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Cpace Protocol for Password-Protected Access to Instruments

Cpace Protocol for Password-Protected Access to Instruments

The cryptography working group within the IETF standards organization (Internet Engineering Task Force) has chosen the Endress+Hauser-developed Cpace protocol as a recommended method for use in internet standards. After undergoing extensive security analyses, the Cpace protocol emerged as the winner in a competition among submissions from developers at several well-known companies.

Secure access to field instruments is of the highest priority for operators across all branches of the process industry. Modern plants contain hundreds or thousands of measurement and control instruments that must be accessed remotely with growing frequency. These field instruments also have to be installed, monitored or serviced on a regular basis. Secure password-based user authentication plays a special role today, especially when devices with digital interfaces are involved.

In order to utilize Bluetooth communications technology in industrial environments, security experts at Endress+Hauser identified a need for additional protection. The result was the development of a solution called Cpace, which belongs to the class of PAKE (password-authenticated key exchange) methods. Among other things, PAKE technology is used with the German electronic ID cards as a means of largely decoupling the cryptographic security level from the length of the password. The advantage of Cpace is that the computing power of even the smallest field devices is sufficient to protect the devices and thus the industrial systems from cyber attacks. In addition, Cpase also achieves the desired security level without long passwords.

Source: Endress+Hauser

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