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Patching vs. Isolating Vulnerabilities

Patching vs. Isolating Vulnerabilities

May 20, 2024
Patching and updating is pretty much baked-in to the thinking, standards, and coming legislation of the device security community. Yet  isolation via partitioning  is another viable approach for security, and it comes with many advantages. Patching The primary advantage of patching and updating known vulnerabilities is that the vulnerabilities are usually permanently fixed. Hence the fix is demonstrable for standard and legal compliance. Some problems with this approach are: Modern IoT device firmware has tens, hundreds, even thousands of components, and components routinely come with dozens of their own dependencies [1] . Finding vulnerabilities in components of an SBOM is not an easy process. There are several databases, and component identification is not consistent [1] Achieving 100% complete and accurate SBOMs is still an elusive goal [1] . A high percentage of vulnerabilities in components are not exploitable [1] . Fixing non-exploitable vulnerabilities is, of course, a w
One and Done Security

One and Done Security

May 06, 2024
There is a lot of frustration by security experts and legislators, with device OEMs not implementing security measures. Apparently, many OEMs balk at the ongoing effort and expense to create and manage a security team to verify and fix problem reports and to communicate their actions according to the requirements of various security agencies. On their side, OEMs probably prefer a one and done approach to security. I think that I have a solution for this conflict. It is not a perfect solution, but it is a half-step in the right direction. The solution is partitioning. We have found that it is possible to achieve strong isolation between software partitions for the Arm Cortex-M architecture with memory protection units. It is possible to do this without excessive memory waste or processor overhead for both the v7M and v8M architectures. Tasks in one partition cannot access resources in another partition. They must go through  portals . Tasks in client partitions send  protected messag
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