Data security is a cornerstone of any business’ proper functioning. Unfortunately, outdated practices lead to weakened protection, unreliable mechanisms, and eventually — losses. Profits, confidentiality, reputation, insights, intelligence, legality, operations — everything might be under strike.
Data protection is in the epicenter of our today’s discussion. We’ll consider the aspects of cybersecurity along with blockchain solutions that can soothe troubled waters. Additionally, we’ll take a look at some examples of the companies that are now actively implementing blockchain in cybersecurity.
Businesses storing sensitive customer data within a single database are the primary targets for hackers. One access spot means a single effort is required to hack into the storage and steal all assets that seem valuable.
Blockchain tackles data centralization by… decentralizing it. Plain and straightforward — blockchain distributes data among multiple sources, or nodes on the network, making unauthorized database entry through a single access point impossible.
Moreover, particular blockchain solutions, such as Hyperledger, give users complete control over their data usage and distribution through composable access lists. Data privacy is guaranteed.
DDoS attacks disrupt entire network infrastructures, hampering online operations for businesses and eventually leaving them without profits and with a bad reputation. In 2017 alone, US companies suffered from DDoS attacks, 91% of those were IoT-related.
Blockchain preserves data integrity by arranging distributed networks. Again, there is no single point of failure, so users have more advanced protection of their data.
Several companies already make strides in addressing DDoS issues. For example, the BlockArmour startup introduces the three-factor authentication mechanism to networks, which consists of a password along with user and digital device IDs. In this fashion, the platform “draws” a blockchain-enabled perimeter for sensitive data, literally invisible to hackers.
Viruses contained in software updates and other downloads are not a new phenomenon. What’s new is that malware becomes more sophisticated, with new forms emerging every day. In terms of figures, the AV-TEST research institute reports over 350,000 of malware detected daily. Also, most of these programs seem entirely harmless in the first place.
Blockchain can prove the authenticity of each download the same way it does that for any asset in, say, logistics. By assigning a unique and immutable identifier — namely, hash string — to each program, it shows users that the software comes from a trusted provider, not some unknown source.
If hackers attempt to corrupt the ID, the entire network immediately spots this action. However, even if they succeed in some way in that attempt, the corrupted string makes the related software invalid, i.e., no longer trusted. Check and mate for cybercriminals!
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Password-based logins, even those containing different symbols and letter cases, are by no means reliable. Mostly because users rarely update them.
Let’s consider social networks — the field that abounds with sensitive data. Several years ago, Thycotic reported that 50% of security specialists didn’t change their password for more than a year, and 20% didn’t do that ever. If security specialists don’t bother themselves with changing passwords, why other users would?
Blockchain suggests replacing old-fashioned password protection with more advanced digital IDs relying on cryptographic private keys. More to it, blockchain introduces multistep authentication, where forgery is hugely complicated.
The Civic company deals with password vulnerability issues by introducing the Secure Identity Platform. This mobile app acts as a digital wallet, storing user credentials on a blockchain, protected with pre-generated private keys. To confirm identity and access data, users need to use their fingerprints.
As we said earlier, the IoT sector is now the most vulnerable to hacker attacks. Just one connected device, a single weak spot — and the entire network of connected devices (think of interconnected video surveillance systems or smart homes to imagine the scope of the problem) might become corrupted in a few moments.
Another pain is inevitable and often automatic updates that might carry malware with them. Blockchain technology could become a panacea to all these problems by introducing immutable algorithms to space. Those can be powered and governed by smart contracts, with lines or code intractably and immutably written into them.
The idea behind smart contracts is that businesses can write access requirements directly into the code, and then smart contracts could automatically accept or otherwise reject network entries. That is, IoT-focused businesses could build private and secure networks without excessive manual effort.
For example, the Hacken startup implements Ethereum-based smart contracts to ensure secure and decentralized payments. More to it, the company creates an entire ecosystem, a marketplace where white-hat hackers can perform vulnerability tests.
Besides DDoS attacks, your domain name system, or DNS might be subject to cache poisoning (redirecting users to scam websites), phishing (stealing users’ sensitive data through these scammed websites), DNS amplification (sending massive traffic from malware-infected networks to disrupt or compromise targets). As hackers grow more intelligent than before, the number of potential threats increases concurrently.
By decentralizing security, blockchain makes it stronger, able to combat various threats. For example, Ethereum Name Service does this by again implementing smart contracts to create a decentralized domain name registry.
The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property estimates intellectual property losses ranging from $225 to $600bn average every year — all resulting from hacked or forged firmware. Cybercriminals, often acting remotely from foreign countries, invent new and more intelligent ways of entering firmware, without even being detected by security specialists in the first place.
Blockchain can change the tide by providing authenticity records with absolute traceability of every firmware asset. Assets in the network have digital identifications assigned to them, cryptographically-permanent and forgery-proof. This move will not only harden hacks but also helps businesses check firmware manufacturers.
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According to the survey by Happiest Minds Blogs, among all email alerts that companies worldwide receive every week, roughly 80% of them are undetected scams. With such massive hacker attacks through emails, businesses become more concerned about improving the existing security algorithms or even replacing them with those that could reliably detect real threats.
Blockchain’s consensus-based algorithm logic can make the verification process more trustworthy since network members vote for the legitimacy of emails. In this fashion, the whole network separates the wheat from the chaff, democratic, transparent, and always visible.
As we can see, blockchain removes borders and facilitates multiple cybersecurity challenges that seemed unreachable before. There’s a long path ahead, but eventually, we may count on advanced protection methods and security practices made possible with blockchain.