Protect Your Devices: Best Practices for Microcontroller Security in IoT

Protect Your Devices: Best Practices for Microcontroller Security in IoT

What Is IoT Security

An IoT device is any network-connected physical item that isn’t a computer. While standard IoT devices are protected by traditional security technology, the security issues that can come about with IoT devices are less well-known as standard security systems fail to identify certain types of IoT devices. As a result, securing IoT remains an unaddressed challenge in many organizations.

IoT security is technically a cybersecurity strategy and protection mechanism integrated in order to counteract any cyberattacks that target any IoT device connected to the IoT network. Without the necessary security in place, any connected IoT device is vulnerable to leakage, theft, and malicious control in order to steal user data or eliminate systems completely.

Moreover, standard cybersecurity systems cannot recognize and identify certain types of IoT devices and their associated risks. For example, all IoT devices, such as printers, cameras, sensors, lighting, kitchen appliances, or handheld scanners, use different hardware, operating systems, firmware, and chipsets that introduce different types of vulnerabilities and, thus, risks. 

Having the majority of the IoT network unencrypted does not help the case either, as this puts personal user information and confidential data at high risk. And since IoT devices are virtually invisible in enterprise networks, it is impossible to protect each device in the same exact way.

How Microcontrollers Solve IoT Security Issues

To achieve IoT device security, microcontrollers need to comprise both hardware and software-based security mechanisms.

Below are some of the ways microcontrollers can provide security solutions to IoT devices:

  • Hardware-based security
  • Secure key storage
  • True Random Number Generation
  • Symmetric key encryption and decryption
  • Asymmetric cryptography
  • Hash algorithms
  • Digital Signatures


Different Types of Microcontrollers

As different devices require different microcontrollers in order to function in the best possible way, the different types of microcontrollers listed below are manufactured to cater to different applications and provide the necessary solutions to unique IoT problems

PIC Microcontroller

Programmable Intelligent Computer (PIC) is a family of microcontrollers manufactured by microchip technology.

PIC devices are low cost, have a broad availability, large user base, extensive application notes, free development tools, reprogrammable flash memory capability, and serial programming.

AVR Microcontroller

Developed in 1966 by Atmel Corporation, AVR stands as an acronym for the founders’ names: Alf-Egil Bogen Vegan Wollan RISC microcontroller.

They are found in embedded systems and come in three different categories:


These have less memory than usual, are smaller, and are suitable for simplistic applications.


On the contrary, these have sufficient memory, a high number of in-built peripherals, and are fit for moderate to complex applications.


One of the first microcontrollers to use on-chip flash memory for program storage, XmegaAVRs are used commercially for complex applications requiring a large program memory and high speed.

MSP Microcontroller

The MSP microcontroller is a 16-bit CPU and RISC-based, mixed-signal processor. They have intelligent peripherals, easy accessibility, and low power consumption for multiple applications.

Moreover, its appearance is directly linked to the 16-bit data bus, seven addressing modes, and the decreased instruction set, providing a shorter and denser programming code for high-speed performance.

ARM Microcontroller

One of the world’s most extensive and licensed processor cores, the ARM processors with RAM, ROM, and other peripherals join in a single chip, creating an ARM microcontroller.

First developed in 1985, the ARM microcontroller is part of a family of reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architectures manufactured for computer processors that are constructed for a variety of environments.

8051 Microcontroller

Manufactured in 1981 by Intel, the 8051 is an 8-bit microcontroller. It is a highly integrated single chip, comprising of an on-chip central processing unit (CPU), I/O, serial and parallel, timers, Random Access Memory (RAM), interrupt controller, serial interfacing ports, A/D & D/A converters, oscillatory circuits, and Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EPROM/PROM/ROM).


Microcontroller Applications in Daily Life

Microcontroller applications in daily life consist of automatic devices and appliances, such as power tools, smart homes, smart cities, implantable medical devices, automobile engine control systems, office machines, remote control appliances, kitchen appliances, and many more embedded systems. 

Microcontroller applications in daily life can range from simple applications to advanced applications. 

Some of the microcontroller applications are the following:

  • Light sensing
  • Temperature sensing
  • Fire detection
  • Industrial
  • Process control devices
  • Volt Meter
  • Revolving objects Measurement
  • Current meter
  • Handheld metering systems
  • AC Devices
  • Microwave Control
  • Control Device
  • Data Communication
  • Speedometer and Auto Braking
  • Safety Devices



As discussed above, creating a secured IoT system is a challenge. However, the shared relationship between different types of microcontrollers and IoT security illustrated in this blog can shed light on the necessary and fundamental steps toward protecting your devices and data within the IoT network. 

Furthermore, as new products are constantly being marketed in the IoT industry, almost all electronic devices are designed with different types of microcontrollers, further proving their flexibility and adaptability. So with robust security measures, you can rest assured that microcontrollers offer a practical and sustainable path for confronting cyber attacks.

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