Michał Bajor and Marcin Niemiec
Energies 2022, 15(18), 6516
blockchain; authorization; authentication; accounting; configuration; smart grids
The increasing number of security breaches in centralized systems provides the necessity to introduce decentralization in more fields. The Blockchain is a widely utilized decentralization technology that is implemented in various industries. Therefore, this technology can be used to protect sensitive services, such as those associated with the configuration changing of information systems. This article proposes a new protocol operating as a decentralization layer over any configuration scheme. It uses smart contracts—programs existing on the Blockchain—to keep track of configuration proposals and authorize new configurations. The configuration change can be proposed at any time. However, only once it is authorized by appropriate parties can it be introduced to the system. The new protocol provides an additional security layer, ensuring that every action is accounted for and authenticated. Furthermore, it enforces that administrators authorize every change. The protocol was designed to be flexible and easily adaptable to scenarios that did not use distributed ledger technology before. It uses the HTTP protocol with the JSON standard for protocol messages to allow easier adoption and transparency. The features of the proposed protocol were analyzed from a security point of view as well as from the financial perspective related to costs of using Blockchain technology. Security analysis shows that the protocol is resilient to the most common security risks that haunt state-of-the-art IT systems. Additionally, the authors proved that this solution could be implemented in both private and public Blockchains. A reference implementation was shared in a public repository. The proposed protocol was also compared with the most similar state-of-the-art work in the academic research highlighting the key differences and improvements.