Distributed Secure Anonymous Ledger System

Period of Performance: 06/12/2017 - 03/11/2018

$225K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Physical Optics Corp.
1845 West 205th Street Array
Torrance, CA 90501
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Many energy systems and components are dependent on cybersecurity technologies that protect the integrity and reliability of digital technologies they incorporate. The systems, components, and specific equipment relevant to fossil energy based systems include a wide variety of gas turbines, heat exchangers, solid oxide fuel cells, advanced combustion, water treatment, etc. The operation of these components is dependent on data from sensor networks (e.g., temperature, pressure, mass flows, chemical composition, strain, etc.) and corresponding command signals to actuators. Currently, there is no reliable cybersecurity technology capable of detecting and mitigating false command signals (e.g., from hackers) and other cyber threats (e.g., malware) to protect energy systems. A new blockchain-based technology is needed for energy systems to assure protection against cyber-attacks. The proposed system allows energy systems to be protected against cyber threats via provision of secure transactions. The proposed technology is based on existing blockchain framework that employs a customized protocol adapted to energy applications. The innovative customization provides additional new cybersecurity features, services, and security mechanisms implemented on the common application programing interface. As a result, a customized protocol provides the capability to anonymously and securely store an online distributed proof-of-existence for any transaction, including command signals to actuators in fossil energy-based systems. This, in turn, provides the capability to detect and mitigate false command signals and other cyber threats to achieve a robust, reliable energy system. Research will be conducted on leveraging blockchain technology for energy applications, including a study of decentralized consensus protocols, a distributed ledger, security and key exchange mechanisms; a model will be developed for the decentralized transaction platform; platform architecture, framework and algorithms will be mapped to energy system constructs; hardware to provide additional security will be evaluated; and feasibility will be demonstrated by assembling and testing a software prototype. Commercial applications include financial and healthcare services, virtual identities, access control, enterprise networks and databases, and scientific applications. For example, the proposed technology will allow creation of secure messaging and back-office systems protected against cyber-attacks. Traditional centralized, unencrypted hub-and spoke database architectures are expensive, inefficient, brittle, and subject to cyber-attacks. Even though many companies now use antivirus software, intrusion- detection systems, and firewalls, hackers and worms still infiltrate business technology systems and cause serious damage. The proposed technology seals this security gap.