Embedded System Security: Best Practices and Common Threats

Embedded systems are small systems developed to accomplish a particular task within a larger system. They are often found in devices such as smart appliances, industrial control systems, and medical devices. However, as with any computer system, embedded systems are vulnerable to security threats. 

In this article, we will discuss the best practices for securing embedded systems and some of the common threats that they face. If you are a developer and would like a more technical and detailed analysis of how to protect embedded systems, then visit: https://www.code-intelligence.com/embedded-security-testing

Use Strong Passwords

One of the most basic but essential protection measures for any system, including embedded systems, is the use of strong passwords. A strong password is challenging for an attacker to guess or crack through automated means. 

It is also a good practice to regularly update passwords and not reuse them across multiple accounts or systems. Using strong passwords can help prevent unauthorized access to your embedded system and protect against password-cracking attacks.

Enable Two-factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is a safety standard that instructs users to deliver two distinct forms of identification when logging into a system. This adds an extra layer of protection beyond just a password, as the user must have access to something they know (e.g. a password) and something they have (e.g. a smartphone or security key). 

Two-factor authentication can be implemented in several ways, such as sending a one-time code via SMS or email, using a mobile app to generate codes, or using a physical security key. Enabling Two-factor authentication can significantly increase the security of your embedded system.

Keep The Software up to Date

Keeping the software on your embedded system up to date is an influential safety criterion. Software updates often include patches for vulnerabilities and security fixes that can help protect your system against attacks. 

It is a good practice to regularly check for and install updates, especially for critical systems that may be more vulnerable to attacks. In addition to installing updates, it is also important to keep the operating system and any other software on the system up to date. 

This can help ensure that your system has the latest security features and is less likely to be exploited by attackers. It is also a good idea to set up automatic updates, if possible so that updates are installed as soon as they become available. This can help assure that your technique is always covered against the most delinquent dangers.

Use Encrypted Communication

Encrypted communication is the practice of using encryption to secure the transmission of data between two or more parties. Encryption is a process that uses algorithms to transform plaintext data into ciphertext, which someone with the appropriate decryption key can only read. These assists defend the confidentiality and virtue of the transmitted data, as it is much more difficult for an attacker to intercept and read the data. 

In the context of embedded systems, encrypted communication is essential for protecting sensitive data and preventing unauthorized access to the system. It is a good practice to use encrypted communication whenever possible, especially when transmitting sensitive data over networks or through untrusted channels. 

Execute Access Controls

Access controls are security measures that protect resources or systems from unauthorized access. In the context of embedded systems, access controls can be used to protect against unauthorized access to the system or specific resources within the system. 

Several types of access controls can be implemented, including authentication measures (e.g. passwords or biometric authentication) and authorization measures (e.g. permissions or access lists). It is an excellent practice to implement access controls on your embedded system to ensure that only authorized users can access it and to prevent unauthorized access by attackers. 

Monitor System Logs for Unusual Activity 

System logs are records of events that occur on a system, such as user logins, system errors, and resource access. Monitoring system logs can help identify unusual or suspicious activity on the system, which may indicate an attempted attack or other security threat. It is a good practice to review system logs regularly and to set up alerts or notifications for unusual activity. 

This can help identify potential threats early and allow you to take appropriate action to protect the system. It is also important to secure system logs and protect them from unauthorized access, as they may contain sensitive information about the system and its users. 


Embedded systems are integral to many enterprises and recreate a critical part of our daily lives. However, they are also vulnerable to security threats, and system designers and administrators need to know the best practices for securing these systems. By following the above best practices, you can help protect your embedded system against common threats and ensure the security and integrity of your system.

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