Security is not just a defense mechanism but is a matter of trust and dependence. In the present competing era of digital threat and cyber-attacks, it is highly important to safeguard the hardware devices we use to make the digital mutinity rise-up. In this perspective, let us shed some light on what happens if the Hardware security is ignored.

  • Entire System information is stolen and miss-used
  • Manipulations are done on system’s input and output functions
  • Sensitive data is vulnerable to malware attack
  • Software security is not enough ensured against cyber attacks
  • Monetary Transactions and personal information databases are highly affected


Sometimes we cannot even imagine the amount of loss incurred when a proper hardware security system is not installed. So, it’s high time that we start focusing on securing our Hardware as equally as we concentrate on software security.

What is a Hardware Security?

Cryptographic engineering is the baseline cause for the origin of the term Hardware Security. Ensuring the physical security which cannot be obtained by software is the main reason of focus here. But, when it comes to a professional definition, securing an over-all physical attributes like design, key strokes, access controls, speed, power consumption , supply chain management together with crypto processing is called as Hardware security.

The entire securing process can be attained by using a physical HSM (Hardware Security Module) which is either plugged in or attached to the computer systems. The HSM performs the entire cryptography life cycle process which includes provisioning, managing, storing and the disposing mechanisms. Some listed features of using the HSM’s are:

  • Provides high alert security
  • Encryption and Decryption procedures
  • Digital signature protection
  • Message Authentication codes
  • Key stroke management
  • Verifies the Data integrity
  • Accelerates the SSL connections and smart key generation

 

Types of Hardware Security Modules and their Applications:

The HSM’s are internationally certified modules which promise to provide unbreakable security walls and also validated successfully with FIPS 140 Security Level4 security standard. Such HSM’s are aiding the digital security systems with the following application

CA HSM:

The Certification Authority (CA) HSM is widely used in Public Key Interface environment to manage the entire asymmetric key strokes and the sensitive data. This helps in protecting the logical information with assured security measures and also performs the auditing of logs. Even the key stroke information is also bagged with a strong backup.

Applications: Networking Systems, Industries, General systems, E-Platforms etc.

Bank HSM:

A unique and specially designed HSM’s are used in all the payment systems now-a-days. These are designed to support all the banking or other financial transactions with highly defined security terms. They help in verifying the user identity to validating the entered PIN each time. Encryption mechanism is also carried out in the entire transaction process with enhanced secure key management.

Applications: Banks Systems, Financial Organizations, Online Payments, Money Transfers etc.

DNS SEC :

This HSM manages the Zone file signatures and handles the sensitive information.

Applications: Digital Signatures, Confidential Information Gathering, Security Agencies etc.

Crypto Currency Wallet: The HSM aims to bestow the guaranteed crypto currency transactions by storing and managing both the public and private keys.

Applications: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin etc.

Establishing SSL Connection: The concerned HSM engineers the performance of HTTPS protocols and increases the speed of SSL connection by eradicating the unwanted RSA operations. Also the Key stroke management is handles in this type of HSM’s.

Applications: All HTTPS protocols.

Importance of Maintaining Hardware Security:

A proper maintenance of Hardware security is a much needed concern and should be taken on a serious note to break down the speed of physical cyber-attacks. Any weakness either in key stroke or other related physical devices such as routers, CPU’s etc., can attract and invite the vulnerabilities to invade.

For example, Let us consider Side-Channel attack and Power Glitch attack which directly conveys a message stating what happens when we ignore Hardware Security.

  • Side-Channel Attack: This attack mainly concentrates on the technical information of the system’s internal structure and then starts to implant the violations in it. The gathered information includes the System Timing, Key strokes, Power consumption, electro-magnetic leaks and sound system. The side –channel attack has different forms of attacking modes and can be triggered at any point of time once the system’s information is stolen. The listed ones are:
  1. Power-Monitoring Attack
  2. Timing Attack
  3. Cache Attack
  4. Electro-Magnetic Attack
  5. Sensitive Data Theft
  • Glitch Attack: A glitch can be defined as the suspicious attack on the performance of any device. Targeting the consumption features of the device and altering it with the malware inputs which results in the device break down is referred as to be glitch attack. Manipulating the device power, Time and memory inputs is the main motto of the attacker here.
  1. Clock Glitch attack
  2. Power Glitch attack

Conclusion:

Hence, The Hardware Security must be given the top priority to ensure highly secured transactions or communications in present digital environment. The easiest tip to tackle the Hardware security is to use the most suitable and effective HSM without fail.