Over-The-Air Updates – Critical to IoT Security

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Hitex ARM User Conference Keynote - 24 November, Warwick

Niall Cooling has been invited to deliver a keynote speech at this year's Hitex ARM User Conference. Using the conference theme, 'Unleashing the ARM Microcontroller: Wireless technology without compromise', Niall's presentation will examine Over-The-Air Updates and why they are critical to IoT security.

The availability of low cost, low power wireless technology is the key attribute to the acceleration of IoT adoption. WiFi and BLE are now pretty much ubiquitous, with both NFC and longer range radio, such as LoRa, growing in acceptance. However, this comes at a cost; we have to accept their security can never be 100% due to issues such as technical debt and 3rd party dependencies. To address this ongoing security requirement, current in-field update techniques such as. loading .bin files from a PC to target, using USB keys, etc. are unacceptable. Wireless connectivity opens up the potential for In-field Over-The-Air (OTA) software updates. This, nevertheless, requires a non-trivial safe/secure update process such as demonstrated by the mobile industry.

One area that has been difficult for embedded developers is the supporting architectures to make this easier but  the announcement of ARMv8-M designs, such as the Cortex-M33 and CryptoCell, offers standardised models to help simplify OTA update implementation.

In addition, modern software developments involving Agile are utilising techniques for Continuous Build, Integration and even Deployment (CB/CI/CD). CD has been the ‘missing piece of the puzzle’ for traditional embedded development and wireless OTA deployment has the potential to fill that gap and bring Agile Development (CD) to embedded system development and deployment.

Niall's talk addresses the requirements of a modern system to support wireless OTA updates for continued safe and secure embedded system operation.

Learn more about the Hitex ARM User Conference here.

Read the conference write-up here.