Chiron Security Communications: Security communications professionals




Confirmation of IRIS Secure Apps™ conformance to Industry Standards and Safety

November 30th 2015

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In the light of the recent announcement of vulnerabilities in certain UK manufactured diallers, Chiron would like to assure that all IRIS Touch and IRIS Touch NG diallers are not subject to any of the vulnerabilities outlined in this note.

All IRIS diallers conform to and exceed the relevant EN standards of 1998 and 2012. The IRIS system has always been a leader in technology and security. Remote reflashing has been a standard feature for over eight years, without compromise to security.

In addition, all IRIS products support the same levels of encryption and authentication, no matter what grade supported. The security is not compromised and is identical, whether installed in one of our military installations, bank, or your home.

For over ten years, all IRIS units have been remotely upgradable with the full security of the IRIS system. Cyber threats are always evolving and we at Chiron think it only reasonable that systems can be constantly upgraded to protect against new threats, rather than legacy units in the field being left exposed.

All latest technology from our Smartphones, PCs, and routers are now routinely upgradable and the majority of the security industry supports it, even in new alarm panels.

To take the points of the CERT Vulnerability Note:

1. Standards Compliant

Chiron has always ensured that IRIS diallers are independently certified to, and exceed, the appropriate standards by recognised test houses and has worked with a number of recognised test houses around the world. The IRIS system is certified and approved in more countries than any other AoIP system

The first generations of diallers (IRIS 800 series released in 2004 and IRIS Touch series released in 2008) were certified against EN50136-1-1:1998 and EN50136-2-1:1998 that were the standards in force at the time, and the latest IRIS Touch NG series released in 2014 has been certified to the latest standards EN50136-1:2012 and EN50136-2:2013.

2. Anti-substitution and Mutual Authentication

Substitution of equipment is a threat that can be made in two ways:

a) Substitution of the alarm transmitter so that the Monitoring Centre is never aware of any attack.

b) Substitution of the receiver at the Monitoring Centre (man-in-the-middle) so that the transmitter is not aware that any alarm signals it sends are not received at the Monitoring Centre.

The IRIS system protects against both of these cases.

Every connection between an IRIS dialler and the IRIS Secure Apps™ receiver system at the Monitoring Centre, whether it is an alarm or a routine heartbeat, involves mutual authentication between the dialler and the Monitoring Centre. The dialler checks that the Monitoring Centre is genuine and the Monitoring Centre checks that the dialler is genuine. If either is not the case, a local alarm will be raised, both at the Monitoring Centre and at the monitored site. This is done within the encrypted envelope.

From the start of the original IRIS 800 series, authentication has always involved a 256-bit random security key that exceeds the requirements of even the latest standards. This key is randomly generated automatically by the IRIS Secure Apps™ System and is unique for each dialler. By default, this key is changed by the receiver on a daily basis. Each key is ‘machine to machine’ and known only to the dialler and to the receiver. It is not set by an installer so is not in the public domain for added security.

Every call has a separate random element in addition to each key, which means that a playback substitution attempt cannot be made.

3. Cryptographic Algorithm

Industry standard algorithms, as have been used in secure Internet transactions like electronic banking, have always been used in the IRIS system. This encryption exceeds the requirements of even the latest standards (minimum 128 bit key and 128 bit hashing). In the IRIS series a combination of algorithms commonly used in commercial and financial systems, all of which are peer reviewed and industry accepted. Throughout the whole range of IRIS Touch products, 256-bit key and 128 -bit hashing is used. In the latest IRIS Touch NG range this has been made more secure with 256-bit key and 256-bit hashing.

4. SMS Configuration

For diallers with GPRS/3G support, configuration of the dialler by SMS is supported to provide an additional method for installers to easily set up and commission an IRIS dialler. However, to prevent subsequent tampering by third parties, this configuration possibility is disabled once the dialler has been configured and has communicated with the Monitoring Centre.

5. Firmware update over the Air

For many years, IRIS diallers have supported firmware upgrade (reflashing) over the IP network to which they are connected. Chiron regularly releases new dialler features and this facility allows our customers to take advantage of new developments and also any modifications required to overcome issues found in the field.

This reflashing can only be instigated from the dialler itself or from the IRIS Secure Apps™ receiver system at the Monitoring Centre with which it is communicating and so is protected against unauthorised access. If instigated from the Monitoring Centre, reflashing will only start if the dialler has successfully authenticated with the IRIS Secure Apps™ system as described above.

Chiron, through its IRIS Secure Apps™ System is committed to offer the most advanced technology to provide the highest security to all its users whenever they purchased their diallers, yesterday, today and tomorrow, against all threats current and to come.

For further information, please contact:

Ian Tredinnick


Wim Harthoorn


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