Home » Blog » Significance of Hardware for Cyber Security Significance of Hardware for Cyber Security

Cyber security is an extremely important domain in today’s world. As we rely on computer systems for all our data, it is essential to ensure a safe and secured process for processing and handling it. Whether we talk about personal data at home or commercial information at the workplace, cyber security is necessary for all types of systems. It ensures that our information and sensitive files are safe from any random attacks. With an increase in global transactions and widespread connectivity, we need to pay more attention to any cyber-attacks from any part of the globe. It makes our systems vulnerable to potential issues, making it important to invest in cyber security.

Cyber security cannot be restricted to hardware or software alone. Both the components must be secured in order to avoid any issues such as hacking and random attacks. Oftentimes, more attention is given for securing software processes with anti-theft programs and security applications. But securing software alone is not the answer. It is equally important to secure the hardware as it plays a major role in cyber security. One major difference between software and hardware is it is not possible to upgrade hardware on a regular basis. While it is possible to update the software version and introduce new changes through patches, it is not possible with hardware. This makes it essential to invest adequate efforts towards ensuring protection for hardware. 

Hardware devices such as microprocessors and microcontrollers must be kept away from attacks. It may be necessary to ensure the protection of the metals and components too along with the sensitive data that is stored within it.

Types of hardware attacks on cyber security

We often hear about software attacks due to hacking. This takes place over emails through internet connectivity. Most of the attacks target software as it is easy to access software applications and programs. When it comes to hardware attack, it may be difficult to steal the physical device for accessing information. 

Though it may seem difficult to take information through hardware attacks, these types of attacks are relatively common and can occur through a number of ways. 

1.     Side-Channel Attack

In this type of hardware attack, an insecure subsystem is accessed to get into the secure system. While the secure system may have the necessary safety tools in place, the attacker can use the vulnerability of the insecure subsystems to get a much-needed entry. For example, if the attacker gets access to the hard drive, it can insert this hard drive into another computer and copy all the files. Even though the system may be protected with software protections, the side-channel attack occurs through the hard drive which can be easily removed and inserted into another computer.

2.     Rowhammer attack

This happens in high density DRAM that contains numerous chips next to each other. If the attacker gets access to neighboring rows, it can alter the data in the secured positions too. The attacker can easily change the values of the protected rows by targeting all the rows that lie next to it. By using the rowhammer attack style, the hacker can also bypass the rigid security of the system, yet manage to change the value and infect the applications with malicious content. 

Types of hardware Cyber security 

Besides focusing on software protections and cyber security applications, it is equally important to protect loss of data from the hardware. Commercial workplaces must have a safety protocol in place to ensure absolute protection from theft. It is necessary to implement safety and security practices so the confidential storage devices are kept in a secured place. While it is important to prevent the physical theft of the entire computer systems such as desktops, laptops, and servers; it is equally important to secure the external storage devices. 

As external devices like HDDs and SSDs may be subject to data theft, it is necessary to protect them. You can also employ certain hardware cyber security measures directly into the silicon or the physical structure of the components. 

1.     Crypto acceleration for cyber security

This type of hardware cybersecurity is one of the earliest and easiest forms for protecting sensitive hardware. It protects the data from a peripheral perspective. With the help of cryptographic functions on hardware, it protects the hardware system. It offers protective measures, thereby creating a multi-level form of protection. For example, if you employ the AES, it is easy to attack the software version by hacking and creating irreversible changes to the code. But it is not possible to attack hardware version of the AES, thereby offering a layer of peripheral security.

2.     True Random-Number Generators

This is another form of peripheral cybersecurity where random numbers can confer security. The encryption is possible due to the random nature of numbers and passwords. The more the random number, the better the chances for encryption. 

3.     Memory encryption 

In this form of cyber security, the data is encrypted into an undecipherable form. Such a kind of encryption makes it difficult to use the data for any purposes. Even storage devices like ROM and RAM can have encrypted data. With a wide range of encryption options even on the memory storage, an attacker cannot access the data even if it finds the physical memory in hand. There are encryption programs for flash memory too, making it difficult to access data from SSDs. 

4.     Secure boot

There are secure boot methods that can ensure the integrity of the code. It can make it immune to attacks. When you start an application, the boot code can check for any issues in the code’s integrity. If it detects an error, it can send a warning message to the operating system.

5.     Trust zones

Trust zones create levels of safety and security based on the processors. In modern processors, the OS has the highest privilege for accessing data and can process all data instructions. On the other hand, the other components that rely on the OS cannot handle all the data. As they cannot access sensitive instructions, it can prevent any major trouble in case of probable attack.  

6.     Tamper Pins

These are highly efficient components that can protect and safeguard sensitive data. A tamper pin can detect if any mechanical movement has taken place. If it suspects that an attacker may target memory, it can run a reboot to prevent the usage of data or it can also perform a permanent memory wipe. This kind of hardware cyber security measure is effective for preventing loss of sensitive information. 

With the aid of such hardware security measures, it is possible to prevent major attacks. It can ensure an overall data integrity both in terms of hardware and software. If you would like to upgrade your hard drive and replace it with something with more encryption options, you can sell the used hard drive to us at BuySellRam. We can offer excellent cash value for the used and new HDDs, SSDs, hardware, computers, and much more.