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Special Issue "Blockchain in the Internet of Things: Opportunities, Challenges and Solutions"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Sensor Networks".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Gianluca Dini
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Information Engineering,University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Interests: cybersecurity; privacy; cryptocurrencies; wireless sensor networks; internet of things; distributed algorithms
Dr. Pericle Perazzo
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Information Engineering, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Interests: wireless sensor networks; Internet of Things; blockchain; cybersecurity; privacy; WSN localization; WSN routing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Internet of Things (IoT) is experiencing exponential growth in research and industry, but it still suffers from security vulnerabilities. Conventional security approaches tend to be inapplicable for IoT, mainly due its decentralised topology and the resource constraints of the majority of its devices. Blockchains (BC) have recently been proposed to provide security, data immutability, and non-repudiation in peer-to-peer networks with similar topologies to IoT. Due to their truly decentralised nature, BC-based solutions could be, in many aspects, superior to the current IoT ecosystem, which mainly relies on centralised cloud servers. However, many BC technologies have computational, communication, and energy costs that may challenge the resources of the average IoT device.

This Special Issue calls for research articles related to novel secure and lightweight BC-based architectures for IoT, which eliminate the overhead of BC while maintaining most of its security benefits. Original contributions that report on real experiences in BC-based solutions and architectures for the IoT which highlight potentialities and limitations are also encouraged.

Prof. Dr. Gianluca Dini
Dr. Pericle Perazzo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Blockchain
  • Distributed ledger
  • Internet of Things
  • Cybersecurity
  • Consensus
  • Energy consumption
  • Performance

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Blockchain for the Internet of Vehicles: A Decentralized IoT Solution for Vehicles Communication Using Ethereum
Sensors 2020, 20(14), 3928; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20143928 - 15 Jul 2020
Abstract
The concept of smart cities has become prominent in modern metropolises due to the emergence of embedded and connected smart devices, systems, and technologies. They have enabled the connection of every “thing” to the Internet. Therefore, in the upcoming era of the Internet [...] Read more.
The concept of smart cities has become prominent in modern metropolises due to the emergence of embedded and connected smart devices, systems, and technologies. They have enabled the connection of every “thing” to the Internet. Therefore, in the upcoming era of the Internet of Things, the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) will play a crucial role in newly developed smart cities. The IoV has the potential to solve various traffic and road safety problems effectively in order to prevent fatal crashes. However, a particular challenge in the IoV, especially in Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communications, is to ensure fast, secure transmission and accurate recording of the data. In order to overcome these challenges, this work is adapting Blockchain technology for real time application (RTA) to solve Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communications problems. Therefore, the main novelty of this paper is to develop a Blockchain-based IoT system in order to establish secure communication and create an entirely decentralized cloud computing platform. Moreover, the authors qualitatively tested the performance and resilience of the proposed system against common security attacks. Computational tests showed that the proposed solution solved the main challenges of Vehicle-to-X (V2X) communications such as security, centralization, and lack of privacy. In addition, it guaranteed an easy data exchange between different actors of intelligent transportation systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Blockchain-Based Healthcare Workflow for Tele-Medical Laboratory in Federated Hospital IoT Clouds
Sensors 2020, 20(9), 2590; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20092590 - 02 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
In a pandemic situation such as that we are living at the time of writing of this paper due to the Covid-19 virus, the need of tele-healthcare service becomes dramatically fundamental to reduce the movement of patients, thence reducing the risk of infection. [...] Read more.
In a pandemic situation such as that we are living at the time of writing of this paper due to the Covid-19 virus, the need of tele-healthcare service becomes dramatically fundamental to reduce the movement of patients, thence reducing the risk of infection. Leveraging the recent Cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, this paper aims at proposing a tele-medical laboratory service where clinical exams are performed on patients directly in a hospital by technicians through IoT medical devices and results are automatically sent via the hospital Cloud to doctors of federated hospitals for validation and/or consultation. In particular, we discuss a distributed scenario where nurses, technicians and medical doctors belonging to different hospitals cooperate through their federated hospital Clouds to form a virtual health team able to carry out a healthcare workflow in secure fashion leveraging the intrinsic security features of the Blockchain technology. In particular, both public and hybrid Blockchain scenarios are discussed and assessed using the Ethereum platform. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
P4UIoT: Pay-Per-Piece Patch Update Delivery for IoT Using Gradual Release
Sensors 2020, 20(7), 2156; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20072156 - 10 Apr 2020
Abstract
P4UIoT—pay-per-piece patch update delivery for IoT using gradual release—introduces a distributed framework for delivering patch updates to IoT devices. The framework facilitates distribution via peer-to-peer delivery networks and incentivizes the distribution operation. The peer-to-peer delivery network reduces load by delegating the [...] Read more.
