Hardware security is vulnerability protection that comes in the form of a physical device rather than software that is installed on the hardware of a computer system.
Hardware security can pertain to a device used to scan a system or monitor network traffic. Common examples include hardware firewalls and proxy servers.
Less common examples include hardware security modules (HSM), which provision cryptographic keys for critical functions such as encryption, decryption and authentication for various systems. Hardware systems can provide more robust security than software is capable of and can also add an additional layer of security for important systems.
The term hardware security can also refer to the protection of physical systems from harm. Equipment destruction attacks, for example, focus on computing devices and networked non-computing devices such as the ever-increasing number of connected devices in M2M or IoT (Internet of Things) environments.
These environments are bringing connectivity and communications to large numbers of hardware devices that must be protected through either hardware- or software-based security.
Regardless of how secure you can make your software, if your hardware leaks information, a cybercriminal can basically bypass all your security mechanisms.
Besides computer data systems, devices such as remote car keys, cable boxes and even credit card chips are all vulnerable to hardware attacks, typically because of their design. These devices are small and lightweight and operate on minimal power. Engineers optimize designs so the devices can work within these low-power constraints.
Many engineers believe the fix for leaky hardware is taking a design specification and restructuring it at an algorithmic level so that the algorithm draws the same amount of power in every cycle. This basically equalizes the amount of power consumed across all the cycles, whereby even if attackers have power measurements, they can’t do anything with that information.
What’s left is a more secure device with a more automated design. Rather than manually securing each hardware component, the algorithm automates the process.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Hardware Security Training, a 2-day course that teaches participants about the basics of hardware security and hardware cryptography. Basic topics such as crypto system, cryptanalysis, ciphers, and data encryption standards (DES) are covered. Moreover, you will be introduced to the basics of VLSI and hardware devices important in computer security such as CMOS, PMOS and VLSI design cycles.
Additionally, Tonex offers nearly three dozen more courses in Cybersecurity Foundation. This includes cutting edge courses like:
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