Journal of Computer Science and Technology ›› 2021, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (2): 419-433.doi: 10.1007/s11390-020-9831-8

Special Issue: Computer Networks and Distributed Computing

• Regular Paper • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A Secure IoT Firmware Update Scheme Against SCPA and DoS Attacks

Yan-Hong Fan, Mei-Qin Wang*, Yan-Bin Li, Kai Hu, and Mu-Zhou Li        

  1. School of Cyber Science and Technology, Shandong University, Qingdao 266237, China;Key Laboratory of Cryptologic Technology and Information Security(Shandong University), Ministry of Education Qingdao 266237, China
  • Received:2019-07-09 Revised:2020-02-24 Online:2021-03-05 Published:2021-04-01
  • Contact: Mei-Qin Wang
  • About author:Yan-Hong Fan received her M.S. degree in detection technology and automation device from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, in 2006. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. degree in the School of Cyber Science and Technology from Shandong University, Qingdao. Her main research focuses on the analysis of symmetric ciphers and side-channel analysis.
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant Nos. 61572293, 61502276 and 61692276, the National Cryptography Development Foundation of China under Grant No. MMJJ20170102, the Major Scientific and Technological Innovation Projects of Shandong Province of China under Grant No. 2017CXGC0704, and the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province of China under Grant No. ZR2016FM22.

In the IEEE S&P 2017, Ronen et al. exploited side-channel power analysis (SCPA) and approximately 5 000 power traces to recover the global AES-CCM key that Philip Hue lamps use to decrypt and authenticate new firmware. Based on the recovered key, the attacker could create a malicious firmware update and load it to Philip Hue lamps to cause Internet of Things (IoT) security issues. Inspired by the work of Ronen et al., we propose an AES-CCM-based firmware update scheme against SCPA and denial of service (DoS) attacks. The proposed scheme applied in IoT terminal devices includes two aspects of design (i.e., bootloader and application layer). Firstly, in the bootloader, the number of updates per unit time is limited to prevent the attacker from acquiring a sufficient number of useful traces in a short time, which can effectively counter an SCPA attack. Secondly, in the application layer, using the proposed handshake protocol, the IoT device can access the IoT server to regain update permission, which can defend against DoS attacks. Moreover, on the STM32F405+M25P40 hardware platform, we implement Philips' and the proposed modified schemes. Experimental results show that compared with the firmware update scheme of Philips Hue smart lamps, the proposed scheme additionally requires only 2.35 KB of Flash memory and a maximum of 0.32 s update time to effectively enhance the security of the AES-CCM-based firmware update process.

Key words: Internet of Things; firmware update; authenticated encryption; side-channel power analysis; denial of service;

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