Using Blockchain Technology to Boost Cyber Security
In the era of hyper-connectivity, non-linear connections define our world. Security and privacy concerns are the top most troubles of this modern world. Hacking has become more sophisticated and complex, while the security features usually lag. However, blockchain technology has the capability to improve cybersecurity across industries with its impenetrable chain structure.
In this article, we look at how blockchain technology can help improve cybersecurity.
The launchpad of Blockchain
Initially, blockchain was designed to help send and receive bitcoins in a safe manner. Over time, it has made a global impact with real-world applications in more than 20 industries spanning from fintech to pharmaceuticals and land-registry to supply chain management. No matter wherever it is used, the main objective of blockchain has been to improve security.
How does Blockchain improve Security?
Blockchain uses a decentralized ledger system (DLT) to record and maintain transactions on a public server where the data is tamper-proof. Participants of a network collectively verify a transaction before it gets recorded on a blockchain. Hence, blockchain is built on three pillars: 1) Decentralization, 2) Transparency, and 3) Immutability.
Data points are grouped into blocks and then each block is assigned a hash value. This hash value is stored in the succeeding block and then the next block has the value of that succeeding block. The cycle continues to form a chain of blocks which is immutable in nature. Any alteration in data would need to be made in each block which would trigger a breach that the network participants can easily detect. Genuine updates can be made by adding a new block. Hence, blockchain also helps in record keeping and the previous versions can be compared with the new versions to understand the changes and detect error or corruption. Thus, all three pillars function as an accessory to promote the security of the entire network.
Shared access to data
All participants have the entire blockchain’s data stored on their computer and accessible in real-time. Hence, changes are witnessed by each participant, and malicious or erroneous transactions, even those made by hackers, can be identified and ruled out. There is no central authority but a shared responsibility among the participants to only let the genuine transactions pass through.
In a central server system, a hacker can take control of the server and delete files to destroy the data. With DLT, it would transform into an impossible task, as the data is stored among a vast number of participants. Bigger blockchains with more nodes have an increasingly low risk of such an attack and taking down an entire blockchain is an impossible task.
This complex structure of blockchain helps to secure data sharing and storage. Hence, blockchain is now used by several businesses to prevent fraud and maintain the integrity of their data. This becomes more important when it involves storing users’ personal data such as payment details and card numbers.
Denial of Service (DoS) attack
Denial of Service or DoS attacks are meant to shut down a network, making it inaccessible to its users. There are several ways to do it such as increasing traffic beyond a network’s capacity or sending excessive junk requests. Such an activity renders the network to misbehave and shut down temporarily. DoS attacks have affected some of the biggest internet companies such as Twitter and Spotify.
Currently, DoS attack has become difficult because of the Domain Name System (DNS). DNS functions like a phonebook of the internet and maps domains with machine-readable IP addresses. But beyond the usual Fintech application, Innovative uses for blockchain technology include creating a safe internet space. DNS is only partially decentralized, and implementing blockchain technology can fully decentralize it. Blockchain would distribute the contents over a large number of nodes that hackers cannot attack.
The most prominent example is a company called Blockstack, which aims to eliminate all third parties from managing web services and aims to make the entire world wide web decentralized. Mindsafe works on a similar concept of making the web a safer space. They accomplish this by creating an alternative internet where users do what they usually do online but in a secure environment. Mindsafe asks users to commit some part of their storage space and get compensated in the form of safecoin (virtual token). Each file is encrypted, fragmented, and stored in various computers and only the owner of the file can access them.
There is no doubt that as technology advances and more people join the internet, there will be newer ways to hack and steal data. Hence, it is all the more imperative that we make ourselves familiar with a dynamic technology like blockchain which not only solves the present issues but changes periodically to address future problems. Blockchain can be integrated with any business for its security and data management needs, and there is no better time than now!