PUBLIC KEY INFRASTRUCTURE (PKI) – THE FOUNDATION OF INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)

Confused about what is Internet of Things (IoT) platform? Do you want to know why IoT is being extremely popular all around the globe? Here, we will understand the concept of IoT technology from scratch. Let’s begin with the definition of IoT! Internet of things is a network of connected physical devices, which can be used for sharing the needful information across devices.

Well! technology has moved to a new era like a speeding comet and has become more simplified than ever before. A couple of years ago, the usage of broadband used to be limited to various segments. But, it is not the case anymore due to cost-effective broadband solutions available in the market. Now, the usage of Internet has become massive worldwide. Be it children, adults or senior citizens, everyone is powered with it, and entering the digital world. Well! It has certainly become a necessity instead of merely a source of entertainment. Thus, organizations are rolling out new devices that are developed with the mindset of integrating Internet connectivity to benefit humankind. According to a report from Gartner, there will be more than 26 million connected devices in the market by 2020. Some agencies even claim this estimated data to be over thousands of millions.

Tesla Is Using IoT Technology And Making The Next Generation Cars

Let’s understand IoT from the viewpoint of one of the most popular automobile company, Tesla. The elegantly designed vehicles by this company are powered with an inbuilt Tesla API, supported by android as well as iOS. It takes login input from the user and matches the record available in Tesla’s server. On successful authentication, a user can control various features of the car including:

The availability of mobile access in the car, lock doors, unlock doors
State of charge (i.e., start charging, stop charging, etc.) in the battery
Climate control state, flash lights, honk horn, etc.
Driving and position state of the vehicle
So convenient. Right? But, the bitter truth of cyber security world is that hackers are innovating new strategies to penetrate sensitive data exchanged by IoT. In order to get the full out of it, it is mandatory to make it failsafe. For instance, a tiny mistake in security can make many cars perform against the user’s directions, which can be the reason of major accidents. Thanks to PKI (or asymmetric encryption), which is capable enough for IoT security.

Let’s Take A Deep Dive Into IoT Security And PKI

The IoT’s robust security is based on two core factors including trust and control. For a secure communication, it is mandatory that every connected device must provide the correct information in the entire IoT infra. Establishing security in this massive arena is a tough nut to crack, as devices are prone to physical attacks, and they connect via public network. For robust security, the entire IoT model needs to be powered with high integrity messaging, secure communications and authentication over the Internet. PKI has indeed taken data security to new heights due to its sturdy mechanism. It has already empowered millions of ATMs, cellular-based stations and smart phones with device certificates.

Now, it is IoT, which is being fully loaded with the unwavering principles and concepts of PKI. Let’s understand the benefits of PKI to IoT one by one:

Easy Manageability in High Volume of Devices: IoT involves a massive number of connected devices, which could bring complexities in data security, if not configured aptly. But, PKI certificates enable connected devices to authenticate the identity of each other and secure IoT completely. In a secured IoT environment, devices also need to authenticate the identity of the server (s) with whom they are communicating. Once, the identity of various devices is unique, they can easily be managed for the level of their access. Moreover, the access from any device that does not have valid certificate, can also be denied.

No More Manual Intervention for Certificate Provisioning: When there are multiple devices in IoT ecosystem, provisioning each one of them within one go can be extremely tough and time-consuming. Moreover, a tiny error made by humans can help hackers exploit the security flaw and cause severe damage. In other words, PKI facilitates organizations to revoke, rotate or renew certificate through a centralized mechanism.

IoT Security Over the Air (OTA): Over the air update is a methodology used to deploy software, firmware or any other data on mobiles, tablets or other related devices wirelessly. The major issue with some of the devices today is that they may accept software updates from almost every device if not configured aptly. Accepting update from an unreliable resource can cause major damage to the entire system/network. In a secured IoT environment, we need to make sure that devices accept only the verified software updates coming from authenticated server (s). Coming back to Tesla, every month Tesla sends software updates to car owners for further improvising various parameters related to car handling, energy usage, etc. PKI certificates help devices to receive data only from the trusted resources.

Finally, the scope of Internet of Things (IoT) technology is going to be brighter than ever before if it will keep inheriting the brilliance of PKI.

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