Layered Security for the Next One Trillion Devices

Arm technology is in billions of devices today, a number we expect to grow to more than a trillion by 2035. Its successful growth depends on a symbiotic relationship between hardware and software, where security is no longer an afterthought.


Security must be layered in, which means implementing technologies, processes and measures designed to protect systems, networks, and data from a range of attacks and a broad spectrum of vulnerabilities. Why? Because your device is only as strong as your weakest link – a single vulnerability could compromise an entire device.


The Arm Platform Security Architecture (PSA) is an architecture-agnostic framework to secure devices from the ground up, and is based on three key stages: analyze, architect and implement.


Together, these stages guide you through the complex world of security design, identifying threats to a system, and recommending and describing which counter-measures to implement. The Arm security portfolio is built on PSA principles, so you can deploy the right level of robustness to best match the needs of each application.

What vulnerabilities do I need to consider?

As the appetite for exploiting security flaws intensifies, so does the broad spectrum of vulnerabilities. It’s important to consider each type of vulnerability and how these could impact your system. At Arm we split the types of vulnerability into four areas: communication, physical, lifecycle and software.

Communication Vulnerabilities

Attackers can try multiple means to intercept, spoof or disrupt messages sent from devices back to the server. Best-practice cryptographic defences must match the increasing value data being communicated. 

Physical Vulnerabilities

Silicon attacks are often split into two categories: non-invasive and invasive. Non-invasive (side-channel) use different ways to try to observe the chip to gain information. These include perturbation techniques–altering the power supply voltage or interfering with electromagnetic signatures. Invasive techniques involve opening the chip to probe or modify part of the passivation layer. 

Lifecycle Vulnerabilities

Devices changes hands many times—from factory to user, to maintenance and to end-of-life. The integrity of the device must be protected at each step: who is repairing it, how is confidential data handled, are firmware upgrades legitimate. Unplanned or forbidden paths, such a theft, overages, or Wi-Fi changes are all vulnerabilities to consider.

Software Vulnerabilities

These are the most common attacks where someone finds a way of using existing cost to get access to restricted resources. It could be due to a software bug or to unexpected call sequences that are open to whole classes of exploits.

Counter-Measures

Selecting the right security products for a device requires careful analysis to identify the level of threat while considering all four types of vulnerability. Ask yourself: what are the assets of my application? How sensitive are they? What are the risks to my business if they are exposed? What lengths will an attacker take to access the assets? The Arm PSA advises to start security design with analysis and answering these important questions, using threat modelling (or a protection profile) to identify the appropriate counter-measures.

Once this extensive analysis is complete and you have a list of security requirements, it’s time to select the best counter-measures for your application. Arm offers a wide spectrum of security IP to mitigate the risks associated with each vulnerability. These include products that can help with cryptography, security services, isolation and tamper mitigation.

Software Counter-measure Solutions 

TrustZone is a system-on-chip (SoC) and CPU system-wide approach to security. It’s the perfect starting point for countering software attacks with isolation and device root of trust. Depending on your processor choice, you can opt for TrustZone for Armv8-A or TrustZone for Armv8-M.

Trusted Execution Environment

The TEE consists of hardware-based isolation technology, trusted boot and a small trusted OS, offering protection against software attacks.

CMSIS-Zone Arm Keil MDK

CMSIS provides device support and a common approach to interface peripherals, reducing development time and offering protection against software attacks.

Trusted Firmware M (TF-M)

Trusted Firmware M delivers reference documents, specifications, and APIs of PSA-trusted code for Armv8-M based microcontrollers completely free of charge. 

Mbed OS

Arm Mbed OS provides transport, lifecycle, and device security features for the entire Arm Cortex-M family via standardized security-specific building blocks.

Communication and Lifecycle Counter-measure Solutions
Cryptographic Services: Arm CryptoCell Family

Arm CryptoCell lets you protect assets belonging to different stakeholders in an ecosystem, safeguarding against communication and lifecycle attacks. Depending on your application, choose either Arm CryptoCell-300 for high-efficiency systems with a small footprint and low power consumption or Arm CryptoCell-700 for high performance systems.

Isolated Subsystem: Arm CryptoIsland Family

Arm CryptoIsland provides a fully isolated subsystem with a similar set of security services to CryptoCell, with added scope for programmability and reuse.

Pelion IoT Platform

The Pelion IoT platform provides secure device-to-data connectivity and data management, offering protection against communication and lifecycle attacks.

Secure Debug: Arm CoreSight SDC-600

An important part of protecting a device, is ensuring that debug can take place in a secure way. CoreSight SDC-600 enables silicon and tool vendors to enforce protection and debug access via a secure debug channel.

Secure Identity

The Arm Kigen family delivers integrated secure identity to protect the next wave of connected devices in a more flexible, scalable and cost-effective form. It also offers secure authentication and remote SIM management of devices.

Looking to accelerate the development of secure SoCs?

Arm secure foundation solutions build on the principles of PSA and contain Corstone foundation IP to provide powerful toolboxes needed to build secure, PSA ready systems. The pre-verified modifiable solutions accelerate time to market and time to security.

Talk with an Expert

 As long as there is value in controlling a device or accessing its data, there will be a constant battle against potential attackers. Talk with an Arm expert to learn more about security technologies that can be designed into devices.

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Protect Your Data Platforms from the Next Wave of Cybercrime

The latest Arm Security Manifesto 2018 shows a disturbing trend in the continuing rise of cybercrime, particularly vast armies of attack bots and elaborate global security offensives. Yet industry is under pressure to simplify IoT, even as the numbers of IoT devices and data streams multiply by billions every year.

Download 2018 Manifesto