Secure Provisioning of Keys in THREAD Network | HCL Whitepaper

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Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem is transforming the human lives through smart automation and has become an inevitable part of the human lives. The tremendous growth of the IoT system has increased the cybersecurity challenges in cybersecurity even more for the resource-constrained nature of the IoT edge devices. Data security for these systems is very important as it determines both the confidentiality & integrity from the CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability) security triad. IoT network technologies such as ZigBee, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), THREAD etc. has support for the algorithms to achieve data security. THREAD is a low power wireless mesh networking technology, based on IEEE 802.15.4 standard. It is designed mainly to support constrained IoT devices. Therefore, predominantly it is used in the edge network. THREAD is slowly becoming the de-facto standard among these technologies for IoT edge devices. IoT edge devices in the THREAD network need a pre-shared key (PSK) for ensuring data security, this pre-shared key approach poses security threats during the product deployment with the supply chain process. The objective of this paper is to present those security threats and propose a solution to them.

This paper is organized into three parts. Part-1 sets the necessary background to understand the THREAD specifications, its building blocks and the supported security mechanisms. Part-2 compares the data security mechanisms for the THREAD network and the conventional network. It also lists the security threats associated with the PSK approach. Part-3 presents the proposed solution along with a case study which uses simulation using the THREAD network.