Machine to Machine Security
These are exciting times for the wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) industry. Across the world, tens of millions of M2M connections are revolutionising the way that companies of all kinds do business. Across a broad range of sectors, significant gains are being made thanks to the promise of M2M, enabling innovations in industries stretching from healthcare to utilities, automotive to security.
However as we move closer to a future in which M2M is no longer an emerging market but a dominant one, ensuring the security of those M2M connections will be of paramount importance for network operators. As a result, network operators need to work with dedicated security providers that can integrate with their existing network platforms and provide protection that bridges the gap between legacy ‘human-to-human’ standards of protection and those required for M2M. At the heart of that is the ability to protect the network platform as a whole, providing MNOs with the tools and capabilities to monitor and protect any communications flowing to and from mobile devices, and via any bearer or protocol, from mobile email to SMS, MMS to web browsing and more.
This level of security can be established via a two-pronged approach, one that analyses traffic for known or potential attack patterns, and also governs network access by checking the sender, receiver, or both to ensure that they are allowed to be ‘acting’ this way on the network. Drilling down from this high level, MNOs should seek to work with security providers that can deliver a range of targeted defences and controls against specific M2M threats. Applying a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach does not work within M2M. Any standard of network protection within M2M should offer the following threat prevention techniques:
- Anti-Virus controls: analysis of all messages and IP communications sent to and from M2M devices should be included, to scan for potential viruses. Viruses present one of the greatest single threats to M2M, and must be defended against vigorously
- Anti-Spam control: intelligent network protection tools should be able to identify and block any devices that are generating or receiving suspiciously large traffic volumes
- Anti-spoofing controls: making sure that communications are being issued from an identifiable device helps to reduce the threat of major security threats making their way on to an M2M network
- Malware identification: in the unlikely event that a threat does make it past the surrounding network controls, malware identification can help to quickly identify infected devices and mitigate the risk of the threat spreading further
- Policy Control: just as policy controls can help to govern a ‘human to human’ network, in the M2M world they can provide privacy and protection by defining which devices and device types can send and receive to each other, when, and by what bearer. At a network protection level, policies should be enabled for multiple M2M devices via a single authorisation point
The AdaptiveMobile Network+ Protection Platform provides carriers with a fully featured M2M security platform, with multi-tenancy access for enterprises to set up, administer and monitor their own M2M applications and devices.GSIM 4 - M2M security research