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Advanced Network Security for Ecogate's greenBOX Units


Ecogate greenBOX Units & Network Security

Executive Summary


Ecogate's Project Adelie introduces the next-gen family of greenBOX units, integrating advanced network security measures as a foundational element of its design and operation. This article delineates the security mechanisms and protocols employed to safeguard the greenBOX infrastructure and delineates its robust defensive posture against cyber threats.


In this article


1. Security-Centric Architectural Design


From inception, Project Adelie’s greenBOX has incorporated security into the software architecture design. Leveraging image-based system updates, the configuration-as-code methodology ensures continuous integration of security enhancements for both the operating system and third-party applications as they become available.


greenBOX Network Security


2. Network Security Infrastructure of greenBOX


2.1. Secure Configuration

greenBOX has been architected to negate the need for external port-forwarding, predominantly initiating outbound connections, thereby diminishing the risk of unsolicited inbound traffic. All data transmissions over the internet are encrypted, rendering interception attempts futile. The unit further employs a self-signed SSL certificate to secure user interface communications.


2.2. Firewall Implementation

The integrated firewall is pivotal in directing traffic, configured to permit specific protocols within the LAN, including SSH (22/tcp) utilizing pre-approved cryptographic keys for secure shell access, and HTTP (80/tcp) which is automatically redirected to HTTPS (443/tcp), thereby encrypting user interface interactions.


2.3. VPN and Authorized Technician Access

Ecogate technicians access the greenBOX using Tailscale/Wireguard VPN, a contemporary VPN solution that emphasizes ease of use and stringent security. Access permissions are strictly regulated by Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) to ensure technicians have the requisite access for their tasks.


2.4 Interaction with Ecogate Cloud Services

The greenBOX interfaces with Ecogate's cloud services for operational functions and adheres to industry-standard security practices, utilizing external services for software updates, VPN provisioning, and time synchronization.



3. Local Network Security Considerations


The interaction of greenBOX with LAN devices mandates rigorous security adherence. It is critical to ensure that all LAN devices are consistently updated and patched.


3.1. IT Recommendations

Despite greenBOX's robust security framework, vigilance in the form of continuous monitoring, periodic security audits, and prompt software updates is indispensable. A proactive approach in vulnerability management is imperative.



4. Operating System and Software Update Protocol


4.1. Ubuntu Linux LTS

greenBOX operates on Ubuntu Linux LTS, chosen for its stability and prevalence in enterprise environments. Adelie software updates maintain the operating system at the most current stable LTS release.


4.2. Mender Over-the-Air Updates

Mender, an industry-leading open-source system, facilitates over-the-air updates. This image-based approach ensures the integrity of the operating system and applications, with an automated rollback feature to preserve system robustness against update failures.



5. Secure Remote Access with Tailscale VPN


For remote access, Tailscale VPN, leveraging WireGuard's advanced encryption, offers a secure and user-friendly interface without compromising privacy. Tailscale’s architecture facilitates point-to-point data transmission with uncompromised end-to-end encryption.



6. User Interface and Accessibility


6.1. React Framework

The greenBOX’s user interface is constructed with React, a leading open-source framework, ensuring a contemporary and secure user experience. The user interface, while LAN-accessible and SSL-encrypted, is also available via VPN, signifying flexibility and security.



Conclusion


Ecogate’s greenBOX, as part of Project Adelie, presents a paradigm of network security in industrial automation. Embracing a layered security approach, from secure design to robust update mechanisms, greenBOX is positioned to deliver enterprise-grade security to safeguard critical infrastructure.


Customers implementing Ecogate's on-demand dust collection managed by greenBOX units can access a detailed white paper on network security. Additionally, we offer a Google Meet presentation focused on the greenBOX's network security.



Additional Resources


STORE | Ecogate, Inc. - detailed greenBOX specifications



Author, Marek Litomisky, Head of Software Engineering


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