Enabling a secure ecosystem of connected devices with IOTA and DXC Labs

The full article was originally published by DXC. Read the full article here.

The number of connected devices is predicted to grow to 75 billion by 2025. This will create a massively connected ecosystem, and data security will be paramount.

Many of these devices will be cyber-physical systems, which closely integrate computation, networking and physical processes. The devices consist of a physical entity and its cyber twin, which can replicate the behavior of the physical machine and give insights into how the machine will react when prompted by various actions. Connect these devices to the internet, for data transfer, and the result is the internet of things. Smart grids, autonomous vehicles and medical devices are examples of cyber-physical systems.

In cyber-physical systems, digital and physical components interact with each other in a variety of ways that change with context. For example, an offshore drilling facility transmits sensor values from devices to check that machinery is functioning; the alerts from the devices will vary depending on whether it is a normal scenario or an emergency. Similarly, a connected medical device will send an alert based upon the patient’s condition.

In all contexts, it is imperative to maintain security and privacy of the data. This is particularly true in a data-sensitive field like healthcare, where there is growing concern about cybersecurity in connected medical devices.

A secure framework for cyber-physical systems

At DXC Labs we have created a secure framework for connecting cyber-physical systems by leveraging distributed ledger technology (DLT). DLT is a digital system for recording asset transactions in multiple places at the same time, making fraud and manipulation difficult.

Our framework addresses:

  1. Two-way tamper-proof device communication
  2. Financial transactions between devices (e.g., machine-to-machine micropayments using crypto currencies)
  3. Message transfer and data storage between devices with minimal or no transaction fees and mining (network) fees

The framework integrates edge computing components, which are industry-specific (such as medical devices), and has DLT at its core for data transfer and communication. (See figure below.)

Edge devices communicate with a central system, the Directed Acyclic Graph distributed ledger, which powers data storage, transfer and access and ensures data security and data privacy. Click image to enlarge.

Inside the framework

We developed the framework’s components using directed acyclic graphs (DAG) — specifically IOTA — as the underlying DLT technology. DAG architecture is well suited for scalability and does not carry mining fees.

IOTA uses an invention called “The Tangle” at its core. The Tangle is a new data structure, based on DAG, that takes care of data privacy needs by providing restricted and private storage and retrieval options.

We describe each component with an industry example but the components can be extended to other industries:
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The full article was originally published by DXC, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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