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BLOCKCHAIN-BASED CONFIRMATION OF ENDPOINT STATE IN NETWORKS

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000249852D
Publication Date: 2017-Apr-18
Document File: 4 page(s) / 178K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Maik Seewald: AUTHOR

Abstract

Software state and posture assessment of endpoints are important for the security of a system, especially in Industrial Internet of Things networks. With blockchain technologies, the state of any single node/endpoint in the system is distributed and transparent. Based on this information, endpoints can make decisions, such as access control, autonomously without any central component.

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Copyright 2017 Cisco Systems, Inc. 1

BLOCKCHAIN-BASED CONFIRMATION OF ENDPOINT STATE IN NETWORKS

AUTHORS: Maik Seewald

CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.

ABSTRACT

Software state and posture assessment of endpoints are important for the security

of a system, especially in Industrial Internet of Things networks. With blockchain

technologies, the state of any single node/endpoint in the system is distributed and

transparent. Based on this information, endpoints can make decisions, such as access

control, autonomously without any central component.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Endpoint security is an essential building block of security in industrial control

networks (e.g., Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)). IIoT is a network that includes a

controller and related microprocessor-based devices capable of processing and hosting

blockchain technology. One aspect of endpoint security is the endpoint state regarding the

software installed and running on it. This can comprise firmware, operating systems, and

applications software. The term “patch management” is used in this context.

Furthermore, the state (e.g., version) of anti-malware software is another aspect to

be assessed. Based on the endpoint state and the underlying policies, several decisions can

be made within an IIoT network and system: access control in general, granularity of access

(e.g., restricted, unrestricted), etc. Endpoint security related to software state is important

to address in the scope of network and system security. Common threats are often caused

by vulnerabilities in software installations. It is essential to enforce policies regarding patch

and software management in order to prevent and/or contain threats.

A blockchain is provided that contains software status information in a system (e.g.,

IIoT network) for blockchain-based endpoint state confirmation. The system includes the

following features:

1. An IIoT network that connects a number of IIoT endpoints (e.g., embedded

devices).

Copyright 2017 Cisco Systems, Inc. 2

2. IIoT endpoints with an identity known to the other endpoints installed in the

network. In the example of Figure 1 below, these are IIoT endpoints A and B. In

addition to connectivity and other application-related use cases, the endpoints may

perform software management. In this case, any update information is sent to the

software management component (SMC) for verification. Each IoT endpoint stores

a current copy of the blockchain that contains the software status of all endpoints

in the network as blocks.

3. A SMC that defines the software status for the endpoints in an IoT network based

on a policy. The status may include levels such as fully compliant (100%) or partly

compliant. The level reflects the status that the software on the IoT endpoint should

have, and is encoded and stored in the blockchain implementation, which functions

like a distributed database. The SMC can update (patch) or trigger the update of the

software on the IoT endpoints in the network and stor...