i-PRO Adopts Advanced Cybersecurity Standards Through Implementation of Secure Element and FIPS

Company urges industry to use NIST-certified standards and protocols to secure all network-attached security and IoT devices

“Ask any security vendor how cybersecure their solutions are, and you’ll most likely be told ‘it’s great’, but how can we objectively measure the relative cyber-worthiness of a network device? Just ask the experts,” says Will Knehr, senior manager of Information Assurance and Data Privacy at i-PRO Americas, Inc.

With the ever increasing rise in cybercrime, i-PRO Americas Inc., a global leader in professional security solutions for surveillance and public safety, is advocating for companies to install more cyber-resilient network security devices. According to Knehr, organizations need look no further than the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for expertise. More specifically, NIST’s IT laboratory regularly publishes its Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) which define the security requirements for cryptographic modules to ensure computer security and interoperability for government agencies and contractors.

How FIPS Protects Cybersecurity
FIPS was created in part by merging cyber best practices from many other technical groups like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as well as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to name a few. When an organization says they are FIPS certified at a certain level, it is possible to know exactly how cyber secure they are. And because technology changes quickly and new exploits are found, FIPS represents an evolving list of standards that IT and security professionals can monitor and adopt over time.

While FIPS compliance ensures protection for any IoT device installed in a business, it is particularly important for any organization that receives federal funding, either directly or indirectly. This also includes state, local and education procurement (SLED) markets. Additionally, FIPS is considered a part of cyber best practices by other frameworks and policies such as Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), the healthcare industry’s HITRUST framework, and more recently, the StateRAMP standards that many states are adopting. In general, any IT department that has been asked to build environments in a compliant framework with NIST, is effectively following the security requirements laid out in the FIPS publication.

The Secure Element
Part of the state-of-the-art behind protecting IoT devices, like network cameras, is utilizing a secure element. A secure element is a tamper-resistant integrated circuit chip that can be used to generate and store cryptographic keys.

Unlike a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which can be used in a similar way, a secure element is small, fast, more secure and is more easily deployable in edge devices. For example, i-PRO uses the EdgeLock secure element, and a set of FIPS compliant encryption algorithms are preloaded and configured within the secure element, enabling it to generate secure cryptographic keys from within the camera. By providing a secure platform for storing and processing this sensitive data, the secure element helps to protect users from a wide variety of attacks and tampering.

Another benefit of using a secure element is its ability to lock third-party apps too. This enables a secure open platform approach where third-party plugins can be installed on a camera without concern that they might compromise its cybersecurity. It is worth mentioning that not every camera contains a secure element, and some manufacturers charge extra for models that include them. Some vendors also charge to install third-party certificates too. So, it is good practice to add this capability to any “must have list” of features when evaluating products.

“When it comes to cybersecurity, it is important to rely on facts from a third-party organization with groups of peer-reviewed data scientists and mathematicians whose sole focus is to think about security all day, every day,” Knehr said. “FIPS represents a curated collection of approved encryption algorithms that can ensure that network devices are secure. A secure element chip is the best way to deploy FIPS in any IoT device.”

Knowing if a network device is cybersecure doesn’t need to be a dark art. Thanks to NIST, we have a free resource that is available to anyone who wants to ensure a product meets the requirements of the U.S. government and its agencies.

“If it’s good enough for the FBI, NSA, and the DOD, it’s probably good enough for your business and customers,” said Knehr. As part of i-PRO’s commitment to cybersecurity, all of the company’s AI cameras utilize a tamper-proof secure element chip to generate and store cryptographic FIPS algorithms used to authenticate access to the device.

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