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In our latest Industry Interview, Petr Peterka, CTO, Verimatrix, discusses why ensuring revenue security can be a complex undertaking for global pay-TV operators and explains why secure chip technology – including the trusted execution environment (TEE) – can support the fundamental requirements of any security strategy.   

  1. Why is ensuring revenue security a complex undertaking for pay-TV operators?

With such a vast ecosystem required to ensure robust revenue security, multiple parties are responsible for security – not just one vendor. No one company owns security from end-to-end. With so many different players, one simple error can impact the entire security infrastructure. In addition, there is no certification program to guarantee a level of robustness.

With these challenges in mind, it is worth exploring the role of the TEE as part of a robust revenue security strategy.

  1. What do you see as the main security requirements that the TEE addresses?

Durability and renewability. Durability is the ability to control access or visibility into intellectual property or sensitive information such as cryptographic keys or security algorithms.

The TEE allows for this durability as well as the ability for powerful and sophisticated security techniques to be performed on a capable and flexible processor.

As with any cryptosystem, the security may become antiquated or even compromised at any time. The reality of these threats demands the capability of renewability, which is made possible by a securely downloadable software module. This allows the security clients to be rapidly updated in the field with constantly evolving security technology, and also allows the security vendor to rapidly respond to a potential breach. In most cases, the breach can be either mitigated or eliminated with an update to the software running in the TEE (i.e. the Trusted Application (TA)).

  1. How does this approach benefit operators?

Operators benefit in a number of ways. For example, each operator receives a customized TEE, which mitigates risk in the event of a breach or hack. If the same cryptosystem is shipped to all operators, one hack or breach can impact all devices. The TA can modify the keys, or algorithms or the key management protocol even slightly for each operator, enabling cryptographic separation or diversity for each operation.