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Special Issue "Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Luca Veltri
Website
Guest Editor
Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering and Architecture,University of Parma, Italy
Interests: secure communications; cyber security; Internet of Things; peer-to-peer networks; software-defined networking
Dr. Marco Picone
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Caligoo s.r.l and Department of Information Engineering, Università degli Studi di Parma, 43121 Parma, Italy
Interests: distributed systems; Internet of Things; Edge/Fog computing; vehicular networks (Internet of Vehicles); pervasive and mobile computing
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Simone Cirani
Website
Guest Editor
Adjunct Professor, Department of Engineering and Architecture,University of Parma, Italy
Interests: Internet of Things; edge computing; pervasive computing; peer-to-peer networks; network security; mobile application development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Internet of Things (IoT) is continuously growing in research and industry, and IoT technologies are reaching good maturity as demonstrated by the increasing number of IoT applications in several markets ranging from smart homes to smart factories and Industry 4.0, with the so-called Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

However, beside this success, some open issues remain. Amongst them, the main issue that may slow down the adoption of IoT is related to security. The heterogeneity in terms of protocols, operating systems, and devices combined with poor adoption of standard solutions create insecure design, architectures and deployments. Furthermore, IoT applications are often associated with sensitive data, core infrastructures and assets making them attractive in terms of vulnerability, data breach, and denial of services.

Unfortunately, conventional security approaches tend to be inapplicable for IoT, mainly due to the limitations of the resources of IoT devices and to the decentralized nature of IoT architectures.

One technology that is currently receiving great attention and may help in providing security in IoT scenarios is blockchain. Indeed, the decentralized architecture of the blockchains, together with the ability to provide data immutability and non-repudiation services, seem to make blockchain a promising technique for securing IoT and protecting user/data privacy.

This Special Issue addresses the innovative developments, technologies, and challenges related to blockchain, security, and privacy for the IoT. The Special Issue is seeking the latest findings from research and ongoing projects. Additionally, review articles that provide readers with current research trends and solutions are also welcome. The potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Security and privacy for IoT
  • Blockchain technology for IoT
  • Decentralized security solutions for IoT
  • Frameworks and software platforms for security in IoT
  • Blockchain for edge and fog computing
  • Edge/fog computing approaches to support security and privacy in IoT
  • IoT applications based on blockchain technology
  • Evaluation and experimental analysis of blockchain IoT applications
  • Blockchain, security and privacy for Internet of Vehicles
  • Blockchain, security and privacy for IoT Healthcare Systems
  • Blockchain, security and privacy for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) (Industry 4.0)
  • New emerging architectures for security and privacy in IoT applications

Dr. Luca Veltri
Dr. Marco Picone
Dr. Simone Cirani
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
  • Security
  • Internet of Things
  • Cyber security
  • Privacy
  • Industry 4.0

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
IoT-Blockchain Enabled Optimized Provenance System for Food Industry 4.0 Using Advanced Deep Learning
Sensors 2020, 20(10), 2990; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20102990 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Agriculture and livestock play a vital role in social and economic stability. Food safety and transparency in the food supply chain are a significant concern for many people. Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain are gaining attention due to their success in versatile [...] Read more.
Agriculture and livestock play a vital role in social and economic stability. Food safety and transparency in the food supply chain are a significant concern for many people. Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain are gaining attention due to their success in versatile applications. They generate a large amount of data that can be optimized and used efficiently by advanced deep learning (ADL) techniques. The importance of such innovations from the viewpoint of supply chain management is significant in different processes such as for broadened visibility, provenance, digitalization, disintermediation, and smart contracts. This article takes the secure IoT–blockchain data of Industry 4.0 in the food sector as a research object. Using ADL techniques, we propose a hybrid model based on recurrent neural networks (RNN). Therefore, we used long short-term memory (LSTM) and gated recurrent units (GRU) as a prediction model and genetic algorithm (GA) optimization jointly to optimize the parameters of the hybrid model. We select the optimal training parameters by GA and finally cascade LSTM with GRU. We evaluated the performance of the proposed system for a different number of users. This paper aims to help supply chain practitioners to take advantage of the state-of-the-art technologies; it will also help the industry to make policies according to the predictions of ADL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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Open AccessArticle
DLT Based Authentication Framework for Industrial IoT Devices
Sensors 2020, 20(9), 2621; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20092621 - 04 May 2020
Abstract
The latest technological progress in the industrial sector has led to a paradigm shift in manufacturing efficiency and operational cost reduction. More often than not, this cost reduction comes at the price of dismissing information security, especially when multiple stakeholders are involved and [...] Read more.
