By Milica D. Djekic
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a quite new concept dealing with the devices being connected to each other and communicating through the web environment. This concept is gaining its popularity amongst the embedded systems that exist – let’s say – 10 or more years back. The main applications of these systems are in mechatronics that is a synergy of electrical and mechanical engineering as well as computer science. Through this chapter, we intend to discuss how the entire IoT concept could get applied to the embedded systems as well as mention some aspects of their security in order to clarify all sorts of risks and threats being present within those paradigms.
What are the embedded systems?
The embedded systems are still a quite recent concept that is only the part of a long-term technological evolution we are witnessing during the last several decades. The entire new revolution would start with the digital systems and first logic gates being used for that time – pretty robust electronic devices. As time would go on – the devices would get more and more sophisticated and today we have so simple and helpful solutions. The embedded systems are nothing else – but computing systems in small – usually dealing with the microcontrollers being the central processing unit to some electronic board. These units could get found nearly everywhere including mobile technologies, traffic systems, mechatronics devices, medical equipment or portable solutions.
The smart equipment is mainly the part of a developed world, while some of those systems already got used in a developing society. The best possible example to describe which of the devices being exposed to the web use the embedded technology is to mention the case of medical devices being the quite common target of the hacker’s attacks. This equipment is usually correlated with each other and normally has the access to the internet. Many studies, researches and conference efforts would talk about how that sort of devices got vulnerable to cyber attacks. So, in other words – the majority of embedded systems got threatened from the hacker’s community. Being online or not – the embedded technologies could get hacked and if they are on the web, that would mean they are the part of the IoT.
So commonly, we would use the expression an IoT-driven embedded systems meaning by that the embedded systems being capable to talk to each other or use the web signal to deal with some computer’s units. Their microcontrollers frequently deal with the microprocessors that got a quite similar role as standard processors within some computer’s systems. The majority of today’s experts would call the IoT-driven embedded systems – the smart digital solutions – and, for real, those systems would have many advantages and offer a certain level of convenience to their users. If we would talk about the hacking of those devices – we should mention that there could get used different strategies that would provide the access to those devices and use some of their weaknesses to get control over them.
As we would suggest before, all of those solutions would be digital and use the electricity to obtain their operations. In other words, this equipment would deal with some sort of electromagnetic field which could be affected applying the interference or used to detect such a device and conduct the hacker’s campaign on so. In other words, the main challenge of those smart devices is their cyber defense and for such a reason – we would appeal on their designers to take into consideration those requirements. At the moment, there would be some security’s procedures included that would support us to deal with less risk, but one of the challenges for tomorrow would be to design a solution that would deal with the better cybersecurity.
The IoT-driven embedded systems
Through this chapter, we would mention the IoT-driven embedded systems suggesting they are nothing else – but smart digital solutions talking to each other through some communication means. For the communication purposes, we can use the standard internet protocols being wired or wireless or another way of the signal carrying. The internet itself would rely on many signal carriers and almost any sort of electromagnetic wave could serve as a carrier of the information. For instance, many variations of the wireless internet would use radio signals, while satellite communication systems would deal with the X-band range.
So, if we talk about the internet as a medium being used to carry on our information – we would talk about a wide variety of electromagnetic waves belonging to many different frequency’s spectrums. These sorts of communications could get applied to the embedded systems making them being linked to each other and communicating using those waves. It’s quite clear that anyone could try to break into such a communication, so it’s highly recommended to apply some sort of encryption – either being an end-to-end or link cryptography. Finally, a technological progress is something that would always go on and for such a reason we should think about security’s requirements as we still live in a quite unsafe world dealing with a plenty of risks, threats and challenges.
The security’s aspects of that concept
The security’s aspects are gaining their attention in a modern time and it seems in a current era of many security’s concerns – we need to think about these requirements more than ever. Unfortunately, through this time – we are witnessing many threats such are organized crime or terrorist groups that would use the advantages of new technologies to obtain their certain goals. As the entire human society got dependable on emerging technologies – the similar situation is with the majority of defense’s threats. We all would rely on computers, digital devices, embedded systems, smart solutions, internet and mobile technologies, so it’s crucially significant to take care about our security’s aspects.
One of the good advices would be to include some of security’s requirements to product’s designers, while – on the other hand – we should always try to follow the best practice and some of the security’s procedures. In conclusion, we could realize that the future of this digital era would be the security’s age that would make us think hard how to cope with all today’s challenges.
The final comments
At the end, it’s so important to highlight that the embedded systems are something that exist in our world at least a decade back and only new thing is that the current time would make those systems talking to each other. That’s how we would come to the IoT-driven embedded systems which would become one of our today’s imperatives. Finally, a great deal of defense’s threats would make us think about better security to all of those solutions.
About The Author
Milica D. Djekic is an Independent Researcher from Subotica, the Republic of Serbia. She received her engineering background from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Belgrade. She writes for some domestic and overseas presses and she is also the author of the books “The Internet of Things: Concept, Applications and Security” and “The Insider’s Threats: Operational, Tactical and Strategic Perspective” being published in 2017 and 2021 respectively with the Lambert Academic Publishing. Milica is also a speaker with the BrightTALK expert’s channel. She is the member of an ASIS International since 2017 and contributor to the Australian Cyber Security Magazine since 2018. Milica’s research efforts are recognized with Computer Emergency Response Team for the European Union (CERT-EU), Censys Press, BU-CERT UK and EASA European Centre for Cybersecurity in Aviation (ECCSA). Her fields of interests are cyber defense, technology and business. Milica is a person with disability.