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Posts Tagged ‘IoT apps

By 2020, more than 24 billion internet-connected devices will be installed globally — that’s more than 4 devices for every human on earth.

The Internet of Things first reached users on PCs. Then it migrated to smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and TVs.

This growth surely brings several benefits, as it will change the way people fulfill everyday tasks and potentially change the world. Having a smart home is undoubtedly cool and will amaze your guests, but smart lighting can also reduce overall energy consumption and lower your electric bill.

New developments would allow connected cars to link up with smart city infrastructure to create an entirely different ecosystem for the driver, who is simply used to the traditional way of getting from Point A to Point B. And there are many other examples of positive changes IoT may bring to our lifes.
But with all of these benefits comes risk, as the increase in connected devices gives hackers and cyber criminals more entry points.

Late last year, a group of hackers took down a power grid in a region of western Ukraine to cause the first blackout from a cyber attack. And this is likely just the beginning, as these hackers are looking for more ways to strike critical infrastructure, such as power grids, hydroelectric dams, chemical plants, and more.
 

 
What is already being done to Secure The IoT?

The great thing about IoT security is that previously ignored, it has now become an issue of high concern, even at the federal government level. Several measures are already being taken to gap holes and prevent security breaches at the device level, and efforts are being led to tackle major disasters before they come to pass.

Now security firms and manufacturers are joining ranks to help secure the IoT world before it spins out of control. IT giant Microsoft has started taking measures and has promised to add BitLocker encryption and Secure Boot technology to the Windows 10 IoT, their operating system for IoT devices and platforms such as the Raspberry Pi.

BitLocker is an encryption technology that can code entire disk volumes, and it has been featured in Windows operating systems since the Vista edition. This can be crucial to secure on-device data. Secure Boot is a security standard developed by members of the PC industry to help make sure that your PC boots using only software that is trusted by the PC manufacturer. Its implementation can prevent device hijacking.

The IoT security issue has also given rise to new alliances. A conglomeration of leading tech firms, including Vodafone, founded the Internet of Things Security Foundation, a non-profit body that will be responsible for vetting Internet-connected devices for vulnerabilities and flaws and will offer security assistance to tech providers, system adopters and end users.

Other companies are working on setting up platforms that will enable large networks of IoT devices to identify and authenticate each other in order to provide higher security and prevent data breaches.

 
What should we know to protect ourselves and minimize risks of hacking attacks?

Security must be addressed throughout the device lifecycle, from the initial design to the operational environment:

1. Secure booting: When power is first introduced to the device, the authenticity and integrity of the software on the device is verified using cryptographically generated digital signatures. In much the same way that a person signs a check or a legal document, a digital signature attached to the software image and verified by the device ensures that only the software that has been authorized to run on that device, and signed by the entity that authorized it, will be loaded. The foundation of trust has been established, but the device still needs protection from various run-time threats and malicious intentions.

2. Device authentication: When the device is plugged into the network, it should authenticate itself prior to receiving or transmitting data. Deeply embedded devices often do not have users sitting behind keyboards, waiting to input the credentials required to access the network. How, then, can we ensure that those devices are identified correctly prior to authorization? Just as user authentication allows a user to access a corporate network based on user name and password, machine authentication allows a device to access a network based on a similar set of credentials stored in a secure storage area.

3. Firewalling and IPS: The device also needs a firewall or deep packet inspection capability to control traffic that is destined to terminate at the device.

4. Updates and patches: Once the device is in operation, it will start receiving hot patches and software updates. Software updates and security patches must be delivered in a way that conserves the limited bandwidth and intermittent connectivity of an embedded device and absolutely eliminates the possibility of compromising functional safety.

What is evident is that the IoT will play an important role in our lives in the near future, and its security is one of the major issues that must be addressed via active participation by the entire global tech community. Next several years will show whether all of the innovations will revolutionize the world or will bring us to a new era of digital insecurity and chaos. Time will tell.

 

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Yana Khaidukova

Business Development Manager

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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

Internet of Things(IoT) is extremely broad phrase, and can mean a great many different things. But it does not change the fact that each day more and more devices all over the world are being connected to the Internet. At that rate, Internet of Things (IoT) development projects are gaining popularity to say the least.

