UK semiconductor firm Arm has announced the introduction of the first common industry framework for building secure connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Called Platform Security Architecture (PSA), it is intended to provide a common framework for developers, hardware, and silicon providers as a way of enhancing the security of IoT devices built on system-on-a-chip (SoC) Arm Cortex processors.

Arm made the announcement ahead of TechCon 2017. The company said “security cannot be an afterthought across all parts of the value chain from device to cloud”.

According to Arm, this is particularly true for its own ecosystem, “which expects to have shipped 200 billion Arm-based chips by 2021 (100bn+ to date and another 100bn by 2021)”. The firm said the sheer number of chips highlights its responsibility to “ensure these increasingly diverse connected devices that communicate with each other are designed with a common secure foundation”.

PSA is intended to deliver representative IoT threat models and security analyses, as well as hardware and firmware architecture specifications, which have been built on key security principles, defining a best practice approach for designing endpoint devices.

It will also provide a reference open source implementation of the firmware specification, called Trusted Firmware-M.

According to Arm, “PSA is a fundamental shift in the economics of IoT security, enabling ecosystems to build on a common set of ground rules to reduce the cost, time and risk associated with IoT security today”.

In order to allow the IoT ecosystem to quickly see the benefits of PSA, Arm will deliver an open source reference implementation firmware conforming to the PSA specification. The development will initially target Armv8-M systems, with source code release expected in early 2018.

PSA is “OS agnostic”, meaning it is capable of being supported by all of Arm’s real-time operating systems and software vendor partners, including the latest version of Arm’s market-proven Arm Mbed OS.

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