Creating a secure web for IoT

IDA Ireland - Smart CEO Global Cybersecurity Report 2018

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Founded by Apple and Broadcom veterans, Rubicon Labs wants to disrupt the digital identity space by providing identity services (a unique identity across networks) from the cloud, right down to the smallest micro-controllers

In 2017, Gartner released a study that indicated that this year, 8.4 billion connected devices will be in use, a number that’s set to rise to 20.4 billion by 2020. And, quite as expected, the largest user base is said to be the consumer segment (with 5.2 billion units 63 per cent of all applications in use), closely followed by businesses, which are stated to employ 3.1 billion connected devices.

These are not mere numbers but a wake up call for companies to up their ante in the security space as Internet of Things becomes more and more a norm in today’s world. And, among the noted companies operating in providing security in the IoT space is San Francisco-based Rubicon Labs. Founded in 2012 by Apple and Broadcom veterans, Rod Schlutz and Dave Lundgren, the company envisioned disrupting the digital identity space by providing identity services (a unique identity across networks) from the cloud, right down to the smallest micro-controllers. It counts its key innovation to be the Zero Knowledge Platform, which offers service to abstract key management (managing cryptographic keys in a cryptosystem). This service ensures that the keys are invisible and immediately usable to authorized users, while remaining anonymous to hackers, receivers and senders.

Take for example its impact in the medical devices space. Often, common challenges faced by medical devices is the threat of hack of data transmitted from mobile to cloud and between paired devices, lack of a secure identity, making it vulnerable to duplication, and susceptibility to replay attacks from previously transmitted messages. Rubicon tackles these challenges by having its Zero Knowledge Keys embedded into the device during its manufacturing stage, mirrored in cloud hardware security modules (HSM). During the device’s software development stage, a Rubicon Security Agent library is added, creating a security abstraction layer for it, and in the final stage, when the product is released, it can establish secure connections to the cloud and between devices. 

(In May 2018, at the IoT World in Santa Clara, Rubicon Labs did the first public demonstration of its Rubicon Identity Service, which secures medical devices such as dialysis machines and insulin pumps. It also announced its partnership with Japan-based Device & System Platform Development Co., Ltd, a supplier of low power IoT devices. The partnership will allow the Japanese company to use Rubicon Identity Service to connect, control and manage industrial sensors.)

With an R&D center in Austin (Texas), the company currently offers its services in the industrial, automotive, medical, payments and smart buildings space. Since founding, Rubicon Labs has raised US $13.2 million across two rounds from Third Point Ventures, Pelion Venture Partners and Akamai Technologies.


Snapshot

Category: IoT/ IIoT Security

Founded: 2012

Founders: Rod Schlutz and Dave Lundgren

Investors: Third Point Ventures, Pelion Venture Partners and Akamai Technologies

Headquarters: California, United States

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