Intertrust XPN FAQ – Your questions answered

Discover how Intertrust Explicit Private Networking (XPN) provides end-to-end security for data at rest as well as data in transit—from the device to cloud and back. Your data is always protected and processed in a tamper-resistant, secure execution environment, with Intertrust XPN.

What is XPN?

XPN is a feature of the Intertrust Platform that provides end-to-end, persistent and consistent trust and security for IoT devices and the data they transmit. 

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

What are the business benefits of using XPN?

Instead of patching together multiple tools, XPN provides businesses a single pane of glass solution for trust and protection of their IoT devices, the data they transmit, and their data operations. With XPN, businesses and their customers and partners can rest assured that they operate in a “full-trust” environment with a complete chain of trust for their data and a secure data platform for mission critical data-driven applications.

XPN’s edge-to-cloud security also provides businesses an auditable chain of trust for IoT data. This is especially useful for businesses that need to demonstrate the provenance and veracity of their IoT data for business transactions or regulatory requirements.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

What does XPN do?

XPN extends Intertrust Platform’s features to provide end-to-end trust and protection that covers IoT devices, including older legacy devices, and the data from the device as it travels to the cloud and back to the device again. It does this by authenticating devices, asserting their secure status, persistently protecting the data as it travels from the device to the cloud and back to the device, and providing additional data points for audits.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

What are the major features of XPN?

a) Persistent Data Protection: XPN ensures that sensitive processing in IoT devices only occurs in secure environments. Data packages are digitally signed and optionally encrypted before being transmitted. When received on the server side of Intertrust Platform, the data is verified to assure its integrity and, upon confirmation, routed to its final destination, or processed in the Platform’s protected processing environment. IoT data is also easily combined with other data and metadata sources.

b) Entity Attestation Tokens: When an IoT device is introduced to an application, XPN issues a standards-compliant token attesting that the device posture can be trusted. The token is verified by Intertrust Platform to verify its trust state. The application can then determine to trust the device and data it transmits. It communicates this trust state to applications built on Intertrust Platform.

c) Enhanced Auditing: Intertrust Platform includes extensive auditing features as part of its data governance capabilities. XPN expands this by introducing the ability to add information on IoT data used in transactions to the audit. This information can include timestamps and contextual metadata to prove provenance of data and protect against deep fakes. It also offers attestations on device and data integrity to provide further assurance of data trustworthiness.. Organizations can use these enhanced audits for business, operational and  regulatory purposes. 

d) Digital Twin and Firewall for Legacy Devices and Systems: Many connected devices, such as SCADA systems used in industrial applications, have limited or no hardware security capabilities. For these devices, XPN maintains a digital twin of the device. This digital twin acts as a firewall for the device in that any connection requests to the device are first received by the digital twin and only routed to the device if determined to be safe.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

What are some use cases for XPN?

a) A company that sells connected electric water heaters contracts with an electric utility to use its network of heaters to shed loads in demand / response when required. The company authenticates the water heaters using XPN, ensuring the security of the device. When the company’s cloud application connects to a water heater, it attests that it is secure and is allowed to join the network. Data from the water heaters is encrypted and protected by XPN all the way through to the cloud application and back to the water heater. The company can also use metadata from the IoT data for any transactional audits the utility might require. 

b) A factory is required by the investors in the company that owns it to prove it met the carbon emission reduction standards set by the company. The company decides to do this by using data from sensors on the devices in the factory which are a combination of older legacy devices and more modern devices. XPN ensures that the data from all of the devices only comes from known secure devices and is protected all the way to the cloud based analytics program used by the company. The factory management produces a report detailing carbon emissions reductions of the factor and is able to demonstrate the provenance of the data.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

What are some examples of threats that XPN mitigates?

a) A utility transmits unencrypted data from sensors on wind turbines over a secure IPSec tunnel to a gateway device which then encrypts the data and transmits it to the utility’s cloud data repository. However, an attacker has placed malware on the gateway that “poisons” the data so that the machine learning algorithms using the wind farm data to monitor its operational health determine that the wind farm is on the verge of a catastrophic breakdown. The wind farm is then shut down, leading to power instability for the region. XPN would mitigate this threat by allowing the utility’s cloud service to authenticate the data it receives and if it can’t, flagging it as untrustworthy. The data will no longer be used operationally until the issue is resolved.

b) A building developer uses a cloud application to improve the energy efficiency of one of its buildings. One of the inputs the application uses is temperature data from a legacy SCADA device in the building. Since the SCADA device isn’t equipped with recent hardware security protection and isn’t behind a firewall, an attacker initiates a malformed connection to the device and places malware on the device. XPN maintains digital twins for legacy devices and the legacy device can only connect to the digital twin. Any other connection to the legacy device must go to the digital twin through a firewall maintained by Intertrust Platform. The attacker’s malformed connection is detected and refused by the firewall.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

How is XPN different from a VPN (virtual private network)?

