Chapter 6

Communications Security in Embedded Systems 1

6.1. Introduction

There are many advantages in having embedded systems connected to the internet: remote surveillance and data acquisition, remote maintenance and updating, and more. With the growing number of embedded applications (aircraft or factory control, transactions, video, etc.), various embedded systems have to communicate with each other over non-secure channels, such as the internet, via wireless connections. There is therefore an enormous risk if data, commands, or sensitive updates are transmitted insecurely over the internet. In order to withstand malicious attacks, the data exchanged must be secured from one end of the transmission to the other.

Today many protocols for securing communications (SSH, SSL/TLS, DTLS, IPsec, etc.) are available, and security can be implemented at various levels of the communication stack. However, the greatest obstacles to their use in embedded systems are the limited memory and low processing capacity provided by the platforms of these devices. For this reason, securing exchanges between embedded systems is a very interesting topic for research projects. Such projects aim to secure embedded systems, which run applications requiring high security.

In the first chapter of this book, we distinguished three security issues of embedded systems: hardware, embedded software, and communications with the outside world. In this chapter we will address the third issue. We will begin by introducing ...

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