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The importance of machine identity authentication

Oct 19, 2021, 12:08 PM by Riaan De Villiers
Hundreds of new devices are coming online every day. Devices connecting to your network must properly authenticate before access is allowed.

The importance of machine identity authentication

Internet of things - machine identities

Every second a 127 new devices connect to the internet.

Digital transformation (rapidly pushed by the COVID 19 pandemic) and the adoption of IoT devices have greatly increased the number of devices connecting to the internet (and corporate networks).

It helps organisations work more productively, but it also expands the attack surface for cybercriminals. To help protect your organisation, it is crucial that machine identities are managed carefully. Each machine must authenticate before they access to the corporate network is granted. What are the different factors that machines can use to verify their identities?

X.509 certificates: These digital certificates are the most common way that machines identify themselves to a network. The certificates are used to create an HTTPS connection and protect traffic between the client and the server. The certificates are issued by a Certificate Authority that is part of an organisation or third-party’s Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

Code signing certificates: Applications and software use code signing certificates to identify themselves to the corporate network.

The application’s code is digitally signed to identify the author of the code and prevent tampering.

SSH keys and certificates: SSH keys are used by system and network administrators to log into remote machines to perform maintenance and management functions. 

Symmetric keys: Symmetric encryption is used to protect data in transit and at rest. Symmetric keys encryption is faster than PKI encryption, but securely distributing the keys is a problem.

Curious to know more about Identity and Access Management? Register for the LAWtrust Identity as a Service roundtable that will be held on the 27th of October. Registration is free!