A VPN protects data as it is being transmitted over the Internet, often by creating an encrypted “tunnel” for the network link the data is traversing. Once the data leaves the VPN connection, it is no longer protected by the VPN and dependent on whatever security features are implemented in its new environment. XPN Persistent Data Protection feature consistently protects the data regardless of the network or device it is located in. Further complicating things, VPN requires detailed configuration whereas XPN packets always know their routing destination.. Additionally, VPN technology offers neither the persistent data protection nor the simple routing of XPN.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

How does XPN differ from encryption?

Encryption turns data into an unreadable blob that can only be read if the reader holds a secret key. This protects the data from an unauthorized party reading it but does little else. XPN’s Persistent Data Protection and Entity Attestation Tokens add metadata to the data to help establish the provenance and secure state of the device that transmitted the data as well as authenticate that the data has not been altered after it was transmitted by the device.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

I already encrypt my data. Why do I still need XPN?

The XPN metadata attached to data, even if it is encrypted, can be used to establish an edge-to-cloud auditable chain of trust for data transmitted from IoT devices. This can be useful to demonstrate data provenance for business or regulatory purposes.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

How is XPN implemented?

On the device side, XPN is implemented via the XPN SDK (software development kit). On the server side, XPN uses the XPN Server Client which is integrated with Intertrust Platform.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

What sort of devices are suited for use with XPN?

Most modern IoT devices or gateways can be used with the XPN SDK. Legacy devices that do not include the hardware security features needed to support the XPN SDK can be protected through the XPN Digital Twins feature.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

What are the minimum device requirements?

On the device side, XPN requires at minimum a 32 bit microcontroller equipped with a secure processing environment. Most modern embedded operating systems such as FreeRTOS and various versions of embedded Linux are supported.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

How can XPN help comply with security standards?

One example of an important security standard gaining traction in industry is the NIST 8259A IoT Device Baseline standard. NIST 8259A requires IoT devices to support a number of core security capabilities. XPN can help IoT device manufacturers and deployers meet a number of these including: a) Device Identification: XPN Entity Attestation Tokens and metadata includes device identity information, b) Device Configuration: XPN Entity Attestation Tokens  can show that the software on the device has not been changed in an unauthorized manner, c) Data Protection: XPN secret keys can be used to encrypt data and XPN metadata can be used to establish that data has not been tampered with after it was transmitted from the device, d) Logical Access to Interfaces: XPN Digital Twins doesn’t allow network connections to vulnerable legacy devices, e) Software Update: XPN digital signatures protect the software and ensures that it works on top of the hardware security needed to protect the software during an update, d) Cybersecurity State Awareness: XPN Entity Attestation Tokens and Digital Twins features provide information to applications and networks that the attached devices are secure.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

How do I incorporate XPN into my IoT device? Or, into my end-to-end application?

A device manufacturer or deployer can incorporate XPN into a device by using the XPN SDK. XPN is a feature of Intertrust Platform and can be incorporated into any end-to-end application which uses Intertrust Platform.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

Can I implement XPN on prem?

Yes, both the XPN SDK and Intertrust Platform can be implemented on prem.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

How is XPN sold?

XPN is available through the Intertrust sales team and system integrator partners.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

When will XPN be available?

XPN will be available to select customers in Q2/22 and will be generally available Q3/22.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

Do you have a partner who can help me incorporate Intertrust Platform and XPN into my IoT network?

Yes, Intertrust has a number of system integrator partners who can help integrate XPN into IoT networks. Please see the Intertrust Platform partners page

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

Do you provide live customer support for XPN?

Yes, support is available through Intertrust’s customer support team and Intertrust Platform partners

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact our team to discuss your content security requirements or concerns.

Learn more about Intertrust XPN here.