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29/01/2017

Blockchain and the Internet of Things

Written By : Joshua Ndolo

The process above is known as hashing where sensitive information from the sensors is hashed and encrypted using public key cryptography. The hashed data (sometimes known as a token) is then stored in the distributed global network.

The problems with Autonomous vehicles and IOT implemented on current legacy systems are:

  • Secure device connectivity among the electronic devices interconnected with the car.
  • Corruptible individual device identity and reputation
  • Possibility to watch or steal information from cars
  • Hacking into car and spoofing output data
  • Physical tampering and malware manipulation
  • Corruption resistant sensor impression history - need for a tamper-resistant distributed 'digital alibi'
  • Danger of hub device collecting information from connected cars being hacked
  • How does an actuating car or device prove the instructions it is receives are valid?

IOT and autonomous vehicles adoption and scalability in the coming years will be negatively impacted and unattainable if these problems are not solved. As well any innovation within this space will need to address interoperability and security within these networks. The solutions that blockchain enables are:

Device Firmware Hashing

Device firmware can be hashed into a Blockchain on a continual basis. If the firmware state changes (by even a single digit) due to malware altering the firmware code, can the hash failure will alert the device owners to foul play. This is not dissimilar to an immune system flagging a foreign body.

Instruction Authentication

Information or checking instructions - device hashes information it wants to send to another device and places the hash into a Blockchain, the receiver of the information hashes the same information, if the hash matches the hash on the Blockchain then the information has not changed in transit.

Device Identity Protocol

Each device has a Blockchain public key. Devices encrypt messages to each other (challenge/responses) to ensure the device is in control of its own identity. Is it best to require a universal identity protocol for all devices?

Device Reputation Systems

Devices develop reputations as each device has a public key. Cryptographic reputation systems are overlaid over devices. There could be, for instance, a certification agency for devices which audits the device and then gives it an identity on the Blockchain. So once the device’s hashed data is put on the Blockchain the device’s identity will be irreversible. Can the environmental inputs that are unique to an individual sensor, such as GPS, temperature/humidity, etc., be used in conjunction with IMEI & OEM firmware hashes create the ultimate in tamper-resistant unique device identification?

Managing IOT data

With the enormous amount of IoT sensor data vs. traditional financial transaction data, how will orthodox Blockchain formats adapt to handle the scale of IoT? If data needs to be siloed traditionally, how will this system handle security of accessing those silos?

References

IBM

Postcapes

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