It is definitely the trend. This brings up a question: what programming languages are the most popular for IoT project? Well, according to the Eclipse Foundation survey, Java, JavaScript, C, and Python are the top four programming choices for developers who are building IoT solutions. Let’s look into them!

Java

Though some people question the use of Java in IoT it is not surprising to see Java as being the most popular among developers who are working on IoT solutions. The practicality of the statement “write once, run anywhere” still predetermines the choice in a great measure.

Java advantages are apparent. It is an object-oriented and platform independent language. Thus coding and debugging can be done on desktop and moved to any chip with a Java Virtual Machine afterwards. Therefore code can be run not only on places where JVMs are common (servers and smartphones), but also on the smallest machines. Minimum hardware dependency is a huge plus. This also means that Java is great from an economic standpoint: devotion to Java coding can pay back across various platforms.

Besides, by now Java has attracted an active community of millions software developers and is being taught as one of the primary programming languages in the majority of engineering degree programs. Consequently, finding someone skilled in Java programming should not constitute a problem.

Last but not the least, maturity and stability of this language make it even more attractive. When there are devices that are going to be remotely managed and provisioned for a long period of time, Java’s stability and care about backwards compatibility become important.

It should be taken into consideration thought that your choice of IoT platform should support Java. You should make sure available hardware support libraries should have control functions according to your requirements too.

Javascript

Combining some knowledge from other languages JavaScript has not only proven itself worthy on both the client and server side of the web, but it also has a huge potential in the growing Internet of Things domain.

The main difference between Javascript and Java is that JavaScript is a scripting language that has a range of existing libraries, plugins, and APIs, and many of them can be used to create complicated IoT apps easier and faster. Instead of building a range of new libraries and plugins, developers are free to reuse and further develop existing solutions around the web for absolutely new implementations.

Remarkably, applications that listen for events and respond when events occur are a strength of a JavaScript. Effective and secure communications and interactivity are of paramount importance in the IoT, and there are great systems for dealing with requests and events. For example, Socket.io maintains an open connection between the server and the browser and thus enables the server to push updates to the browser as they happen. This gives you a chance to see the changes in the IoT network without a page refresh. By providing real time event based communication across multiple devices Socket.io really comes in handy.

Additionally, much of the Internet is built on JavaScript and huge portion of the web functionality is enabled through JavaScript. Connecting up the web to our IoT devices and using the language that web pages and web apps already speak lead to simplicity in management.

It’s important to mention however, that Javascript would be a bad choice for lightweight embedded controllers.


C

Created to program the telephone switches C programming language has almost monopolized embedded systems programming. Its proximity to machine language makes it impressively fast.

C can create compact and faster runtime code. Still it should be noted that runtime speed isn’t the primary aspect of development to consider. Development speed should also be takes into account (and other languages may be much more efficient in that).

Another vote for stems from the fact that majority of the modern languages follow the syntax of C, which means that it is easy to learn and effective in accomplishing advanced tasks.

As both completing complex tasks and finding developers with extensive experience in C is relatively easy, its applicability to IoT projects speaks for itself.

Still, there are some drawbacks of C that make it less preferred in today’s development world, e.g. poor data security and no run time checking mechanism.

Python

Although Python originally is widely chosen for Web development, it has significantly gained popularity in the IoT coding arena for the past few years. Such huge advantages as its flexibility, writability, error reduction, and readability contributed to that greatly. Distribution of compact executable code is easy. Working in programming teams is easy. Known as organized and neat, its elegant syntax is great for database arrangement. Sure, Python is a good choice for building applications that take data, convert it into any sort of a database format and draw upon the tables for control information. Python also has libraries for all 3 main IoT protocols such as TCP/IP, Bluetooth and NFC.

Additionally, IoT projects involve lots of data analytics and Python has rich modules for that.

Finally, major IoT hardware platforms and micro-controllers, e.g. Arduino, Raspberry PI, Intel Galileo, are enabled for interactive communication through Python.

Probably, the main problem for Python is its runtime speed, especially in comparison to C. Still there is a number of ways to optimize the code so it runs more efficiently.

Steady increase in popularity of Python for IoT is evident.

So which programming language is the best for IoT?

No definite answer, guys… All the above languages influence the IoT space up to an extent. However, the preference of language today depends on the end use of the app, product or service you want to create. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

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Alexandra Presniatsova

Business Development Manager

E-mail: Alex.Presniatsova@altabel.com
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altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com


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