The latest technological progress in the industrial sector has led to a paradigm shift in manufacturing efficiency and operational cost reduction. More often than not, this cost reduction comes at the price of dismissing information security, especially when multiple stakeholders are involved and the complexity increases. As a further matter, most of the legacy systems and smart factoring processes lack a security by design approach, making them highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Taking into consideration the aforementioned issues, we propose an architectural framework for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) that provides authentication and guaranteed integrity. Our proposal properly addresses the security by design principle while combining some of the emerging technologies like Secure Multi-Party Computation (SMPC) for grounded policy rules and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for an immutable and transparent registry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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Open AccessArticle
A Blockchain-Assisted Intelligent Transportation System Promoting Data Services with Privacy Protection
Sensors 2020, 20(9), 2483; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20092483 - 27 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Being able to obtain various environmental and driving data from vehicles is becoming more and more important for current and future intelligent transportation systems (ITSs) to operate efficiently and economically. However, the limitations of privacy protection and security of the current ITSs are [...] Read more.
Being able to obtain various environmental and driving data from vehicles is becoming more and more important for current and future intelligent transportation systems (ITSs) to operate efficiently and economically. However, the limitations of privacy protection and security of the current ITSs are hindering users and vehicles from providing data. In this paper, we propose a new ITS architecture by using blockchain technology solving the privacy protection and security problems, and promoting users and vehicles to provide data to ITSs. The proposed architecture uses blockchain as a trust infrastructure to protect users’ privacy and provide trustworthy services to users. It is also compatible with the legacy ITS infrastructure and services. In addition, the hierarchical organization of chains enables the scalability of the system, and the use of smart contracts provides a flexible way for introducing new services in the ITS. The proposed architecture is demonstrated by a proof of concept implementation based on Ethereum. The test results show that the proposed architecture is feasible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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Open AccessArticle
Towards a Remote Monitoring of Patient Vital Signs Based on IoT-Based Blockchain Integrity Management Platforms in Smart Hospitals
Sensors 2020, 20(8), 2195; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20082195 - 13 Apr 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Over the past several years, many healthcare applications have been developed to enhance the healthcare industry. Recent advancements in information technology and blockchain technology have revolutionized electronic healthcare research and industry. The innovation of miniaturized healthcare sensors for monitoring patient vital signs has [...] Read more.
Over the past several years, many healthcare applications have been developed to enhance the healthcare industry. Recent advancements in information technology and blockchain technology have revolutionized electronic healthcare research and industry. The innovation of miniaturized healthcare sensors for monitoring patient vital signs has improved and secured the human healthcare system. The increase in portable health devices has enhanced the quality of health-monitoring status both at an activity/fitness level for self-health tracking and at a medical level, providing more data to clinicians with potential for earlier diagnosis and guidance of treatment. When sharing personal medical information, data security and comfort are essential requirements for interaction with and collection of electronic medical records. However, it is hard for current systems to meet these requirements because they have inconsistent security policies and access control structures. The new solutions should be directed towards improving data access, and should be managed by the government in terms of privacy and security requirements to ensure the reliability of data for medical purposes. Blockchain paves the way for a revolution in the traditional pharmaceutical industry and benefits from unique features such as privacy and transparency of data. In this paper, we propose a novel platform for monitoring patient vital signs using smart contracts based on blockchain. The proposed system is designed and developed using hyperledger fabric, which is an enterprise-distributed ledger framework for developing blockchain-based applications. This approach provides several benefits to the patients, such as an extensive, immutable history log, and global access to medical information from anywhere at any time. The Libelium e-Health toolkit is used to acquire physiological data. The performance of the designed and developed system is evaluated in terms of transaction per second, transaction latency, and resource utilization using a standard benchmark tool known as Hyperledger Caliper. It is found that the proposed system outperforms the traditional health care system for monitoring patient data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploiting Smart Contracts for Capability-Based Access Control in the Internet of Things
Sensors 2020, 20(6), 1793; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20061793 - 24 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Due to the rapid penetration of the Internet of Things (IoT) into human life, illegal access to IoT resources (e.g., data and actuators) has greatly threatened our safety. Access control, which specifies who (i.e., subjects) can access what resources (i.e., objects) under what [...] Read more.
