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Industrial IoT (IIoT) is critical for industrial infrastructure modernization and digitalization. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to provide adequate protection of the IIoT system. A modern IIoT system usually consists of a large number of devices that are deployed in multiple locations and owned/managed by different entities who do not fully trust each other. These features make it harder to manage the system in a coherent manner and utilize existing security mechanisms to offer adequate protection. The emerging blockchain technology provides a powerful tool for IIoT system management and protection because the IIoT nature of distributed deployment and involvement of multiple stakeholders fits the design philosophy of blockchain well. Most existing blockchain construction mechanisms are not scalable enough and too heavy for an IIoT system. One promising way to overcome these limitations is utilizing hardware based trusted execution environment (TEE) in the blockchain construction. However, most of existing works on this direction do not consider the characteristics of IIoT devices (e.g., fixed functionality and limited supply) and face several limitations when they are applied for IIoT system management and protection, such as high energy consumption, single root-of-trust, and low decentralization level. To mitigate these challenges, we propose a novel field programmable gate array (FPGA) based blockchain system. It leverages the FPGA to build a simple but efficient TEE for IIoT devices, and removes the single root-of-trust by allowing all stakeholders to participate in the management of the devices. The FPGA based blockchain system shifts the computation/storage intensive part of blockchain management to more powerful computers but still involves the IIoT devices in the block construction to achieve a high level of decentralization. We implement the major FPGA components of the design and evaluate the performance of the whole system with a simulation tool to demonstrate its feasibility for IIoT applications.


Forthcoming in the 19th IEEE International Conference on Trust, Security and Privacy in Computing and Communications (IEEE TrustCom 2020) conference proceedings.

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19th IEEE International Conference on Trust, Security and Privacy in Computing and Communications (IEEE TrustCom 2020)





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