Hardsec & Cross Domain Security

Traditionally, the focus has been on defending against digital threats such as malware, ransomware and phishing attacks by detecting them and responding. However, as cyber threats become more sophisticated. There is a growing recognition of the important of measures that stop new attacks before they are recognised. With high value assets, it’s not good enough to have the protection, it’s essential to have some assurance that the protection is effective. With software, that assurance is hard work, and this has led to a complimentary approach, called hardsec.

What is Hardsec?

Short for “Hardware Security.” Hardsec is about using hardware logic and electronics to implement a security defence, rather than through software alone - thereby providing a higher level of security assurance and resilience against both external and insider threats. Making it an essential component of comprehensive cybersecurity strategies.

The Rise of Sophisticated Attacks

When the impact of an attack against a system is so great it can’t be tolerated, a solid defence is needed to protect it. However, defences only implemented in software alone can be vulnerable to attack themselves. That’s because a software-only defence is inevitably complicated and requires constant patching and updates. If a single line of defence with software mechanisms is attacked and disabled, the protected system is left wide open.

The recent rise in sophisticated attacks against mainstream software security appliances is a worrying trend with no obvious way to reverse it. But by using hardware logic in combination with software. It is possible to build a simple defence that doesn’t require a complex supporting infrastructure, which means it’s practical to be sure it has no flaws and so will offer a robust defence against new sophisticated attacks.

This is the hardsec approach.

Why Hardsec Matters

The Shift Towards Hardsec

For organizations operating in highly regulated industries such as government, defence and finance, compliance with industry standards and regulations is paramount. Many national cyber organizations and government agencies recommend the implementation of hardsec as a critical component of defense-in-depth strategy to protect against cyber threats. This is as simple as implementing a one-way hardware diode to more complex hardware based data filtering and validation.

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is establishing mandates requiring the use of hardsec with the Raise the Bar initiative to be used in combination with software-based Cross Domain Security devices that are connected from classified networks to high threat networks, such as the internet.

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework emphasizes the importance of incorporating hardware-based security controls as part of comprehensive cybersecurity strategies.

The UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) promotes the use of hardsec, with it being mandatory for high threat connections.

Read more about “Implementing the UK NCSC Principles for Cross Domain Solutions Brochure.” (opens a new window)

The importance of hardsec cannot be overstated. By avoiding supply chain attacks, reducing complexity and aligning with regulatory compliance requirements. Hardsec plays a crucial role in safeguarding critical systems and data.

As governments and organizations continue to face evolving cyber threats. Investing in hardware-based security as a defence in depth measure to compliment software security is essential to maintaining a strong and resilient security posture.