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Massive IoT: A Massive Security Challenge? Not with IoT SAFE

4 minute read

One of the significant growing segments of the Internet of Things is Massive IoT. Spurred by connectivity technology developments categorized as low power wide area (LPWA) networks, this segment holds the potential to connect hundreds of thousands to millions of devices in myriad IoT applications.

LPWA networks can offer an affordable, widespread way to deploy large-scale IoT use cases where devices can operate their entire life cycle with optimized battery life.

Supporting low-power devices can signify longer lifecycles, which in turn means less replacement of devices and less costs associated with replacing those devices. LPWA networks are designed to support these large-scale, long-term Massive IoT use cases, such as energy and utilities, smart cities and campuses, assets and logistics, agriculture, and much more. 

Security Challenges with Massive IoT

IoT, in general, poses security challenges by its very nature of connecting numerous devices to the Internet. Massive IoT can exemplify those challenges in a few ways. First, Massive IoT applications are likely to use lower-complexity devices. These types of devices wake to take a reading, transmit the data to the network, and return to sleep mode. This is what helps keep costs down in these Massive IoT use cases because data and power usage are low. But because of the low complexity of the devices, there is minimal hardware for security purposes.

Secondly, the deployment of these devices in unsecure areas exposes them to physical security risk. Devices attached to streetlights in smart cities applications, placed on livestock in agriculture use cases, outdoor meter readers in smart metering – these are just a few examples of how these devices can be exposed. Add in the fact that the devices might be widely distributed makes it hard to monitor and protect.

Finally, because of the number of devices deployed in Massive IoT, as the name suggests, this by its very nature broadens the attack surface by having so many endpoints. With these considerations, it calls into question what measures can be adopted to secure Massive IoT applications.

IoT SAFE for Chip-to-Cloud Security

Every cellular device that connects to the internet leverages a SIM card in some form – whether it is a traditional or embedded SIM (eSIM). This is the identification card, essentially, that grants access to the network. IoT SAFE is a GSMA standard that utilizes the SIM card as the secure element in the device. This accomplishes two significant measures: First, it creates a secure element within the device without requiring additional space. For small devices (such as wearables), this requires no additional real estate within the device. For low-complexity devices for Massive IoT, this means not trying to configure devices with additional hardware elements, which can be challenging and expensive.

Secondly, for all IoT applications, Massive IoT or otherwise, this is an innovative, standardized approach to device-level security, which has long been an area of concern in IoT. Instead of placing the task of securing devices on the IoT application user or requiring a hardware manufacturer to implement holistic device security, the SIM, and thus the device, are secured from the start. 


KORE has developed its IoT SAFE eSIM OmniSIM for use in IoT applications and has partnered with AWS to enable zero-touch provisioning to swiftly and securely onboard new devices in Massive IoT applications. Check out our recent press release for more information on how OmniSIM SAFE works.

OmniSIM SAFE was recently awarded M2M Product of the Year by IoT Breakthrough. You can read more about it here.  

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Topic(s): eSIM , Security , Featured , General

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