Panasonic’s Multifunctional Secure IC Addresses Industrial IoT Security Concerns

February 12, 2020 by Sophia Valente

Panasonic recently announced the development of a multifunctional secure IC with the intent of strengthening IoT and industrial device security.

Panasonic has released a "multifunctional secure IC," a device the company claims will protect industrial IoT devices in factories and warehouses.


Panasonic IC

Panasonic's multifunctional secure IC. Image used courtesy of Panasonic

In this article, we'll assess the IC's key specifications, especially its security features, and discuss companies that are investing in industrial IoT safety.


What's the State of Traditional IoT Security?

Encryption has been a critical aspect of the development of cybersecurity in industrial IoT; the lack of standardized protective frameworks has led individual manufacturers to generate their own methods, which often comes at the expense of all-encompassing encryption. Data at rest or in transit is especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks in the absence of security controls in device design. 

The traditional mechanism for industrial IoT cybersecurity is centered around an external authentication key generated outside the IC and maintained within the IC. This leaves users susceptible not only to the key being intercepted but also the data in the memory of the IC as well. 


Panasonic's New Take on IIoT Security

The new Panasonic IC is a well-timed response to the rapidly expanding IoT market while targeting the security threat that accompanies the still-developing sector.

Panasonic’s new multifunctional secure IC is unique in its capability to generate and retain a one-of-a-kind authentication key from within the IC unit itself; after the key has been used, it is automatically deleted. This eliminates the risk of the key being intercepted and strengthens the protection of memory and data.


Panasonic multifunctional secure IC

Panasonic multifunctional secure IC. Image used courtesy of Panasonic. 


Key Features of Panasonic's Multifunctional Secure IC

Unique IC Identification

Each individual multifunctional secure IC possesses unique analog information, otherwise known as an IC fingerprint.


Unique authentification key for Panasonic IC

Each IC includes a unique authentification key. Image used courtesy of Panasonic

Since the fingerprint is analog, it cannot be copied, further minimizing security risks. 


Near Field Communication

Other noteworthy features of the product include Near Field Communication (NFC), which enables devices that are not connected to the internet to receive internet connection through smartphones and tablets.


NFC by Panasnoic

NFC usability via Panasonic. Image used courtesy of Panasonic. 


This attribute is also security-based and according to Panasonic, “allows for the mutual authentication of devices using the server, preventing impersonation.” The IC is equipped with non-volatile ReRam memory that is resistant to radiation, increasing usability in the medical and pharmaceutical markets. 


Implementing Trust Anchors

In addition, the product is designed to be compatible with secure IoT systems of trust service providers. According to the press release, Panasonic is looking into development cooperation with Cybertrust Japan. This compatibility will strengthen the safety of devices throughout their entire lifecycle.

Implementing trust anchors into IoT devices heightens safety from the point of manufacture to disposal. 


More Companies Investing in Industrial IoT Security 

Panasonic is not the only company investing in the development of industrial IoT cybersecurity.

Cisco recently announced an “overarching security architecture” for industrial IoT applications. In a blog post on its website, the company outlines its own multi-domain architecture as a solution to cybersecurity threats within industrial IoT.

Cisco's Cyber Vision technology, which we've previously discussed in terms of securing your industrial control systems, is based on the all-encompassing flow of operational traffic through their security network with real-time anomaly detection and monitoring through Deep Packet Inspection technology.

Also, Edge Technology, its new IoT data delivery system, aims to extract, transform, and deliver asset data to multi-cloud destinations. Cisco’s approach to security is heavily based on real-time detection and monitoring, as opposed to Panasonic’s embed encryption within the IC. 

As industrial IoT continues to expand as a market, addressing cybersecurity will undoubtedly continue to foster solutions for data vulnerability. By utilizing multifunctional secure IC technology and IC fingerprints, Panasonic offers solutions to contemporary threats.



Where else have you seen fingerprint technology like this being used? Share your thoughts in the comments below.