Microsoft Acquires IoT Security Expert ReFirm Labs

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Microsoft Acquires IoT Security Expert ReFirm Labs

To better address security issues on edge devices, Microsoft has acquired IoT Security Expert ReFirm Labs. The emergence of the intelligent edge has accelerated the number of cloud-connected devices that contain multiple specialized sub-processors – each with its own firmware layer and custom operating systems.

Many vulnerability analysis tools have difficulties to monitor and protect devices at the firmware level. This leads to an attractive security gap for attackers to exploit. A recent survey commissioned by Microsoft found that 83 percent of security decision-makers had experienced some level of firmware security incident, but only 29 percent are allocating resources to protect that critical layer. To secure these devices, the whole supply chain has to be secured. Microsoft expects that the integration of ReFirm will add world-class expertise in firmware security and the Centrifuge firmware platform to their services. This is meant to enhance their ability to analyze and help protect firmware backed by the power and speed of the Microsoft-cloud.

Microsoft Acquires IoT Security Expert ReFirm Labs

ReFirm is known for the development of Binwalk open-source software, that has analyzed thousands of device types for firmware security issues. Their analysis technology will advance Microsoft’s existing capabilities to help secure IoT and OT devices via Azure Defender for IoT. This tool was recently enhanced with technology from the acquisition of CyberX. Microsoft wants to provide device builders and customers with the ability to discover, protect, and assess device risk at the firmware and network level– and then patch devices with an easy-to-use cloud-based solution.
Microsoft already took a few steps lately to help secure and eliminate gaps between hardware and software with help from the cloud. Among them are:

  • The announcement of Secured-core PCs
  • The creation of the Pluton security processor with partners
  • The extension of secured-core to servers and edge devices

Author: Rainer Claaßen
Image Credit: ReFirm Labs

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