Building a house that is strong enough to withstand the test of time requires well-defined codes, specifications based on rigorous testing, and thorough...
Building a house that is strong enough to withstand the test of time requires well-defined codes, specifications based on rigorous testing, and thorough certification. Building a secure IoT device is no different. As a part of Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), engineers from over 450 companies around the world have been collaborating on the trifecta of specification, certification, and open source reference architecture that is required to build secure IoT devices.
The word security is thrown around a lot, however, what does it actually mean in the context of IoT devices? When we talk of security within OCF, we could mention the NIST approved cryptography algorithms and key lengths mandated to be used by every OCF device providing strong identity, encryption, and confidentiality for all device traffic. Or, we could delve into how proper authentication and authorization is an integral and mandatory part of every connection to and from an OCF device once it is on the user’s network.
These are all valid hallmarks of a well implemented security model. However, with security, while it is true that the devil is in the details, it is also true that perspective is a panorama. The OCF security model cannot adequately be measured unless we can measure it against a bigger picture. That bigger picture comes in the form of several IoT security baselines developed recently by government and industry organizations. These baselines give manufacturers, consumers, and the industry as a whole, compelling tools with which to measure and provide external validation of IoT security models and specifications.
As applied to the OCF specification, these baselines become even more impactful because every mandatory device requirement in OCF has a corresponding certification test (code that verifies that a device meets the specification). In cases where there is no way to test a particular requirement, the manufacturer must attest that they meet the criteria established in the specification. What this means is that for almost every match between a security baseline capability and the OCF specification there is a corresponding certification (or attestation) test that must be passed by every certified OCF device.
We believe that this linkage of industry and governmental requirements provides a powerful testament to the completeness of the OCF security model. That is why OCF’s Security Oversight Working Group has directed their efforts to mapping the OCF specification across five influential IoT baselines:
To derive a mapping that would be consistent across all of the baselines we needed to derive three criteria for determining if OCF met each baseline requirement, and if it did not, why? These three criteria include:
Figure 1 presents the mapping of the OCF specification to the five influential IoT security baselines using these criteria.
Figure 1: Mapping the OCF specification across five influential IoT baselines. (Source: OCF)
For a full searchable mapping of the OCF specification to each of the baselines, visit OCF’s security overview page.
— Kyle Haefner is a senior security engineer at CableLabs and the Chair of the Open Connectivity Security Oversight Work Group.