Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

1NCE and Ubirch put blockchain on SIM card

Steve Rogerson
February 11, 2020

German companies 1NCE and Ubirch are implementing blockchain security technology on SIM cards.
Blockchain-anchoring security specialist Ubirch, the provider of G+D Mobile security technologies, is working with tier-one IoT carrier 1NCE to release an IoT security service. This can be used with 1NCE’s IoT SIM cards, combining the security standards of cellular and blockchain technology.
From next month, 1NCE IoT SIM cards can be configured with Ubirch’s security technology right from the start. The Ubirch offering seals sensor data directly at its source – on the SIM chip itself – and not after it has been stored in a blockchain in the cloud.
Data packets that have been sealed this way can be verified whenever they are being processed later in any cloud or IT-systems, allowing for automated, data-driven architectures across supply-chains such as in insurance, healthcare, logistics and smart grids.
This offering is based on the enterprise-grade customer proven Signit from G+D Mobile Security. It combines proven SIM environments and secure operating systems with blockchain technology from Ubirch. Signit is already used by enterprises such as Lufthansa Industry for transport damage detection.
Ubirch has developed a trust protocol, which ensures that data from IoT sensors cannot be falsified after their creation. The data packets of sensors are sealed and chained with strong cryptography in a way that it becomes technically impossible to manipulate them once stored in a blockchain.
This combination of offering blockchain on a SIM including managed connectivity is said to be unique and the first of its kind. Users such as Deutsche Messe appreciate this, as Marcus Eibach, 5G project director said: “IoT data will be the core of our future business models while we are transforming into a fully connected smart venue here in Hanover. It’s good to see that technologies like the blockchain on a SIM card are available now and will help to deploy secure devices at scale.”
The offering works like a blockchain that starts right from the source of data-creation – the IoT sensor. IoT data are sealed by a private key that sits on the SIM card. In the backend these micro-certificates are then stored in a so-called Merkle tree and anchored in public blockchains, thus creating an immutable and irrefutable record of that sensor.
As the protocol is bidirectional, an IoT sensor can also verify incoming packets for authenticity and integrity, providing efficient protection against unauthorised commands or unknown sources.
The benefits for users could be huge as IoT data can be verified whenever they are processed or new data-driven business models such as smart contract insurances can be deployed. Prevention of major hacking attacks such as man-in-the-middle or packet duplication and suppression is also built-in, as only verifiable packets are processed.
“With our constantly growing customer base of more than 2300, we know exactly what IoT customers need,” said Kim Juchem, COO at 1NCE. “Security is one of the key features especially enterprise customers demand. By embedding the Ubirch nano client right on our 1NCE IoT SIM card, we further push the boundaries of what is possible in easy to use international cellular IoT connectivity. This is a giant leap forward, that demonstrates once again how disruptive collaboration between leading industry players can be.”
Stephan Noller, CEO of Ubirch, added: “Transforming IoT into profitable business is clearly about two things – security and scaling. With this exciting cooperation we can offer a breakthrough for both. The best in class IoT connectivity combined with the leading IoT security. We believe that this offering will re-define how businesses will think about IoT.”
A detailed demonstration of the 1NCE SIM cards with Ubirch’s encryption firmware will be live during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month on stand CS60.