Due to the rapid penetration of the Internet of Things (IoT) into human life, illegal access to IoT resources (e.g., data and actuators) has greatly threatened our safety. Access control, which specifies who (i.e., subjects) can access what resources (i.e., objects) under what conditions, has been recognized as an effective solution to address this issue. To cope with the distributed and trust-less nature of IoT systems, we propose a decentralized and trustworthy Capability-Based Access Control (CapBAC) scheme by using the Ethereum smart contract technology. In this scheme, a smart contract is created for each object to store and manage the capability tokens (i.e., data structures recording granted access rights) assigned to the related subjects, and also to verify the ownership and validity of the tokens for access control. Different from previous schemes which manage the tokens in units of subjects, i.e., one token per subject, our scheme manages the tokens in units of access rights or actions, i.e., one token per action. Such novel management achieves more fine-grained and flexible capability delegation and also ensures the consistency between the delegation information and the information stored in the tokens. We implemented the proposed CapBAC scheme in a locally constructed Ethereum blockchain network to demonstrate its feasibility. In addition, we measured the monetary cost of our scheme in terms of gas consumption to compare our scheme with the existing Blockchain-Enabled Decentralized Capability-Based Access Control (BlendCAC) scheme proposed by other researchers. The experimental results show that the proposed scheme outperforms the BlendCAC scheme in terms of the flexibility, granularity, and consistency of capability delegation at almost the same monetary cost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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Open AccessArticle
Reliable Task Management Based on a Smart Contract for Runtime Verification of Sensing and Actuating Tasks in IoT Environments
Sensors 2020, 20(4), 1207; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20041207 - 22 Feb 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
With the gradual popularization of Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications and the development of wireless networking technologies, the use of heterogeneous devices and runtime verification of task fulfillment with different constraints are required in real-world IoT scenarios. As far as IoT systems are concerned, most [...] Read more.
With the gradual popularization of Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications and the development of wireless networking technologies, the use of heterogeneous devices and runtime verification of task fulfillment with different constraints are required in real-world IoT scenarios. As far as IoT systems are concerned, most of them are built on centralized architectures, which reveal various assailable points in data security and privacy threats. Hence, this paper aims to investigate these issues by delegating the responsibility of a verification monitor from a centralized architecture to a decentralized manner using blockchain technology. We present a smart contract-based task management scheme to provide runtime verification of device behaviors and allows trustworthy access control to these devices. The business logic of the proposed system is specified by the smart contract, which automates all time-consuming processes cryptographically and correctly. The usability of the proposed solution is further demonstrated by implementing a prototype application in which the Hyperledger Fabric is utilized to implement the business logic for runtime verification and access control with one desktop and one Raspberry Pi. A comprehensive evaluation experiment is conducted, and the results indicate the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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Open AccessArticle
A Security Transmission and Storage Solution about Sensing Image for Blockchain in the Internet of Things
Sensors 2020, 20(3), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20030916 - 09 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
With the rapid development of the Internet of Things (IoT), the number of IoT devices has increased exponentially. Therefore, we have put forward higher security requirements for the management, transmission, and storage of massive IoT data. However, during the transmission process of IoT [...] Read more.
