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Blockchain as a mean to secure Internet of Things ecosystems – a systematic literature review
Journal of Enterprise Information Management  (IF5.396),  Pub Date : 2021-08-02, DOI: 10.1108/jeim-12-2020-0533
Mazen El-Masri, Eiman Mutwali Abdelmageed Hussain

Purpose

Blockchain is evolving to become a platform for securing Internet of things (IoT) ecosystems. Still, challenges remain. The purpose of this literature review is to highlight the applicability of blockchain as a medium to secure IoT ecosystems. A two-dimensional framework anchored on (1) IoT layers and (2) security goals is used to organize the existent IoT security threats and their corresponding countermeasures identified in the reviewed literature. The framework helped in mapping the IoT security threats with the inherent features of blockchain and accentuate their prominence to IoT security.

Design/methodology/approach

An approach integrating computerized natural language processing (NLP) with a systematic literature review methodology was adopted. A large corpus of 2,303 titles and abstracts of blockchain articles was programmatically analyzed in order to identify the relevant literature. The identified literature was subjected to a systematic review guided by a well-established method in IS research.

Findings

The literature evidently highlights the prominence of blockchain as a mean to IoT security due to the distinctive features it encompasses. The authors’ investigation revealed that numerous existent threats are better addressed with blockchain than conventional mechanisms. Nevertheless, blockchain consumes resources such as electricity, time, bandwidth and disk space at a rate that is not yet easily accessible to common IoT ecosystems.

Research limitations/implications

Results suggest that a configurational approach that aligns IoT security requirements with the resource requirements of different blockchain features is necessary in order to realize the proper balance between security, efficiency and feasibility.

Practical implications

Practitioners can make use of the classified lists of convention security mechanisms and the IoT threats they address. The framework can help underline the countermeasures that best achieve their security goals. Practitioners can also use the framework to identify the most important features to seek for in a blockchain technology that can help them achieve their security goals.

Originality/value

This study proposes a novel framework that can help classify IoT threats based on the IoT layer impacted and the security goal at risk. Moreover, it applies a combined man-machine approach to systematically analyze the literature.