Innovative project shows how devices can communicate more securely

  • Date

    Thu 15 Nov 18


Encryption technology company Metrarc has shown that it is possible to strengthen the security of permissioned blockchain networks – which allow digital information to be distributed between networks without being copied.

The main aim of the £100,000, 12-month feasibility project, funded by Innovate UK, was to build upon the extensive experience at Metrarc, whose CEO is Professor Klaus McDonald-Maier, from the University of Essex’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.

The IMMENSE project focused on the company’s pioneering platform technology ICMetrics, which generates unique identifiers for electronic devices enabling secure encrypted communications between devices.

The project has built a technology model that can help improve the security of a specific type of blockchain called permissioned blockchains. In contrast to crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, permissioned blockchains are much more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Metrarc has created a model which successfully added a further layer of security which reduces this vulnerability to cyber-attacks dramatically.

Using the BT Research Cloud Platform, the company was able to ensure only authentic transactions could take place. These findings will be of particular interest for high value communications such as in the financial services.

The blockchain market is now established and is expected to grow significantly and aggressively over the next few years. The security element is a key enabler for that growth and effective strategies must be applied to that end.

Professor McDonald-Maier said: “The ability to detect the presence of compromised nodes in any permissioned blockchain application is important for security, this work has shown that the Trusted Ring approach works effectively with permissioned blockchain and therefore the potential impact of our work is enormous.”

Metrarc CTO Professor Gareth Howells added: “The focus of the company is to commercially exploit these results. The fact that many of the techniques we have developed for combining the measure features are generic in nature, gives rise to several other potential applications in distributed ledger technology. Such applications are experiencing a major growth area in terms of market opportunity at the current time.”