With the rapid development of the Internet of Things (IoT), the number of IoT devices has increased exponentially. Therefore, we have put forward higher security requirements for the management, transmission, and storage of massive IoT data. However, during the transmission process of IoT data, security issues, such as data theft and forgery, are prone to occur. In addition, most existing data storage solutions are centralized, i.e., data are stored and maintained by a centralized server. Once the server is maliciously attacked, the security of IoT data will be greatly threatened. In view of the above-mentioned security issues, a security transmission and storage solution is proposed about sensing image for blockchain in the IoT. Firstly, this solution intelligently senses user image information, and divides these sensed data into intelligent blocks. Secondly, different blocks of data are encrypted and transmitted securely through intelligent encryption algorithms. Finally, signature verification and storage are performed through an intelligent verification algorithm. Compared with the traditional IoT data transmission and centralized storage solution, our solution combines the IoT with the blockchain, making use of the advantages of blockchain decentralization, high reliability, and low cost to transfer and store users image information securely. Security analysis proves that the solution can resist theft attacks and ensure the security of user image information during transmission and storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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Open AccessArticle
A Cost Analysis of Implementing a Blockchain Architecture in a Smart Grid Scenario Using Sidechains
Sensors 2020, 20(3), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20030843 - 05 Feb 2020
Abstract
Smart grid systems have become popular and necessary for the development of a sustainable power grid. These systems use different technologies to provide optimized services to the users of the network. Regarding computing, these systems optimize electrical services by processing a large amount [...] Read more.
Smart grid systems have become popular and necessary for the development of a sustainable power grid. These systems use different technologies to provide optimized services to the users of the network. Regarding computing, these systems optimize electrical services by processing a large amount of the data generated. However, privacy and security are essential in this kind of system. With a large amount of data generated, it is necessary to protect the privacy of users, because this data may reveal the users’ personal information. Today, blockchain technology has proven to be an efficient architecture for solving privacy and security problems in different scenarios. Over the years, different blockchain platforms have emerged, attempting to solve specific problems in different areas. However, the use of different platforms fragmented the market, which was no different in the smart grid scenario. This work proposes a blockchain architecture that uses sidechains to make the system scalable and adaptable. We used three blockchains to ensure privacy, security, and trust in the system. To universalize the proposed solution, we used the Open Smart Grid Protocol and smart contracts. The results show that architecture security and privacy are guaranteed, making it feasible for implementation in real systems; although scalability issues regarding the storage of the data generated still exist. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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Open AccessArticle
Blockchain-Based Lightweight Trust Management in Mobile Ad-Hoc Networks
Sensors 2020, 20(3), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20030698 - 27 Jan 2020
Abstract
As a trending and interesting research topic, in recent years, researchers have been adopting the blockchain in the wireless ad-hoc environment. Owing to its strong characteristics, such as consensus, immutability, finality, and provenance, the blockchain is utilized not only as a secure data [...] Read more.
As a trending and interesting research topic, in recent years, researchers have been adopting the blockchain in the wireless ad-hoc environment. Owing to its strong characteristics, such as consensus, immutability, finality, and provenance, the blockchain is utilized not only as a secure data storage for critical data but also as a platform that facilitates the trustless exchange of data between independent parties. However, the main challenge of blockchain application in an ad-hoc network is which kind of nodes should be involved in the validation process and how to adopt the heavy computational complexity of block validation appropriately while maintaining the genuine characteristics of a blockchain. In this paper, we propose the blockchain-based trust management system with a lightweight consensus algorithm in a mobile ad-hoc network (MANET). The proposed scheme provides the distributed trust framework for routing nodes in MANETs that is tamper-proof via blockchain. The optimized link state routing protocol (OLSR) is exploited as a representative protocol to embed the blockchain concept in MANETs. As a securely distributed and trusted platform, blockchain solves most of the security issues in the OLSR, in which every node is performing the security operation individually and in a repetitive manner. Additionally, using predefined principles, the routing nodes in the proposed scheme can collaborate to defend themselves from the attackers in the network. The experimental results show that the proposed consensus algorithm is suitable to be used in the resource-hungry MANET with reduced validation time and less overhead. Meanwhile, the attack detection overhead and time also decrease because the repetitivity of the process is reduced while providing a scalable and distributed trust among the routing nodes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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Open AccessArticle
Authentication Protocol for Cloud Databases Using Blockchain Mechanism
Sensors 2019, 19(20), 4444; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19204444 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Cloud computing has made the software development process fast and flexible but on the other hand it has contributed to increasing security attacks. Employees who manage the data in cloud companies may face insider attack, affecting their reputation. They have the advantage of [...] Read more.
