Why All Modules Are Not Created Equal

IoT modules are a critical part of the overall connectivity ecosystem. It’s therefore essential to select a credible provider that prioritizes rigorous testing to identify vulnerabilities and practices the highest level of security and transparency.

Adobe Stock 485622467
Tex vector/stock.adobe.com

Billions of connected devices in IoT have created an enlarged threat surface for bad actors to attack. The good news is that communications and IT security continually advance to provide strong resistance, but attacks continue to proliferate and become more innovative as time goes on. This has resulted in IoT security depending not only on secure communication links, traditional IT and physical security but also on a renewed focus on security down to the component level.

With IoT devices relying on modules to facilitate communication, these modules have emerged as one of the targets for malicious actors.

Some module vendors have therefore been taking the issue of cybersecurity extremely seriously to the extent that modules now have clearly defined security postures and standards that can be transparently shared with its customers. Customers themselves now are looking to select modules based on their security attributes and how these maps to the security posture of their applications and organization.

The emerging significance of component security underscores the diverse spectrum of strategies concerning module security. These approaches range from near-non-existent to vendors who have put robust security measures in place. The latter ensure that modules entering the supply chain provide customers with assurance regarding their quality and security. This includes implementing rigorous security protocols, surpassing industry standards and subjecting modules to independent third-party cybersecurity audits. It’s therefore essential that purchasers assess the secure attributes of modules as part of the specification process before millions of poorly protected modules are embedded into the next wave of IoT devices.

The heightened threat landscape has necessitated that module vendors upgrade their security approaches and become transparent about their security posture to give peace of mind to the companies that rely on their modules. Companies need to know how modules are kept secure, in what ways security is maintained and monitored from the point of manufacture to the point of deployment and in-use and what standards and techniques are utilized. Module vendors should be open with customers and explain fully their security posture.

Change Brings Increased Scrutiny of IoT Modules

By upholding transparency, module vendors can effectively respond to the growing global concerns surrounding the security of IoT modules. New regulations to ensure software supply chain security are being suggested across multiple industry organizations to address the greater complexities industries face and within this, component vendors – and their software – will need to demonstrate compliance and best-practices approaches. To meet the needs of customers and comply with new regulations, module providers must demonstrate transparent, verifiable product security as cybersecurity supply chain threats grow.

Improved Transparency to Mitigate Concerns

One solution to affirm module security is similar to a “Software Bill of Materials” (SBOM), which effectively lists the ingredients or components that go into a piece of software.

SBOMs have emerged as a fundamental tool for organizations to understand their software’s provenance, licensing and potential vulnerabilities. By aiding better risk management and decision-making, SBOMs help organizations ensure the security and resilience of their software supply chains. Publishing SBOMs (Software Bill of Materials) is crucial for organizations to bolster the security and resilience of their software supply chains. They provide comprehensive visibility into software components and dependencies, enabling proactive risk management and early detection of vulnerabilities throughout the development lifecycle. By maintaining transparency and accountability, organizations can ensure compliance with regulations and industry standards while holding vendors accountable for the security of their software components. This approach not only helps prioritize security efforts but also fosters vendor accountability, ultimately reducing the likelihood of security breaches and enhancing overall software supply chain security.

In the module industry, a similar Bill of Materials that sets out the potential vulnerabilities of a module along with steps that have been taken to secure the product, could form an essential part of the modern supply chain. A rapidly changing regulatory environment demands reliable and verifiable information about secure development practices. 

In the current environment, concerns about the origin of modems, whether real or unfounded, exist. The answer is to provide all the information and documented proof necessary on the front end to address those concerns before they arise.

As the cybersecurity threat landscape has evolved, it has become essential to adopt enhanced security protocols. With the growing emphasis on transparency, secure development practices, and supply chain security, businesses and government agencies must navigate complex challenges.

Lifecycle-Oriented Security

As part of any commitment to transparency, module manufacturers need a comprehensive, lifecycle-oriented approach to bolster security and provide transparency.

Any strategy must integrate various methods and tools to facilitate layered security evaluations from the early stages of module development to the final product launch. Additionally, a product security testing program with publicly released results will go a long way toward abating fears.

The approach comprises several stages designed to identify different types of security vulnerabilities. It also thoroughly addresses a wide range of potential security risks.

This strategy allows users to demonstrate their commitment to providing secure and dependable products.

IoT modules are a critical part of the overall connectivity ecosystem. It’s therefore essential to select a credible provider that prioritizes rigorous testing to identify vulnerabilities and practices the highest level of security and transparency to ensure you select the right provider who’s dedicated to protecting your end users.