Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Wind River updates Linux profiles to increase IoT security and reliability

Steve Rogerson
April 1, 2015
In a bid to create the safe, secure and reliable intelligent systems that will harness the power of the IoT, Intel-subsidiary Wind River has improved its open virtualisation, security and carrier grade profiles for Linux.
The profiles have been updated with the latest Linux kernel, toolchain and user space from the Yocto Project 1.7 release. These software profiles are add-ons to the company’s Linux, with features that integrate with validation tools, documentation and hardware support.
In the IoT, a steady flow of intelligence and actionable insights can emerge only if connectivity is present and persistent. However, as a result of persistent connectivity, exposure to security threats increases. Additionally, if devices are not properly protected, the ability for persistent connectivity itself is threatened.
"The challenges around security and connectivity are becoming more complex with the growth of the IoT,” said Dinyar Dastoor, vice president and general manager of operating system platforms at Wind River. “Developers must work on projects demanding higher levels of security and performance within tighter schedules and budgets. Our Linux profiles provide a jump-start to address these demands for intelligent, connected and more secure devices for a range of IoT needs.
Built to align with the common criteria for operating system protection profile and EAL evaluation assurance levels, the security profile delivers security capabilities to help developers protect against future threats from the growth of IoT. As other industries, such as networking, industrial and automotive, are increasingly asked to comply with similar common criteria to evaluate and certify products that demand greater security and connectivity, developers are facing new challenges. Meeting these needs can be expensive and time-consuming, adding cost and risk to programmes. The company says that users can reduce risks by relying on Wind River to deliver a fully maintained and securely monitored commercial embedded Linux distribution with built-in security features such as a hardened kernel, secure user space and secure boot process.
“In addition to the challenges that arise with deploying large IoT systems, companies also face the difficulties of maintaining many deployed devices over a long period of time, well after repeated updates to the Linux kernel and its packages,” said Dastoor. “Wind River provides support for long lifecycles, including updates and security patches for new vulnerabilities.”
Virtualisation also offers the promise of system consolidation, reduced capital and operational expenses, and new cloud services ripe for IoT opportunities, to many other industries, from aerospace and defence to medical and automotive. Using open source kernel-based virtual machine technology combined with the Linux distribution, open virtualisation delivers near-native hardware performance and enables many applications and functions running on dedicated operating systems and hardware to consolidate into one intelligent system, enabling scalable systems at lower cost.
As more devices become connected in the IoT age, they will require increased performance and zero downtime. For certain applications, such as critical infrastructure for energy or medical use cases, the network simply cannot go down, and carrier grade reliability is essential. Strict requirements to achieve these specifications are mandated by the Linux Foundation. The carrier grade profile meets the registration requirements of the Linux Foundation’s CGL 5.0 specification. This delivers all the technologies essential to building a powerful, flexible, responsive, stable and secure platform.
Separately, Wind River recently announced the addition of application and data services in the cloud to Linux via its edge management system, a cloud-based IoT platform.