IOT (Internet of Things) + Blockchain = Secure Online Future
- Salman Ahmed
- September 18th, 2018
The invention of IOT is positively influencing our daily life by providing a chain of connection of billions to trillions, of devices that become a necessity for us.
The concept behind the idea of IOT is all about the interconnection of smart devices with humans to synchronize the operations and actions in our daily life.
In simple terms, smart devices get infused with the human experience via collecting data through the medium of communication (Internet) from home to office, and vise versa.
This chain of communication among the devices around us makes them enable to provide smart outcome by just collecting the data regarding human is activities and the decision they make in their routine life.
However, efficient “Internet of Things (IOT)” implementation requires a massive amount of data that helps these interconnected devices to provide a smart outcome, which cannot be done by simplified ways of networking mechanisms.
It involves complex integration, multiple communication protocols, embedded scripts, highly advanced processing chips and hardware, which helps to build the brain and backbone of IOT.
And this IOT trend is spreading all over the world with the help of advanced devices such as smart cars, Alexa, Fit bit and much more. But here we are missing the essential portion for the bright future of IOT, which is online privacy.
Online privacy is something very crucial regarding connected future, especially what we are facing in the past few years.
Data is a big thing now, and you know its intensity of empowering those who don’t deserve the throne, but unfortunately, due to no such policies and regulations, they have all the elements of brainwashing us towards the things and product’s which they want us to see by collecting our data.
However, the impact of IOT is something that could positively change the world to make things faster, smarter and handy for us. But how IOT could make its way to make this world better with the help of smart devices without comprising on user’s online data and privacy?
It is something that you will find out in this blog by merging two highly anticipated trends right now “IOT” and “Blockchain” technology.
But before going towards the primary objective of this research that how “IOT + Blockchain = Secure Online Privacy Future,” lets first look into the things which help you to understand the whole equation.
IOT is the technology that helps to connect the everyday devices with our actions. It is an environment where it is hard to distinguish between the activities and operations of smart devices, which are around us (such as Alexa, Google speaker, Smartphones AI’s, smart cars and much more) and our actions.
It means these IOT devices are playing a vital role in our daily life decisions and experience. In reality, these IOT devices are creating a Communication Bridge that helps us to make smart choices and make our life more relax with the help of systematic integration.
IOT helps these devices to communicate with each other smartly to assist in the execution of our daily actions and activities.
The way these IOT based smart devices offer us intelligent outcomes is feed on our data regarding day-to-day operations and response towards different elements.
It means the role of data is crucial to get intelligent responses from these smart devices. The efficient implementation of IOT requires the involvement of multiple numbers of elements.
And these include numerous communication protocols and tools used for communication, which is structured the basis of IOT.
Moreover, the other elements, which entirely shape the IOT, are different communication hardware, embedded devices, and the software in the form of an operating system. This is how IOT technology functions to assist in our daily life.
It has been predicted that by the end of 2020, there would be almost 20 billion IOT smart devices, which will be connected to each other with the help of internet. It means the data collection and transferring of data over the internet would be huge, which is approximated around 40 Zettabytes.
This considerable amount of data collection raises a big question regarding these IOT smart devices securities and providing ultimate privacy and confidentiality towards users data.
After what we discover about how IOT works, it is necessary for the tech industry that these connected devices should prevail high-security aspect and gives the feature of privacy control to the users regarding how they want to share their data to get assistance from these smart devices.
However, if you still having difficulty in understanding how IOT works then do not worry, here is the simple demonstration of it:
However, if you go through other available blogs regarding IOT, most of the technical details were going over your head, and some of them told you that it doesn’t seem necessary to get the in-depth knowledge about how IOT works.
But in reality, we think it is vital to understand how IOT works, especially for those who are seeking their career in the tech industry.
In a simple way to understand, IOT mechanism based on four integrated parts, which are sensors/ devices, communication/connectivity, data collection/processing and users interface devices. And here is the explanation of how IOT works with the help of these parts
These sensors and devices collect data from the surrounding. It can be a whole device, which contains multiple sensors or can be a single sensor. Like for example, your smartphone is a device with various sensors (such as camera, Bluetooth, and GPS).
However, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a single device with multiple sensors or a single sensor. This first phase of the IOT mechanism needs to collect data with the help of sensors.
Now after the data is collected, it is sent to Cloud, which requires a medium to go there. The first parts of sensors/devices transmit the data to the cloud by connecting to the internet through multiple communication bridges such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LAN, Cellular or via Ethernet.
