Internet of Things (IoT) software developer It’s Here announced the launch of a blockchain-enabled lock that purportedly prevents porch pirating.
According to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Jan. 7, the solution — dubbed IoTLock — is comprised of a software system and mobile decentralized application (DApp) that can turn any keypad-enabled device into blockchain-secured smart devices.
The document cites mailboxes, delivery boxes, and safes as examples of devices that can be upgraded with the solution. In the case of mailboxes, by allowing access only to authorized people such as package delivery couriers, the system would reportedly prevent porch pirating.
Porch pirating is a term used to describe the practice of stealing packages that were left in front of home doors after delivery. The phenomenon is quite widespread, with the 2019 package theft statistics report released by research firm C+R Research suggests that 36% of American consumers had a package stolen.
Blockchain enhancing IoT cybersecurity
The company is employing blockchain as a way to store and protect data while also allowing for authentication. Per the release, the IoT industry needs solutions to protect privacy and personal data from third parties and more robust security.
This claim is confirmed by reports of IoT devices being hacked, including a 2017 incident in which a vulnerability was discovered in a peacemaker, which would have allowed an attacker to inflict potentially fatal shocks. Also more peculiar instances, like smart fridges hacked to send spam email were reported.
The system uses a blockchain platform purpose-built for IoT solutions dubbed StreamIoT that uses IoT devices to store and manage data, authentication and privacy and is based on the BlockSafe blockchain-as-a-service solution. IoTLock reportedly allows for share access numbers with trusted people.
The dedicated mobile application is already available for Android devices. At the same time, the release of the iOS version is planned for the near future. StreamIoT co-founder Duane Jacobsen said:
“It’s Here […] is ready to help companies build locking products to secure all those Amazon and UPS deliveries as well as other valuable assets through this very unique software service.”
Blockchain and IoT
Blockchain is increasingly being combined with IoT technology, mostly in order to enhance security and reliability. In May last year, engineering and electronics manufacturer Bosch hinted it would take an active role in defending the openness of IoT against censorship. A press release published by the firm at the time noted about IoT and the Economy of Things:
“Distributed ledger technologies (DLT) such as blockchain may well become the key technology in these domains.”
In June 2019, Napster creator Shawn Fanning’s new company Helium released its IoT wireless hotspot devices with a blockchain-based incentives program. Such hotspots would provide wireless internet access and cover about 1/50 to 1/150 of a city. People hosting hotspots earn cryptocurrency by providing internet access.
Other major companies are investing in the space. For instance, in late May last year a unit of German telecommunication giant Deutsche Telekom announced that it will work with Binance-listed project Fetch.AI to develop decentralized IoT network innovations.