University of Twente Student Theses


Lightweight Public Key Infrastructure for IoT

Beune, P.F. (2023) Lightweight Public Key Infrastructure for IoT.

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Abstract:The term Internet of Things (IoT) refers to real-world physical objects that have sensors, computing power, and software that may communicate to other systems and devices over the Internetto exchange data. Such devices can greatly improve the quality of life of its users. For example,voice-controlled devices can allow visually and/or mobility impaired people to control home appliances. Nevertheless, the field of IoT has numerous security challenges that need to be addressed.Researchers have reported various attacks against the confidentiality, integrity, and availability ofIoT devices. Additionally, because these IoT devices come in such large numbers, they are a veryattractive target for adversaries. Most of these security challenges can be solved by making use ofcryptographic tools, one of which is Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Public Key Infrastructure isa suite of soft- and hardware that enables computer systems to control public-key encryption. Thegoal of a PKI is to make it easier to transfer information securely over the internet and to verifythe identities of the parties involved in the transmission. Unfortunately, IoT vendors have beensluggish to embrace PKI for technical and financial reasons. For example, because of the natureof traditional PKI, the architecture introduces a single point of failure. This is an issue especiallyimportant in IoT, as the large number of devices introduce a large attack surface. Furthermore,because of the resource-constrained nature of IoT devices, the traditional cryptographic tools willhave severe performance limitations when executed on regular IoT hardware. This thesis aims to address the aforementioned issues by researching the academic landscape regarding PKI for IoT, in order to identify issues and opportunities in designing such a tailored PKI.Furthermore, we introduce a decentralized lightweight PKI system that makes use of lightweightcryptography and certificates, and is thus suited for computationally limited IoT devices. Moreover, because of the decentralized architecture of this novel PKI system, the architecture scaleswell and is thus especially fitting for IoT devices. We not only find that it is feasible to implementa PKI for IoT, but that this PKI, in some aspects, performs better than existing PKIs in theliterature.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:54 computer science
Programme:Computer Science MSc (60300)
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