Now the IOT mechanism chooses which connectivity options are best for the sending data to a cloud based on the amount of data.
Once the collected data sent to the cloud, the software, which used for IOT mechanism starts analyzing and processing data.
To understand how data process or analyze here is like different scales or measurement tools are set. Like for example, an IOT device is used for controlling the temperature in the house according to the user’s requirements.
So with the help of the example that is mentioned above, what happens if the temperature is very low or high? That’s where the user comes in.
Now if the temperature of the house is not reasonable as per the previous data analysis, then the notification is sent to the user.
The notification is sent to the user in the form of app notification, email or text message. Like when the IOT device sense that the home temperature is very high in the house, the smart device will send the notification to the user.
Now the user has two options to control the home temperature that whether he changes the temperature remotely or set the different scales in the device so if in case the temperature gets abnormal, the IOT device itself based on the data, changes the temperature back to the normal.
This is how IOT technology helps us to make our life comfortable and assist us in making smart decisions by analyzing our daily actions and experiences with the help of collecting and processing of data.
However, these IOT devices are facing a great downfall due to high-security vulnerabilities and fragile system backing up user’s data privacy. And this is all because of IOT centralized data management, which leads to raising severe challenges regarding confidentiality and privacy that is the reason for almost 82% of IOT projects are failing due to these challenges.
Additionally, there is no issue in the centralized data management as it provides more access to the administration in managing the whole operation efficiently. But when it comes to maintaining users data privacy and security, centralized data management is not the right choice, not at all especially when it is based on cloud mechanism
So, before going to what is the ultimate solution regarding providing security and privacy for user’s data, let see why it is mandatory to change it or modify the IOT centralized data management because of following threats and challenges regarding users data privacy and confidentiality.
The tremendous growth of IOT in recent time and has prevailed some considerable privacy concerns due to working with centralized data management. This centralized data management makes the IOT devices to offer any desired privacy warranties to users-which is alarming.
As we already have the idea that these IOT devices operate with the help of data, which includes personal information, and experience of users could be stolen by anonymous hackers due to the centralized cloud-based mechanism.
It means due to this massive privacy loophole, which is coming from the centralized data management provides an open opportunity to the malicious hackers and IOT companies as they can access users confidential data or share it without letting them know.
So if you are using IOT devices, it means you are providing a platform to different tech organizations and anonymous hackers to use your data without any consent. To understand this more clearly regarding the failure of IOT due to privacy vulnerabilities let’s take an example as per the explanation above like how it works, suppose you are multiple IOT devices such as you own a smart car and you have Alexa speaker in your home.
Now as per the IOT mechanism, the smart car you use and the Alexa speaker, these intelligent devices will collect your data and send it to the centralized cloud-based system. Now all of your information is gathering in one place.
Now in case of any cyber attack, all of your personal information will be compromised due to centralized data management. The anonymous hacker who will get steal your information will probably get all your financial accounts passwords, you are still single or not and much more-which is not acceptable at all
This is why privacy concerns are very massive with these IOT devices, which starts questioning its reliability and success in the coming future.
The next biggest challenge regarding IOT centralized data management is confidentiality, which leads to prevailing other IOT threats and challenges like identification, monitoring or tracking users activities and profiling.
This confidentiality threat regarding IOT is more harmful to businesses due to two main limitations: massive amount of data collection and weak data control dynamics. It is all because of centralized data management.
The first limitation of huge data collection means, when these IOT devices need to analyze data according to thread coming from the users, they need to process all the data and in result confidentiality of entity will compromise.
For example, if you are using a smart car, so all your data is sent to the centralized cloud. Now to provide you the efficient outcome, your data will process, and due to there is no specification of which data would be required to assist, the irrelevant data will also analyze, and here your data confidentiality will be compromised.
On the other hand, if data collection is decentralized, IOT system will only process specific data to deliver the result, and other part of the data will stay confidential.
The second limitation is weak data control dynamics. It means since IOT devices are still not that smart to acknowledge user which kind of data it requires to assist according to your specific action or experience, therefore it requires all data relevant to you to deliver results.
This will result giving an upper hand to IOT manufactures to track and monitor your actions and activities without letting you know.
This is something, which makes users of IOT severely concern about whether they use the Internet of Things, or not. According to the recent interview, we take of different Tech organizations CEO and cofounders believe that users behavior is changing towards online privacy and they are relatively more concern about it.
