Interview With Eric Jennings - CTO/Co-founder Filament

CoT: Why do you think blockchain may assist in securing IOT devices?

For devices in IoT to scale to tens of billions of devices by 2020, it will be important to decentralized the core digital identity of these devices.  The Blockchain is an excellent way to do so in a non-silo’ed manner.

CoT: How critical is the issue of security today with regards to IOT? I mean we hear about hacks regularly but how would you grade security amongst the list of issues affecting IOT

It is, bar-none, the most important issue for IoT.  Current IoT security is dismal—mainly because the term “secure” means a lot of different things.  Is a symmetric AES128 system secure?  More secure than no security, but not very good.  Furthermore, what about forward secrecy, metadata-leaking, and device-pair keying rather than entire-network keying?

CoT: Do you think a collaboration approach is needed for the industry to explore whether blockchain can address security questions in IOT?

Eventually.  First, I think industry just needs to see a real-world example of blockchain + IoT in order to see what the combination brings to the table that traditional IoT does not.  Only then will collaboration make more sense.

CoT: Can you give an example (in simple terms) of how blockchain tech can secure devices?

Blockchains can give a device an immutable, globally-verifiable digital identity, which is step 0 of deploying secure systems at scale.  If you can’t guarantee identity, cryptographically-speaking, then all other requirements (discovery, communication, etc) are vulnerable to MITM and Sybil attacks.

CoT: Do you have an opinion on the recent open sourcing by IBM of their blockchain code?

We are big fans of their earlier ADEPT project.  We believe the Hyperledger project could lead to some interesting research results, but seems to be focused on running private or permissioned blockchains, which aren’t as interesting to us.