June 19, 2019
Blockchain Technology for IoT Security: Many of you would have heard all of the terms such as blockchain, security, secure IoT data, cryptocurrency. However, the popularity of these latest technologies has been on the rise and bound to rise in the future as well as mass adoption pickups. IoT is a modern technology that allows all devices to communicate with each other via a shared network connection like internet, 4G/5G & satellites. IoT technology finds its usage from gadgets like fitness trackers to more substantial uses like driverless vehicles & factory automation.
Initially, people only used blockchain for generating cryptocurrencies. Blockchain has the concept of the shared ledger where individual members make the entries with the consent of other members. These entries data gets stored in various blocks across the chain. A blockchain ledger is not easy to create the blocks. There are a massive computer power and time taken to create every block as the data gets stored as an encrypted hash form with time intervals between each block creation. Each block also has a reference to the previous entries, and in this way, it forms a chain of blocks.
This fundamental concept makes it virtually impossible for any individual or company to tamper with all of the blocks created to change even one block. The complexity of this technology and the process of creation of the chain in the first place is what makes the data more trustable and safe. A blockchain needs all members in the chain to verify every entry to the blockchain. Then the data in a blockchain lies scattered along the chain across millions of computers across the globe.
IoT Security Challenges:
In today’s IoT system, all the data gets authenticated centrally.
The data is secured and passed through the secured communication channel. Also, all the devices in an IoT solution connect to the internet for processing in the cloud. Hence anyone with access to cloud storage can tamper with the data. It is this access that has become a threat for IoT today.
The number of IoT devices is growing every day and will continue for another few years. It means there are many ways for hackers to get your data. These hackers can enter the system through any of the devices and reach the central data storage. In 2016, we witnessed a massive hacking attack which affected almost all the IoT devices. There was a widespread & massive Distributed Denial Of Service (DDoS) attack by criminals.
Blockchain Technology for IoT Security:
The blockchain technology can ensure that the IoT ecosystem is more secure and resistant to attacks.
IoT can make secure and trusted messages between devices with the help of blockchain. Smart contracts can be used to ensure conditional agreement are in place before the exchange of messages takes place between devices. Blockchain technology for IoT can help smart devices to do financial transactions without the need for an intermediary. Like a device can pay for its software subscription.
One of the significant advantages of blockchain in IoT is to maintain a ledger of all transactions occurring in the device network. A ledger for devices can assist in ensuring compliance and regulatory requirements of IoT in industries without the presence of a centralized authority. The adoption of blockchain technology in IoT can give rise to an exciting array of possibilities. However, the significant advantage remains the safety of IoT data because of the data spread across the chain.
While it looks like the best and easy solution for securing data in an IoT solution, it is not going to be perfect. IoT is still evolving, and so it is easier to integrate blockchain technology into the IoT ecosystem.
The blockchain has proven to be effective in protecting the data in a cryptocurrency scenario because the ledger’s job is only to move the currency from one owner to another. Cryptocurrency is the most straightforward use of blockchain technology. Hence it is easier for blockchain to do this without the supervision of any central authority. However, it’s application in a network of devices in different layers may prove to be more challenging.
Blockchain for IoT should support at least the following criteria:
1) Be able to eliminate a corrupted device from the system automatically successfully. It can stop the spread of malware.
2) Have more natural ways to add or remove accessories from the blockchain.
3) As the protocol requires one to gain control of the IoT network to manipulate the data, one would need the consensus of the majority of the entities in the group. However, smaller devices in a smart home do not have the computer processing power that a blockchain network node requires. Hence the blockchain for IoT should scale to smaller and bigger networks with varying compute powers.
Controlling millions of devices would be difficult for blockchain technology as it exists today. The industry must develop a suitable framework to prevent unauthorized interferences. Today’s smart devices don’t have the computing power to support the blockchain system. Usage of the blockchain technology for IoT Security is still not the perfect solution. However, blockchain technology should evolve further to secure IoT data.
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