Enables secure communication in the Internet of Things

Jun 04, 2013 | Research/Cooperation

The future Internet, Internet of Things (IoT), is so much more than the Internet we know today. It will interconnect traditional computers and a large number of smart objects or networks. The IoT, which is an IPv6 network, will be the foundation of many services and our daily life will depend on its availability and reliable operations. Shahid Raza has in his doctoral thesis at Mälardalen University focused on solutions for dependability. He is the first person to make it possible to secure the communication for resource-constrained sensor nodes within the Internet of the future.

Internet of Things is about connecting physical objects around human to the virtual world. That means that the IoT is a hybrid network of the Internet and constrained networks. Shahid Raza has succeeded to produce secure communication between the smaller networks and Internet.

- I am the first to make is possible to do so in a secure manner using lightweight standardized protocol.

The IoT requires multi-facet security solutions where the communication is secured with confidentiality, integrity, and authentication services. The network is protected against intrusions and disruptions and the data inside a sensor node is stored in an encrypted form. The solution is to use lightweight yet standard complaint protocols.

- I make it possible for the resource-constrained sensor nodes to talk to conventional Internet hosts in a secure manner using lightweight yet standard complaint protocols.


Three main contributions

Even when the IoT is secured with encryption and authentication, sensor nodes are exposed both to wireless attacks from inside the Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) and from the Internet. Hence an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) and firewalls are needed. Since the nodes inside WSNs can be captured and cloned, protection of stored data is also important.

Shahid’s solution involves the following:

  • It enables secure communication in the IoT. The proposed security solutions has been implemented and evaluated in an IoT setup on real hardware.
  • Design, implementation and evaluation of a novel IDS (Intrusion Detection System) for the IoT.
  • Mechanisms to protect data inside constrained nodes. The quantitative evaluation of the different solutions shows that the resource-constrained devices in the IoT can be secured and security can be efficiently protected against intrusions. The proposed combined secure storage and communication mechanisms can significantly reduce the security-related operations and energy consumption.


From Pakistan to SICS Swedish ICT, Stockholm

Shahid Raza is from Pakistan and has been in Sweden since September 2007. For four years he has been a PhD student at MDH in computer science. The reason he chose Sweden and MDH is largely because of SICS Swedish ICT (the Swedish Institute of Computer Science) and its connection to Mats Björkman, Professor in Computer Communication at MDH. As a new doctor Shahid continues at SICS Swedish ICT in Stockholm as a researcher in IT security.

- I like Sweden. It is great to be here, says Shahid.

Shahid’s knowledge has extended, not only in IT security, Internet of Things WSNs and philosophy of science:

- I have gained self-confidence that I can govern research alone, and convey my findings to others in an understandable fashion.


For technical details, please see the fact box in the column to the right.