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ARM Doubles Down On IoT Security, A Hot-Button Issue For Solution Providers

The problem with the industry's rush to the Internet of Things is that everything can be hacked, one solution provider tells CRN.

Chip design company ARM is expanding its Israeli-based Internet of Things engineering team by almost double as the Cambridge, U.K.-based company continues to invest heavily in IoT.

Mike Muller, chief technology officer at ARM, said in a statement that the technologies being developed at the company’s design center will have a ’significant influence’ on advanced System-on-Chip IP for the Internet of Things.

"By almost doubling the size of our Kfar Netter design center in just over a year, we have shown our commitment to building our highly successful team in Israel,’ he said. ’Their work in areas such as IoT security is helping to form a solid foundation for a smarter and better connected world where data – as our most important new natural resource – is secured by design," said Muller in the statemetn.

[Related: Solution Providers Applaud New Security Protocol, Citing Security Concerns For IoT]

ARM a year ago expanded its IoT security capability with the acquisition of Israel-based Sansa Security, a provider of hardware security IP and software for advanced System-on-Chip components deployed in IoT and mobile devices. ARM said that since this acquisition, which brought 90 engineers on board to the company's design team, it has recruited 40 more engineers and continues to grow the design center.

Solution providers, for their part, say security is a top priority among customers with the Internet of Things but that some vendors have yet to recognize its significance.

"I think [security is] a big issue and it’s an issue that a lot of folks are ignoring,’ said Tim Lynch, CEO of Psychsoft, a Quincy, Mass.-based solution provider. ’The problem with IoT is that everything can be hacked, and things can go wrong. In our rush to implement this stuff, if folks aren’t aware of the issues they can open things up.’

Ron Brown, vice president of operations at Digital West Networks, a San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based managed service provider, said vendors need to become more proactive about addressing IoT security. ’We’re not seeing an industry shift to become more proactive for IoT security; people are being more reactive to security,’ he said. ’Vendors are so excited to get new IoT products out they are not remembering the simple security aspects.’

ARM's design center in Israel is zeroing in on these gaps in security -- the company's team is comprised of software developers specializing in technologies, languages and tools ranging from embedded real-time software development on devices and coding using C and other structured languages for Linux and Android targets, through to cloud-based Software-as-a-Service technology. ARM’s design center also focuses on the continued development of CryptoCell, an industry-leading product for implementing cryptography on cellular devices, tablets and IoT devices. Engineers supporting this effort include software and hardware designers working on firmware development, Linux, real-time embedded and software.

The company, which said in July that it will be acquired by SoftBank in a $32 billion all-cash transaction, has also been involved in developing the Open Trust Protocol, which will enable an open standard for trusted software to provide a system root level of trust with customers who are concerned about IoT security.

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