Internet of Things (IoT) is the collective name for smart devices connected to the Internet. These devices interact with other applications and each other, as well as with us. An example of this would be a smart refrigerator, which can detect when you’re running low on supplies and place an order online without any human input required. The only issue with these connected networks is a higher security risk. If a device, or the network it is on, is not suitably protected, it runs the risk of being targeted by hackers. To overcome this issue, blockchain technology is now used to secure the IoT network.
What is Blockchain?
We all are aware that a blockchain is a combination of nodes that are connected through various networks over a distributed network.
Every time a transaction happens, its details are added to the end of the chain, so the newest block is always last. Each block contains details of the transaction, the identity of any users that participated in that transaction, and the identification tags of the block. It also contains the ID of the block before it.
Before connecting to the blockchain, the user must store the contained information regarding blockchain on his computer. To do the transaction, their computer appends it to the end of the chain and saves the revised version.
Blockchain technology verifies this data across the network, which makes the information trustworthy.
What Makes Blockchain Secure?
No Single Database
The reason why a blockchain network is so secure is that records are not stored in a central location. Instead, there are copies of it on every user’s computer. In addition, each copy is verified against the rest of the network.
If there is a discrepancy in the records, the system is designed for a ‘consensus’, which means it will only accept the version that is saved on a majority of the computers.
This way, to manipulate the blockchain, a hacker would need to get access to multiple users and change at least 51% of the records in the network. This can be quite a daunting task, especially if there are millions of users.
Two Security Keys
To add to blockchain’s security, each user has a public and private key that they use to log data with. A hacker would need to obtain both in order to alter the information on a user’s computer, so if there were multiple users, each with their own copy, he would need security keys for each one of them.
Version Hash ID
Each block of the chain has two encrypted hash IDs, one of which is it’s own and the other is the hash of the block before it. When an already-verified block is edited, it gets a new hash, but the blocks after it doesn’t. This creates a discrepancy in the records and any such irregularity is quickly noticed.
So, to summaries:
By using blockchain technology, it is possible to maintain a record of all activity.
This record is:
- Cannot be tampered with, once logged
- Verified across the network
- Scalable, reliable, and secure
How Does This Help Secure IoT Networks?
An IoT network is made up of multiple devices that are connected to the Internet, just like a blockchain network.
The IoT activities are logged in the blockchain safely which can be viewed with even the minute detail whenever required. Any activity, once logged, cannot be edited, so if there are any changes, it is immediately apparent.
One more benefit of using blockchain is to make the IoT applications more scalable. All the information is stored in individual devices, so, as a result, when the network grows, it does not need additional infrastructure to support it.
The Blockchain and IoT
In running the IoT applications, we find challenges such as missing scalability, privacy, and reliability. Blockchain acts like a silver bullet needed by the IoT industry. Blockchain technology can track many connected devices, enable the processing of transactions and can set coordination between devices. It allows significant savings to IoT industry manufacturers. The decentralized approach would eliminate the chances of failures, creating a more resilient ecosystem for devices. The cryptographic algorithms allow providing a more private system for the consumers.
The blockchain ledger cannot be manipulated by malicious actors as it is present in different locations. The man-in-the-middle attacks cannot temper the database because there is no single thread of communication. Blockchain has a reliable peer-to-peer messaging system that makes its worth in the world in the applications where the data security and internal communication is a must.
The decentralized, autonomous, and trustless capabilities of the blockchain make it an ideal component for running IoT solutions. In the coming times, there is no doubt that blockchain will become an integral part of IoT technologies.
In an IoT network, the blockchain can be used to keep a track record of the devices that are operated.
The blockchain acts as a centralized technology to operate smart devices using remote access. As a result, the blockchain opens the door to a series of IoT scenarios that were earlier difficult, or even impossible to implement without it.
Blockchain-based IoT solutions can enable secure, trustless messaging between devices in an IoT network. The model will treat blockchain for message exchanging between devices similar to financial transactions. To enable message exchanges, devices will leverage smart contracts which then model the agreement between the two parties.
With the help of blockchain will enable true autonomous smart devices to exchange data, or even execute financial transactions, without the need of a centralized broker.
The nodes of the blockchain will verify the validity of the transaction without relying on a centralized authority. One of the capabilities of the blockchain is the ability to maintain a trusted distributed ledger of all transactions occurring in a network.
The Forward Path:
It is pretty sure that the IoT technologies are going to rule home appliances and it will emerge as a way to deal with the smart devices. The blockchain technology will be used extensively in serving many industrial applications where security and privacy are required. Since the entire blockchain works on a distributed ledger, the cost will be manageable.
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