BlackRidge Tackles IoT Network Authentication

Nevada-based security company BlackRidge Technology has launched an identity-based product line for critical infrastructure and the industrial IoT.At this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company demonstrated its TAC transport access control family and introduced a TAC Identity (TAC-ID) device. TAC-ID provides identity for authenticating network connections for new and legacy equipment in factories, hospitals and critical infrastructure architectures, and it supports the secure convergence of operational and information technology (OT and IT) networks.

TAC lets organisations establish end-to-end trust by transporting identity through the stack – across already installed sensors to clouds and gateways – cost effectively and with little latency added to the network.

With the increasing convergence of OT and IT environments, the challenge of securing industrial control systems and other critical infrastructure devices with identity can be addressed with TAC-ID.

BlackRidge has a hardware, software and licensing roadmap for IIoT identity and network security. OEMs can use the TAC-ID device today while they plan for future integration.

IT infrastructure and systems are evolving rapidly, driven by an influx of intelligent and connected devices – from sensors in manufacturing plants to medical devices in hospitals – that need protection from complex and treacherous threats. As OT security has lagged, hackers are increasingly attacking industrial control environments and IIoT connected devices.

According to Grand View Research, the global critical infrastructure protection market should reach US$135.48bn by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 10.1 per cent during the forecast period, with North America dominating revenue share.

“BlackRidge TAC-ID will help our IIoT customers add more layers of security as they deploy our technology to collect sensor-based asset health data from critical equipment,” said Ian Fountain, director of technical marketing for IIoT at National Instruments. “It will be a valuable addition to the growing ecosystem of technology compatible with National Instruments’ Compact Rio systems that our customers will use to meet their ever-evolving security needs.”

BlackRidge secures IIoT devices and OT networks via patented first packet authentication technology, which authenticates identity and enforces security policy on the first packet of a network session. The technology blocks or redirects traffic, controls access and enables network microsegmentation and segregation. Operating at the network transport layer, the technology can be integrated into legacy, virtual and cloud environments to bridge gaps between brownfield OT infrastructure and the latest IT systems. The TAC-ID line creates an identity-based access control point at the IIoT device that can be physically secure and tamper evident, while introducing little latency into networks or manufacturing processes.

“The hardware used in OT environments typically has a shelf life of a decade or longer, meaning the organisations tasked with operating and managing critical infrastructure must find a way to protect legacy equipment that is incompatible with modern network security technologies,” said Michael Murray, senior vice president at BlackRidge Technology. “BlackRidge TAC-ID allows organisations to start securing their OT networks today – either by installing our device into the network or our software endpoint in their current infrastructure – with minimal latency impact. Furthermore, we are working with OEMs and silicon vendors to license and embed the technology for future integrations.”

BlackRidge was founded in 2010 to commercialise its military grade and patented network security technologies.