More and more industries are inclining towards cloud architecture and Internet Of Things. IoT means merely to connect everything with internet to provide real-time and streamlined output. Implementation of IoT is done by designing embedded system. With the rapidly progressing digital era, the threat about cyber-security system is also increasing. Hazardous ways are cropping up by which system connected to the internet are at risk of losing confidential information.
The embedded and other control systems were earlier considered to be out of cyber-thieves reach, but with massive data breach by Stuxnet worm, it has become a matter of utmost priority. The Stuxnet worm could break into industrial infrastructure and let the attacker access the control system. Stuxnet could trespass PLCs password protection and corrupt the framework by installing malignant code.
Cyber-thefts have started ambushing hardware and hardware-based software implementations like embedded system with viruses, worms, and Trojan horses despite strong password defense. The secure protocols and password protection are unable to shield industrial security from hacking and damaging the core infrastructure of an industry.
WHAT ARE EMBEDDED SYSTEMS?
With the global statistics showing a surging future for automation services, industries everywhere are incorporating embedded and control system in their framework.
- Embedded systems, unlike general purpose computers, are designed to perform a specific task.
- They have limited resources like small memory and are powered by a battery.
- Furthermore, these devices are continually evolving in complexity which is complicating the security landscape, that demands categorical data protection.
- These constraints make the embedded system an easy target for hackers.The hackers can swiftly cause a delay in these deadline- bound system and lead to system failure.
- The embedded systems are designed using specialized operating systems, and hence a generic Windows security service is not sufficient to protect the data.
WHY ARE THEY IN NEED OF BETTER SECURITY?
An embedded system and industrial control system are prone to attack through following loopholes:
- Weakness in the design and algorithm of the embedded system like an unresolved bug during designing in layers of abstraction or bugs planted at the time of logic gate synthesis can make the system prone to a severe cyber-attack.
- Embedded system, depending upon the functionality is designed with microprocessors, microcontrollers and are hence programmable. This puts them in a dangerous spot of getting reprogrammed by anyone.
- Since they are designed to cater to a single service of significance, one cyber attack can send the whole industrial control system into a downward spiral, ultimately leading to shut-down of the system;
- The real-time data services require embedded system to upgrade with technical advancements and be connected across networks with most of the systems directly connected to internet. This extensive connectivity and growing complexity has made embedded systems more prone to a security breach.
- These customized systems tend to last longer than PC’s and are almost impossible to upgrade with incessantly changing security needs.
WHAT SHOULD AN IDEAL EMBEDDED SYSTEM SECURITY HAVE?
A combination of hardware and software security is required to assure supreme protection of an industrial system from malicious cyber-attacks.
An ideal security service must provide design, data and hardware security. They must perform a comprehensive risk assessment to identify areas prone to a security breach and present with an adequate protection plan.
Cyber-attacks have a diverse approach and can be multiple-phased and hence should not be taken lightly especially since, with industries, the stakes are always higher.