TimeDock hardware security
Last updated - Aug 21, 2021 at 9:45PM
TimeDock’s time clock appliances are assembled from Android-based hardware, sourced and customised from a professional OEM provider of electronic and computer-related technologies since 2002
Our devices are single-purpose, designed as time clocks and nothing more. This significantly reduces, or almost eliminates, the possibility of introducing malware or other malicious exploits as there are little to no attack vectors for exploitation. Staff cannot load or use other apps, browse the internet, or use it as a regular device. Additionally, the system settings are not easily accessible without a master key or knowledge of how to access it via a hidden series of taps on the screen (designed for quick support over the phone, where couriering a new master key would not be considered timely enough for business-critical changes to the settings).
The appliance requires only outbound access to TimeDock’s SSL-secured API endpoints (currently at https://secure.timedock.com...). No remote or inbound access is required for the devices to function, and all inbound traffic can be blocked.
Outbound traffic can be firewalled to allow only the above-mentioned secure domain and can be obtained via standard Wi-Fi connection or in many instances a Data SIM card, IoT SIM card, or Global IoT SIM card.
The time clock application software, i.e., the primary interface of the device, periodically checks the secure API endpoints for latest versions and installs them automatically. Again, no inbound access is required for this
The underlying Android operating system cannot be remote-updated, and includes the following modifications:
- Default launcher / home application removed.
- Modified system APK to hide the status bar.
- Custom TimeDock application, and custom launcher, installed as system apps.
Here is a list of common security concerns, and our suggested mitigation, minimisation or elimination.
|Suggested action / Remarks
Software designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorised access may find its way on to the device.
|1. No client applications besides TimeDock are accessible or installed (i.e., employees have no access to browse the internet, watch videos, open documents or emails, etc.).
2. Do not sideload other applications for employee use.
3. Ensure developer mode is turned off.
4. Do not leave Master Key, for accessing system settings, within reach of public/employees
5. Use security-mount to inhibit easy removal from location (i.e., so that staff don’t take it home).
|Negligible / Avoidable.
Inbound firewall rules protect the network against incoming traffic or other network segments, namely disallowed connections, malware, or denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.
Properly DMZ’d and Firewalled, only deliberate physical access by someone intent on causing harm could load malicious software on to the device.
Network vulnerabilities could allow remote attackers to penetrate the device.
|Use a Firewall and DMZ to restrict all incoming traffic from local and wide area networks and isolate from the organisation’s private network.
|Adequately configured, this threat should be eliminated almost entirely (subject to the effectiveness of the organisation’s networking security).
|Man in the middle attacks
Malicious applications or attackers on the organisation's network, or spoofing the network, may intercept communications between the device, and our secured servers.
|1. All communication uses 256-bit SSL, one of the most secure encryption methods to protect against data being stolen, modified or spoofed. It is the same level of encryption used by online banking, among other high-security transactional applications connected to the internet.
2. TimeDock application software uses at least TLS 1.2 for transport level security.
SSL is a widely implemented and robust standard of security adopted by most internet-connected applications.
The appliance could be removed and exploited directly via physical access. i.e., the data wiped.
|1. Only a shallow copy of data is stored locally (i.e., a list of employee names, and their most recent time entries or unsynchronised entries that have yet to be persisted on our secure servers).
2. A data wipe or factory reset of the device would not delete or otherwise affect any time entries already persisted to our secure data storage, hosted and maintained by Microsoft within their high-security Microsoft Azure data centers.
3. Use included wall-mounting bracket with pin torx security screws.
4. Place in vicinity of security cameras, or commonaccess areas with high visibility and restricted public access (i.e., in a corporate office or the hallway near a manager’s office, not in the public foyer).
|Negligible / Low impact.
There is little motivation for theft of the device, or targeted physical exploitation. Refer to the suggested actions and remarks to minimise the threat.
In the event that a device became compromised, there is minimal information stored on the device that would be of little use to an attacker.
A targeted exploit might corrupt or spoof data or device actions to interfere or falsify time records.
|1. Mitigating the above points, the threat of a targeted exploit is very low.
2. Data already persisted on our secure servers cannot be permanently deleted, or irreversibly changed, via our API or any devices connected to it. Whilst data could in theory be "soft-deleted" by a Highly unlikely / Low impact. Highly unlikely and can in most cases be intercepted and remedied. reverse-engineered and recompiled TimeDock application (difficult / very low risk of someone knowledgeable doing this), we can block further exploitation and reverse the changes. Only under specific instruction by an approved organisation representative, and manual intervention by our senior engineers, can permanently deform time entries beyond the point of recognition. That excludes readonly backups, which remain securely archived within Azure data centers as a persisted snapshot for up to 12 months.
3. We utilise Microsoft Azure’s point-in-time live database replication, as well as sequential and incremental backups, to ensure high-level data recoverability in the event of signification loss or corruption.
|Highly unlikely / Low impact.
Highly unlikely and can in most cases be intercepted and remedied.
Note: the hardware devices themselves do not store any more data than they need, to operate on a day-to-day capacity. All organisational data is persisted in secure data centers managed by Microsoft.
|Exposure to organisational private network
|1. Implement a DMZ (demilitarised zone) on organisational networks, to isolate the appliance from the rest of the network.
2. Consider using a separate internet connection, for example an IoT SIM Card designed for low-bandwidth appliances.
Due to the nature of digital computers, we recommend replacing hardware every five years to ensure continued improvements of the underlying hardware, system architecture, security certificates and front-end applications that may not be self-updateable.
For this reason, we have priced all hardware as commodity consumer devices at near cost, and we rely solely on the subscription / licensing of the platform to cover our operating expenditures such as ongoing support, improvements, maintenance, etc.