A Framework for Blockchain Based Secure Smart Green House Farming

  • Akash Suresh Patil
  • Bayu Adhi Tama
  • Youngho Park
  • Kyung-Hyune Rhee
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering book series (LNEE, volume 474)


The emerging greenhouse technology in agriculture based on Internet of Things (IoT) used for remote monitoring and automation has been rapidly developed. But it still has major concern about security and privacy, due to the large scale of disseminating nature of its network. To overcome these security challenges, we use blockchain which allows the creation of a distributed digital ledger of transactions that is shared among the nodes on IoT network. The main aim of this paper is to provide lightweight blockchain based architecture for smart greenhouse farms to provide security and privacy. Here, IoT devices in greenhouses which act as a blockchain managed centrally to optimize energy consumption have the benefit of private immutable ledgers. In addition, we present a security framework that blends the blockchain technology with IoT devices to provide a secure communication platform in Smart Greenhouse farming.


Smart Greenhouse Internet of Things Blockchain 

1 Introduction

The development of the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to tremendous IoT applications such as smart home, smart city, industrials internet, smart healthcare, smart retails and smart farming [1]. With the increasing population, traditional form of farming cannot satisfy people’s needs. IoT based smart farming has become an unavoidable mode of agricultural information. Smart farming can provide remote monitoring and control of a farm equipment through the Greenhouse Monitoring System (GMS) [2, 3]. The GMS is fixed with scientific management methods to improve the productivity, quality and prevent from atmospheric disaster.

However, there are many technical challenges that need to be addressed in terms of smart farming. For example, data sharing infrastructure is insufficient due to lack of mechanism to share sensitive agriculture data in a privacy-protected manner [13]. Furthermore, existing sensing infrastructure allows irregular monitoring via remote sensing satellite which makes huge delay for detecting the condition of soil, plant and effect on production [12].

Existing security methods could be expensive in terms of energy consumption and processing overhead for IoT devices. This existing security framework is managed by central server and not prefer for IoT devices [4]. Therefore, Smart Farming needs lightweight, scalable and distributed security and privacy. To fulfil the above challenges of IoT, we introduce the Blockchain technology (BC). Blockchain is a peer-to-peer distributed ledger technology, which records transaction, agreements, contracts and sales. Originally blockchain was developed to support crypto-currency, and today’s blockchain can be utilized in any form of transaction without an intermediary [5].

BC is a database that maintains a continuous rising set of data or transaction records. It is distributed in nature, so that participating nodes have a copy of the chain and data records added to the chain. Whenever a new transaction is added to the chain, all participants in the network will validate it. A set of approved transactions will be bundled in the block, which will be sent to all nodes in the network. Furtherly, they will validate the new blocks. Each of successive block contains a hash carrying a unique feature of previous block [8]. Hence, BC has the potential to fulfil the existing IoT challenges i.e. it is distributed, secure and private by nature.

In this paper, we propose a framework for Smart Greenhouse farming based on BC, which provides lightweight and decentralized security and privacy. Due to low resource capabilities of huge majorities of IoT devices, massive scale, heterogeneity among various devices and unavailability of standardization are the major concern for IoT security. A large amount of data collected and shared through IoT devices causes a user’s privacy concern. A privacy management method which calculates the risk of disclosing data to others, however, in some situation, the perceived advantage of IoT services exceeds the risk of privacy loss [4, 12]. Challenges such as decentralization, anonymity and security in IoT are addressed by adopting BC technology, as it eliminates a single point of failure, increased data transparency and immutability [9].

2 System Model

Our system model consists of 4 groups: Smart Greenhouse, Overlay Network, Cloud storage, End user (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1.

A proposed framework for Blockchain based Smart Greenhouse Farming.

