Human Vs. machine, Atoms Vs. bits; this changes in how people communicate, connect with machines, and discover the world of things are carrying incredible technologies to Digital market. We are now beginning the era of “Digital Darwinism”.
“Era where technology , society and operation models are evolving faster than businesses can adapt.”
Firstly thanks for your time and this chance to talk about the Streembit project through this interview.
Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. In 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day.
From your perspective; what are the most important challenges facing this promising market?
Probably, the most important challenges are security and the infrastructure cost to run the devices. The infrastructure cost is related with addressing scalability and high availability requirements. The industry is lack of security standards and secure solutions. Cloud based solutions that can scale and capable to manage tens of thousands of devices will be expensive. Decentralized, peer-to-peer systems exclude costly client-server and cloud solutions from the ecosystem. This could dramatically reduce cost. At the same time P2P systems can provide a robust security.
What do you expect for IoT security challenges ? How can we decrease this security gaps?
To manage authentication, access control and data integrity for IoT use cases are challenges. We work actively in the W3C Web of Things standardization process to create open standards to address these requirements. Privacy and who owns the data are also issues. Ideally the end users should own the data and privacy – that is a fundamental human rights – should be respected. Using cloud based, client-server solutions the data is not fully own by the end user. Also, lack of privacy and spying on users’ communication is an issue when the system is a cloud based, client-server solution.
What is StreemBit project ? (the Open Source Project) And what problems are you trying to solve?
Conventional, centralized, client-server communication systems have a single point of failure. If the server component fails the clients are unable to communicate presenting teams and organizational structures with severe problems caused by outage. Load balancing and clustering employed in data centers across geographical locations does not solve this problem. Internal sabotage (for example from “Insider Attack”) or an external attack (for example from cyber criminals or business competitors) can take down all servers in all data centers across the geographical locations rendering the network useless. Another major issue with centralized, client-server communication systems is the need for addressing the expensive scalability and high availability business requirements.
Scalability requirements mean that the communication system should be able to handle large numbers of users at any point in time and certainly in times of crisis. High availability requirements mean that the communication system must be available and usable all of the time. Addressing scalability and high availability business requirements in the centralized, client-server domain results in complex systems and larger computer infrastructure raising both the cost and the number of potentially vulnerable connections/endpoints. Therefore, complex systems and large computer infrastructure naturally increase the problem of securing and monitoring the system.
To solve the problems of conventional centralized, client-server communication systems, we have created a novel software system known as StreemBit. StreemBit is an open source, secure, decentralized, peer-to-peer communication system to protect the real-time communication of humans and machines. StreemBit allows completely decentralized, secure, peer-to-peer (P2P) communication between: 1. humans and humans 2. humans and machines, and 3. machines to machines (M2M) in a peer-to-peer manner without using any centralized, cloud-based or client-server infrastructure.
The secure communication channels and functions are:
- Video & audio calls
- Video broadcasting from IoT connected camera devices (CCTV cameras, drones, etc.)
- Text chat
- File sharing
- Data streaming between humans, machines or both
The application is a distributed ledger and as such it is capable to store any type of information and data structure. The block chain and smart contract elements of the system performs auditable transactions using a Turing complete smart contract engine.
Open source means that the security is verifiable by anyone, including security experts, cryptographers and users rather than being closed and proprietary. We claim the current StreemBit application – that uses a Kademlia Distributed Hash Table – is more secure than any conventional, client-server communication system. Compared to proprietary solutions, using StreemBit security experts and software engineers can audit the code and verify the claims made by the vendor about whether the software really performs as intended. With proprietary, closed source solutions this isn’t possible.
What about commercial usage of this project ?
Commercial use cases can utilize Streembit in several ways. The project is fully open source and any organization can build a secure IoT solution top on the existing source code. The source code even can be forked to create a completely new project for the particular use case. Also, to speed up development and integration the developers of Streembit can provide technical and software development support.
Image: Tibor and Joachim decentralized video call over P2P, “Mr. Watson–come here–I want to see you.”
Can you tell us about the StreemBit roadmap?
The Roadmap of StreemBit is available at http://streembit.github.io/roadmap. The most important item in the roadmap is the mobile device client. We plan to release soon an Android and iPhone application for StreemBit.
For healthcare Sector; How can StreemBit help this critical sector?
By ensuring the solution is secure and scale. As we discussed earlier to address security and scalability are challenges. A P2P system can be a viable alternative to address security and scalability.
As you know Healthcare sector becoming target for cyber attacks. Can StreemBit reduce the impact of these attacks and secure patients data?
Absolutely. Streembit is open source and therefore it can be verified that there is no backdoor in the system. That means one of the common attacks, the insider attack that uses backdoors can be eliminated. The system is end-to-end encrypted between humans and devices. There is no central server component in the communication which reduces further the options of an attacker. We uses ECC with recommended curves, ECDH and 256-bit symmetric encryption. The combination of these cryptography methods results in a strong cryptography implementation.
Finally can you share more information about StreemBit project (Eg.. Web link , Installation guide and contact info)?
Or website is hosted at Github http://streembit.github.io/. Blogs and a white paper are published there. We have a forum where users discuss how to configure and use the system https://gitter.im/streembit/how_to_use. For developers we have a Google group at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/streembit-dev. Please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any more questions.
Valbonne Consulting provides Research & Consulting for emerging technologies in Internet/Web of Things (WoT/IoT/M2M) and Emerging-Tech. We specialise in decentralisation, security and privacy. We work across a variety of traditional industry verticals (Telecommunications, Automotive, Energy, ...). We support Open Source and technologies built on open standards.
Amgad Magdy is a Healthcare IT Security Researcher and editor and blogger for several emerging technology magazines and websites in the Middle East and North Africa. His current research focuses is on cyber warfare (Bit Era) and Healthcare systems cyber threats.