Ensuring data integrity in industry 4.0


Data Security

Written by Stefano Borgia of Holonix.

Why Data Integrity is important

Data can be tampered with, and malicious actors could use this to their advantage. Therefore, the users of the DAT4.Zero technology need to be ensured that the data they are using are accurate and have not been tampered with.

Data needs to be properly collected and made available to create added value, ensuring confidentiality, integrity and availability (ISO/IEC 27000).

The Three Security Domains

To address end-to-end security for manufacturing in the context of Industry 4.0, the following three security domains have been considered (Figure 1):

  1. The company domain: comprises all assets within a unique company.
  2. The Internet domain: refers to the communication means between the company domain and the Cloud domain.
  3. The Cloud domain: covers shared computing resources which provide shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand

Figure 1. The three main network domains in companies’ network topologies

New Data Integrity Developments in DAT4.Zero

The DAT4.ZERO partners are working on defining strategies and open protocols to ensure data integrity.

We have chosen a blockchain based hash validation approach, which is a great general framework that works efficiently in most of the applications. This approach stores the actual data separately from the blockchain, and then saves a data identifier and a hash of this data in the selected blockchain. The actual data can be validated against the hash on the blockchain at any time.

DAT4.Zero will use Edge Computing architecture, Distributed Ledger technology, Blockchain and Smart Contracts. These technologies will create secure data channels in the middleware and ensure secure data transfer from external data sources considering also traceability of data transactions.

Definitions and Uses (background)

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is an approach to record and share data across multiple data stores (or ledgers). “This technology allows for transactions and data to be recorded, shared, and synchronized across a distributed network of different network participants.” [2] 

The Blockchain is a particular type of data structure used in some distributed ledgers, which stores and transmits data in packages called “blocks” that are connected to each other in a digital chain” [2]. Blockchain, which was first revealed by Satoshi Nakamoto [1], is at the foundation of the platforms for trading cryptocurrencies and executing smart contracts [3].

From the data safety, authenticity, and nonrepudiation point of view, blockchain is considered a perfect fit for sharing data because it provides an easily accessible, immutable, and transparent history of all contract-related data, adequate for building applications with trust, accountability, and transparency [4].  

A Smart Contract is a computer protocol intended to digitally facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract [4].  


[1] S. NAKAMOTO, Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system, Manubot, 2019. 

[2] H. NATARAJAN, S. KRAUSE and H. GRADSTEIN, Distributed ledger technology and blockchain, World Bank, 2017. 

[3] M. D. PIERRO, What Is the Blockchain?, Computing in Science & Engineering, 19 (2017), pp. 92-95. 

[4] K. ZHANG, R. VITENBERG and H.-A. JACOBSEN, Deconstructing Blockchains: Concepts, Systems, and Insights, DEBS, 2018, pp. 187-190. 

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