MIT develops low-power high-speed chips for IoT security

MIT chip performs hardwired encryption faster and using less power.

MIT researchers have hardwired public-key encryption into a new chip for IoT devices. It uses 1/400 of the power of software execution, one tenth of the memory, and executes 500 times faster. 

From data breaches to weaponised devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been plagued with security issues. In part, this is down to hardware manufacturers implementing security as an afterthought, along with a lack of standardisation.

But it’s also true that building a low-power network of connected devices will remain challenging while encryption is so energy intensive.

Sensitive data transactions are usually protected by public-key cryptography. This type of encryption allows computers to transfer information securely without needing to establish a secret encryption key.

However, the software responsible for executing these protocols is both memory and energy intensive. The battery life trade-off required for embedded sensors and smart devices to run has long been a burden on development.

Read more: Virtuosys launches Edge Application Platform

Energy-efficient encryption for the IoT

But that could be about to change. Researchers from MIT have developed a chip that’s hardwired to execute public-key encryption.

It uses a tiny fraction of power (1/400) compared with software execution of the same protocols, and just ten percent of the memory. Better still, MIT’s new chip executes the encryption process 500 times faster.

The new chip relies on a technique called elliptic-curve encryption. The process uses mathematical functions to secure transactions. Previously, chips have been hardwired to handle specific elliptic curves or families of curves. MIT’s latest chip has been developed to work with any elliptic curve.

“Cryptographers are coming up with curves with different properties, and they use different primes,” said Utsav Banerjee, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, and lead author on the paper.

“There is a lot of debate regarding which curve is secure and which curve to use, and there are multiple governments with different standards coming up that talk about different curves. With this chip, we can support all of them, and hopefully, when new curves come along in the future, we can support them as well.”

The researchers will present a paper on the new chip at this week’s International Solid-State Circuits Conference.

Internet of Business says

This is merely the latest innovation from MIT to focus on reducing the energy consumption of intelligent systems, while increasing their power and speed. Our separate report today looks at its work with neural networks. Energy use, cost, and speed are the critical elements in developing sustainable IoT devices and services that can really deliver on their promise.

Read more: NEWSBYTE: ARM launches scalable chips for IoT machine learning

Read more: Dell Technologies unveils new IoT strategy in New York

Read more: MIT’s NanoMap helps drones to navigate safely at high speed

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Internet of Business

Digital Biotech: TetraScience develops IoT platform for R&D

IoT platform for R&D

At a company called TetraScience, an IoT platform for R&D has been developed to connect lab equipment, take research to the cloud, and drive the development of what the company calls ‘Digital Biotech’.

Research labs are geared towards expanding the frontiers of their industry. They are in many ways at the forefront of human ingenuity and scientific endeavour. It’s somewhat surprising, therefore, that research and development facilities, particularly in the world of biotech, haven’t been quicker to integrate the IoT into their processes.

For years, researchers have leant on little-altered tools for recording and sharing their findings. Now, an IoT platform for R&D, created by TetraScience, aims to change this by connecting lab equipment to the cloud, for more efficient and accurate research.

The startup was co-founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate Siping Wang, alongside former Harvard University post-docs Salvatore Savo and Alok Tayi. Wang was recently named in Forbes 30 Under 30 list of innovators and it is easy to see why.

Read more: Australian researchers partner with Huawei for smart healthcare

TetraScience’s IoT platform for R&D

The company’s data integration platform can connect disparate types of lab equipment, and their associated software, and aggregate that information on the cloud. Researchers can then monitor, mange and automate their experiments remotely. This streamlines processes that have historically taken up valuable time and resources, and eases data collection and collaboration.

“Software and hardware systems [in labs] cannot communicate with each other in a consistent way,” said Wang, in a MIT report. “Data flows through systems in a very fragmented manner and there are a lot of siloed data sets [created] in the life sciences. Humans must manually copy and paste information or write it down on paper, [which] is a lengthy manual process that’s error prone.”

Over 60 major pharmaceutical and biotech firms have adopted the platform (including more than half of the world’s top 20 such companies), as well as labs at MIT and Harvard, becoming what TetraScience refers to a Digital Biotech companies. These corporations are data-driven, agile, and collaborate externally.

“Our technology is establishing a ‘data highway’ system between different entities, software and hardware, within life sciences labs. We make facilitating data seamless, faster, more accurate, and more efficient,” said Wang.

Read more: Clinical mobility set to transform hospital stays, survey finds

Moving beyond the lab

During his research as an undergraduate (working in the Cornell Semiconducting RF Lab on high-energy physics research), Wang was hampered by the time and effort required to manually record data, so he developed a system that connected and controlled multiple instruments.

At the scale of a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company, where instruments and their different software can number in the hundreds, the benefits of an IoT platform are even more stark. Not only does TetraScience eliminate much of the busywork of recording data in multiple locations, it also cuts out the risk of human error that comes with this process.

This goes beyond data recording too. Notable Labs uses TetraScience Monitoring throughout its lab, where they carry out research on live patient tumor samples, in the search for effective drug combinations.

When an outside lab technician tripped over a power cord and failed to notice they had unplugged an incubator, bioengineer Transon Nyugen was immediately notified by the IoT platform (via email and text) that there was a critical change in the incubator’s environmental conditions.

“If we hadn’t caught that the incubator had been unplugged, our entire screen would have failed due to the sample being compromised,” emphasized Transon. “This could have directly compromised our research. Live patient samples are precious and we couldn’t just go back to the oncologist and ask for another one.”

The platform also has potential uses beyond the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Sectors that similarly rely on tightly controlled and monitored processes, such as oil and gas, brewing and chemistry, would also benefit from the control and efficiency gains offered by TetraScience.

Read more: New digital healthcare advances come to US hospitals

The post Digital Biotech: TetraScience develops IoT platform for R&D appeared first on Internet of Business.

Internet of Business

Private messaging iPhone app Confide develops screenshot-defeating ‘ScreenShield’

Article Image

Secure messaging app Confide has come up with a way to prevent messages appearing in its iOS app from being captured in a screenshot, with the firm also offering its ‘ScreenShield’ technology in a development kit to help keep messages and other content protected in other apps.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

MetaX Develops Ads.txt Plus, Powered by adChain and adToken

This week, MMW learned that MetaX, a blockchain technology company driving development and adoption of open platforms for digital advertising and the creator of the adChain protocol and adToken (ADT), has brought the existing IAB Tech Lab ads.txt utility to the Ethereum blockchain, resulting in Ads.txt Plus.

Ads.txt Plus is hailed as being “one of the first open source decentralized applications (DApps) for digital advertising. It is now available in beta on the Ethereum Rinkeby testnet.”

Ads.txt is an IAB Tech Lab project aimed towards transparency within the inventory supply chain of the programmatic advertising industry.

Since ads.txt is a public webserver file, the company says it makes it easier for buyers to identify authentic publisher inventory.

“Ads.txt was a great leap forward for the digital advertising community,” said MetaX Chief Revenue Officer, Alanna Gombert. “As members of the IAB Tech Lab Blockchain Working Group, we decided to give back to the community and build Ads.txt Plus, an open source version built on Ethereum. This is part of our greater mission to encourage honesty, integrity and communication within the advertising industry.”

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