Why blockchain-based cybersecurity may be the answer for vulnerable IoT networks

CES 2020: A "hacked" robot was on display to demonstrate how SigmaDots serverless architecture is poised to fend off IoT security threats.

Why blockchain-based cybersecurity may be the answer for vulnerable IoT networks

TechRepublic's Karen Roby talked to Itsik Harpaz, vice-president of research and development at Essence Security, at CES 2020 about its SigmaDots product and security of the Internet of Things (IoT). The following is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

Itsik Harpaz: This is Zigman. Zigman Is an IoT device. Now, I want to secure Zigman, but I'm starting with operating Zigman. I think he's dancing for me and doing those kinds of activities. How the IoT devices work, basically the IoT solution is based on a very low-power CPU that is running the software, communicating through a gateway to the cloud and application. Basically, those devices are low power. There's no practical cybersecurity to secure them. And a lot of attacks are going on in cybersecurity. It's still a blue ocean in reference to hackers. So, what can I do? Now Zigman is hacked. I'm hacking the server side of Zigman, and the server side is not secure. By hacking, whenever I'm trying to operate Zigman, he goes crazy.

SEE: Cybersecurity: Let's get tactical (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) | Download the free PDF version (TechRepublic)

Karen Roby: He's acting crazy because you've now hacked him.

Itsik Harpaz: Yeah, I'm sending fake commands to him, and now I'm putting the SigmaDots vaccine into Zigman.

Karen Roby: So, the SigmaDots, which is your product, you're now putting that on?

Itsik Harpaz: And the SigmaDots solution, basically what it's doing is removing the vulnerable part out of the system. We have a distributed software solution that enables a secure system by putting a level of software on the device and distributing the vulnerable part of the server side, that a hacker cannot attack the sole devices. In order to hack the device, you need to hack this whole system, the whole network. And this is the blockchain approach of SigmaDots. We have a unique approach of cybersecurity for IoT. We grew up out of Essence. Essence is a big IoT manufacturer. We understand the limitations of IoT. We understand the limitations of manufacturers, so we are developing a next solution that's starting to be launched in the European market as a cybersecurity solution, and we are aiming to secure IoT devices.

SEE: Special report: Harnessing IoT in the enterprise (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Karen Roby: Do you think people really understand just how vulnerable their IoT is? We've got IoT devices and sensors in our homes and everywhere now. Do you think people really understand just how vulnerable those devices are?

Itsik Harpaz: I think that the changes started two years ago, and the world was still very naive. The movement of change, there's a lot to attack, a lot of the articles ... Ring doorbells are hacked, and now your home is not secured. There are starting to be regulation processes like in California, where the government decided that they need to have cybersecurity for IoT. So, the world's starting to change, and we want to be part of the revolution because we have a unique technology.

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