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Title: SIC 2 : Securing Microcontroller Based IoT Devices with Low-cost Crypto Coprocessors
In this paper, we explore the use of microcontrollers (MCUs) and crypto coprocessors to secure IoT applications, and show how developers may implement a low-cost platform that provides protects private keys against software attacks. We first demonstrate the plausibility of format string attacks on the ESP32, a popular MCU from Espressif that uses the Harvard architecture. The format string attacks can be used to remotely steal private keys hard-coded in the firmware. We then present a framework termed SIC 2 (Securing IoT with Crypto Coprocessors), for secure key provisioning that protects end users' private keys from both software attacks and untrustworthy manufacturers. As a proof of concept, we pair the ESP32 with the low-cost ATECC608A cryptographic coprocessor by Microchip and connect to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Amazon Elastic Container Service (EC2) using a hardware-protected private key, which provides the security features of TLS communication including authentication, encryption and integrity. We have developed a prototype and performed extensive experiments to show that the ATECC608A crypto chip may significantly reduce the TLS handshake time by as much as 82% with the remote server, and it may lower the total energy consumption of the system by up to 70%. Our results indicate more » that securing IoT with crypto coprocessors is a practicable solution for low-cost MCU based IoT devices. « less
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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
2020 IEEE 26th International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Systems (ICPADS)
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
372 to 381
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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