PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- TFA Labs has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and are combining Meadow and TFA Labs' Signed at Source (IoT-SaS), hardware to help modernize and secure the U.S. electrical grid. Together, they're building an IoT solution that provides strong blockchain-backed security that utilizes a public blockchain ledger to ensure immutable, tamper proof messaging as well as non-spoofable device identities generated by their proprietary hardware.
The opportunity to modernize and secure the U.S. power grid is enormous; much of it was built in the 1930s, long before connected networks and the security concerns that come with them. With Meadow and IoT-SaS, the grid can not only be brought up to date, but done so in a secure manner, providing uncompromisable command and control, secure messaging, and centralized management.
"This is a perfect use case for Meadow, and coupled with TFA Labs' unique blockchain hardware, it's a defense-grade, mathematically-secure solution that has a lot of surprising benefits," said Bryan Costanich, CEO of Wilderness Labs; the creators of Meadow.
Massive Threat Surface with Catastrophic Consequences
The U.S. electrical grid and supporting infrastructure is a major target for hackers not only because of its current lack of security, which provides a major threat surface, but also the ability to inflict catastrophic economic and industrial damage if compromised. Much of the equipment and control systems, some of which are nearly a century old, were never intended to be connected to public networks, yet due to the increasing need for operational automation and centralized control to respond to both changing demand and new power generation coming online, many old, insecure networks that operate the grid have glaring vulnerabilities.
Probes of the grid in 2016 (https://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-electric-grid-has-a-vulnerable-back-doorand-russia-walked-through-it-11547137112) were so blatant and successful, representing a major catastrophic opportunity, that in 2018, the U.S. Government took the unusual step of directly and publicly blaming the Russian Government for them.
Since then, the U.S. Department of Energy (the administration that oversees the power grid) has doubled down on efforts to not only secure the grid, but to modernize it in order to handle the needs of today's energy users, as well as producers; which is where Meadow and TFA-Labs IoT-SaS, hardware enabled, blockchain-based security come into play.
Meadow + TFA Labs, Signed at Source
TFA Labs won a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in June, and chose Meadow to be their primary IoT platform, specifically because of its .Net development story. Stuart Johnson, CTO, TFA Labs remarked; "I bought into the 'Write Once, Run Anywhere concept' in 2004 with Java. But the microcontrollers we worked with, never lived up to that promise, and it's taken another 15 years to finally get the device we had hoped for. Now you can take a Meadow board, and run full C#, .Net code, which not only has an abundance of open source libraries and business use, but you can actually share that code with your web, desktop, and mobile apps."
Beyond the ability to run Microsoft's open source .NET platform apps on a microcontroller, Meadow has several other key advantages; it's cloud managed and can be updated over the air, and because it's built on a microcontroller, it can integrate with, and drive industrial control systems, sensors, motors, and more.
"Meadow is a revolutionary step forward in humankind's technological progress; it's the first and only enterprise-grade IoT platform that actually makes IoT not only easy to build, but those solutions can be maintained, monitored, and managed in the field, without the need for physical access; a critical requirement of industrial solutions such as smart grid nodes," said Wilderness Labs' CEO, Bryan Costanich.
TFA Labs, IoT-SaS hardware was designed specifically for Meadow, and has a number of key features that augment Meadow applications with extra layers of security. First, it features onboard hardware-encrypted storage, which enables data to be cryptographically signed on the device, ensuring that the data is authentic and trusted. Next, IoT-SaS is built on blockchain technology, which means that the data itself can either be hashed or signed, and then added to the blockchain ledger, which provides the ability to validate not only the integrity of the data, making it immutable (and immune to man-in-the-middle attacks), but also provides a mathematical notification of the absence of data, providing the ability for reliable messaging. Finally, because of the nature of the blockchain ledger, it provides a completely auditible, trusted history, ensuring not only that known and trusted parties have created the data, but that history is preserved and verifiable.
Together, Meadow and IoT-SaS provide an all in one, enterprise IoT solution with defense-grade security.
Factom Blockchain Protocol Support
TFA Labs' IoT-SaS hardware supports multiple blockchain technologies, but has built-in support for the Factom blockchain protocol out of the box. Unlike other blockchain protocols, Factom was designed specifically for enterprise and government use cases, and has a number of features that make it especially useful in these scenarios. For instance, it's decoupled from cryptocurrency, meaning that users don't need to own any Factom currency to use it. It also has a fixed data cost of $0.001/kb, which provides a predictable and transparent budgeting process for its use. Additionally, it can be used in both public and private-permissioned blockchains, enabling it to be taken advantage of within the context of private networks. Finally, Factom allows each device to manage it's own ledger, enabling thin blockchain clients (also known as light nodes), which are designed specifically for IoT use cases.
Because of these advantages, Factom is currently used by organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Advantages Beyond the Grid
While the Meadow and IoT-SaS solutions is perfect for modernization and securitization of the public grid, it also provides advantages beyond that. Together, they can be used in any IoT use case where defense-grade security is needed, and both Wilderness Labs and TFA Labs look forward to bringing customized IoT applications to industrial systems the world over.
About Wilderness Labs
Founded in 2016, Wilderness Labs is the creator of Meadow. For more information, you can find them at http://www.wildernesslabs.co.
SOURCE Wilderness Labs