Silicon Valley, Calif.-based open-source platform IoTeX wants to extend the concept of the Internet of Things and bring its vision alive for the Internet of Trusted Things. And it is using the blockchain to bring privacy to your security.
Hacks of internet-connected devices such as Ring and Nest have made consumers increasingly wary of adequate security due to insufficient emphasis on security and privacy for these types of devices
It has partnered with Shenzen, China-based specialist camera manufacturer Tenvis to co-develop the Ucam security camera.
The Ucam applies blockchain, end-to-end encryption, and edge computing technology so that users can own, control, and share the videos captured by their Ucam to guarantee that access to their camera is impossible.
With Ucam, all computing is done locally on the Ucam device or the user’s mobile phone, removing the need for centralized servers. When in transit, data is end-to-end encrypted using a blockchain private key that is owned exclusively by the user and impossible to crack.
This is in contrast to most devices and apps today, where logins and relevant processing are done on a centralized server where all user data is decrypted and potentially visible to anyone who can access the server.
Corporations having access to our decrypted data is a huge risk to our privacy, which is magnified when that data contains real-time footage inside our homes.
The blockchain is not used to store any Ucam videos but is used for three core purposes: Secure login, verifiable privacy, and video sharing. A weak 8-character password takes a few hours to crack, a strong 10-char password takes a decade, while a blockchain private key takes 10^24 years.
Ucam’s user-owned, uncrackable private key, prevents the two most common types of camera hacks today: brute force password hacks and cross-pollination of data breaches (i.e., your credentials are breached by Company X, bought off the dark web, and used to hack your account at Company Y).
The camera uses a combination of blockchain, edge computing, and end-to-end encryption to ensure privacy for users using verifiable technology.
In addition to serving as secure login, the Ucam owner’s private key which is only by the owner is used as the encryption key to end-to-end encrypt all user videos.
The only encryption key is owned/known exclusively by them. The only person that can grant access to the device/videos is the Ucam owner, which is an authorization facilitated by the blockchain in a peer-to-peer manner.
When videos are in-transit between a users’ Ucam or phone or stored on a local SD card or cloud storage, all videos are end-to-end encrypted with the user’s private key. If intercepted in-transit or storage is breached, nobody can decrypt the files.
Ucam is powered by the IoTeX platform, which was built from scratch starting in 2017 by engineers from Google, Uber, Facebook, Intel, and Bosch. The IoTeX blockchain is open-source and managed by 60+ decentralized Delegates, including Blockfolio, CoinGecko, and DraperDragon.
The foundational blockchain layer maintains users’ accounts and records all transactions and blocks related to the physical assets. IoTeX adds IoT-oriented middleware, services, and dev-tools to make it easier to build full-stack solutions.
The IoTeX blockchain claims to be ‘ultra-fast’ with 5-sec blocks with instant finality, modular (pluggable IoT components), and scalable.
The Ucam, now available on Amazon, is certainly a new application of blockchain technology. In this case, the blockchain is used for encryption and storage of security credentials – not to store data on-chain.
I think that more and more vendors that have absolutely got to guarantee the security of their applications will move to blockchain-based models for storing their details.
The challenge will then be to remember how to access the devices if you forget your password or pass-phrase. There is no way to get it back.