FORSEC Published Book – AGILE Collaboration

AGILE has collaborated with a Bavarian project called FORSEC. FORSEC has recently published a book collecting their results, in which they mention their collaboration with AGILE. In particular, they mention how UPFROnt, a policy framework developed within FORSEC, that is also used by AGILE, uses the AGILE Identity Management Framework.

Moreover, as UPFROnt is included as part of SEDARI, a framework to store and apply policies to data in the Cloud, the collaboration with AGILE turns SEDARI into an Oauth2 server and OAuth2 provider. They also mentioned that these capabilities are considered essential for IoT applications.

Thank you FORSEC for acknowledging our collaboration. We are pleased that both projects could help each other to achieve their goals!

Gateway Management

Remote Gateway Management: Benefits, and how we make it happen

Key features of the AGILE gateway include the ability to provide data and device management, execution of Internet of Things (IoT) applications and, importantly, communicate with the Cloud to enable a plethora of use-cases. But there is also features that are provided “under the hood”, features such as security. a not-so-silent force working alongside the AGILE gateway

For AGILE to enable user application deployment, remote updates, and monitoring of connected gateways, we are customising and will utilise a software technology built by one of the project partners called – it is a Remote Gateway Management interface that is deployed in the Cloud, and has, amongst others, a local component that will be running on each gateway called “Agent”. Container used in AGILE: Enables remote management features

The Agent works on container level, with elevated privileges to manage both the underlying Operating System (OS), but also the user-space (any applications installed). In simple scenarios, it downloads the changed layers of any application container images, stops the old versions of those applications, and starts the new ones. As the process is ongoing, you can see the overall progress of the process in a dashboard. It is fully interactive, and allows clicking on any specific gateway devices to see more detailed information about the device, such as logs.


Staying up-to-date: A dashboard allows you to see the current status of a gateway

The Agent, which we are customising for use in pilots and use-cases adopted by AGILE, also contains the necessary components to keep a persistent, always-on connection to the Cloud environment which controls it (over secure VPN, as we are paranoid about security!). The Agent allows, upon authorisation, anything from updating the AGILE gateway on the fly, restarting modules and applications, adding functionality as well as providing monitoring information (such as OS logs) automatically and upon request. It also enables a streamlined approach to defining environment variables or other configuration options on the gateway.

Security, as always, is paramount

By far the most important feature is its ability to receive over-the-air updates. And we believe this is extremely important on any IoT application for security reasons. Imagine your gateway, end-devices and deployed applications suffering from a bug whilst you are unable to deploy a fix remotely – and now imagine if it’s not an issue with your own code, but rather an urgent OS security vulnerability! A popular real-world example of this is the U.S. Traffic Safety Administration car recall announcement, one from Tesla Motors, and one from GM. Both are related to problems that could cause fires. Tesla’s fix can be conducted as an “over the air” software update and doesn’t require owners to bring their cars to the dealer (more on this on the Wired article here). And there are recent cases of cameras being hijacked, armies of devices used for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks… so let’s just say that it’s important for us to “have the users covered” as part of the AGILE project.

Of course, there is even more urgent need for these solutions to be secure (after all, any device which is why we are dedicating months of work, and the expertise of research and industry partners, in making sure the hardware and software stack behind AGILE is secure, end-to-end.

What does the management interface it look like?

As one our principles is to make things as easy as possible for our users, we are utilising the latest standards in Web development, User Interface (UI) design, and User Experience (UX).

Here is what you should expect to see once you get your hands on an AGILE gateway:

Device management interface: Environment Variables, Terminal, Actions (e.g. reboot)

Gateway Management

Multi-gateway management: Information on OS updates, availability, monitoring/logs

Let us know your thoughts

The AGILE consortium comprises pioneering partners in hardware and software for IoT. has been built to bring the Cloud deployment workflow to the world of embedded devices, and the customisation for use in AGILE with an AGILE-specific gateway management system, is no exception. Along the lines, we discover and assimilate interesting ideas from the Cloud or embedded worlds, or even invent ideas that only apply to the new paradigm the project represents.

