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David Bennett, AMD APJ Mega-Region VP

“A guy scans people around him with his smartphone. He simply gets their names, ages, recent personal changes and his/her income information, and can even cash out from their bank account. With his smartphone, he can control traffic lights and other various devices near him, and by using these, he easily gets out of his way from the police.”

This is a scene from the game themed after hacking which was released recently. However, this is not just a scene from a game, but can be a prequel of new dystopia where every security system shuts down in the era of Internet of Things.

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We all know that security issue isn’t any new news to history of PC development. Since 1980’s, where personal computers have been largely adopted, we faced the threats of viruses and after World Wide Web introduction; we are now facing a new form of threat called ‘malware’. Therefore, it isn’t difficult to imagine in the near future of ‘connected’ world, that there will be a lot more complex type of hacking and system attacks.

‘Internet of Things’ is fundamentally weak from external attacks, as the scope of network in future will be more than just a simple connection of devices. This scope will be gigantic as such as neurons connected to each other in our body with the most complicated communication between cognition & response interconnection. With that in mind, our personal data, intellectual properties, weak points that we are yet to realize in the network structure and systems that surround our everyday lives can be the easy targets of attacks.

What I – as a person who is deeply involved in hardware industry – can’t emphasize enough is that we need to be prepared for security from the basic. The reason why is very clear. To realize the Internet of Things environment, processors and sensors must be embedded in every device that we use. This means that the embedded environment formerly specified to commercial enterprise space will be expanded to general consumers, which will eventually increase enormous amount of network edge in everywhere, making it difficult to manage just by software.

Simple scenario of this would be: a system managing Smart Home will recognize the user waking up in the morning by a sensor, and will prepare customized coffee and bread by user’s preference. Also, it makes optimal environment by recognizing user’s body temperature. The system will alert today’s schedule connecting with one’s smartphone on smart TV where user’s most preferred channel is up on the screen. Basically, through the data between simple home devices, you can analyze user’s personal data including one’s preference, body temperature and daily schedules. What if this information is one’s business confidential secret, or financial transaction data?

Last April, Microsoft announced its discontinuation of support for security patch of Windows XP. This has caused and is still causing big confusion around various sectors of IT based on this OS. And this confusion is just a mere tip of an iceberg when compare to possible future security issues. As stated before, devices connected through network with sensors and processors will increase significantly in the next 10 years.  And this will facilitate the need for hardware developers and engineers to look at security in a very different way to develop an integrated security solution for our day-to-day devices.

As a company developing various innovative system semiconductors, AMD understand the importance of security in the era of Internet of Things like no one else, and we are ready and already are responsibly responding to these needs. Realistically, there are probably two major camps for hardware-based security: proprietary or closed architecture and architecture based on open industry standards. AMD is a long-time supporter of open standards and thus has opted for the latter, joining the largest security ecosystem in the world: that based on ARM TrustZone® technology. Over this next year, AMD plan to roll out an AMD-wide product stack for client, server, graphics, embedded and semi-custom businesses based on what we call the AMD Platform Security Processor (PSP). Under the umbrella of AMD Secure Technology, PSP joins other AMD IP innovations from the No Execute Bit to the Secure Asset Management Unit as the future of AMD’s security strategy.

Together with our customers, we have identified use cases and areas of focus to enable ISVs to create complete solutions for the markets we are addressing. Components of these solutions are engineered to work together, while leaving room for our OEM customers to truly differentiate for both consumer- and commercial-grade platform offerings.

Security is no longer a task for just software industry. It’s our vision that through a hardware-based security strategy built on the open standards of ARM TrustZone technology, AMD will deliver enhanced security options to our customers and partners and help make the increasingly digital lives of end-users less dangerous.