Know the term: SOTA/FOTA

by Tina Hampton

Every week, AT&T offers a “Know the Terms” article to define and explain a cybersecurity term. Even if it’s a term you’re familiar with, we hope you’ll enhance your understanding of the lingo through review. It’s our hope that a better understanding of the jargon will foster better communications about cybersecurity in your organization.

What is SOTA/FOTA?

SOTA stands for “software over the air,” and FOTA stands for “firmware over the air.” With SOTA and FOTA, updates, settings and other digital programming are transmitted wirelessly to networked devices.

The –OTA words refer to the distribution of software updates, configuration settings and sometimes enhanced encryption keys to devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, set-top boxes, connected cars or encrypted two-way radios (sometimes called secure voice communication). An important aspect of SOTA and FOTA is that one central location can be used to update all of the users.

SOTA and FOTA updates require existing hardware and software of the device to support the given feature, such as the receipt and installation of new software installed by a wireless network from the provider.

For additional terms to know related to IoT and cybersecurity, please read our latest AT&T Cybersecurity Insights report, “The CEO’s Guide to Securing the Internet of Things.” Our cybersecurity reports feature valuable information collected from AT&T networks, outside research firms and other external security resources.