The technology behind the infamous cryptocurrency Bitcoin, blockchain, is becoming increasingly popular as cybersecurity experts look for more ways to fight cybercrime and data breach. Consumers are also becoming more and more proactive in terms of their cybersecurity, opening to alternatives that can promise better connectivity at heightened security.
Dubbed as the new and safer internet, blockchain makes it possible for data to be distributed without duplication, different from the current structure the internet has today. In this article, we’re going to have a look at how blockchain contributes to cybersecurity.
But what exactly is blockchain technology?
Blockchain technology is a decentralised distributed ledger system where you can put any digital asset into the blockchain, regardless of industry. It uses a time-stamped series of immutable records of information managed by a cluster of computers. Different transactions are tracked through these records, separated by blocks, and joined by cryptographic chains. Data is not owned by a single computer or entity, but by multiple users within the system.
Once confirmed, data that has been encoded cannot be altered. They become permanent blocks added to a chain of other validated blocks. Initially devised for cryptocurrencies, the digital community is now seeing the enormous potential of blockchain technology in cybersecurity, as it can be used to prevent cyber attacks, data breaches, identity thefts, or malicious transactions, keeping data private and secure.
The following is a video briefly explaining what blockchain technology is:
For more information on blockchain, check out “Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Explained“.
Blockchain presents itself as a backbone to different technologies, providing solutions that are beneficial across different industries. It’s main characteristics are:
- Blockchain has a democratised network and has no central authority. It is public domain, so there can be no one or no group that can come in to manipulate information within the blockchain system for any malicious intent.
- The blockchain is a decentralised system NOT owned by one entity. Data in the blockchain system can be cryptographically stored.
- Whatever gets stored in a blockchain is immutable, preventing anyone from tampering or manipulating information. With blockchain, it is possible, for example, to hold a completely transparent election with immediate results. People can vote at their homes, and the results tallied right away.
- The blockchain is transparent – Whatever gets built and stored in the blockchain is openly accessible. The data stored inside can also be tracked, holding a higher standard of accountability for those using the system.
How can blockchain technology contribute to cybersecurity?
- Protected Edge Computing with Authentication
As more and more real-time, on-demand data need to be accessed and distributed, there’s also a need for edge computing and fog computing devices and storage. This allows data to be processed and stored closer to the source and consumers. Cloud computing is still being used, of course, primarily to archive data previously processed through edge computing devices. Blockchain is providing a solution to secure IoT and industrial IoT by more rigid authentication, improved data attribution and flow, and updated record management system.
- Advanced Confidentiality and Data Integrity
Because it was initially intended to be publicly-accessed, blockchain was made without access controls or restrictions. Today, there are private blockchain systems that various industries are using to ensure data confidentiality and secure access control. The complete encryption of the blockchain makes sure that data is not accessible to external parties, whether in part or whole, particularly while data is being transmitted.
- Secured Private Messaging
Companies hope to communicate through more secure platforms using the blockchain technology that can be impenetrable to malicious attacks. Whether in personal, corporate or highly-classified communication, consumers can be secured with the confidentiality of such conversations without fear of cyberattacks. It can handle PKI better than encrypted apps; that is why several blockchain private messaging apps are being developed for public consumption soon.
- Improved PKI
People are more cautious to keep their computer and online credentials safe and secure. And blockchain technology can help in that regard. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) rely on third-party certificate authorities to keep messaging apps, emails, websites secure. These certificate authorities that issue, revoke or store key pairs are usually a target for hackers using bogus identities trying to access communication that is encrypted. When these keys are encoded on a blockchain, it minimises false key generation or identity theft as identities of legitimate account holders are already verified on the app, and any intrusion, deception or identity theft can be identified right away.
- Intact Domain Name System (DNS)
A blockchain approach to storing Domain Name Systems (DNS) heightens security comprehensively as it removes that one, single, compromisable target. It thwarts the malicious activities of hackers who can bring down DNS service providers like Twitter, Paypal and the like.
- Diminished DDoS attacks
In a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, a target, usually, a server, is attacked by multiple compromised computer systems to deny it of services leading to slowdowns, and eventual overloading or crashing of the system. If you integrate blockchain into the security system, the target computer, server or network will now be part of a decentralised system of machines which can protect against such attacks.
We can develop and adopt multiple measures for security, and yet threats develop and adapt accordingly. However, with blockchain, we have a vast scope of ensuring data is safe.
- Internet of Things (IoT)
Smart systems continue to be developed towards the future implementation of smart cities and societies in the future, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is in the middle of all this action. From your coffee maker to AI-powered robots in aid of humans, IoT will have its mark everywhere. As of date, cybercriminals continue to find ways to attack these IoT smart devices. Blockchain technology’s immutability will serve well if incorporated into the IoT’s defense systems.
Blockchain technology, with its decentralised architecture and distributed ledger, will provide both control and security for remote IoT devices. Smart contracts, which can provide validation for transactions in a blockchain environment, may be used to manage IoT activities and keep devices secure from hackers.
Conclusion: Blockchain Technology is the Future of Cybersecurity
As we continue to deepen our knowledge about blockchain’s benefits, the technology is slowly maturing. Progress in 2019 indicates that there has been a shift, from being directly linked to cryptocurrencies and their use for illicit behaviour, to an increasing number of use cases across different industries.
Blockchain technology was not just created by the group “Satoshi Nakamoto” for Bitcoin purposes. Blockchain is a secure and robust technology that can actually do the world of cybersecurity a lot of good once it is integrated into mainstream security measures.
As threats in cybersecurity intensify, as hackers find new and better ways to steal and exploit, blockchain technology will likely be at the forefront of cybersecurity in the years to come. When you look closely at blockchain, you are looking at the future of cybersecurity today.