GlobalPlatform releases protocol boosting IoT security

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GlobalPlatform has released a new Secure Channel Protocol aimed at enhancing security and enabling remote management for IoT devices operating on low-power, constrained networks. 

Secure Channel Protocol promises to accelerate robust end-to-end security adoption across the IoT ecosystem while simplifying device management, supporting regulatory compliance, and promoting sustainability through reduced energy consumption.

“GlobalPlatform’s widely adopted Secure Channel Protocols enable the successful deployment and management of secure elements for multiple markets and use cases,” commented Gil Bernabeu, CTO of GlobalPlatform.

“As the ecosystem and technologies evolve, increasingly optimised mechanisms like this are needed to facilitate the deployment and management of robust security.”

The new protocol addresses a key challenge for the proliferating IoT device market – the inability to remotely update or patch constrained NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) devices lacking SMS support.

Saïd Gharout, a GlobalPlatform committee member involved in developing the specification, hailed it as “a huge leap forward for IoT sustainability and security…helping constrained NB-IoT devices that could not be updated or patched due to the absence of SMS support.”

Gloria Trujillo, eSIM Group Technical Director at GSMA said the new protocol complements GSMA’s own new eSIM IoT specifications to create “a secure, robust ecosystem to support and accelerate IoT rollout.”

Trujillo went on to highlight the growing concerns around “network and bandwidth limitations of IoT devices … given the increasing global adoption of these types of connected devices in critical business environments.”

Supporting diverse IoT use cases

The new GlobalPlatform protocol aims to benefit IoT secure element manufacturers, app developers, device/module makers, and platform providers across a range of use cases:

  • Single charge battery devices like emergency buttons and trackers, enabling less energy-intensive transactions 
  • Smart metres, especially water metres, reducing power consumption and environmental impact while extending device lifetimes
  • Automotive applications enhancing in-vehicle connectivity, asset tracking and V2V communication
  • Smart cities enabling sustainable, cost-effective automation for urban services like traffic management

Optimised for constrained networks

To operate over low-power wide area networks (LPWANs) like NB-IoT, the protocol incorporates newer, optimised protocols:

  • UDP replaces TCP for faster data transmission with lower bandwidth 
  • CoAP replaces HTTP to minimise packet sizes and power requirements
  • DTLS replaces TLS to provide end-to-end security optimised for constrained environments

“Operators will now be able to update their (e)SIM using this protocol,” noted Bernabeu. “Support for IoT network-constrained devices is critical if we are to achieve net zero worldwide by 2050, while optimising performance and providing end-to-end security.”

(Photo by Kaffeebart)

See also: Matter 1.3 supports new appliances and energy reporting

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