Lots of devices these days rely on the use of secret data to execute their intended function. For instance, devices require secret data to:
- Get access to the service network that they are part of, for example:
- to access a mobile network,
- be able to decrypt Conditional Access media,
- to access a bank’s remote banking server.
- Offer certain security services to their users, such as:
- Secure storage and access control to user passwords, licenses, or loyalty data,
- Encryption of removable storage data such as hard disks or USB memory sticks,
- Allow remote access to, and secure communication with, a company network.
- Ensure their own operational integrity, through:
- Booting from authenticated and encrypted boot software,
- Running only authenticated programs,
- Securely storing device-specific data such as :
- Configuration- and feature enablement settings,
- Operational parameters (eg. Radio transmitter settings).
Apart from the fact that the items above require the protection of certain secret data from ‘some’ attacker, it is good to recognize that the different items represent:
• interests from different parties (mobile operator, device user, device manufacturer),
• different monetary or perceived value (free mobile access, device software theft or hacking, identity theft).
In other words, a single device may have to protect data belonging to different parties, as well as data that has diffe- rent value to different people (both data owners as well as attackers), which means that the amount of effort spent to protect a piece of data, as well as the amount of effort that can be expected to be spent on attacking the data, can differ greatly. If you add to that the observation that in a lot of cases, the party whose data needs to be protected, is not the party paying for its protection, you start to get a grasp of the interesting security landscape that a lot of devices have to deal with.