Bringing security for industrial devices to the next level

22nd July 2019
Posted By : Alex Lynn
Bringing security for industrial devices to the next level

Smart factories and connected supply chains are presenting manufacturing companies with opportunities. Sophisticated automation and self-optimisation through machine-learning and AI are promising highly optimised processes and increased production efficiency – hence more productivity with the same input.

By Anasthasia Westphal, Product Marketing Manager, Digital Security Solutions, Infineon Technologies.

The Smart Factory, that is autonomously enhancing itself, yet has to become reality. However, manufacturers of industrial components and devices have to prepare manufacturing equipment to make this vision become a reality. This is why functionalities that allow predictive maintenance, remote control and remote software updates are being included already today. As they all are usually connected through the Internet, we are hence talking about the IIoT, the Industrial Internet of Things.

But connectivity comes also with new security challenges: malware, manipulation, sabotage, faulty firmware updates and counterfeit components are examples of digital threats that can bring entire production lines to a halt.

In addition, safeguarding Intellectual Property and sensitive information requires tailor-made solutions.

Security Measures that are based on software alone do not generally provide sufficient protection against a large number of increasing and upcoming attacks. Cryptograpic keys (secrets) - used for example to prove the digital identity of a device - and sensitive information are best protected by a strong foundation based on hardware-based security.

Security which is based on discrete security chips enables achieving higher security levels of industrial devices and networks and also helps to shorten time to market and reduce development costs of secured industrial applications.

IEC 62443: a standard for industrial cyber security

The IIoT or Industry 4.0 and smart factories are based on interconnection and integration at all network levels - from IT to OT network and connected machines (M2M). Yet this increased connectivity leads to vulnerabilities for attacks especially from the “outside” through using the remote accessibility. Companies must therefore be prepared against cyber threats in order to prevent equipment damage or downtime.

Industrial control systems have experienced a significant increase in cyber-attacks over the last decade. The industry has responded to cyber security threats by creating standards to assist end users, plant manufacturers and integrators through the process of securing industrial control systems and networks.

IEC 62443 has been developed by both the ISA99 and IEC committees as international industrial security standard with the aim to improve the protection, availability, integrity, and confidentiality of data for components or systems used in industrial automation and control.

IEC 62443 defines five security levels: from SL 0 (no security) to SL 4 (resistant against nation-state attacks). For the higher security levels (i.e. level 3 and 4) of IEC 62443, hardware-based security is a requirement to protect the device authenticators, the private keys and also critical symmetric keys to name some examples.

The advantage of storing critical secrets and data within a discrete hardware chip comes with enhanced protection as a dedicated security chip is hardened against logical as well as physical attacks.

Whereas with Software-only methods the barriers for logical attacks are much lower: attackers could analyse the code to find vulnerabilities and develop exploits that undermine security and as an example are used to extract secrets. Those ‘stolen secrets’ could then be used to impersonate or copy the device. This is critical, as it is very hard to verify whether it is the original device or a device that has the stolen and copied keys: Think of the use-case of predictive maintenance, where first of all huge amounts of data are being analysed to derive the indicators to identify the failure of a device before it happens. Data, that is not derived from an original device cannot be trusted and consequently not be used within the analysis.

The IEC 62443-4-1 standard has responded to this scenario: product suppliers who use externally provided components such as security chips must employ a process to identify and manage the security risks of those components. Furthermore, they must be able to identify the degree of security verification and validation performed on the component.

Certified security chips like the OPTIGA Trusted Platform Module (TPM) from Infineon support those requirements. They are evaluated by independent security testing laboratories according to the Common Criteria (CC) protection profile for IT products and certified by authorities like the Federal Office for Information Security. The certificates are published on the Common Criteria website and prove the conformity with the requirements of the security profile.

Use cases for securing industrial networks

Security measures have to cover the complete industrial infrastructure including the components (e.g. PLCs, IPCs, RTU, HMI), gateways, routers and servers. What are the typical use cases in the industrial infrastructure which should be based on hardware-based security? Predictive and remote maintenance with related monitoring, diagnosis and services is one important topic. Other relevant and critical applications in smart factories are counterfeit detection, protection of IP and software upgrades, and so on.

In order to implement predictive maintenance and remote control in a highly secured manner, strong device authentication is key. Secured digital identities of machines are the basis for protecting data exchange and the establishment of secured communication channels, e.g. from the industrial control to the cloud.

