Zero Trust Hardware Access Security Model

Zero Trust Access

An effective Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) access relies on strong device identity and management capabilities to accurately evaluate access requests. However, attackers can bypass Zero Trust (ZT) security protocols by spoofing a legitimate, trusted device. Spoofing devices may run passively on the physical layer with no inbound traffic. Operating under the radar of existing security solutions, including NAC, resulting in a lack of complete asset visibility.

Network Assets Visibility

The lack of visibility limits the Zero Trust Architecture’s (ZTA) access efficacy as it enables attackers to not only gain unauthorized network access but also move laterally throughout the network, circumventing micro-segmentation.

IoT cybersecurity is at risk since IoT devices are also vulnerable to physical layer manipulation. Additionally, as IoT devices require network access, they are valuable attack vectors for malicious actors. Thus increasing the attack surface and, subsequently, the cybersecurity risk to the enterprise.

Access Policies

Access policies are another source of information that the Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) relies on when making access decisions. Such policies, however, are based on asset and network traffic data. Additionally, the lack of visibility results in creating access policies without complete information, thereby limiting their validity and reliability. Therefore, the policies will not be enforceable on assets that are not visible. Access policies’ validity may be questioned, but they don’t shield the enterprise from hardware-based attacks, as these tools go unnoticed.

Zero Trust Architecture

In mid-2021, President Biden’s executive order endorsed cybersecurity enhancement in the Federal Government through the adoption of Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA), aligning with Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Never Trust, Always Verify

  • The enterprise assumes trust in network devices and users because they are internal.
  • But this presents risks to cybersecurity as the device or user’s identity can be spoofed by a malicious actor.
  • Zero Trust Access reduces this risk by eliminating the component of trust.
  • The system considers every user, device, and application/workload as untrusted every time they attempt a network connection.

Verify Explicitly

  • Access to resources is determined by a dynamic policy.
  • The policy relies on many data sources including identity and access management, continuous diagnostic and mitigation systems, and data access policies.
  • Authentication and authorization should always be based on all data points to comprehensively evaluate the device and user’s identity.
  • The evaluation should be continuous for the entire length of the session.

Assume Breach

  • Defending resources is based on the assumption that there has already been a breach.
  • Devices and users are denies network access by default.
  • Access is granted or blocked based specifically on the Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA).
  • The Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) evaluates a requesting device’s identity by heavily scrutinizing its characteristics (ThinkShield Hardware Defense).
  • Micro-segmentation splits the network into smaller parts, each requiring separate access which is granted or blocked based on the device’s identity.
  • The Principle of Least Privilege is integral to the Zero Trust model.

Zero Trust Hardware Access with Sepio

To mitigate such challenges, and have a more effective Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA), the Zero Trust (ZT) model needs to focus on the first line of defense – the hardware level. Specifically, the physical layer visibility. In doing so, the critical questions of “who, what, when, where, and how”, which determine access decisions, can be answered accurately.

Sepio’s Zero Trust Hardware Access solution provides enterprises with complete device visibility by using physical layer Asset DNA technology and Machine Learning to generate a digital DNA from the electrical characteristics of all devices. By validating devices’ Asset DNA, Sepio verifies the device’s true identity – not simply what it claims to be – and instantly detects vulnerable devices within the infrastructure. Thus, the Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) can make accurate access decisions and uphold the efficacy of micro-segmentation.

Sepio Complete Device Visibility

Sepio facilitates comprehensive Zero Trust Hardware Access through its policy enforcement mechanism that allows the system administrator to define a strict, or more granular policies, set of rules for the system to enforce, based on device characteristics.

Zero Trust Hardware Access policies support the principle of least privilege, which is integral to Zero Trust (ZT), by restricting access to resources based on the device’s role and identity.
The device visibility and policy enforcement capabilities, combined, enable the third component of Sepio’s solution; rogue devices mitigation. Thus, deep visibility ensures the comprehensive enforcement of the preset policy on all assets, instantly detecting when a device breaches it. When breached, Sepio automatically instigates a mitigation process which instantly blocks unapproved or rogue hardware.

Sepio actively supports Zero Trust Access by blocking network access to malicious devices that bypass traditional Zero Trust security measures.

Components of Zero Trust

Comprehensive security monitoring for validation of users and their devices’ security posture.

Granular, dynamic, and risk-based access control through policy enforcement.

System security automation that protects data and resources.

Zero Trust Enhanced by Sepio

Ultimate device visibility that reveals a device’s true identity by validating its physical layer information. Accordingly reveals assets true identity and Instantly detects the presence of vulnerable or rogue devices.

Policy enforcement mechanism defined by a strict, or more granular, set of rules that enables Zero Trust Hardware Access based on the device’s characteristics.

Rogue device mitigation that automatically blocks devices which breach the pre-set policy, protecting data and resources from unauthorized Zero Trust Access.

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Sepio will provide you with complete visibility and control for hardware devices and augment hardware risk mitigation through Zero Trust Hardware Access.

Zero Trust Hardware Access - Solution Brief
April 25th, 2021