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Building Platforms with Secure Over-the-Air Updating

Almost every device in development today requires both over-the-air (OTA) updating capabilities, and up-to-date security with authentication of the device filesystem and encryption of application data storage.

At Konsulko Group, we find that the best approach is to build a secure platform first, starting with the hardware root of trust and establishing a chain of trust by extending the root of trust through each successive component in the system.

  • A first step is to make sure the Universal Boot Loader (U-Boot) is up-to-date. If the device is using an older version, we may port U-Boot support of a more current release. Then we enable signature-based authentication of the device using the U-Boot verified boot feature.
  • To provide authentication of the device filesystem and encryption of application data storage, we often use the Linux kernel Device-Mapper infrastructure to create virtual layers of block devices: dm-verity for root filesystem authentication, dm-crypt for data encryption, and dm-integrity for read/write data volume integrity.
  • Finally, we can integrate Mender I/O support for OTA together with dm-verity and Yocto Project so that device updates can be performed while maintaining the system’s secure chain of trust.

This step-by-step methodology ensures straight-forward and predictable development. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you build a secure platform for OTA updating on your device.