There is a lot going on behind the scenes, and we are very keen to hear from the community about features they would like to see on the Remote Gateway Management interface. The consortium partners are organising pilots that will allow IoT device manufacturers (devices that will be controlled by the AGILE gateway through its integrated network modules), as well as developers and end-users to get hands-on with our early prototypes and final hardware gateway.

Georgios Michalakidis, R&D Manager,

AGILE Identity Management

The basis of a security framework is to identify and authenticate users and entities in the system. As a result, developing a proper identity management platform is the first step to start building the security mechanisms in the gateway. Now, we will describe key aspects of AGILE’s IDM and how it can be integrated on external systems, why some of the design choices were made, and point to additional resources which are hopefully useful for newcomers.

A Polyglot User Identity Management

We want to make our user’s lives easy by not creating yet another identity management system which forces them to create new username and passwords just to interact with the gateway. In our daily lives we already deal with a high amount of different credentials with particular restrictions; for example, passwords need to have a minimal length and must include particular characters. Some users deal with this by reusing passwords in different systems; however, this is a bad practice since the system administrator, or an attacker compromising the system, would obtain the user’s credentials for other external systems.

As a result, we have put considerable effort to find proper ways to integrate different authentication mechanisms into our identity management in order to have a usable user management. Currently, AGILE IDM allows users to authenticate using a range of protocols such as Web ID, Oauth2, or username and passwords verified locally on the gateway’s side.

Practically, this means that users who have been already registered with external identity providers, such as Google or GitHub can use their accounts to log into their AGILE gateways as users do when they login using services that rely on such identity providers using Oauth2. Furthermore, for users who do not want to use such identity providers, AGILE offers also other options to authenticate.

For instance, in particular installations of AGILE IDM, it may be desirable that users can log in using the username and passwords used by the underlying Linux system (also avoiding the creation of new username and passwords for the gateway management). Another option is to obtain a Web ID certificate from a provider (such as or similar) to login in AGILE by just selecting the client-side certificate during the validation step. The Web ID protocol, which is commonly used on linked data environments, allows users to authenticate with a web application by using a client side certificate validation step during the TLS handshake. The integration of this protocol will favor the integration of applications relying on linked data protocols (such as the Little Sister Jolocom’s application).

Last but not least, for users who still desire to have a local username and password generated just for the gateway management this is also supported.

Oauth2 Integration with AGILE IDM

AGILE IDM behaves as an Oauth2 provider towards applications relying on its authentication services. This integration method between applications and AGILE IDM is completely independent from the authentication mechanism used by AGILE IDM to authenticate the user. The latter could be Oauth2, Web ID, or a local username and password.
In consequence, any application relying on AGILE IDM to authenticate its users can use one of the Oauth2 grant types supported by AGILE IDM. Currently, AGILE IDM supports the following grant types:

  • Authorization code
  • Implicit (also known as token) flow
  • Client Credentials

To facilitate the use of AGILE IDM within the project, and by external adopters we have created a set of Node.js applications relying on AGILE IDM which implement the proper Oauth2 flows here. Furthermore, the authorization code application also provides a basic web interface to create and update entities and users, change their attributes, and them to groups. This will hopefully make testing and understanding how AGILE IDM works easier for newcomers.

Portable and Flexible

AGILE IDM uses Node.js as runtime; as a result, it can be employed not only on the gateway but also in other scenarios and operating systems. Also, in addition to the user management and authentication component, AGILE IDM allows the definition of flexible policies on the principal’s attributes in such a way that they can be written or read by particular users. This is paramount to support the definition of other entities, such as sensors or applications connecter or running on the gateway.
Currently, along with the German FORSEC project, we have begun a collaboration effort to integrate AGILE IDM in an IoT platform allowing users to control their data usage in a Cloud-based platform. AGILE IDM will offer not only user authentication, but also the management of principals in the system through its flexible attribute definition system. Last but not least, AGILE IDM also receives input from FORSEC regarding the policy enforcement framework on the attribute level.

Hands on Tutorials

To foster the use of the identity management platform developed in AGILE, we have also spent resources to document its functionality and to provide tutorials describing how to install, configure or extend AGILE’s IDM. For more information, please check the following links:


  • Juan D. Parra Rodriguez, University of Passau
  • Daniel Schreckling, FORSEC