Cloud computing has made the software development process fast and flexible but on the other hand it has contributed to increasing security attacks. Employees who manage the data in cloud companies may face insider attack, affecting their reputation. They have the advantage of accessing the user data by interacting with the authentication mechanism. The primary aim of this research paper is to provide a novel secure authentication mechanism by using Blockchain technology for cloud databases. Blockchain makes it difficult to change user login credentials details in the user authentication process by an insider. The insider is not able to access the user authentication data due to the distributed ledger-based authentication scheme. Activity of insider can be traced and cannot be changed. Both insider and outsider user’s are authenticated using individual IDs and signatures. Furthermore, the user access control on the cloud database is also authenticated. The algorithm and theorem of the proposed mechanism have been given to demonstrate the applicability and correctness.The proposed mechanism is tested on the Scyther formal system tool against denial of service, impersonation, offline guessing, and no replay attacks. Scyther results show that the proposed methodology is secure cum robust. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Blockchain Evaluation Approaches: State-of-the-Art and Future Perspective
Sensors 2020, 20(12), 3358; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20123358 - 13 Jun 2020
Abstract
The present increase of attention toward blockchain-based systems is currently reaching a tipping point with the corporate focus shifting from exploring the technology potential to creating Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)-based systems. In light of a significant number of already existing blockchain applications driven [...] Read more.
The present increase of attention toward blockchain-based systems is currently reaching a tipping point with the corporate focus shifting from exploring the technology potential to creating Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)-based systems. In light of a significant number of already existing blockchain applications driven by the Internet of Things (IoT) evolution, the developers are still facing a lack of tools and instruments for appropriate and efficient performance evaluation and behavior observation of different blockchain architectures. This paper aims at providing a systematic review of current blockchain evaluation approaches and at identifying the corresponding utilization challenges and limitations. First, we outline the main metrics related to the blockchain evaluation. Second, we propose the blockchain modeling and analysis classification based on the critical literature review. Third, we extend the review with publicly accessible industrial tools. Next, we analyze the selected results for each of the proposed classes and outline the corresponding limitations. Finally, we identify current challenges of the blockchain analysis from the system evaluation perspective, as well as provide future perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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Open AccessReview
Distributed Ledger Technology for eHealth Identity Privacy: State of The Art and Future Perspective
Sensors 2020, 20(2), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20020483 - 15 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Electronic healthcare (eHealth) identity management (IdM) is a pivotal feature in the eHealth system. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is an emerging technology that can achieve agreements of transactional data states in a decentralized way. Building identity management systems using Blockchain can enable patients [...] Read more.
Electronic healthcare (eHealth) identity management (IdM) is a pivotal feature in the eHealth system. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is an emerging technology that can achieve agreements of transactional data states in a decentralized way. Building identity management systems using Blockchain can enable patients to fully control their own identity and provide increased confidence in data immutability and availability. This paper presents the state of the art of decentralized identity management using Blockchain and highlights the possible opportunities for adopting the decentralized identity management approaches for future health identity systems. First, we summarize eHealth identity management scenarios. Furthermore, we investigate the existing decentralized identity management solutions and present decentralized identity models. In addition, we discuss the current decentralized identity projects and identify new challenges based on the existing solutions and the limitations when applying it to healthcare as a particular use case. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blockchain Security and Privacy for the Internet of Things)
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