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Kubernetes IoT Edge WG: Identifying Security Issues at the Edge

With IoT and Edge computing emerging as viable options for building and deploying applications, more and more developers are wanting to use Kubernetes and other cloud native technologies outside of typical data center deployments. These developers want to be able to use all of the tools and best practices they are used to, even in non-traditional environments.

For this reason, the community formed the Kubernetes IoT Edge Working Group, a cross-SIG effort currently sponsored by sig-networking and sig-multicluster with a focus on improving Kubernetes IoT and Edge deployments. Within the working group, community members are encouraged to share their ideas to push forward cloud native developments in IoT and Edge technologies. 

IoT and Edge applications by design have a lot of distributed components that don’t usually sit together within the same data center infrastructure. For this reason, there are a lot of potential security implications to take into consideration when using these technologies.

The Kubernetes IoT Edge Working Group has developed a new whitepaper to expose these security challenges within one single document. The purpose of the whitepaper is to identify a comprehensive list of edge security challenges and concerns that the CNCF and Kubernetes communities should recognize. 

In publishing the whitepaper, the working group hopes to:

  • Identify a set of universal security challenges at the edge (covering roughly 80% of the total security concerns for all use cases).
  • Describe each security challenge in a manner that allows all professionals with a moderate level of technical skill to understand the issue.

“With the proliferation of IoT and Edge computing, it’s important that we as a community take steps toward ensuring these new technologies are as secure as they can be,” said Dejan Bosanac, Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat and chair of the IoT Edge working group. “As with any emerging technology, there are blind spots, and we want to identify these so that the community can work together to resolve these before they can be used maliciously. We’re excited to work on this with the community, giving us more eyes to identify potential issues, and more brainpower to identify solutions.”

The whitepaper covers potential security implications of IoT and Edge implementations in the following areas:

  • Trusting hardware
  • Trusting connected devices
  • Within the operating system
  • Network concerns
  • Edge microservices

Since the types of security challenges and layers at which they occur are varied, producing secure edge computing stacks will require the effort of many vendors and contributors working in concert. We hope this whitepaper will help encourage immediate effort from the community to resolve the identified issues!