  • Smart Greenhouse (SGH): It is agriculture field, which is covered with the shade to protect crops from the environmental changes, and equipped with several IoT sensors (light sensor, humidity and CO2 sensors, water level sensors) and actuators (LED light, Fan, Heater and sprinkling). Furtherly, it also contains the Local Blockchain (i.e. Smart Hub) known as secure and private blockchain which is mined and stored by one or more resource capable devices. This local blockchain is centrally managed by owner. The owner can add or remove devices by starting transaction or deleting its ledgers respectively. All the devices in SGH can communicate with others by granting the permission by giving them a symmetric shared key based on chaos cryptographic algorithm [10]. The Local BC has a policy header which contains the list of all access control through which owner allow to manage transactions in SGH. Every block in blockchains contains a policy header, mostly updated policy placed in the header of last block that is used for checking and changing the policy. Here, we are eliminating the Proof of Work (POW) to reduce the related overhead [6, 7]. The miner of each block adds a pointer to its previous block and copies the policies in the previous block header to the new transaction. Once a block is mined and added, it is considered as a true transaction. SGH also contains the local storage for storing data.

  • Overlay Network: Here, the overlay network is similar to bitcoin network where each essential node could be high resources devices equipped in the greenhouse. In overlay network, to reduce the network overhead and delay every node can form a group called them as a cluster, meanwhile cluster can elect their leader known as Cluster Head (CH). Every node has tended to change their leader whenever they face needless delays. The CH of the network, manage the overlay blockchain which carries all the multisig transactions sent by cloud storage and access transaction. Furtherly, CH manages whether to keep new block or it should discard, depends on receiving transactions. Some time for inventing a new block transaction gains higher delay or user wants to manage more than one device at a time. This can be managed by shared overlay, in which common miner i.e. CH and shared storage are elected. Each device, in the overlay blockchain, has a starting transaction that is chained to its greenhouse starting transaction which leads to forking in shared overlay. Overlay devices in Greenhouse can maintain a table exists all data of last transaction i.e. Block number and hash of data. The Tor is used to connect all the nodes with overlay network [11].

  • Cloud Storage: In critical condition of crops in the greenhouse, users need some technical guidance from a professional. Devices in greenhouse stores their data in cloud storage, so that a professional can directly access data of the greenhouse from the cloud storage and provide services according situation. The data stored in cloud includes users identical blocks with unique block number. For authenticity, block number and hash data are used. Once data is stored in cloud, block number is encrypted by the shared key derived from chaos based cryptographic algorithm. Since hashes are collision-resistant, thus makes guaranteed for true users can access data and also chain fresh data to an existing ledger.

  • End Users: End users refer to owner of smart greenhouse. So, users can remotely control and manage by using the devices such as smart mobile, computer.

3 Security Threat

Due to the heterogeneous nature of resource constrained IoT devices, smart greenhouse farming might be vulnerable to a number of security attacks. It is essential to identify various threats and possible countermeasures in order to design an effective solution. In smart greenhouse farming the following threat categories are identified: (1) Threats on availability: This threat concerns about unauthorized endorsing resources. So the main aim of the attacker is to prevent the legal user from accessing their data and services. (2) Threats on integrity: unauthorized users can change the real data in such a way that they can add the false information or manipulate the data. (3) Threats on confidentiality: this are concerned about unauthorized user can disclose the sensitive information. (4) Threat on authenticity: concerned with unauthorized users gain access to resources and sensitive information.

4 Security Framework

Figure 2 shows the security framework which consists of the following layers.
Fig. 2.

A security framework

  • Physical Layer: In this layer, some threats against authentication and access control are possible so that the attackers can hack the devices that equipped in SGH. Here, all transactions are transparent to user as local BC is mined in SGH. Thus attackers cannot add new devices to SGH since all devices are pre-defined by the user and a starting transaction is mined in local BC. Thus, it is impossible for an attacker to attack on the physical layer. Meanwhile, Smart hub, i.e. Miner centrally processes the incoming and outgoing transaction. A transaction which is received from the overlay network is authorized by this miner before forwarding them to the devices. Thus, miner fulfills the authorized, audit transactions and authentication as well as generating genesis transaction, updating and distributing keys.

  • Communication Layer: This layer adopts distributed overlay BC network to provide security against the transmitted data and to reduce overhead delay. Here, possible threats are against the dropping attack and mining attack. To achieve the dropping attack, an attacker must have control over the CH. The controlled CH should drop all received blocks and transactions. In proposed architecture all nodes in clusters have authority to elect their leader. In such circumstance, all nodes in the same clusters elect new CH. To achieve the mining attack, the attacker should have control over the multiple CHs that sign the multisig transaction so that they can mined fake block. In our proposed architecture all the transactions of receiving blocks are validated by CH. In some situation, If CH cannot detect a fake block, it can alert all other CHs.

