Frustrated by the glut of unsecured IoT devices? So are Microsoft. And they’re using custom Linux and hardware to do something about it.
Microsoft have announced a new ecosystem for secure IoT devices called “Azure Sphere.” This system is threefold: Hardware, Software, and Cloud. The hardware component is a Microsoft-certified microcontroller which contains Microsoft Pluton, a hardware security subsystem. The first Microsoft-certified Azure Sphere chip will be the MediaTek MT3620, launching this year. The software layer is a custom Linux-based Operating System (OS) that is more capable than the average Real-Time OS (RTOS) common to low-powered IoT devices. Yes, that’s right. Microsoft is shipping a product with Linux built-in by default (as opposed to Windows Subsystem for Linux). Finally, the cloud layer is billed as a “turnkey” solution, which makes cloud-based functions such as updating, failure reporting, and authentication simpler.
In terms of complexity, this seems similar to Microsoft’s IoT Core product, which can run on a Raspberry Pi but is targeted at building single-purpose devices using Windows APIs. Coordinating with specialized cloud services probably puts this beyond the standard toolkit for an average maker, but anyone looking to go to production should try to learn from this system because it seems designed to reduce the security and update problems that IoT devices seem to struggle with. Microsoft also published a short history of the project.
Thanks [RQDQ] and [RoGeorge]!