Is Blockchain the Future of Security?

Solely written for clearcenter.com by Blake Jenkins

Recent years have seen countless reports on massive cyber breaches that resulted in the loss of valuable data. The Cyber Incident and Breach Trends Report reveals that there were 156,700 cyber incidents in 2017, an increase from 82,000 in 2016. This marks the worst year ever in terms of cyber security. Of course, numbers like these have only increased the fear many have, prompting citizens to demand better data protection regulations, pushing businesses to tighten their cybersecurity systems. In the midst of this, developers are researching new methods to strengthen security. 

One promising development is the use of blockchain technology. Blockchain is essentially a public digital ledger that can be used to store, track, and verify nearly any type of data including cryptocurrency transactions. The feature that draws everyone’s attention is its decentralization, or the fact that it isn’t governed by a central authority. To understand the way blockchain works, you shouldn’t think of it as a single technology. Instead, it is a framework that creates unchangeable digital transactions records. Each computer that is connected to the network will get a copy of said transactions. This means a whole community can verify the authenticity of the records as well as be notified if there are any changes to the system. So for a hacker to steal any data, they would have to access more than just one database.

So it is important to consider how blockchain can impact the world of cybersecurity. Currently, humans are considered the weakest link in cybersecurity operations, as one error or miscalculation committed by a single person could result in data disaster. Blockchain would essentially remove the human component from security by automating the authentication process of system logins.

In fact, blockchain is already seeing early adoption in the financial services industry. The National Bank of Abu Dhabi, CIBC and UniCredit are just some of the institutions taking advantage of the technology. The publication, Influencive, enumerates the benefits banks can gain from using blockchain, like faster and more accessible international payments and the near elimination of fraud.

The technology could also have uses for Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). CertCoin is an example of an early implementation of blockchain-based PKI. Here, the project uses a ledger to contain domains and public keys records. The idea is the opposite of the usual “security through obscurity,” where encryption keys are hidden in secret locations.

In addition, a startup called Obsidian has also created a way for blockchain to secure information exchanged in chats and messages. The Obsidian messenger uses blockchain to record users’ metadata, which is then distributed throughout a ledger. The app is currently on beta release.

While blockchain security applications are still being tested out for various industries, current technologies are receiving security upgrades in order to meet the public’s demands for data protection. For instance, ClearCenter previously discussed Gateway Management, a solution that utilizes egress control, or the “block all, allow some” approach. Using this Zero-trust model means that all outbound access is denied unless it is whitelisted by the user.

Moreover, current IoT solutions are also reinforcing their cybersecurity protocols. Vehicle telematics devices often collect data from customers, connected vehicles, and GPS locations. Verizon Connect points out that modern telematics solutions come with updated security measures, providing driver IDs, secure logins, and restricted access. The data is also safely backed in carrier-grade data centers with full reporting options.

Experts predict that over 163 zettabytes of data will be produced by 2025, further highlighting the importance of any breakthroughs in cybersecurity. If decentralization is the solution to protect massive amounts of data, then investors should start acknowledging its potential. In general, cybersecurity should be treated as a top priority by all organizations. Making it an afterthought may very well mean seeing your business crumble faster than you would expect.

Solely written for clearcenter.com by Blake Jenkins

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