard-level security. The initial offering is CryptoIsland-300 which targets applications requiring high levels of isolation and security, such as LPWA communication, storage, and automotive.

Arm CoreSight SDC-600 Secure Debug Channel is another IP addition. It enables full debug capabilities without compromising system security, says Arm, integrating a dedicated authentication mechanism for debug access.

PSA addresses one part of the value chain, and at Arm TechCon, Dipesh Patel, president of Arm’s IoT Services Group, will provide an update on Arm’s plans for securely connecting and managing IoT devices.

Arm is enabling lead partners to thoroughly test and refine the PSA framework in advance of the public release of specifications and software in Q1 2018.


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