Data protection for the fourth industrial revolution

The rollout of 5G and the opportunity to connect devices and analyse data in real time and/or using artificial intelligence, have the potential to open up a wealth of opportunities
By: D-Sig
BIRMINGHAM, U.K. - Sept. 6, 2022 - PRLog -- UK5G suggest that IoT-enabled initiatives are worth more than £6bn per year to UK manufacturing, with  improvements from new product development, prototyping, sourcing raw materials or components and production, to inspection and quality control,  packing, distribution, maintenance and servicing.

The same data-processing advances that are enabling the fourth industrial revolution also mean that previously hypothetical security threats are also moving ever closer to reality.

Protecting manufacturing data and software from unauthorised access and modification requires the use of cryptographic algorithms, specifically encryption and digital signature algorithms.

Current encryption and digital signature algorithms have served this purpose well but, with the advent of quantum computers, this is about to change.  Various experts predict that quantum computers will be available to state actors within 3-10 years and, once available, could be used to break these algorithms.

NIST announced the first results of its 6-year effort to standardise on new quantum-resistant algorithms earlier this summer. Three new digital signature algorithms have been announced and one encryption algorithm, with further encryption algorithms to follow.

Generating, ensuring safe access to and analysing growing amounts of data is key to realising the benefits offered by Industry 4.0, with data being harvested across the industry that could potentially become vulnerable to bad actors.

To date, data has typically been encrypted to ensure it is kept confidential, then signed with a digital signature to prove that it hasn't been altered.

It was thought that current cryptographic algorithms would take many years to be broken using conventional computers. However, the exponential boost in processing power delivered by quantum computing poses a very real threat.

So if you have data or software that  relies upon these algorithms, but still needs to be protected from unauthorised access in the future, you need to think about moving to the new algorithms.

Various state actors are actively harvesting encrypted data (e.g. intellectual property data) so that it may be decrypted in the future, and safety critical software that is digitally signed today, could be maliciously updated, causing a future safety, environmental or security hazard.
D-Sig is using a two-stage method:
1. adopting a cautious approach when implementing new algorithms to make sure the implementations are truly robust.
2. giving the algorithms time to embed themselves, allowing time for large scale crypto-analysis to take place to ensure they are truly quantum-resistant.

We encourage all manufacturers to adopt  a hybrid 'belt and braces' approach to cyber security, implementing the new cryptographic algorithms but maintaining the current algorithms in tandem.

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