Identity of Things

At a glance

The Identity of Things clearly identifies all devices on the Internet of Things: The machines and things from the network must not only be accessible by means of a unique address, but should also be able to prove their identity unambiguously at any time.

IAM systems also for the Internet of Things

IAM systems (Identity Access Management Systems) help to manage identities and access rights within a network (e.g. in a company). They can be used, for example, to manage the authentication of individual subscribers or provide options for monitoring access. These features are also interesting for IoT applications: In order to guarantee the security and integrity of the systems, all participants in a network of people and communicating machines and sensors must be authorized as well as legitimized to access them. Every networked device, whether vehicle, machine, robot or sensor, must also have its own unique identity, which can be verified beyond doubt by all participants - this is the only way to prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands or applications from being manipulated by an attacker. Using a public key infrastructure, each transaction can be digitally signed and encrypted to protect it from manipulation and unauthorized access.

Identities for Things

In very simple or uncritical scenarios, it may not even be necessary for every single thing on the Internet of Things to have its own identity. Especially with applications that are aimed at end customers and are usually not very complex, there is often only a low security risk. But wherever protection against manipulation is required or transactions must be traceable and binding, there is no way around the Identity of Things. If, for example, financial transactions, business data worth protecting or scenarios in which the security of persons could be endangered are involved, the identity of the interaction partners must be carefully checked. The more independent a device works - in other words, the more intelligent and autonomous it can act - the more complex its identity becomes. Complex resources therefore have to be managed in a similar way to people. In addition, identities may have to be context-sensitive or only valid for a limited time period. For example, there could be scenarios in which an object needs access to certain resources under specific conditions that it is normally not allowed to access.