Since the world is becoming a global village, the connectivity between people and even devices is becoming a new trend to follow. The internet of things is also one of such phenomenon that is increasing in its usage in the world. A report on the number of electronic or internet-enabled devices being used reveals that in 2017, the figure was around 8.4 billion, which is estimated to reach 20 billion in 2020, whereas, by the year 2030, it might cross the number of 500 billion or more. As the number is growing at an exponential rate, the threat posed to the security of internet of thing devices is increasing too. Because all the devices, be them the voice recognition tools, pay by phone or temperature sensor, will be online all the time, therefore the possibility for the breach of security to take place is always high.
The 2016 incident of Mirai botnet that affected 100,000 devices and crashed the internet is an example of the vulnerable state of the internet of things (IoT) security. The issue that the IoT devices face is entrenched in their security architecture, the distributed client-server model that works as a central authority to bring all IoT devices together to connect on a network.
Today, there are several Internet-connected devices by big companies like Samsung, Apple and Google which are strategically designed to connect their devices in a “smart” way. These companies are technologically capable to prove the marketing techniques they use and fix the security issues quickly as they come up. However, the situation is different when it comes to the growing world of internet-enabled devices, like door lock, bulbs, doorbell or the courier packages. These devices that have digital brains are designed by different anonymous companies, housed in emerging economies, in the periphery state that does not even have sufficient funds or the recognition of brand to integrate the security features in the devices.
The requirement for the IoT devices to remain trusted is that the trust requests be assembled in one location, making one point for security intelligence, which sometimes has, compromised IoT security, resulting in the Mirai like botnet cyberattack. The use of blockchain, according to different non-profit groups working for IoT Alliance think, can minimize the threat of cyberattack to a great degree.
These attacks led to IoT devices not being able to develop adaptive behaviour as they weren’t smart or independent to make their own decisions without the intervention of the central authority.
The blockchain, on the other hand, removes the single point where decision making by one force can lead to a flawed decision. The use of blockchain enables connectivity with other devices in order to protect them in many ways. This feature allows them to develop consensus from the group regarding what is considered normal within the orbit of the group in certain circumstances, and to spell out all the misbehaving nodes.
The other aspect, as told by some IoT experts is by enabling the five digital security measures, that are availability, audit, integrity, accountability and confidentiality.
The blockchain automatically stores the data in many places and can always be accessed by the users. As the audit and accountability are concerned, blockchain is a private, permission-based technology, where all the users are authorized to access the network, and because of all device’s connectivity on the blockchain, each one is responsible and accountable for one’s actions.
The integrity, in the blockchain, is a player at the core level, wherein a public ledger, it maintains data entries and is responsible for deleting or correcting the data that’s entered. As the entries get confirmed by the network, a stream of transactions/events is created.
As the word transaction comes, the common thought that comes to mind is the use of blockchain in finance-related affairs only, however, the truth is that blockchain is for more than just finance. There are many industries that the blockchain technology caters to, such as retail, telecommunication, insurance, healthcare, banking and most importantly supply chain.
The use of blockchain in the industries like retail, where startup like BitSE’s Vechain is used to show the high-value items, including wines and LV bags, and delivering them to customers that were keen on understanding the authenticity of a product.
There are many use cases of blockchain being integrated into different areas, like the example of San-Francisco based Chronicle, that used this technology in the pharmaceutical supply chain to guarantee that a customized therapy or treatment drugs get delivered to the right person.
With the use of IoT platform, the possibility of the attestation of quality products in drugs can be ensured, also that the drugs do not perish or expire during the process of transportation, which can be really harmful or be less effective if taken by the patient after the date has passed. The IoT platform keeps all devices related to delivery or authenticating the product, connected to the internet.
Technology for Securing Operations
Blockchain can be really helpful in overcoming the growing mindset used for management and security of industrial operational technology or IoT devices. If a sensor, device or controller that has been deployed doesn’t respond and cannot work, the IoT helps it.
Even in the case of a security breach, it’s not worth fixing the issue as the chances of the problem leaving a trickle-down effect on other parts of the system are very high.
As the cloud computing shows, there have been several incidents of devices perpetually failing to function during large-scale operations. In easier words, it can be said that the current models of IoT devices and OT systems are same as the large-scale systems that are very difficult to manage. The reason for them being unmanageable is their fragility, which causes great obstacles in the way of management of large-scale systems and industrial IoT devices.
The integration of IoT devices is designed in a way which will let the deployment of software update become a possible process. The use of blockchain technology in the deployment of devices can save time and cost both, as well as keep the process secure with less room for error in a system as intricate as this.
The introduction of blockchain to IoT devices is basically to multiply the number of available systems that correspond to each other and take commands to respond and implement the order. That’s the primary cause of using a cost-effective and efficient procedure that can provide over-the-air updates and let the internet-enabled devices to work in correspondence with each other can bring a great revolution in the world of technology.
Blockchain technology is inducing greater changes in the world and is expected to transform the way how technology operates or caters to the world problems. According to a global research journal, the market of blockchain will grow to an annual growth of 42.8% and generate $13.96 bn by the year 2022.
The use of blockchain although is increasing in the entire world, the implementation of blockchain technology in North America is incomparable to all other countries that are planning to integrate it into their system. North America has the largest share of companies working on the blockchain, however, the East and West Asia are also exploring the opportunities that offer the implementation of this technology in the business operating in these countries.