P 4 UIoT—pay-per-piece patch update delivery for IoT using gradual release—introduces a distributed framework for delivering patch updates to IoT devices. The framework facilitates distribution via peer-to-peer delivery networks and incentivizes the distribution operation. The peer-to-peer delivery network reduces load by delegating the patch distribution to the nodes of the network, thereby protecting against a single point of failure and reducing costs. Distributed file-sharing solutions currently available in the literature are limited to sharing popular files among peers. In contrast, the proposed protocol incentivizes peers to distribute patch updates, which might be relevant only to IoT devices, using a blockchain-based lightning network. A manufacturer/owner named vendor of the IoT device commits a bid on the blockchain, which can be publicly verified by the members of the network. The nodes, called distributors, interested in delivering the patch update, compete among each other to exchange a piece of patch update with cryptocurrency payment. The pay-per-piece payments protocol addresses the problem of misbehavior between IoT devices and distributors as either of them may try to take advantage of the other. The pay-per-piece protocol is a form of a gradual release of a commodity like a patch update, where the commodity can be divided into small pieces and exchanged between the sender and the receiver building trust at each step as the transactions progress into rounds. The permissionless nature of the framework enables the proposal to scale as it incentivizes the participation of individual distributors. Thus, compared to the previous solutions, the proposed framework can scale better without any overhead and with reduced costs. A combination of the Bitcoin lightning network for cryptocurrency incentives with the BitTorrent delivery network is used to present a prototype of the proposed framework. Finally, a financial and scalability evaluation of the proposed framework is presented. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Securing MQTT by Blockchain-Based OTP Authentication
Sensors 2020, 20(7), 2002; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20072002 - 03 Apr 2020
Abstract
The Internet of Things is constantly capturing interest from modern applications, changing our everyday life and empowering industrial applications. Interaction and the collaboration among smart devices offer new challenges to security since they conflict with economic and energy consumption requirement constraints. On the [...] Read more.
The Internet of Things is constantly capturing interest from modern applications, changing our everyday life and empowering industrial applications. Interaction and the collaboration among smart devices offer new challenges to security since they conflict with economic and energy consumption requirement constraints. On the other hand, the lack of security measures could negatively impact the concrete adoption of this paradigm. This paper focuses on the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol, widely adopted in the Internet of Things. This protocol does not implement natively secure authentication mechanisms, which are demanded to developers. Hence, this paper proposes a novel OTP (one-time password)-authentication schema for MQTT, which uses the Ethereum blockchain to implement a second-factor out-of-band channel. The proposal enables the authentication of both local and remote devices preserving user privacy and guaranteeing trust and accountability via Ethereum smart contracts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hy-Bridge: A Hybrid Blockchain for Privacy-Preserving and Trustful Energy Transactions in Internet-of-Things Platforms
Sensors 2020, 20(3), 928; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20030928 - 10 Feb 2020
Abstract
In the current centralized IoT ecosystems, all financial transactions are routed through IoT platform providers. The security and privacy issues are inevitable with an untrusted or compromised IoT platform provider. To address these issues, we propose Hy-Bridge, a hybrid blockchain-based billing and charging [...] Read more.
In the current centralized IoT ecosystems, all financial transactions are routed through IoT platform providers. The security and privacy issues are inevitable with an untrusted or compromised IoT platform provider. To address these issues, we propose Hy-Bridge, a hybrid blockchain-based billing and charging framework. In Hy-Bridge, the IoT platform provider plays no proxy role, and IoT users can securely and efficiently share a credit with other users. The trustful end-to-end functionality of blockchain helps us to provide accountability and reliability features in IoT transactions. Furthermore, with the blockchain-distributed consensus, we provide a credit-sharing feature for IoT users in the energy and utility market. To provide this feature, we introduce a local block framework for service management in the credit-sharing group. To preserve the IoT users’ privacy and avoid any information leakage to the main blockchain, an interconnection position, called bridge, is introduced to isolate IoT users’ peer-to-peer transactions and link the main blockchain to its subnetwork blockchain(s) in a hybrid model. To this end, a k-anonymity protection is performed on the bridge. To evaluate the performance of the introduced hybrid blockchain-based billing and charging, we simulated the energy use case scenario using Hy-Bridge. Our simulation results show that Hy-Bridge could protect user privacy with an acceptable level of information loss and CPU and memory usage. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Blockchain-based Reputation for Intelligent Transportation Systems
Sensors 2020, 20(3), 791; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20030791 - 31 Jan 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
A disruptive technology often used in finance, Internet of Things (IoT) and healthcare, blockchain can reach consensus within a decentralised network—potentially composed of large amounts of unreliable nodes—and to permanently and irreversibly store data in a tamper-proof manner. In this paper, we present [...] Read more.