The man behind the idea of Eelo (Google Free Android) told us “I think 2018 is Year-1 of online data privacy. Until this year, only tech people were concerned about this, but this year mainstream media have started to talk about this, especially since the Facebook scandal with Cambridge Analytica, and more recently with the EU fine against Google/Android.”
Since the user’s behavior is changing towards online privacy, there must be a way to solve this security concerns with such an incredible innovation of IOT. Till now we hope that you get all the idea about what is IOT, how it works and what are the main threats and challenges leads to disaster future of the Internet of Things.
It seems like the symbioses (centralized data management) turns IOT into Venom, which should be cured before it spreads widely and harms online users online security and privacy.
Now it is a time to discuss the second part of our equation (IOT + Blockchain = Secure Online Future), or you can say cure to IOT privacy and security concerns, which is Blockchain.
But before elaborating that how Blockchain technology can resolve the security and privacy threats of IOT, let’s find out how Blockchain works.
The idea of Blockchain was invented back in 1991 by the group of researches. But due to the lack of digital advancement, it can’t be used at that time.
“Satoshi Nakamoto” in the form of Bitcoins officially implemented it in 2009, and many of you hear about Blockchain technology because which powers cryptocurrency.
Blockchain technology works on distributed ledger technology and is capable of doing so much more other than powering cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Despite the sound of its name, there is not just one Blockchain, but it is a shorthand for a whole chamber of distributed ledger technology that can be programmed to record and track anything of value.
This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way it interacts with each other due to the following features:
Blockchain technology stores data or information in boxes, called blocks, which are linked together chronologically to form a continuous chain and metaphorically, a whole chain of blocks.
So if the data is updated which is recorded in particular block (A), the mechanism of Blockchain don’t overwrite it on the same blog, but instead, the updated data is stored in the new block(B), showing that A changed to B at a specific date and time.
Moreover, we think for most of you are familiar with this process because Blockchain technology is the advanced form of decades or maybe centuries old method of the “general financial ledger.” It’s a non-destructive way to monitor data changes over a different period.
To understand the above statement more clearly let’s take an example, assuming that two business partners have a dispute over who owns the factory land that been using in the business for decades.
So because Blockchain uses ledger method, there is an entry in the ledger that shows partner A first owned the property back in 1980. But in 1990 partner A sold the factory property to partner B to pay his loans. In that case, new entry made in the ledger, and so on.
It means every change in the property ownership is represented by a new entry in the ledger right up until Partner B sold the property again to Partner A due to some financial concerns in 2010. So it means the current owner is Partner A according to the ledger.
Now here things get interesting, unlike the old ledger method, which is originally in the form of a journal, in Blockchain technology where database files stored on a single system, this technology is designed to be decentralized and distributed across the large network of computers.
This decentralizing of data reduces the chances of data theft or tampering by a large percentage and provides us to the second factor that makes the Blockchain unique and more secure way to protect the user’s data.
Before a new set of data is added to a chain, few things have to happen:
So the mixture of these complex puzzles and verification by multiple systems gives the proof that we can trust every block in the chain and highly secured against the data theft. It is because the network does the trust building for us, which enables us to interact directly with our data in most secured manner.
Moreover, this highly protected feature of Blockchain technology leads us in determining that Blockchain could be Game Changer in enabling the bright future of IOT devices.
No more intermediaries or loopholes that provide access to malicious hackers or data collecting organizations to steal your data without letting you know.
To understand this, assume that when we are doing business, we do not show the other person our confidential financial data. And instead, we depend on trusted intermediaries such as advisor, bank or lawyer, to view our records and keep that information confidential.
These intermediaries can build trust and have the verification attorney, like for example Partner A owns the 60% of business assets. This approach reduces exposure and risk. However, this part of the procedure also adds another part exchange, which means a waste of time and money.
On the other side if Partner A information is stored in Blockchain mechanism, this will lead to cut out the intermediaries since we all know, all blocks added to chain have been verified to be true, and can’t be tampered with, so Partner A can simply now shares his information with Partner B secured on a Blockchain.
And this will enable them to build trust through peer-to-peer interaction with data, and this can revolutionize the way we access data, verify and transact with one another through the decentralized mechanism.
Moreover, Blockchain is a type of technology and not a single network it can be implemented in many different ways such as with IOT devices to resolve online privacy threats and challenges and brighten the future of IOT devices.
