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BT, Intercede and Imagination collaborate on IoT security

12 June 2017

Imagination and Intercede are showcasing a solution for enhanced Internet of Things (IoT) security at BT’s bi-annual Innovation 2017 event.

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Based on a collaborative initiative between Imagination, Intercede, BT and other industry leaders, the demonstration of the ‘Trust Continuum’ shows how systems-on-chips (SoCs) for home gateway routers can be architected to address the growing security and management challenges presented by the proliferation of IoT devices, services and technologies entering the home.

The Trust Continuum focuses on architectural innovation in gateway router design. Routers, which traditionally manage network traffic between the home network and the Internet, can now become secure, intelligent hubs for all IoT devices and services within the home. Consumers will benefit from added security, privacy and an intuitive user experience. Operators will benefit from implementing compelling and lucrative new business models with the flexibility to continually add and manage new trusted services.

BT’s invitation-only Innovation 2017 event brings together technology experts to showcase and discuss the best research and innovation in the telecommunications industry. The Trust Continuum, demonstrated as part of the event’s cyber security track, defines a way for home gateway manufacturers, operators and service providers to guarantee establishment of trust from silicon through to service provisioning. They can ensure a connected device is on a trusted path, running authentic manufacturer-installed software, and operating in its intended state. With this foundation, a server can trust the device that is attempting to access its services, and the device can trust that it is accessing the appropriate services. 

The demonstration harnesses Imagination’s OmniShield enabled MIPS CPUs and Intercede’s powerful MyTAM solution, plus other key partner technologies to showcase an innovative gateway architecture that places the operator firmly in control and at the center of the IoT ecosystem.

BT’s chief security researcher Paul Kearney has played a key role in defining the Trust Continuum through the prpl Foundation’s Trust Continuum Working Group, alongside representatives from Imagination, Intercede, Intrinsic-ID, Kernkonzept, Synopsys and others. The group is defining the APIs necessary to ensure hardware-enforced, end-to-end security in the evolving service-based economy, and is rolling out the first of those APIs imminently for peer review.

According to Kearney, “We are delighted that Imagination and Intercede will participate in Innovation 2017, showing BT’s open innovation philosophy in action. Securing the Internet of Things is a particular challenge due to the large numbers and huge variety of devices involved, owned and/or operated by different stakeholders. The solution has to involve co-operation and open standards, which is what the prpl Foundation is all about. The Trust Continuum approach promises to provide a basis for security while also providing operators with the flexibility to innovate and experiment with new business models and service, as effectively illustrated by the demonstration.”

Nick Cook, CIO of Intercede and chair of the prpl Foundation’s Trust Continuum Working Group, said: “Solutions architected around Trust Continuum APIs will enable companies to deliver trusted services from gateway to cloud. At Innovation 2017, we’re looking forward to demonstrating the power of this solution, which is already gaining attention from operators, OEMs, and SoC developers.” 

Jim Nicholas, EVP MIPS Processor IP, Imagination, said, “The pervasiveness of IoT enables manufacturers and service providers to deliver a wide array of new services. We are helping companies to ensure reliable and secure provisioning, management, and monitoring of those services through a unique approach to gateway SoC design. This disruptive architecture puts the operator in control of managing and monetising those services – an exciting value proposition for industry leaders like BT.” 

Demonstration at Innovation 2017

Intercede and Imagination will demonstrate how an end-to-end chain of trust is established via the home gateway, enabling operators and their IoT providers to dynamically deploy, provision, and manage trusted services while simultaneously reducing the hardware burden and simplifying the end-user experience. The demo is centered around a MIPS-based platform supporting multiple isolated Trusted Runtime Environments (TREs) where services, including the network communication standards they rely upon, can be provisioned and managed by the operator. This is enabled by the powerful hardware virtualisation capabilities of the MIPS CPU and the security-focused evolution of Intercede’s MyTAM client and mobile app, which enables service providers to dynamically created TREs and to deploy trusted applications directly into them. The demonstration leverages the L4Re hypervisor from Kernkonzept and a MIPS-based SoC from Baikal Electronics. 


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