McAfee Reference Architecture: Protecting Fixed Function Devices

The term “fixed function” conjures images of ATMs and digital displays – things that not only perform a single function, but that are often installations designed to remain in a fixed location. Increasing numbers of enterprise and consumer systems are singular in purpose, but many have been integrated into larger mobile systems.

McAfee’s recent report on automobile security highlights some of the security implications of embedded systems within the automobile industry. There is also a critical need to secure and defend similar fixed function systems that pose a threat to business and infrastructure.

Recently, a customer was describing how a dangerous situation arose when a semi-automated forklift in a large warehouse had its on-board system tampered with by the driver. The mechanisms allowed for laser-directed motion to traverse through the warehouse, while the driver controlled the vertical mechanisms to maneuver the pallets of product. It was a case of an employee wanting to customize his machinery, without understanding how the overall software of the fixed function system interacted with the mechanics of the forklift and warehouse. The end result was a very large mess – no human injuries, but a large loss of productivity until everything was sorted out.

In this case, the cost of security coverage for a dozen semi-automated forklifts would have been a lot less expensive than the overall costs of cleanup and disruption in product delivery that this customer experienced. With a small investment, McAfee can help provide safer environments not only for your fixed function systems and information, but ultimately for the employees who rely on those systems. Take a look at McAfee’s reference architecture for more information on how McAfee can help protect fixed function devices with a cost effective and holistic security framework.

-Kim Singletary

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