Securing the Internet of things

Jun 03, 2005

RFID tags and transponders are spreading like wildfire despite data privacy concerns. To improve RFID technology security, researchers have developed a software platform that connects a wide variety of sensor networks to any enterprise information technology infrastructure.

Radio frequency identification or RFID tags have already made their appearance in the wholesale industry. And it’s only a matter of time and money before they begin replacing today’s standard retail barcodes. Logistics professionals love to talk about the “Internet of Things” and as with any communications network, security is a lively topic of discussion here as well. This is especially true of RFID systems deployed beyond the boundaries of the enterprise network, as in supply chain management systems. Most of these processes are fully automated: Production line sensors detect the identity of a component or product, and actuators then guide it to the next step in the chain. The accumulated data is recorded and stored because the material flow must be traceable.

To keep each company in the chain from falling victim to data loss, system downtime or corporate espionage, IT specialists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT have developed a middleware program called SAN (Sensors Actuators Network). “Our software platform is like an adaptor that sits between the corporate IT system and the sensor network,” explains project manager Stephan Vollmer. “The data is encrypted and protected on both sides. The real benefit of the program, however, is that it’s system independent.” Vollmer and his colleagues at SIT recently presented an initial prototype during a trade fair.

Since companies can continue to use their existing IT infrastructures, SAN offers a simple, cost-effective way to deploy RFID technology. In addition, the built-in flexibility allows the sensor networks to be expanded or swapped out, a feature not found in today’s complete solutions. This lessens the dependency on a single system or manufacturer. Potential fields of application include logistics supply chain management and any production process which involves multiple enterprises.

Backup tapes are an example. Where is the last backup? Companies cannot afford delays in locating backup tapes, because when system failures and data loss bring productivity to a halt, this costs money. Citing his own experience, Vollmer says: “Locating backup tapes can often be more difficult than IT managers think. With SAN and an RFID product tracking solution, however, the backup tape can quickly be located – regardless whether it’s still in the company’s own mailroom, in the package courier’s delivery truck or already in storage with an external service provider.”

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Explore further: Cebit 2015: DIY printing custom touch-sensitive displays

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

IOC defends Rio legacy amid green protests

45 minutes ago

Ecological protests on Saturday dogged the final day of an International Olympic Committee executive board meeting in Rio as green campaigners slated the choice of a nature reserve to hold the golf event ...

Japan's NTT to buy German data centre operator

45 minutes ago

Japanese telecom giant NTT Communications is looking to acquire German data centre operator e-shelter, as it seeks to cash in on growing demand in Europe, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Fashionable or geeky—the modern watch dilemma

5 hours ago

It's Milan fashion week, you've got tickets to the catwalk shows and an outfit to die for, but which watch to wear? A chunky smartwatch or chic ticker that can't tell the time?

Recommended for you

Cebit 2015: DIY printing custom touch-sensitive displays

21 minutes ago

Computer scientists from Saarbrücken have developed a technique that could enable virtually anyone to print out customized displays of their own in future—in all shapes and sizes and onto various materials. ...

Power-generating urinal pioneered in Britain

32 minutes ago

British scientists on Thursday unveiled a toilet that unlocks energy stored within urine to generate electricity, which they hope could be used to light remote places such as refugee camps.

Reliance on smartphones linked to lazy thinking

38 minutes ago

Our smartphones help us find a phone number quickly, provide us with instant directions and recommend restaurants, but new research indicates that this convenience at our fingertips is making it easy for us to avoid thinking ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.