IoT Security and Blockchain


One of the major challenges which IoT is facing today is its security model. IoT architecture is based on client/server model. All devices are identified, authenticated and connected through cloud servers that support huge processing and storage capacities. The connection between devices will have to go through the cloud, even if they are few inches apart. This centralized architecture is making the IoT ecosystem vulnerable if security is not thought of by design. Any breach will incur a huge cost associated with centralized clouds, large server farms, and networking equipment. Another problem is that many “things” use simple processors and operating systems that may not support sophisticated security approaches.

With Blockchain technology around many experts say it is the missing link to settle security, privacy and reliability concerns in the Internet of Things and could perhaps be the silver lining needed by the IoT industry.

The blockchain is a huge database that maintains a continuously growing set of data records. Some characteristics are:

a) Distributed system:

There is no central computer holding the entire chain. Rather, the participating nodes have a copy of the chain. If someone wants to add a transaction to the chain, all the participants in the network will validate it. 

b) Public:

Blockchain is public means everyone participating can see the blocks and the transactions stored in them. But can’t see the actual content of your transactions it is protected by your private key.

c) Decentralized :

No single authority who can approve the transactions or set specific rules to have transactions accepted. That means there’s a huge amount of trust involved since all the participants in the network have to reach a consensus to accept transactions.

d) Secure:

The database can only be extended and previous records cannot be changed (at least, there’s a very high cost if someone wants to alter previous records).

The decentralized, autonomous capabilities of the Blockchain make it an ideal component to become a foundational element of IoT solutions. It is not a surprise that enterprise IoT technologies have quickly become one of the early adopters of Blockchain technology. But there are few challenges as well. Each IoT device needs to store the ledger which will grow over time and these devices have very low storage and processing speed. That’s a tough trade-off but not impossible and Blockchain technology is an attractive option for IoT ecosystem if we can overcome its weaknesses.