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PROVIDING SECURE COMMUNICATIONS FOR TEST AND MEASURING EQUIPMENT

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000250376D
Publication Date: 2017-Jul-06
Document File: 4 page(s) / 219K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

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PROVIDING SECURE COMMUNICATIONS FOR TEST AND MEASURING EQUIPMENT

Various test and measuring instruments, particularly those that are used for data collection, are not always equipped with communication systems that provide an adequate level of security.  In some cases, this can be due to costs involved in acquiring relatively more expensive equipment having better security features, while in some other cases, it can be due to costs involved in upgrading and/or modifying legacy equipment. 

Figure 1 below shows a traditional communications configuration where security aspects associated with transferring data between a data acquisition system and several measurement systems are addressed by using a closed network system.  Some examples of closed network systems include a local area network (LAN) (an Ethernet LAN, for example) and a corporate wide area network (WAN).  The use of a closed network system provides a good level of security.  However, this approach suffers from some limitations.  Specifically, a closed network system can prevent genuine users who are not directly connected to the closed network system from having easy access to data stored in the measurement systems.  The lack of access can be remedied by coupling the closed network system to a public network such as the Internet.  However, in doing so, the measurement systems can become susceptible to security vulnerabilities (malware attacks via the public network, for example).  Consequently, a trade-off has to be made between providing easy access to a number of users and ensuring security when doing so.        

Figure 1: Traditional communications configuration

Figure 2 shows a traditional solution wherein an additional device such as a router is used to provide secure communications between a data acquisition system and a measurement system via a public communications network such as the Internet.  The use of this additional device introduces an increase in equipment cost and other costs (such as operating costs).  Some equipment owners opt to compensate for this increase in cost by placing an unwarranted level of trust in the additional device and by minimizing security features provided in the measuring equipment.  Thus, costs are sometimes reduced by avoiding the purchase of optional security features in an embedded operating system of a measurement device.  For example, costs may be reduced by avoiding the purchase of optional security features provided in an operating system such as Microsoft’s Windows Embedded CE ® operating system (also known Windows Embedded Compact ® or Windows CE ®).  

When security measures are omitted or compromised, the measuring system can become vulnerable to hacking and intrusion, and the transportation of data from the measurement system to the data acquisition system becomes vulnerable to interception and misuse.      

Figure 2: Traditional comm...