What will happen when you lock a bunch of hackers, entrepreneurs, and mentors into a room for two full weekends, give them powerful tools, dangle a valuable prize, and ask them to come up with an idea for an industrial IoT product? This was an experiment masterminded by my dear friend from college days, Tahir Hussain, who heads a tech accelerator – Collide Village in the Dallas metroplex. And, it was executed just recently.
On a fall afternoon last year, Tahir told me about his hackathon idea and asked me to provide mentorship as well as to sponsor Zenseio IoT hardware for the event. He was lining up the leading IoT companies as partners and successful local businessmen/entrepreneurs as mentors. It sounded like an interesting idea, so I jumped on it without hesitation.Read More »IoT Hacking for a Greater Good and Profit
Researchers just published a startling discovery we’d never want to read about. It turns out that 100 Million Volkswagen vehicles sold since 1995 can be relatively easily hacked to open doors wirelessly without having the key.
It turns out 100 million vehicles used only a handful of private shared keys. Once a single private key is breached, millions of vehicles are compromised. The way cryptography based on Pre-Shared Key (PSK) works is that two devices (a vehicle and a key fob, in this case) share a secure private key that was programmed at a factory or at a dealership. This private cryptographic key, along with a rolling code are used for encrypted wireless transmission of authenticated commands to open/close doors.
Ever heard of the “epoch time”? I’m not talking here about history periods or geology. Epoch time is simply a standardized time and date reference used in UNIX and many other computers. It defines time, measured in seconds, starting from January 1, 1970 epoch. This is based on an arbitrary, somewhat historical epoch, but, what matters is that it is a commonly followed standard.Read More »IoT Epoch Time Disaster? Only Time Will Tell
- IoT Sensors include three fundamental functions: sensing, communication, and power supply, as well as additional functions: processing/system management and user interface
- IoT application is determined by the types of sensors, cloud connectivity, power sources, and (optionally) user interface used in an IoT sensor device
- It is possible to realize a variety of IoT applications with a single IoT sensor hardware platform by employing appropriate functional modularity and interface abstractions
- An application processor and well defined interfaces help abstract functions for versatility and ease of use
- Cost-effectiveness is very important for sensor devices
- In IoT, cost effectiveness is a system-level, not a component-level, optimization
- Full-custom versus semi-custom versus off-the-shelf hardware is an complex application-specific tradeoff to be made
- Hardware prototypes are far from deployment-ready
- IoT sensor productization is an often overlooked, complex, specialized task that drastically impacts time-to-market and cost
- “Hardware is hard” is not a cliché, especially for highly reliable industrial applications
- Security is critical for IoT
- End application defines security policy requirements
- Security is weak if device crypto key are not well protected in IoT devices
- Best-in-class security policies for IoT sensors are achieved with tamper-proof hardware crypto key management
- Easy to use or die
- Using off-the-shelf components/boards is mighty hard
- Ease of use needs to be matched to a user’s desire for flexibility
- Ease of use can be provided for by a system based on best proven, popular software frameworks