British computer chip designer ARM has acquired Offspark, a Dutch company that specialises in security software for the Internet of Things (IoT).
The firm, based on the outskirts of The Hague, has deployed PolarSSL technology in a wide range of devices including sensor modules, communication modules and smartphones. The PolarSSL library is a dual licensed implementation of the SSL and TLS protocols that aims to be “easy to understand, use, integrate and expand”. As part of the acquisition by ARM, PolarSSL has been rebranded as mbed TLS. ARM has not revealed the financial details of the deal.

Security considerations are a key issue with networked devices, and the purchase is a another sign of that ARM wants a big piece of the IoT action. ARM purchased Finnish IoT firm Sensinode in 2013.
“We have always said that security must be the foundation of any IoT system and the acquisition of Offspark is evidence of us making that happen,” said Krisztian Flautner, general manager of the IoT business for ARM.
“PolarSSL technology is already deployed by the leading IoT players. The fact that those same companies also utilise ARM Cortex processor and software technologies means we are now able to provide a complete bedrock solution for the industry to innovate from,” he added.
Writing in a blog post, Paul Bakker, CEO of Offspark, said he was “very happy” to announce that the deal had been made.
“We are immensely excited to join forces with ARM as it’s the front-runner in the embedded world and their expertise will give us invaluable support in expanding the PolarSSL library,” he wrote. “Being part of the ARM team will also give us a fantastic boost in our mission to become the world’s leading embedded SSL solution.”
Bakker said Offspark will maintain the same relationship with its customers.
“We will continue to support our existing customers exactly as we have in the past and ARM’s expansive and established ecosystem will also give us the ability to expand PolarSSL technology to new partners,” he said.
“We have some exciting plans for 2015 which we are eagerly looking forward to sharing, so stay tuned for some major announcements in the coming months,” Bakker concluded.
Security issues are a cause for increasing concern around the IoT. Indeed, a lack of security built into devices forming the IoT could be catastrophic in the event of a cyber attack, a report by Beecham Research warned recently. 

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