Software Updates for Internet of Things (suit)

WG Name Software Updates for Internet of Things
Acronym suit
Area Security Area (sec)
State Active
Charter charter-ietf-suit-01-02 Start Chartering/Rechartering (Internal Steering Group/IAB Review)
Status Update Show update (last changed 2017-11-15)
Dependencies Document dependency graph (SVG)
Additional Resources
- Issue tracker
- Wiki
Personnel Chairs Dave Thaler 
David Waltermire 
Russ Housley 
Area Director Roman Danyliw 
Mailing list Address
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Jabber chat Room address

Charter for Working Group

Vulnerabilities in Internet of Things (IoT) devices have raised the need
for a secure firmware update mechanism that is also suitable for constrained
devices. Security experts, researchers, and regulators recommend that all IoT
devices be equipped with such a mechanism. While there are many proprietary
firmware update mechanisms in use today, there is no modern interoperable
approach allowing secure updates to firmware in IoT devices. In June of 2016
the Internet Architecture Board organized a workshop on 'Internet
of Things (IoT) Software Update (IOTSU)', and RFC 8240 documents various
requirements and challenges that are specific to IoT devices.

A firmware update solution consists of several components, including:
* A mechanism to transport firmware images to compatible devices.
* A manifest that provides meta-data about the firmware image (such as a
firmware package identifier, the hardware the package needs to run, and
dependencies on other firmware packages), as well as cryptographic information
for protecting the firmware image in an end-to-end fashion.
* The firmware image itself.

This group will focus on defining a firmware update solution (taking into
account past learnings from RFC 4108 and other firmware update solutions) that
will be usable on Class 1 (as defined in RFC 7228) devices, i.e., devices with
~10 KiB RAM and ~100 KiB flash. The solution may apply to more capable devices
as well. This group will not define any new transport or discovery mechanisms,
but may describe how to use existing mechanisms within the architecture.

In particular this group aims to publish several documents, namely:
* An IoT firmware update architecture that includes a description of the
involved entities, security threats, and assumptions.
* One or more manifest format specifications.

To support specification of manifest format(s), this group will first develop the
information model for the contents of a manifest. Once there is general agreement
on the contents, the group will pick a small number of serialization formats such as
CBOR and/or ASN.1 (and their associated cryptographic mechanisms) to encode the
manifest. A small number of formats is preferred to reduce the complexity of a
firmware management solution, where each IoT device would typically only
support one format, but the same tool or service might support all such
formats. To support a wide range of deployment scenarios, the formats are
expected to be expressive enough to allow the use of different firmware sources
and permission models.

This group does not aim to create a standard for a generic application software
update mechanism, but instead this group will focus on firmware development
practices in the embedded industry. Software update solutions that target
updating software other than the firmware binaries (e.g., applications) are
also out of scope.

This group will aim to maintain a close relationship with silicon vendors and
OEMs that develop IoT operating systems.


Date Milestone
1 Feb 2022 Submit an initial manifest serialization format to the IESG for publication as a Proposed Standard.

Done milestones

Date Milestone
Done Adopt SUIT Status Tracker document as WG item
Done Adopt firmware encryption document as WG item.
Done Submit architecture to the IESG for publication as Informational
Done Submit manifest information model to the IESG for publication as Informational.
Done Adopt initial manifest serialization format(s) as WG item(s).
Done Calendar item: Second interoperability event at IETF 102.
Done Calendar item: First interoperability event at IETF 101.
Done Adopt a manifest information model as a WG item.
Done Adopt "Architecture" document as WG item.