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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


New Tech Tuesdays: Cybersecurity Solutions for a Secure Smart Home Tommy Cummings

The dynamics of home security have changed with the proliferation of personal devices in our daily activities. From securing a home-alarm system with a few keystrokes on a keypad, the sheer number of security entry points into our homes have multiplied with Internet of Things technology.

We love the convenience. We ask voice-controlled artificial intelligent personal assistants to play our favorite music, adjust the thermostat, provide traffic and weather information, control the lighting, and much more. We set up work-from-home stations with connections that require lockdown security settings.

As we stayed close to home during the pandemic, it spurred our appetite for smart devices. A new Deloitte survey showing the number of smart devices in the average US home has more than doubled in the past two years. According to the survey, the average US household has about 25 internet-connected devices compared with only 11 in 2019.

This unparalleled growth also means the growth and sophistication of cyberattacks. One research firm has found that 84 percent of security professionals believe IoT devices are more vulnerable than computers. Another research firm projects the global cybersecurity market to grow from $217.9 billion (USD) in 2021 to $345.4 billion (USD) by 2026.

In this week's New Tech Tuesdays, we'll look at turnkey solutions from Infineon Technologies and NXP Semiconductors and key storage devices from Microchip Technology.

Three Cybersecurity Solutions for a Secure Safe Home

Infineon Technologies OPTIGA™ Trust X Security Controller is a hardware-based turnkey solution that provides robust security to the diverse applications in the IoT, ranging from smart homes to drones. The plug-and-play device's full system integration and all key material preprogrammed keep design, integration, and deployment to a minimum. Each controller is based on Common Criteria Certified EAL6+ hardware enabling it to prevent physical attacks on the device itself and ensure stored data cannot be accessed by an unauthorized entity. The security chips address individual needs for embedded authentication, brand protection, and security applications. Trust X supports a high-speed I2C communication interface of up to 1MHz.

The NXP Semiconductors EdgeLock™ SE050 Plug & Trust Secure Element is another turnkey solution in support of IoT and Industry 4.0 security. The SE050 supports the latest security use cases to protect from unauthorized access, hacking, overwriting, deleting, manipulation, and other forms of tampering. The SE050 gives IoT applications edge-to-cloud security capability right out of the box and without the need to write security code because of a pre-installed flexible applet. The secure element provides root of trust at the integrated circuit level, ensuring keys don't have to be handled at untrusted stages of the supply chain. The SE050 provides Common Criteria EAL 6+ based security certification up to the operating system level. The SE050 has libraries for microcontroller (MCU) and microprocessor (MPU) units and integration with the many common OSs, including Linux, Windows, RTOS, and Android. Designers will find a product support package that simplifies design-in and reduces time to market. Visit Mouser for additional features and example use cases.

Microchip Technology ATECC608B CryptoAuthentication Devices secure hardware-based key storage up to 16 keys, certificates, miscellaneous read/write, read-only or secret data, consumption logging, and security configurations. Access to the various sections of memory can be restricted in various ways and then the configuration can be locked to prevent changes. The ATECC608B is ideal for encryption for small messages and Personally Identifiable Information (PII), secure boot and protected download, ecosystem control, and anti-cloning. ATECC608B devices provide security enhancements over that of the ATECC608A while providing backward compatibility. Microchip Technology recommends the ATECC608B for new designs and upgrades. Microchip also provides migration references for designers.

Tuesday's Takeaway

The cat's out of the bag on the growth of devices for smart homes. This means more cybersecurity vulnerabilities. This also means more design engineers will have to go on defense and develop additional ways to keep our homes safe. It’s a war over security and safety with high stakes.



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Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.


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