The proliferation of wireless technology is currently leading to a rapid growth in intelligent interconnected devices. There is a large span in the capabilities of such devices. At the high end we have laptops, Ipads with mobile access and at the low end we have low power wireless sensor devices. The fact that many of such devices in the future will not communicate directly with humans but with other devices and systems will lead that the number of devices that will communicate will be huge. This is also expressed in the vision promoted by Ericsson that there will be 50B connected devices. Since many of these devices will operate autonomously and with little human maintenance it is crucial that one can trust these devices to operate correctly. This requires careful design to reach high reliability and it requires to use of security technology to ensure proper control and that the device can protect itself from attacks.
The security group has since 1998 worked on developing techniques for building trusted mobile phone platforms through the work of Prof Ben Smeets at Ericsson. Similar solutions as developed for mobile phone platforms can be used for embedded devices in general. The main challenges ly in finding the right balance between protection and cost where cost also relate to logistical and manufacturing processes. Another challenge lies in the fact that certain protection mechanisms must provide protection even if the device itself is in a hostile environment.
In recent years we see that we want to integrate even more systems in one device. It turns out that the aspect of trusted in most cases can be brought back to that of the basic aspect of separation of subsystems. Here, on the level of operating systems, virtualization is playing a role on its own and it is one of our other research areas.