Gemalto: security ground control

Date:22 September 2017 Tags:, , , ,

The Internet of Things is a being mobilised on a grand scale. Gemalto is helping facilitate these connections while also upping the security of the network.

In the future, you’ll reach the intersection at the end of your road. It’s a blind turn. You can’t see what’s coming. Your car will know, though. Because it asked the stop sign about the traffic conditions. That request is a packet of data that will wake up the smart stop sign. The sign will then ask the network of cameras for an answer, interpret the information, relay it to your car and go back to sleep. Until your neighbour sends the same request.

At the heart of this transaction is the data communication hardware. Gemalto, digital security specialist, believes that its latest Cinterion EMS31 module is the future of machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. The company can’t be wrong, because it’s the first commercial outing for the LTE Cat M1 chipset, which caters directly for low-power, wide area applications. Gemalto’s M2M and IoT solutions manager for Africa, Mark Warren, explains its significance.

“LTE is about high-speed data, but machine-to-machine or machine-type communication doesn’t require such high data speeds. Category M1 is a speed that sits in between 3G and 2G, which is very appropriate for M2M communication. Generally speaking, when machines talk to each other, they exchange packet data. The important thing is how long the solution can be deployed. It may be an installation sitting in a remote location for 10 to 12 years; our solution can be deployed for that time. And the way we support them is through over-the-air applications and firmware via over-the-air application.”

The applications the solutions are deployed into can vary from track and trace equipment to home security and point-of-sale terminals that run off battery storage. Our solar-powered smart stop sign is a prime candidate for this technology.

“Any sensor that you would want to connect via secure GSM data is a good candidate for this module. The only exclusion is for high-speed data like live video streaming. One of the other features of the module is that it has a fallback position to 2G. So, when you’re deploying in an area that doesn’t have LTE yet, it will work on that network. The 2G coverage in South Africa is very broad and when the networks re-farm their spectrums, the hardware will still be compatible.”

Another plus for the latest module developed by Gemalto is the boot time from deep sleep. The one-second wake time, down from the industry standard 15-25 seconds, saves significant power and improves responsiveness.

On the security side, the EMS31 is equipped with RLS monitoring for jamming detection that will send an emergency signal if there is an attempted jamming.

Developers will be pleased to know that the EMS31 is compatible with Gemalto’s Sensor Logic, which will grant access to APKs and existing code for the module application.

“There are two separate categories of these sorts of modules. One is an unlicensed, encryption-based service called LoRa (low range, low power consumption) which works in a similar way to banking cards with encrypted handshakes; and NB-IoT, which is a GSM standard that works on the 3GPP security standard, which we think is much stronger. But really, the difference between the two is that one is a licensed standard and the other is in the open and in the public spectrum. If everyone jumps onto the LoRa spectrum, it will get very busy very quickly and the performance of your service will run the risk of not being optimal.”

Gemalto conducted an international online security survey*. It yielded some interesting results:

  • 59% of social media users think that it poses a security risk.
  • 29% of adult internet users believe companies are taking the protection of their personal data very seriously.
  • 59% of consumers fear that they will be victims of an online information breach.
  • Over half (53%) admit they tend to use the same password across at least some of their accounts. These include banking, online retail accounts and social media accounts. Over one in ten (13 per cent) stating that they do this for all of their accounts.
  • One in four people who use online retail accounts say that all of the online retail apps/websites they use require two-factor authentication to secure online transactions.
  • 59% of respondents who use social media accounts say that they use two-factor authentication to secure all of their social media accounts.
  • While one in two (50%) report that they do not use it for any.
  • The majority of consumers who currently use the following say they would stop using a retailer (60%), bank (58%) or social media site (56%) if it suffered a breach, while 66 per cent say they would be unlikely to do business with an organisation that experienced a breach in which their financial and sensitive information was stolen.

*The survey had over 9 000 participants