IoT – the digital universe enabled by an ecosystem of connected physical devices has transformed the way we live and work. IoT connectivity brings in seamless interaction and transfer of real-time information with marginal human interaction. The technology has got enough traction worldwide, it is predicted that there would be around 41.6 billion IoT devices generating 79.4 zettabytes of data in 2025.
IoT environments use a single gateway to transmit data and connect with servers. The model of networking is centralized, and neither can meet the scale of devices nor the volume of data shared between devices. The model has a few flaws, such as high cost of maintenance, low interoperability with other IoT platforms, and unsecured gateways. These flaws make the centralized model prone to attacks of significant concern such as malware, DDoS, illegal device control, or a password breach, which can impede comprehensive deployments of IoT environments.
Unsecured IoT can become easy targets for an exploit. With more devices connecting to an IoT network, there will be increasing emphasis to authenticate and authorize user access to the devices in the network. As the projected adoption rate of IoT devices is high, there must be adequate security interventions to overcome the scalability and security challenges in IoT environments.
The Blockchain Intervention
The decentralized distributed ledger technology, Blockchain, does have what it takes to minimize IoT challenges of security and scale. Blockchain's decentralized approach in storing data in various nodes helps to eliminate a single point of failure in an IoT setting. Any addition of data to the network is validated only after the approval & verification of every network participant. The peer to peer communication approach secures transactions by preventing any intrusion by a middle man from launching an attack. It is tamper-proof, and no single party would be controlling the data generated by IoT devices.
Data, once stored in a Blockchain, cannot be changed. By leveraging Blockchain to store data from IoT devices can bring in security layer, which can enable robust encryption, preventing hackers from accessing the data. Though Blockchain driven IoT is public, every network participant needs a private key to see the data blocks. This feature enables total operational transparency and keeps data safe.
Users in the Blockchain network can also view past or present transactions, and this helps in recognizing any data leaks and can ensure quick remedial actions. The distributed ledger technology can also process large volumes of data from various devices quickly and is the feasible solution to enable scale and security for IoT environments.
Blockchain can resolve the underlying issue with IoT systems, which is of centralized client-server architecture that can lead to a single point of failure. This challenge is addressed by a decentralized, shared network of IoT devices to facilitate consent-based data sharing.
While trying to integrate Blockchain into IoT device architecture:
- Design a data model to manage large volumes of data collated from multiple sensors and lower data processing latencies while increasing speed.
- Establish confidentiality by analyzing transaction patterns and identify users using public keys. Based on network privacy needs, choose between hybrid or private Blockchain for IoT.
- Build measures for the integrity of IoT device sensors by instituting a definite criterion for executing a transaction; this will help secure the network from intrusions.
A few areas where Blockchain-IoT is used
The Blockchain-IoT combine is having a significant impact across multiple industries, this includes, improving dependability and traceability of supply chain networks by storing IoT sensor data such as shipping status in Blockchain, which can be accessed in real-time only by stakeholders listed in the ledger, improving accountability and transparency. In banking, IoT is used in automated cashless payments, through Blockchain intermediation, a secure, regulated environment can be created to enable any monetary exchanges. The biggest challenge in the pharma industry is to reduce incidents of fake medicines. By leveraging Blockchain & IoT, company stakeholders can track and monitor every stage of drug manufacture to supply from connected devices in real-time.
By blending Blockchain & IoT technologies, security, and business risks in IoT networks can be minimized. The decentralized nature and stronger encryption of Blockchain can help in preventing an exposed device transmit unwanted information, reducing DDoS attack risks, and in the outage of multiple devices at once. Single device outage will not impact other devices, helping in sustaining connectivity and functionality of mission-critical systems. There will also be better device visibility, better user authentication, and data security, quicker identification of the point of failure, enable trust between IoT processes, and lowered maintenance costs.
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