Can blockchain prevent the vulnerabilities in the Internet of Things (IoT)
Since the Internet of Things is just around the corner, it’s time to start protecting connected devices. Moreover, in the coming years, the main engine of the Internet of Things is nearing completion: 5G. 5G will become the main engine of the Internet of Things, and without it, the Internet of Things will remain an illusion. So, why do we need 5G, and how can we prevent the emergence of an Internet of vulnerable things?
The advantages of 5G compared to 4G are significant. 5G will not only provide a network speed of up to 10 Gbit / s, but also provide a lower communication delay – up to 1 millisecond. The combination of high speed and such low latency will allow you to create new products, applications and services that are currently impossible. Simply because it currently takes too much time to move data between the device and the data center (where the data is processed).
5G will also support the massive increase in the number of connected devices expected with the advent of the Internet of Things. Gartner predicts that about 50 billion devices will be added in the next decade, resulting in about 100 trillion sensors connected by 2030.
Why are these features important for the Internet of Things? Just consider a self-driving car: a car traveling at 100 km/h has to go 2.7 meters further before it is stopped if the delay is 100 milliseconds. Obviously, this would be unacceptable. The same applies to games, drones, and many other applications.
Convergence of 5G and the Internet of Things
Thus, the convergence of 5G and the Internet of Things will radically change society. The global Internet of Things market is expected to grow to $6.5 trillion by 2024.
When you have billions and billions of devices connected to the Internet, it changes your point of view, especially when these connected devices become really smart thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence.
IoT devices will become much better able to understand the user and adapt the product or service to the needs and context. Software updates will be made automatically, which will reduce the need to constantly buy a new product.
The Internet of Things will be completely dedicated to automatic actions based on data generated by connected devices and their environment. For example, you have a thermostat connected, and your car knows that you are going home. Your car knows that the temperature in your house is low, and gives the command to the thermostat to turn on the heating. When you arrive home, it will be nice, warm and cozy inside.
Of course, this is just an example for your home. The Internet of Things offers businesses a huge potential. However, all this potential value will disappear if security remains an issue.
Internet of Vulnerable Things
In their forecasts of technological trends, many experts write that a world full of connected devices and autonomous things can potentially become a dangerous world. Security is not the core competence of IoT manufacturers, and therefore hackers will always have an unfair advantage.
Moreover, Internet of Things devices are often developed using many different products from different suppliers. Although according to Coinmarketrate.com there are many unified platforms that cover the security standards of the Internet of Things. Helium, Chronicled, ArcTouch, Filament, NetObjex, HYPR, MIDAS, Unify IoT and the universal IoT platform, you can deal with dozens of devices whose vendors do not have such protection. Outdated firmware and software can also make it easier to use IoT technology and use it as an attack point.
The huge variety of form factors, operating systems, feature sets and vendors creates complexities that existing IT security resources may not be able to cover. Therefore, when collecting data or checking connected devices, it is important to completely re-evaluate the IT security strategy and thinking. You don’t want your connected device to be “responsible” for the next DDoS attack.
Personality, reputation and the Internet of Things
One of the ways to prevent the appearance of vulnerable objects on the Internet is to use the reputation of the Internet of Things. Reputation is especially important here. Just as people need to be able to trust each other, connected devices also need to trust each other if they want to cooperate and perform transactions.
After all, doing business with a connected device infected with malware is bad for business. But how to determine and ensure the reputation of a connected device? Moreover, how can we create a system that includes all aspects of reputation without invading privacy? To do this, we need to turn to blockchain technology.
Just like people, connected devices and sensors also have an identity. This identity consists of attributes. An attribute is a characteristic or feature of this device. Each of these attributes has different, uniquely identifiable characteristics, and their combination makes up the identity of the device.
An IoT device also has a reputation: how authoritative and trustworthy the device is, whether it really does what it should. Finally, IoT devices also have a shady reputation. This is due to other devices on the same network and the reputation of these devices. A connected device linked to another device that contains malware is less valuable.
The identification data of the connected device or machine can be determined using 5P. It is personal (we are talking about a specific device or machine), portable (this means that data can be easily shared in a secure way with other devices), private (the device controls the identity and data), permanent (it does not change without consent) and protected (identity and data cannot be stolen).
Ensuring that IoT devices comply with 5P identification information is a key condition for preventing the Internet of vulnerable objects.
Blockchain and the Internet of Things
Blockchain is important for providing 5P identification for connected devices. In a decentralized network using distributed registry technology, data becomes immutable, verifiable and traceable. A device that is part of such a blockchain network will comply with the five principles of identification:
- Personal: Data created by a device registered in the block chain can always be associated with this device. This way, we will always be sure that the data used really comes from this particular device, and not from another device that is trying to simulate the original device.
- Portability: Data can be easily shared and paid for using microtransactions. One bit of data can contain valuable information, and with the help of a token can be sold to another device. Smart contracts will provide automatic data exchange after the transfer of funds.
- Private: Only registered devices can store data in a specific block chain. By decentralizing data management, it becomes possible to avoid disclosure of data to centralized parties or irrelevant and unreliable partners.
- Persistent: The data in the block chain is immutable, so no hacker can change the data for their own benefit. This provides many advantages when exchanging data between devices and organizations, especially in supply chains, since the other party can be sure that the data has not been changed since its creation.
- Protected: IoT data and identification data stored in the blockchain eliminate the need to trust each other, and in the absence of a centralized single point of failure, DDoS attacks become much more difficult.
The convergence of the blockchain and the Internet of Things will significantly reduce the likelihood of large amounts of data leakage, hacking or attack. However, this does not exempt manufacturers and organizations from their obligation to ensure the correct security measures built into the connected device. Non-standard passwords and end-to-end encryption should be required for all connected devices.
The convergence of 5G, blockchain and the Internet of Things can radically change the way we organize our society and conduct our business. However, if everything is done wrong, it also has a chance to radically undermine our society, as we saw in the case of the IoT DDoS attack in 2016, which brought down half of the Internet.
Blockchain can significantly increase the security of the Internet of Things network. However, if the devices themselves continue to be insecure, the Internet of Vulnerable Things will have serious consequences.
The coming years will show how we will be able to create secure IoT devices that can be connected using a decentralized network, while using high speeds and low latency 5G.