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Taking the ‘FUD’ out of smart devices

20 Sep 2017

Engineering capacity news posted by Andy Sandford

Leading security testing consultancy, Pen Test Partners, has turned to Newbury Electronics for assistance with one of its most recent security product collaborations.

With the IoT and ‘smart’ living becoming a part of everyday life, organisations are having to incorporate far more robust security elements into an ever-wider range of products. 

In an effort to get beyond the unhelpful FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) put about by many security vendors Pen Test Partners often share their research, and have recently been focussing on the Internet of Things.

Andrew Tierney, consultant at Pen Test Partners, explains more; “We perform security testing of embedded systems and IoT and often have very little information about the device until the start of testing. It quickly became clear on this particular project that we needed to build some bespoke hardware to enhance the testing, and although I could design the PCB, I needed something that was right on the first version, and I needed it quickly!”

He continued; I approached a few other PCB design companies, but they were slow to respond, very expensive, or wouldn't design anything that wasn't 100% set in stone. After speaking to David Giles, PCB CAD Design Manager, and discussing my problem, he quickly understood the requirement.”

“Despite the limited information from the component suppliers, we could use our knowledge and engineering experience to create a suitable component footprint,” said David. The boards have now been populated are currently undergoing final testing with Pen Test’s international customer. Pen Test have already indicated that having seen how easy it was this time, they will probably make custom hardware for tests more frequently in the future.

“If we need PCBs designed or made, we will be back. We are security testers, not PCB designers, and paying for someone else's knowledge and experience means we can do what we do best, and they can do what they do best. That means better results for our customers;” concludes Andrew Tierney.

Pen Test Partners is a firm of experienced penetration testers, founded in 2010. They are regulars on the speaker circuit as well as being the BBCs go-to guys for validation and comment on security stories. They sometimes court controversy and speak widely on computer security, often highlighting vulnerabilities in software and hardware.

Newbury Electronics Ltd provides a full electronic design, and PCB CAD layout service alongside PCB manufacture and assembly in Newbury, West Berkshire. It employs over 70 staff and is dedicated to the rapid manufacturing of small and medium batch PCB assemblies.

 As a contract electronic manufacturer, each year, the company produces more than 15,000 different PCB designs for its clients, who benefit from the economies of scale built from the volume of orders processed.

www.newburyelectronics.co.uk

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