Security is needed to underpin healthcare IoT: Page 3 of 3

April 18, 2018 //By Mark de Clercq
Security is needed to underpin healthcare IoT
Mark de Clercq, director of Bluetooth Low Energy at Dialog Semiconductor plc discusses the need for security to be addressed in both hardware and software for the Internet of Things to fulfill its potential in healthcare applications.

Cryptographic algorithms, hashing functions, random number generators and secure key storage and management are just a few of the key security hardware blocks to look for in IoT System-On-Chips. Manufacturers must emphasize these and other solutions in their IoT device designs to ensure a more robust level of cybersecurity that can keep up with the threats that our healthcare devices may face at any given time.

At the same time, we can’t think of this as a problem with just a hardware solution; there is a software side to this equation we have to consider, too. Developers must guarantee they're overlaying software that uses this hardware architecture to deliver secure services like secure booting, software authentication and data encryption. These services are critical for applications to protect themselves from security risks. While the hardware security blocks are important, too, without this layer of software protection layered on top of them, then the hardware is just wasted silicon.

The IoT is paving the way to a bright future in healthcare, where hyper-connected devices can help to improve patient care outcomes, provide cutting-edge tools for doctors and streamline patient data collection. But, the flip side of this coin is a new level of security and privacy risks. Developers can't anticipate every future security threat on the horizon, but they have to begin integrating software and hardware security features into their device designs now in order to stave off as many of these potential risks as possible.

Mark de Clercq is director of Bluetooth Low Energy at fabless chip supplier Dialog Semiconductor plc

[1] Forbes article referencing Boston Consulting Group

[2] Guardian report August 31, 2017

[3] Intel produces white paper, benchmark on Meltdown, Spectre

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