  • Database Layer: In Blockchain, distributed ledgers are a type of decentralized database which stores the records one by one. Every record in is ledgers contains unique cryptographic signature and a timestamp. Private BC keeps track the transaction and it contains the policy header in which based on polices manages the incoming and outgoing transaction. Every transaction is chained together as an immutable ledger in blockchain. Meanwhile, every block contains the block header, which carry hash of the previous block to keep the blockchain immutable and policy header that is used for authorizing devices and apply the policy generated by the legitimate users.

  • Interface Layer: Attacker may tries to make different transaction with different IDs. In proposed architecture allow users to send arbitrary transaction to the overlay network. Meanwhile, every IDs and PKs are changeable for each transaction. Thus, achieved anonymity.

5 Conclusion

This paper presents the development of BC based smart-green house farming framework to achieve the IoT security and privacy issues. Due to high energy consumption and processing overhead existing security solutions are not suited. To fulfil these challenges we approach the BC, which address these challenges by holding the bitcoin BC contains immutable ledgers of blocks. We introduce this idea in terms of Smart Greenhouse farming to fulfil a securely monitoring. We proposed a framework for smart greenhouse farm. Additionally, we also propose blockchain based security framework which enables the secure data communication in smart greenhouse farming. It will provide a unique features such as improved reliability, faster and efficient operations and scalability. It creates a common platform through which all devices would be able to communicate securely in a distributed network.



This research was partly supported by the MSIT (Ministry of Science and ICT), Korea, under the ITRC (Information Technology Research Center) support program (IITP-2017-2015-0-00403) supervised by the IITP (Institute for Information & communications Technology Promotion), and IITP grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (2017-0-00156, The Development of a Secure Framework and Evaluation Method for Blockchain).


  1. 1.
    Sicari, A.R., Grieco, L.A., Coen-Porisini, A.: Security, privacy and trust in internet of things: the road ahead. Comput. Netw. 76, 146–164 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Abbasi, A.Z., Islam, N., Shaikh, Z.A.: A review of wireless sensor networks’ application in agriculture. Comput. Stand. Interface 36, 263–270 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Yoshida, K., Tanaka, K., Hariya, R., Azechi, I., Idia, T., Maeda, S., Kuroda, H.: Contribution of ICT monitoring system in agricultural water management and environmental conversation. In: Serviceology for Designing the Future, pp. 359–369 (2016)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Roman, R., Zhou, J., Lopez, J.: On the features and challenges of security and privacy in distributed internet of things. Comput. Netw. 57, 2266–2279 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nalamoto, S.: Bitcoin: a peer-to-peer electronic cash system (2008)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dorri, A., Kanhere, S.S., Jurdak, R.: Blockchain in internet of things: challenges and solutions. arXiv preprint arXiv:1608.05187 (2016)
  7. 7.
    King, S.: Primecoin: cryptocurrency with prime number proof-of-work (2013)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Narayan, A., Bonneau, J., Felten, E., Miller, A., Goldfeder, S.: Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies. Princeton University Press (2016)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Davidson, S., De Filippi, P., Potts, J.: Economics of blockchain (2016)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Buchmann, J.: Introduction to Cryptography. Springer, Heidelberg (2013)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
  12. 12.
    Ukil, A., Bandyopadhyay, S., Pal, A.: IoT-privacy: to be private or not to be private. In: 2014 IEEE Conference on Computer Communication Workshop, Toronto (2014)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tama, B.A.: Learning to prevent inactive student of Indonesia Open University. J. Inf. Process. Syst. 11(2), 165–172 (2015)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akash Suresh Patil
    • 1
  • Bayu Adhi Tama
    • 2
  • Youngho Park
    • 2
  • Kyung-Hyune Rhee
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Program of Information Security, Graduate SchoolPukyong National UniversityBusanSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of IT Convergence and Application EngineeringPukyong National UniversityBusanSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations