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Tips on How to Design a Hardware-Secure Device

In case your startup is connected with designing hardware, the first thing you should consider is to make it safe. Discover several tips on how to do that in this article!

Many hardware engineers state that it is always a challenging task when it comes to hardware design because they need to generate innovative solutions to cope with security issues. It is a difficult process as security must be guaranteed at all the hardware design stages, i.e. starting from prototyping to release.

To go deeper into the ways to design hardware, besides this article, you can additionally check the latest manufacturing technology trends.

As experts from the resource called MarketsandMarkets report, the market of hardware security platforms is expected to significantly grow from 2020 – 2026. In 2018, the hardware security platforms industry was valued at approximately 601 million US dollars and is anticipated to reach over 900 million US dollars by 2024, at a CAGR of 13.67% during 2020 – 2026.

As far as the issue of hardware security gets more and more critical on the global level (proved by the above-mentioned data), small business and startup owners should treat that seriously while designing their devices. If they have no idea how to implement security measures while developing hardware, it is a brilliant solution to check hardware engineering services at Engre.co. Here, engineering talent not only provides clients with the overall support regarding the design itself but also consults on hardware security.

As a rule, hardware development and prototyping, followed by production takes place before they apply relevant software. This is the phase when engineers require realizing that they must consider hardware security at the initial stage in the solution life cycle. The point is hardware is often perceived as the final defense line when they talk about outside attacks.

That is why hardware engineers should do their best to provide that with the strongest security level. What things should be focused on when designing a hardware secure device? Below, we will share some best tips with you.

Reduce Hypothetical Attacks

At the initial step to making your hardware secure, the hardware you are not currently using (but which can cause attacks) must be disabled. Such equipment involves any universal asynchronous receiver-transmitters that are not implemented in the final design phase, unused wireless platforms, unused ports to enforce address restrictions, and debugging/programming interfaces.

Implement Encryption

Hardware engineers should introduce encryption in every possible system. When you designing a safe-hardware device, you should think about developing embedded hardware to optimize encryption as well as decryption with minimum load on the CPU, ok?

Never Use a Single Security Layer

Here, the electronic as well as physical layer is meant:

Electronic layer

The electronic security layer presupposes implementing a secure component to preserve a master key. The last will be used for encryption or decryption of minor data and keys as may be required. Secure components deliver powerful protection to interfere with key extraction or tampering.

Another good choice is when hardware engineers implement secure authenticator devices. They use advanced cryptography to simultaneously identify each other and help to avoid the falsification of devices from the real ones.

Finally, hardware engineers should implement tamper switches. This option is crucial if your startup is connected with designing smart mobile terminals.

For such devices, there appears a high risk of tampering the master key when hackers upload it on their static random access memory platforms.

Physical layer

Physical security can be guaranteed by creating a kind of anti-tamper housing design that contributes to the impossibility to open the device (however, hardware engineers should consider the requirements for service). If engineers design the solution with no need of opening for service needs, they may create the construction like “when they open it, the device damages without the opportunity to get refurbished.”

Hardware Design Security: What Else to Do

One of the essential requirements regarding designing safe-hardware devices is the strong flexibility to connect as well as operate without disruption in various environments. So, hardware engineers should design specific security standards that can support the security function at the layers discussed earlier in this article.

If hardware engineers wonder what kind of material to choose to guarantee safety, it is great when such devices have nano-silicon or other advanced materials. Safe (and thus, reliable) materials result in minimizing security threats. They require hardware support in defending device identities in IoT to keep them away from a range of software layers (which constantly update), to fight against remote unauthorized extraction or modifications.

One more thing should be mentioned here. When designing hardware, engineers should reduce the battery consumption to a minimum. The point is that security components in hardware systems, as a rule, consume a great deal of battery power. When considering what battery to choose for your hardware, the key rule to follow is the product’s performance level should not prevail over its security issue. They don’t want a battery gap, agree?

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