Cambridge chip pioneer Arm has unveiled an ambitious battle plan to safeguard people’s devices from cyber hackers.
The electronics company is on course to have delivered more than 200 billion of its microprocessors by 2021 – twice the number of people who have ever lived on Earth.
Its components are in almost everything we use, including mobile phones, computers, domestic appliances and cars.
And with the chairman of its parent company SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, set on increasing that figure to a trillion by 2035, Arm is leading a drive to boost security.
The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) – the interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data – is opening the door to hackers desperate to steal our data, and plunder our accounts.
Technicians at Arm – which rebranded itself this summer by lower-casing its all-caps title – are teaming up with other key players in the technology industry to fight back, including Google, Cisco, BT, and Vodafone.
The Fulbourn Road company, which has about 3,000 workers worldwide, has announced what it calls an ‘industry framework’ to ensure connected devices are secure.
The system is called Platform Security Architecture, and the idea is that manufacturers use it as a ‘best practice’ template when designing new devices.
It provides built-in security to fend off attacks, and will also help cut costs, Arm says.
The PSA scheme has been unveiled this week to tie in with Arm’s TechCon 2017 conference in California.
Arm vice-president Paul Williamson said it was vital to “become more knowledgeable in protecting our devices, while trusting the technology industry is doing everything it can to protect them and our data.”
He said: “Devices must be born secure; security is no longer optional.
“To address this, Arm is announcing the introduction of the first common industry framework for building secure connected devices, called Platform Security Architecture (PSA).
“Many of the biggest names in the industry are already endorsing and/or supporting PSA and the principles it’s based on.
“The growing number of devices being connected to the internet need to be secure without sacrificing the very diversity which make them innovative and unique. Arm chief system architect Andy Rose and his team made sure this was top of mind when developing PSA through analysis of devices and best practices for securing them.”
He added: “Arm is moving fast and enabling our lead partners to thoroughly test and refine the PSA framework in advance of the public release of specifications and software in Q1 2018. But Arm, our ecosystem and the industry need to move faster.
“All parts of the value chain need to embrace the guiding principle that security can no longer be optional. Our investment in PSA and Trusted Firmware-M represents much of the heavy lifting and lays out a clear and fast path to a common foundation for IoT security. No device should be left behind.”