How Communication Networks Handle the Challenges of Network Edge Security

When we talk about network edge security, we are talking about the challenges faced by communication networks, such as physical connections to devices, intrusive attacks, and Cryptosystem configurations. These challenges can create significant limitations for network solutions. For example, Intrusive attacks require physical connections to the device, and a Cryptosystem configuration can be vulnerable to side-channel attacks. In addition, competing standards can make it difficult to develop a comprehensive network solution.
Hardware and system software define trustworthiness of a standalone edge device

When considering the security of a standalone edge device, hardware and system software are arguably the most important factors. However, these technologies do not provide complete security.

One of the first weapons in the edge computing attacker’s arsenal is physical access. In addition to requiring physical connections to the device, these attacks also require access to communication channels.

Another weapon in an attacker’s toolkit is firmware. Specifically, an attacker could modify firmware to change the behavior of the device. A third tool is a dictionary attack. An attacker may be able to perform this technique by obtaining a symmetric encryption key.

Finally, there is the edge-ML workflow. This involves the application of machine learning to a data set. The process is challenging. Several challenges are associated with the process, including securing the model and protecting the model from manipulation.

Generally, a ML model is built on a publicly available machine learning framework, such as Tensorflow Lite. If a model is compromised, it can be used to identify users without raising any suspicion.

Authentication and identity management are essential in any IAM system. They ensure that the same identity is used to identify and authorize users for service interactions. These features are especially relevant in edge computing environments, where a wide array of heterogeneous devices have to be authenticated and protected.

To make things more complicated, some devices are designed with vulnerabilities, such as unpatched versions of weak cryptographic authentication protocols. Additionally, some devices have outdated firmware, which may be vulnerable to tampering.

All of these threats raise questions regarding the security of edge devices. As an example, an attacker can extract location data from an edge device by tampering with its communication ports. He can then send the fabricated data to an edge server, which will sign it with a valid key.

Cryptosystem configurations can be vulnerable to side-channel attacks

Side-channel attacks have become an effective tool for hackers to break many cryptographic systems. These attacks are based on exploiting the implementation of a cryptographic algorithm. Typically, they try to gather information from the system’s configuration to find the key or to extract data from the device.

An attacker needs only a small amount of resources and a bit of information about the cryptographic device. By passively eavesdropping on an interactive protocol, an attacker can obtain the key or the plaintext.

Aside from traditional brute force attacks, which use the computational power of a computer to try every possible combination, side-channel attacks are one of the most effective methods for compromising secure hardware. They can be used to recover a key from a hardware wallet, for instance, or they can be used to extract information from a power grid protection system.

The main difference between a side-channel attack and a brute force attack is that an attacker doesn’t have to know the exact implementation of the cryptographic device. Instead, the attacker will need to listen for any changes in timing that occur when the cryptographic device is performing an operation.

Until recently, these attacks were not practical, but with the introduction of inexpensive hardware and software, they have become easier to perform. One of the most popular types of side-channel attacks is the power-based attack.

Power-based attacks use measurable changes in power consumption during a cryptographic computation. Aside from that, they rely on other indirect measurements, such as electromagnetic emissions or time spent during a computation.

Despite the widespread use of side-channel attacks, their impact on industrial control systems is still relatively unknown. However, they can be dangerous to any industrial control system whose components are vulnerable to such attacks.

Physical access is the last layer to defend against attackers

Physical access is the last layer of defense to protect your communication network. If you want to protect your system from attacks, you must ensure that every device that is connected to it is properly identified. In addition to making sure that each user is properly recognized, you also need to protect against environmental factors that can cause frequent failures. This includes maintaining a proper ventilation system, using dust filters and installing automated fire suppression systems.

Using ID passes allows you to control who has access to your system and when. This helps to prevent the unauthorized use of your UPS and a variety of other physical access mechanisms that may be installed on your network. Also, it makes it difficult for attackers to intercept wireless information.

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