Ron Wilson, Altera
As one security expert has said, system security is not a thing, it is a process. In our increasingly connected—and increasingly hostile—environment, security has become a continuous case of new attacks leading to new countermeasures, followed by more innovative new attacks, and so on. Just as the Cold War arms race sapped the resources of its belligerents, this new challenge is claiming an ever-growing fraction of the resources of vulnerable systems.
In data centers, provisioned with fungible computing resources on a massive scale, this drain is problem enough. But in embedded systems, where resources are dedicated and often strictly limited, security may become an insuperable obstacle. Yet as the Internet of Things (IoT) spreads its tendrils through the developed world’s critical infrastructure, the need for security in these systems is becoming literally a matter of life and death. So it is vital for embedded-system designers, just as much as for data-center architects, to understand this evolving conflict.
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