Blockchain has been pointed out as the technology capable of providing security to the Industrial IoT (IIoT), but contrary to this belief, IoT project owners, chipmakers and OEMs may be better suited with security solutions capable of addressing low-level, device and data-centered hardware as the emerging technology may be an expensive solution that might not work. This, according to a report by Semi Engineering published February 13, 2019.
Blockchain Is Probably Not the Best Option
Judging by the way IIoT is being handled by project owners and investors, using DLT to implement security features to Industrial IoT will probably not be an option, as noted on an article on Semi Engineering.
According to a 2019 survey sought by digital security firm Gemalto, about 6 per cent of Industrial IoT (IIoT) project owners have interest in implementing IoT-dedicated security while 44 per cent of the project owners stated it would be too much expensive and would rule out any chances of profit.
No specific Blockchain Template for the IIoT
At this point, there is no blockchain template set for this industry and the most certain bet for project owners will be to look for cheaper alternatives,
Gemalto report also revealed that only 48 per cent of IoT project owners are able to have good control over their devices to identify breaches. So, it comes to the fact that without having an efficient specific blockchain template for IoT, other options will be far better.
Securing devices that are aimed at industrial functions requires a lot of features that usually typical IoT devices currently do not possess. This is one of the biggest obstacles to applying security software to networks with IIoT hardware.
But while security is of growing importance and a real problem for connected devices, new and improved versions will certainly start to appear. And despite the fact that there is no blockchain template prepared for IoT, this should be available soon.
IoT Industry Growth
According to a market analysis report from BCC Research, investments on IoT-specific security will grow 25.1% per year, from $1.7 billion during 2018, to $5.2 billion by 2023. On the other hand, a different report provided by Juniper Research believes in a 300% growth by 2023 on the IoT security sector.
Companies including Cisco, Bosch, Gemalto, IBM and others have been looking at the blockchain as the perfect method that allows for the creation of a tamper-proof system that can be implemented as an audit tool for hardware products that can go from chips to whole devices.
The interest of using the blockchain as the security mechanism for IoT assets between the inquiries in Gemalto’s survey went up about 19 per cent, up from 9% in 2017. And 23% of respondents said they believe blockchain is an ideal solution to secure IoT assets.
Michael Chen, security director at Mentor stressed:
“Securing IoT devices, even across a supply chain, are going to be a lot smaller group, which wouldn’t be much reassurance that something was accurate. And meanwhile, we’re still trying to figure out how to do root of trust and key management and a lot of other things that are different and more of an immediate challenge.”
While some of the most popular security options don’t get along too well with IoT-specific security, blockchain might be the only option to introduce trust.
Limitations of Blockchains
Blockchain technology are still a relatively new phenomena thing that needs a lot more development.
Even the most agile blockchains are still not efficient enough to overcome the solutions they are trying to replace.
Furthermore, Bruce Schneier, the CTO of IBM Resilient argues that blockchains will not turn the process more secure just by removing trust. Moreover, he believes that this is a simple rearrangement of trust; basically, a process of transferring trust from humans to computers, making it pointless to assume that shifting trust from humans to machines, regardless of context or quality of execution, will have a better outcome.
While public-ledger verification methods can solve many of the current problems related to identity and supply chain for IoT networks, the lack of standards, performance issues and regulatory uncertainty are delaying the development of a specific blockchain template for IoT.
Both technologies are still in its infancy and for now, blockchain still lacks the maturity to cope with the challenges the IIoT presents.