Fujitsu Laboratories says it has developed a network control technology that can securely operate IoT devices installed on-site.
Sensors, manufacturing equipment, and other IoT devices connected to networks in on-site environments such as factories lack the capability for authentication or virus checking, leaving them open to malware attacks that result in stoppages in factory operations.
This is a global problem, and existing anti-virus software often cannot be installed in IoT devices due to CPU and memory capacity restrictions, and many existing devices are exposed to threats from cyberattacks.
Fujitsu Laboratories has now developed technology that analyzes and manages the interconnectivity between IoT devices and network devices, based on operating information collected in gateways, responding to successive changes in network structure to identify the communications of IoT devices behaving suspiciously. In addition, Fujitsu Laboratories developed technology to efficiently control communication blocks.
If an IoT device infected with malware were to attack other devices, for example, these technologies could detect that communication by comparing ordinary communication routes, based on the relationships of connections recorded in the gateways, with the actual communication routes.
Moreover, by restricting the most appropriate network device managed by the gateway, the impact of the cyberattack can be minimized.
The technology can collect operating information about IoT devices and network devices from gateway devices, deduce the topology of the network the IoT devices are connected to, and appropriately control the network devices based on this information.
With this technology, IoT devices communicating along routes not accounted for in the topology can be treated as unauthorized devices, enabling the technology to minimize the impact of cyberattacks by making those IoT devices unable to communicate with other IoT devices.
In a simulation using fake malware, Fujitsu Laboratories operated gateways equipped with this technology in coordination with existing network devices, and confirmed that this technology could block communications from suspicious devices. The results showed that this technology could minimize the impact of cyberattacks when installed in gateways.
Fujitsu said that with this technology, it will be possible to provide secure operations using existing setups, without exchanging or deploying new IoT devices with security countermeasures in sites such as factories, which require the continued operation of production equipment with long service lifespans.
Fujitsu Laboratories aims to commercialize these technologies during fiscal 2018 as part of the gateway functionality of the Fujitsu Network Virtuora series of network products, offered by Fujitsu Limited.
First published in Networks Asia