Consequently, the underlying secret keys must be protected properly during the whole lifecycle of the product. This can be done most effectively using hardware-based security, comparable with a vault.

Besides faking the device ID to access industrial networks, common attack scenarios also include eavesdropping data and commands as well as active attacks on networks that try to inject data packets and disrupt the operations. To recognise these kind of attacks, there is a need for authentication with tamper-resistant security chips: They allow to clearly identify the device and the data source.

Another important topic is secured software updates that are used to close vulnerabilities or to add new functionalities to the device. There is the need to identify the device and to check that it has the proper license to download the new software. The device must be protected from attackers using the software update mechanism to install their own malware.

Furthermore it is important to be able to verify the authenticity of the software update source and to make sure that the code has not been manipulated. Finally, software updates should be encrypted. Security chips play a central role in this scenario – they protect cryptographic keys required to decrypt the update package.

Trusted computing in industrial applications

A Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is the standardised and certified foundation for secured components and computing platforms. It protects secrets such as keys and other security critical data in a discrete security chip (ie separated from the main CPU) in order to take over critical security operations within its own, protected resources. It can communicate with the main CPU - the processor on which the application is running.

The hardware of the TPM is a security microcontroller with its own CPU, memory and crypto-coprocessors taking over security critical operations and storing security critical data (i.e. keys). Logical attacks, where ie vulnerabilities of the firmware are being exploited are often targeted to manipulate, steel or to copy the keys. TPMs are specifically designed to be hardened against such attacks and therefore protect keys and other security critical data both against logical and physical attacks.

Furthermore, device manufacturers also benefit from reduced costs and efforts by using security chips. There is no need of setting up protected and audited manufacturing environments or changing the manufacturing processes to insert device ID and secret keys. They can rely on the TPM as protected key storage and do not need to develop proprietary products.

Complete and dedicated family

Infineon’s comprehensive OPTIGA family offers different security chips providing core functions to secure devices and embedded systems from one-way authentication up to a flexible, full-fledged standardised security building block (TPM), optimised for different market segments. The OPTIGA TPM SLM 9670 is the latest addition specifically designed for industrial applications.

The OPTIGA TPM SLM 9670 security chip meets the requirements of industrial applications covering the complete infrastructure, such as components (i.e. PLCs, IPCs), HMI (Human Machine Interface), gateways/routers and servers. The certified and standardised security chip protects the secrets that are used for a strong digital device ID and device authentication and enables the verification of the data source as well as the clear assignment to the right machine. It also includes functionalities to protect the confidentiality of data and IP.

The ready-to-use security building block is equipped with dedicated and optimised functions to protect industrial devices and systems, including software and software updates.

To meet industrial requirements, the new SLM 9670 provides an extended temperature range (-40 to +105°C), extended lifetime (20 years), extended product availability for industrial development cycles, enhanced reliability and industrial quality grade.

As the other OPTIGA TPM family members, it is based on a tamper-resistant security microcontroller that leverages advanced hardware security technology. Pushing beyond the qualifications performed for standard TPMs, the SLM 9670 is qualified according to JEDEC JESD47, the standard for industrial applications.

In addition, the OPTIGA SLM 9670 hosts essential cryptographic operations including the generation and verification of keys and signatures. and supports cryptographic algorithms like RSA-2048, ECC-256 or SHA-256.


TPMs are based on an open, vendor-neutral global industrial standard created by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG). Major operating systems such as Microsoft Windows 10, LINUX or VxWorks therefore support OPTIGA TPM with plug-and-play usability. Additionally, a wide range of software including libraries and applications is available both as open source as well as from commercial security experts and industry leaders.

The OPTIGA SLM 9670 is fully compliant to the TPM 2.0 standard issued by the TCG. Previous designs with the OPTIGA TPM SLB 9670 (TPM 2.0) can easily be retrofitted for the OPTIGA SLM 9670. Peripherals such as a true random number generator (TRNG) enhance the security level of the system.

Advanced hardware security technology, which includes internal memory and bus encryption as well as shielding in addition to security peripherals such as sensors provide robust protection against physical and logical attacks.

For the fast and easy evaluation and development, Infineon offers a variety of boards. The Iridium boards are compatible with Raspberry Pi and equipped with the respective OPTIGA TPM including one with the SLM 9670.

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