Secure your Raspberry Pi and Linux applications with ZymKey


ZymKey makes it easy to secure your IoT applications and manage them in the real world.


More times than not, developers are faced with two bad options: either deliver a substandard product quickly, or reinvent the wheel and miss the market altogether. Luckily, one Santa Barbara-based startup has come up with a solution, not just a band-aid but a true fix to the all too common conundrum. Introducing ZymKey, a tiny, low-cost piece of hardware for authenticating and encrypting data between Internet of Things devices.

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The key integrates silicon and software into a simple, ready-to-go package that will automatically work with Raspberry Pi and other Linux gadgets. What’s nice is that the ZymKey integrates seamlessly with Zymbit’s existing IoT platform, which includes Zymbit.Connect software, the Zymbit.City community and the Zymbit.Orange secure IoT motherboard that was on display back at Maker Faire Bay Area. Together, Zymbit enables IoT professional developers and Makers innovate faster with the confidence of data security and integrity.

“The Internet of Things will reach its full potential when real people like you and I begin to connect our devices and share data streams,” explained Zymbit CEO Phil Strong. “Then we can work together to solve real problems that impact our everyday lives. Funding our Kickstarter campaign is not just about building the ZymKey, it’s about enabling an entire community of people to collaborate around secure data streams and ideas.”

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Ideally, Zymbit will make it easy to not only collect but to share data in a trusted manner. The platform embraces open technologies and gives people the freedom to innovate quickly without having to compromise security or performance. Aside from that, the so-called Zymbit.City will serve as a forum for those with common interests to collaborate on ideas powered by such verified and authenticated information.

ZymKey works by attaching to IoT Linux platforms like the Raspberry Pi. When combined with Zymbit’s Linux APIs, it offers true authentication and cryptographic services of remote devices, as well as a real-time clock and accelerometer to timestamp security events and detect physical tampering, respectively. For its Kickstarter launch, ZymKey is available in two versions: a header-mounted crypto key for the RPi and a USB stick that plugs into the port of a Linux board, including BeagleBone, UDOO and Dragon.

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For the RPi model, the low-profile hardware attaches directly to the Pi’s expansion header while still allowing Pi-Plates to be added on top. Lightweight firmware drivers run on the RPi core interface with software services through Zymbit.Connect. Meanwhile, the USB version adds more functionality and is usable on any Linux unit with a USB host.

“Great security has to be designed end to end. From silicon to software, from point of manufacture through end-of-life. ZymKey brings all this together and makes it easy to manage your applications and devices out in the real world, without compromising security,” the team explains. “ZymKey integrates speciality silicon with firmware drivers on the host device and the corresponding software services in the cloud. The result is a robust and secure communication workflow that meets some of the highest standards in the industry.”

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Both ZymKeys are embedded with an ATECC508A CryptoAuthentication IC for bolstered security, while the USB version also features an Atmel | SAM D21 Cortex-M0+ core. Once connected to the Zymbit platform, you will have the unprecedented ability to transparently manage all of your remote devices from a single console — upgrade over the air, configure admin rights, and so much more. Additionally, you will be able to publish, subscribe and visualize secure data. Each ZymKey comes pre-packed with dashboard widget that make it simple to customize and share with others.

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So whether you’re connecting one Linux gizmo in your garage to a public forum or have tens of thousands of Raspberry Pis deployed throughout the world, ZymKey seems to be an excellent option for everyone. Interested? Head over to its Kickstarter page, where the Zymbit team is seeking $15,000. Delivery is slated for December 2015.

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