A disruptive technology often used in finance, Internet of Things (IoT) and healthcare, blockchain can reach consensus within a decentralised network—potentially composed of large amounts of unreliable nodes—and to permanently and irreversibly store data in a tamper-proof manner. In this paper, we present a reputation system for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). It considers the users interested in traffic information as the main actors of the architecture. They securely share their data which are collectively validated by other users. Users can choose to employ either such crowd-sourced validated data or data generated by the system to travel between two locations. The data saved is reliable, based on the providers’ reputation and cannot be modified. We present results with a simulation for three cities: San Francisco, Rome and Beijing. We have demonstrated the impact of malicious attacks as the average speed decreased if erroneous information was stored in the blockchain as an implemented routing algorithm guides the honest cars on other free routes, and thus crowds other intersections. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Personalized QoS Prediction Method for Web Services via Blockchain-Based Matrix Factorization
Sensors 2019, 19(12), 2749; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19122749 - 19 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Personalized quality of service (QoS) prediction plays an important role in helping users build high-quality service-oriented systems. To obtain accurate prediction results, many approaches have been investigated in recent years. However, these approaches do not fully address untrustworthy QoS values submitted by unreliable [...] Read more.
Personalized quality of service (QoS) prediction plays an important role in helping users build high-quality service-oriented systems. To obtain accurate prediction results, many approaches have been investigated in recent years. However, these approaches do not fully address untrustworthy QoS values submitted by unreliable users, leading to inaccurate predictions. To address this issue, inspired by blockchain with distributed ledger technology, distributed consensus mechanisms, encryption algorithms, etc., we propose a personalized QoS prediction method for web services that we call blockchain-based matrix factorization (BMF). We develop a user verification approach based on homomorphic hash, and use the Byzantine agreement to remove unreliable users. Then, matrix factorization is employed to improve the accuracy of predictions and we evaluate the proposed BMF on a real-world web services dataset. Experimental results show that the proposed method significantly outperforms existing approaches, making it much more effective than traditional techniques. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Implementation of an Integrated IoT Blockchain Platform for Sensing Data Integrity
Sensors 2019, 19(10), 2228; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19102228 - 14 May 2019
Cited by 15
Abstract
With the rapid development of communication technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT) is getting out of its infancy, into full maturity, and tends to be developed in an explosively rapid way, with more and more data transmitted and processed. As a result, the [...] Read more.
With the rapid development of communication technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT) is getting out of its infancy, into full maturity, and tends to be developed in an explosively rapid way, with more and more data transmitted and processed. As a result, the ability to manage devices deployed worldwide has been given more and advanced requirements in practical application performances. Most existing IoT platforms are highly centralized architectures, which suffer from various technical limitations, such as a cyber-attack and single point of failure. A new solution direction is essential to enhance data accessing, while regulating it with government mandates in privacy and security. In this paper, we propose an integrated IoT platform using blockchain technology to guarantee sensing data integrity. The aim of this platform is to afford the device owner a practical application that provides a comprehensive, immutable log and allows easy access to their devices deployed in different domains. It also provides characteristics of general IoT systems, allows for real-time monitoring, and control between the end user and device. The business logic of the application is defined by the smart contract, which contains rules and conditions. The proposed approach is backed by a proof of concept implementation in realistic IoT scenarios, utilizing Raspberry Pi devices and a permissioned network called Hyperledger Fabric. Lastly, a benchmark study using various performance metrics is made to highlight the significance of the proposed work. The analysis results indicate that the designed platform is suitable for the resource-constrained IoT architecture and is scalable to be extended in various IoT scenarios. Full article
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