Introduction to IoT

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) connects a large number of communication and information systems to support and simplify everyday life by means of technology. The application domains in the IoT are diverse, spanning from medical and healthcare systems, building and home automation, transportation and logistics, media, and environmental monitoring, to infrastructure management and manufacturing—including smart wearable devices, smart home, smart city, smart environment, and smart enterprise devices—as well as human beings and animals as things in the IoT environment.

 

Typical examples for IoT are:

  • IoT at home (“smart home”)
  • IoT in the office (“smart office”)
  • IoT in industrial environments
  • IoT in smart cities
  • IoT in medical devices

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The vision behind the IoT concept is the ability to connect any type of object—known as things in IoT terms—with one another, as well as to the traditional Internet. It is expected that in 2020, the number of connected devices will be 50B, or 6.58 per person (Cisco 2012). This would be done using a global unique identifier, forming the Future Internet. The IoT is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine communications (M2M) and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications.

 

The IoT devices can be mapped in three dimensions: system size, communication protocol and connectivity.

 

IoT System size:

  • Small – Devices that are based on 8-bit system-on-chip microcontrollers and, in many cases, are not running an advanced operating system. For example, devices based on Arduino.
  • Medium – Devices that are based on a 32-bit embedded system that is running an embedded version of an advanced operating system. For example, a device based on ARM running embedded Linux, such as Raspberry Pi.
  • Large – Devices that are based on an advanced 32- or 64-bit embedded system that is running an embedded version of an advanced operating system. For example, an advanced medical device that is connected to the network.

 

IoT communication protocols:

  • Wireless
    • Long distance
      • Cellular network
      • WiFi
    • Short distance:
      • Zigbee
      • Bluetooth (BT)
      • Near Field Communication (NFC)
    • Wired:
      • Ethernet
      • UART or serial lines
      • SPI or I2C Wired Buses
      • USB

 

IoT Connection:

  • Direct
  • Connection via gateway
  • Mesh

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Objectives of Project Research & Security Innovation Lab for IoT

 

The project goal is to identify Internet of Things (IoT) security risks, to develop and demonstrate standards for secured IoT architecture and to transfer the results to partners that can implement the solutions. The project will address three major security challenges that commonly exist in IoT devices and systems:

 

Privacy:

  • Attackers may try to obtain sensitive information about individuals or businesses by attacking IoT devices that collect local information.
  • Example: Attack a smart watch and collect voice recordings.

 

Integrity:

  • Attackers may try to compromise IoT devices as part of an attack that causes safety hazards or damage to the physical world.
  • Example: Disable smart city surveillance cameras, disable a sensor that collects information about traffic, and reprogramme traffic lights.

 

Authorisation:

  • Attacker may try to gain access to unsecured IoT devices in order to add them to a botnet. The botnet is then used to launch cyber attacks.
  • Example: Launching DDoS attacks via compromised IoT, sending SPAM from compromised home networked devices.

Project Principal Investigator (PI): Prof Yuval Elovici, SUTD

Project Co-PIs: Asst. Prof Nils Ole Tippenhauer, Asst. Prof Martin Ochoa, SUTD

Overseas Collaborator: Asst. Prof Asaf Shabtai, Ben-Gurion University