Towards a Secure IoT Computing Platform Using Linux-Based Containers

Marcus Hufvudsson, Ali Ismail Awad

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The Internet of Things (IoT) are small, sensing, network enabled computing devices which can extend smart behaviour into resource constrained domains. This thesis focus on evaluating the viability of Linux containers in relation to IoT devices. Three research questions are posed to investigate various aspects of this. (1) Can any guidelines and best practices be derived from creating a Linux container based security enhanced IoT platform? (2) Can the LiCShield project be extended to build dynamic, default deny seccomp configurations? (3) Are Linux containers viable on IoT platforms in regards to operational performance impact? To answer these questions, a literature review was conducted, research gaps identified and a research methodology selected. A Linux-based container platform was then created in which applications could be run. Experimentation was conducted on the platform and operational measurements collected. A number of interesting results was produced during the project. In relation to the first research question, it was discovered that the LXC templating code created could probably benefit other Linux container projects as well as the LXC project itself. Secondly, it was found that a robust, layered containerized security architecture could be created by utilizing basic container configurations and by drawing from best practices from LXC and docker. In relation to the second research question, a proof of concept system was created to profile and build dynamic, default deny seccomp configurations. Analysis of the system shows that the developed method is viable. In relation to the final research question; Container overhead with regards to CPU, memory, network I/O and storage was measured. In this project, there were no CPU overhead and only a slight performance decrease of 0.1 % on memory operations. With regards to network I/O, a speed decrease of 0.2 % was observed when a container received data and utilized NAT. On the other hand, while the container was sending data, a speed increase of 1.4 % was observed while the container was operating in bridge mode and an increase of 0.9 % was observed while utilizing NAT. Regarding storage overhead, a total of 508 KB base overhead was added to each container on creation. Due to these findings, the overhead containers introduce are considered negligible and thus deemed viable on IoT devices.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • IoT
  • Security
  • Linux Containers
  • LXC
  • Computer Sciences
  • Datavetenskap (datalogi)


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