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Can the IoT Actually Be Secure? These Two Companies Say Yes
Gentag Inc. and Security First Corp. have announced an agreement to secure NFC and sensor transactions for the Internet of Things (IoT). California-based Security First Corp.'s patented cryptographic splitting technology called SPx (SecureParser extended), which uses multi-factor secret sharing, will be used to secure NFC and other IoT sensor solutions for personal identification, contactless payments, healthcare, fitness, and home applications. By leveraging both companies' expertise, security standards will advance exponentially for cell phone NFC or Bluetooth-based sensor transactions, which are forecasted to experience explosive growth in the coming decade. Application examples include diabetes monitoring, smart medication, nutrition and fitness, and authentication.

Security First Corp.'s cryptographic splitting technology is the only security technology in the marketplace today which offers all the key components of data security; confidentiality, integrity and availability in one solution. It can be embedded directly into the sensors, or overlaid with any existing Android NFC reader, such as a smartphone or tablet. The company's SPx technology provides a simple way to protect and control access to any data, whether at rest or in motion across diverse systems. The technology randomly splits (scrambles) the data into secure shares, authenticates those data shares, and then transmits those shares as unreadable pieces so they can be stored in multiple locations.

SPx technology is government certified to protect the highest level of classified data. Additionally, it is Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 level 1 and 2 certified, with multiple FIPS certifications. It is also Common Criteria EAL4+ compliant and has passed EAL4+ platform certification.

Initial focus areas are medical, diagnostic and pharmaceutical applications. Gentag holds worldwide patents in the areas of wearable and biomarker sensors that can be read with NFC- enabled devices, such as most smartphones.

The number of sensor-based IoT transactions is expected to explode over the next decade, causing disruption across multiple industries. Some predictions are that there will be one trillion sensor transactions by 2020. As the number of transactions and the sensitivity of the information exchanged increases, security and data concerns will be increasingly important. "By encrypting at the level of the sensor or ASIC, optimal security is assured," said Dr. John P. Peeters, president and chief executive officer of Gentag. "Certain sectors, including authentication and healthcare, are going to see more disruption than others. Healthcare in particular will entail the exchange of sensitive information, and it is imperative that the information is kept secure."

An example of a patented Gentag application is using NFC skin patches to measure levels of ultraviolet radiation (UV) for skin cancer prevention. A mother can use the patch directly with her cell phone to verify the sun exposure level of her child for the day or over several days. Whether the measurements are for sun exposure, temperature, diabetes or drug delivery, such seemingly small sensor transactions are private and should be secured to protect the mother's identity and keep her location information and that of her children secure, among other considerations.

"Safeguarding patient data is a top concern for the medical devices industry. Now with the addition of SPx technology in Gentag products, users can rest assured that the information gathered is protected," said Mark O'Hare, president and chief executive officer of Security First Corp. "We look forward to working with Gentag to provide a secure solution for NFC devices."

Published Monday, January 11, 2016 10:26 AM by David Marshall
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