Future of Data Summit: Secure IoT with Blockchain

IoT security is essential for the Internet of Things to reach commercial success. Here's one way to protect this technology and data from hackers.

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor

April 11, 2017

3 Min Read
Andre De Castro

 More Data & Analytics Live at Interop ITX
More Data & Analytics Live at Interop ITX

Blockchain technology is widely associated with the technology currency Bitcoin. After all, that's where this ledger technology that controls the $20 billion worth of Bitcoin in the world has its origins. But Andre de Castro believes Blockchain offers applications well beyond financial uses. De Castro is a technology entrepreneur and has founded a new company based on using Blockchain technology to secure the Internet of Things.

De Castro will talk about this application of the technology during his presentation at the Future of Data Summit at Interop ITX in May in Las Vegas.

De Castro had been watching Blockchain for years, and noticed something early on. This peer-to-peer network seemed impervious to the threats that faced other cloud computing implementations. Cloud computing, he points out, is really just your server on someone else's infrastructure. But if someone attacks that server in the cloud, say, with a distributed denial of service attack, you are as affected as if the server had been on-premises in your own facility. It's the central computing aspect -- no matter if it is a server on-premises or in the cloud -- that puts a server at risk for a DDOS attack.

De Castro noted how that vulnerability played out in the recent Dyn DDOS attack when Johnson & Johnson had to announce that its insulin pumps could be centrally affected and hacked.

"It's very easy for hackers to do DDOS attacks on cloud servers," De Castro told InformationWeek in an interview. "So you can take down the cloud. Taking down a cloud server is easy for hackers. The DDOS attack took down half of North America for a couple hours one afternoon, and the funny thing is that the Bitcoin network didn't get affected at all, because it is peer-to-peer."

So Blockchain can indeed offer benefits in applications beyond Bitcoin and finance, according to De Castro

"That's exactly the problem our enterprise product is solving," De Castro told InformationWeek in an interview. "We are providing companies the ability to create a decentralized web so you don't have a single point of failure affecting all connected devices."

De Castro is co-founder and CEO of a company called CatenisEnterprise, that offers a web services platform or fabric called Blockchain of Things that sits on the Blockchain network to enable enterprises to leverage this peer-to-peer network for secure business.

"Integrating into Blockchain is difficult," De Castro told me. His company's web services layer helps to simplify using Blockchain.

De Castro told me that Blockchain is really a ledger in which every entry is immutable -- no one can ever modify an entry.

"Companies can leverage the immutable nature of the ledger for applications such as notary services, fingerprinting documents, and recording high-value goods and services so that you can track genuine parts and products to reduce fraud," De Castro said.

De Castro decided to pursue Blockchain as a potential solution to IoT security when he noticed that applications that used it were impervious to DDOS attacks. The peer-to-peer aspect is what insulates Blockchain from such attacks.

"I started wondering, when will industry realize this technology would be useful?" De Castro said.

About the Author(s)

Jessica Davis

Senior Editor

Jessica Davis is a Senior Editor at InformationWeek. She covers enterprise IT leadership, careers, artificial intelligence, data and analytics, and enterprise software. She has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology. Follow her on twitter: @jessicadavis.

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