Through Blockchain technology, you can choose a type of block according to your needs such as:
Overall, Blockchain technology is the combination of decentralizing of data, building trust in the data, and allow us to interact directly with one and another.
That is why this technology has the potential to resolve multiple online data security and online privacy challenges, especially where data is required to derive results such as IOT.
Now it is time to demonstrate you Blockchain mechanism helps IOT to become one of the most successful technology in the future while
Until now, we are aware that IOT is facing massive security issues due to centralized data management. Like more and more we are connecting with different IOT devices through networks, it creates complexity to attain the right amount of data.
More importantly due to large networks and bottleneck structure, it is almost impossible to maintain the security of data. However, the implementation of Blockchain is promising to maintain IOT data security similar as it works for cryptocurrencies.
The Blockchain technology provides assurance the data is legitimate, and the process through which the data is entered in the data blocks well to find a decentralized approach to IOT networks could solve many current threats and challenges.
A standardized peer-to-peer communications models to process the billions of transactions among devices will crucially reduce the cost associated with in maintaining and developing large centralized data center.
Also, reduce the complex integration requirement and storage needed across billions of IOT devices which forms within the IOT networks globally.
Likewise, it will help to kill the failure regarding any single node in the network from shutting down the overall IOT system. With the implementation of Blockchain technology with IOT, it could help to enable trustless, secure communication among devices on IOT networks.
Through this model, Blockchain will behave like a communication exchange between devices, which is the same process used for financial transactions in the cryptocurrency network, is ensuring their authentication.
Similar as monetary economy permits for more efficient, robust and accurate allocation of resources on a massive scale globally.
Blockchain technology could provide IOT devices an efficient decentralized system and faster system for resolving the same challenges and threats on the micro level of individual IOT devices.
The IOT is going to need micropayments systems where devices can pay automatically on demand based on the resources they consume.
This will eliminate high transaction fee or having wait for centralized intermediaries to verify the transactions.
With the help of Blockchain technology, At Onlineprivacytips.co, we want to make it possible for one device, which has excess room or excess resources such as storage capacity or excess power in the form energy like electricity to sell to another device that requires it on demand.
It means the Blockchain mechanism could provide efficient data balancing system to IOT devices on demand.
It means a connected device (IOT) receive payments for the services that are automatically credited to the owner’s account or devices accounts. In this way, Blockchain provides all sorts of data privacy by enabling since data can reside with the end device and only available when it is demanded.
Therefore, it will help to resolve or prevent centralized security issues. To understand these lets take an example of DAV network (Decentralized Autonomous Vehicles), it is a Blockchain module, which is still under construction.
This DAV network allows anyone to buy or sell autonomous services in decentralized markets. This module integrates into any autonomous vehicles provides a path for other vehicles to explore, communicate and transact with another using the digital token called DAV people.
These DAV people can earn tokens by providing services, like a self-driving car could provide transport services to passengers by its owners or drone could provide delivery service.
Distribution within IOT devices mechanism creates a gap in enabling data privacy, scalability, and reliability regarding internet protocols and centralized data management.
By integrating Blockchain technology with IOT devices, it will work as a missing link to settle out data privacy insecurities on a large scale.
In short, four changes will make secure online future by integrating Blockchain mechanism with IOT technology, which are
Decentralized technology has great potential for IOT devices, which demands to maintain and to store data of millions to billions of users.
Blockchain mechanism provides high security by transforming centralized data management into ledger blocks that are backed by strong authentication, permissions, and decentralized control.
Blockchain mechanism can remove the third party authentication for IOT devices that engage in transaction or communication purposes. In this way, Blockchain provides trustable networks within the IOT networks.
Moreover, Incase if device A many not know device B and not ready to verify it, with the help of exchange record which stored in decentralized Blockchain structure directs Device A to enable the communication.
This whole process of Blockchain trust building platform also helps different organizations, individuals, and devices to cooperate.
By removing the third parties or intermediaries due to enabling Blockchain mechanism within the IOT networks, it can help to robust the speed of data exchanges. By lightening up the data exchange between IOT devices, it will make very tough for hackers and malicious entities to steal the data,
Peer-to-peer IOT devices and with the help Blockchain ledgers, helps the overall system to reduce the time required to complete device data exchange and processing time.
It is important for IOT edge devices to reduce processing overhead and eliminate the ‘middle man’ (IOT gateways) from the procedure. Communication, data exchanges, and device information are conducted on a peer-to-peer basis, removing any additional traditional protocol, hardware, or communication overhead costs.