RISC-V International Partners with GlobalPlatform to Simplify Security Design for IoT Devices and Processors

May 15, 2020 by Luke James

The collaboration is fuelled by the desire to develop open-source standards that simplify security design for hardware developers and enhance the security of IoT devices.

According to the 2019 State of IoT Report, which surveyed over 800 IoT professionals about the economic opportunity and development challenges associated with the industry, there will be more than 20 billion connected devices by the end of this year. Further, by the year 2025, the IoT will have a potential economic impact of US $11.1 trillion. 

So, it is safe to say that everyone is getting excited by and wants in on the IoT. And this is challenging for developers who, when they deploy a new IoT device, enter into a war with attackers. Without the right technologies behind the device, it will eventually fall victim to an attack and potentially cause irreparable damage and cost reputations. 

Accelerating the Development of IoT Security

This rapid growth of the IoT and the scope of its applications are pushing the development of IoT security solutions. Still, without standardized security across IoT hardware, there exists the potential for inconsistencies that could be exploited by attackers.

Now GlobalPlatform, the standard for secure digital services and devices; and RISC-V International, a global non-profit consortium, have announced a new collaboration via a memorandum of understanding that will “help accelerate the development of open standards for the hardware design of embedded components in connected devices for the Internet of Things (IoT).”


Security IoT concept image.

According to the 2019 State of IoT Report, there are more than 20 billion connected devices predicted by 2020

A Partnership to Address the Needs of the Industry

Last year, GlobalPlatform reported a 50% year-on-year rise in the number of GlobalPlatform-compliant TEEs being shipped.

By aligning specifications and exchanging intelligence on known vulnerabilities and what is needed to overcome them, together GlobalPlatform and RISC-V will be able to update each other’s technical documents and frameworks to address the evolving security needs of the IoT ecosystem. 

In a press release, RISC-V said that in the short to mid-term, examples may include APIs for the TEE as well as microcontroller protection profiles and security extensions. 

A New Era of Collaborative Hardware Development

RISC-V was founded to build an open, collaborative community of software and hardware professionals based on its own open-source instruction set architecture (ISA) that enables engineers to produce extensible processors and make use of an existing ecosystem. 

By developing standardize hardware security, GlobalPlatform and RISC-V will be able to bring to market a trusted platform for innovation and secure components that deliver security benefits across increasingly advanced and sensitive IoT use cases and applications. 

“A key objective of RISC-V is to bring the industry together and enable a new era of collaborative, open-source hardware development,” says Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V International. “ Bringing the major open-source hardware and security standardization organizations together represents a sizable leap forward in enabling secure hardware development. We look forward to working with GlobalPlatform to bring real benefits to the ecosystem.”