What is the IoT?
First, as basic as it may seem, we must define what the Internet of Things (IoT) is. According to Oracle, the IoT is: “the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.” These objects can include anything from smart microwaves to fitness devices. So basically, in today’s day and age, the IoT is everything, right? Pretty much—the number of connected IoT devices was projected to grow from 774 billion in 2019 to 25.44 billion in 2030.
Easy Target…Where are the Holes?
More data equals more potential for theft.
IoT attack surface areas can include the device itself, which is comprised of the memory, firmware, web interface, and network services. Other attack surface areas can include communication channels connecting components of the IoT and application and software.
Poor firmware testing due to budget constraints, increased exposure incidence due to connected devices, and simple device mismanagement are all easy targets for security breaches. Security systems are also unlikely to detect IoT devices in the first place, meaning it is easy for threats to enter the system and compromise those devices.
Botnets made of thousands of IoT devices with installed malware are also being used to instigate attacks.
What Can Blockchain Offer?
The IoT can allow devices to send data to blockchain networks, which create secure records of shared transactions, while allowing business partners to access that data. The transactions cannot be changed.
Additionally, one of the main benefits of using the blockchain for IoT is key management. The blockchain creates a device authentication key based on the device’s properties, and through careful selection of the key storage method, the blockchain can prevent lost or expired keys, which both pose a severe security threat.
Since the blockchain is decentralized, no one group has control over all IoT device data; this decentralization also enables easy transaction tracking by authorized users, which allows quick identification of data leakages.
With the blockchain, there is decreased risk of DDoS attacks on multiple devices simultaneously, because one affected device will not affect others.
Rapid processing of transactions also addresses concerns with scalability and the potential to overwhelm systems with the vast amount of IoT data generated, which can often create security vulnerabilities.
Current Use Cases
- The blockchain can be used for IoT to move freight and store data about temperatures, shipping status, arrival times, and position.
- Maru is an integrated blockchain and IoT hardware solution containing Chain of Security, Chain of Solar, and Chain of Shipping.
- Logging operational data for preventative maintenance purposes.
- NetObjex helps drivers locate open parking spots and automates payments with the crypto wallet.
Since the IoT is endless and ever-expanding, the use cases are also endless. But presently, it is difficult to assess how fast adoption of blockchain-based security measures will be for IoT companies, especially if they are unaware of the benefits these measures could offer them.