Hardware root of trust
All secure operations depend on a solid foundation. Just as the name implies, this is the foundation of any secure system infrastructure. You cannot have trustworthy cybersecurity without it.
A hardware root of trust helps ensure suspicious programs don’t run. They can’t do any damage without initiation. Because of this, the root of trust guarantees no subjection to cyberattacks in cases embedded in the hardware.
A corrupted Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) gives attackers free rein over the system and potentially the entire network by way of botnets. The root of trust combats this by verifying the legitimacy of the first piece of code when a computer boots, which establishes what is called a chain of trust that allows all subsequent coding to process.
The root of trust verifies the legitimacy of the code by checking its encrypted signature, which is immutable. In fact, the signature burns into the silicon during manufacture. Assuming the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is trustworthy, your end-user can boot problem-free in perpetuity.
Operating system secure boot policy
Similarly, a secure boot using the common Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) ensures only trusted software will run. If it’s not trusted, it won’t initiate.
Think of the secure boot as a handshake between the BIOS and loaders and drivers. Only software with a digital signature from a certificate authority (like the OEM) will run.
The UEFI is often used with data encryption and intrusion detection, providing a multi-layered approach to the cyber protection of the OS and data.
Ongoing updates to system images and security
No matter how hardened your system is, there’s always a chance clever attackers will compromise it. When things do go wrong, a system image is critical.
This backup is a snapshot of the entire system, from the OS to the software and settings. If your end-user is compromised – or the hardware fails for some reason – they’ll be able to set everything the way it was as long as it is kept up to date.
Every hardening strategy should consider the system image – and regular updating.
Any IP or wireless-based system is a desirable target for cybercriminals. Supply chain security is also paramount. Your hardware should minimize or eliminate access to devices at the edge by untrusted sources. This setup is done through the server if you’ve got the proper equipment.
Data going to and from edge devices should be encrypted in addition to all the other hardening measures like hardware root of trust and secure booting, keeping would-be hackers from reading the data as a way to gain entry.
Screening and inspection
The goal of system hardening is to reduce risk throughout that network. Your hardware should screen for and protect against invalid access innately. If someone is hacking a system, it is to try to get in with some access key. If an attacker attempts to enter a system, the hardware can spot a bogus key or unrecognized IP address and stop entry.
The bottom line is that you’re trying to put numerous mechanisms in place to minimize attack surfaces at every turn. A good piece of hardware includes all those fail-safes and offers redundant protection throughout the network.
Your trusted suppliers should be considering all these things, so you don’t have to. Seneca is one of those suppliers.
From the root of trust in the hardware to screening and inspection, Seneca holds the highest standards in the business.
They can enable Secure Boot and offer the most intuitive backup and recovery solution, SBAR, which makes capturing and recovering from system images easy.
In addition to the items covered in this article, Seneca offers:
- Digitally signed UEFI driver firmware updates
- Optional system secure boot with TPM-enabled features
- CVE updated and patched system images
- Optional hard drive encryption and enterprise key management
- TAA/NDAA-compliant hardware
- Optional limited hardware points of entry
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