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INSIGHTS

Gallagher’s C7000 controller takes cybersecurity to new heights

Gallagher’s C7000 controller takes cybersecurity to new heights
Gallagher’s C7000 controller takes cybersecurity to new heights
Steve Bell, Chief Technology Officer of Gallagher Security, speaks to asmag.com on the company’s newest Controller 7000 (C7000), which is armed with enhanced hardware and industry-leading security infrastructure to provide optimal cybersecurity protection to users across different verticals.
Gallagher Security, a New Zealand-based access control solutions provider, has launched their new IP-based controller, the C7000. It is an upgrade from the C6000 and surpasses its predecessor in many ways.
 
“The C7000 is functionally the same as the existing C6000 and can be used anywhere that a C6000 has been used. However, the upgrade is in the electronics, which we expect to have a service life well into the late 2030’s,” said Steve Bell, CTO of Gallagher Security. “When compared to the C6000’s working memory, file storage, and processing capacity, the C7000 is many magnitudes greater, and we believe it’ll deliver unparalleled value to our customers for many years to come.”
 
The C7000 includes various notable features, including access control support for up to 10 wired doors, intruder alarms monitoring and transmission to external monitoring stations, and server-less enforcement of business policy. But more importantly, the C7000 is designed for the highest level of protection against cyber-threats to networked devices. This is crucial considering cyberattacks against networked security devices have become more rampant. According to Broadcom, connected cameras accounted for 15 percent of all IoT attacks. A US News and World Report survey shows 13 percent of respondents have experienced camera hacks, while 49 percent are worried about them. The concept of “securing your security products,” therefore, has become more critical than ever.
 
“Any device or appliance connected to a network is accessible to an attack. With today’s Zero Trust paradigm, all devices on the network need to be secure enough to survive in the open Internet,” Bell said. “The corporate network will add some isolation for additional protection, but it must be accepted that at the highest level of security, a motivated attacker will find a way to access the network.”
 

Enhanced hardware and industry-leading security platform

 
It is against this backdrop that Gallagher has released the C7000, which introduces a new generation of cyber-defense with enhanced hardware and industry-leading security infrastructure to provide optimal protection for users. At the hardware level, the C7000 employs NXP’s new-generation processor that is built with cybersecurity in mind.
 
“The C7000 has at its core the latest-generation systems-on-chip, NXP’s i.MX 8X, which has hardware security elements that link the trust platform to the individual device. The ARM trusted execution environment then partitions the processing and resources into a secure world and normal world so that the functional software modules cannot access the cryptographic secrets that are the basis of the trust platform,” Bell said.
 
Then, cryptographic keys are used to verify the integrity of device communications to the server and other connected devices.
 
“All our Gallagher controllers and HBUS devices have keys loaded in the factory that provide an assurance that they are a genuine Gallagher device. This authenticity check is performed at installation, and once the system is comfortable that the device is genuine, the devices at each end of every communication link will together generate a ‘shared secret (key)’ that is then used to validate the device authenticity each time a communication session is started. Authenticated keys are created for privacy and tamper protection of the communications between those two devices, and each day new session keys will be generated,” Bell said, adding that a secure element is installed on each controller to provide dedicated hardware protection for the keys.
 
“The secure element is a hardware chip that is soldered onto the PCB and securely stores all the long-lived cryptographic keys including the public key pair that become the basis for the immutable identity of the Controller 7000,” Bell said. “The Common Criteria EAL6+ rating of the NXP Edgelock secure element makes it one of the most secure chips in existence, so we can be comfortable that nobody can steal or change the identity of the controller, meaning we believe the C7000 is the most trustworthy controller in production.”
 
The aforementioned features make the C7000 a more hardened and robust solution compared to its predecessor.
 
“The Controller 6000 family have had some great features and have been able to survive the penetration testing that many of our security-conscious customers have performed prior to allowing our controllers on their secure network. But we always wanted to be able to protect the C6000 from an adversary who could get access to the devices somewhere in the delivery supply chain,” Bell said. “The earlier generation of processor chips could not fully protect the low-level firmware, and alteration at that level is challenging to self-detect. With this new generation of hardware on the C7000, in conjunction with the firmware, we now have confidence that an attempted supply chain attack will be detected and will not succeed, which is a significant strength and benefit to our customers.”
 

‘Works for all verticals’

 
According to Bell, the beauty of the C7000 is that it works for all verticals. “We designed the C7000 family to meet the needs of the most security-conscious customers and make it available to businesses of all shapes and sizes. I like to think of the high degree of cybersecurity present in the C7000 as functioning like an insurance policy: it reduces the risks associated with the financial cost of a breach and protects businesses from the long-term reputational damage it can cause a brand. In this sense, the C7000 is a key risk management tool for any business,” he said.
 

Conclusion

 
The C7000 represents Gallagher’s continued commitment to delivering access control solutions that are highly functional and cyber-secure. The controller is equipped with various advanced access control functions, while delivering unparalleled security to users amid a heightened threat landscape. With the C7000, customers are sure to get peace of mind, knowing that they are well-protected against threats from both physical and cyber worlds.
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