Why the blockchain is so critical for cybersecurity
Image from Jef Poskanzer, found on Flickr, source link: https://bit.ly/2EoA5ND
Although the conversation about the blockchain has reached a lull in recent weeks, I’m positive we’ll be hearing more about its intended implementations in the months to come. As we dive deeper into the blockchain, it’s useful to further understand the possibilities it could create for the future of global cybersecurity efforts.
Re-cap: the blockchain as a network
I touched on some of these points in my previous blockchain insight, but it’s best to get into the details on why the benefits of this platform are truly so exciting. The more we research this topic, the more optimistic we feel about its role in cybersecurity. The blockchain has gained increasing recognition over the last few months as people are starting to realize that this is an implementable system. It would significantly enhance the security of personal, public, and private entities, and the platform’s use is attractive for big government entities too.
To re-cap, possibly the most important attribute of the blockchain is that it operates on a decentralized and distributed network. This means that all data encrypted and stored using the blockchain is basically split up into tiny parts and spread throughout a multitude of computer machines.
This would be like shredding an important document into hundreds of pieces, and then giving each shred to a different person to take care of and protect. Of course, the people in this analogy would also have no incentive or capability to steal or tamper with your shred of paper.
All data stored using the blockchain is treated in this way, which is why it has such incredible potential for information security. Right now, one of the biggest problems, especially with financial and government institutions, is the threat of all of this information being stored in just a few locations. The breach of these locations is thus facilitated, and the consequences can be disastrous.
While there are still substantial security measures in place to protect this info, these all become useless once hackers are able to find a single instance of important information. With the blockchain, your information is not only spread out systematically, it is also deconstructed. Even a successful breach would thus be unable to locate a piece of data’s associated parts.
Streamlining cybersecurity with the blockchain
A huge part of what makes this work is taking the “human-ness” out of the equation. Who’d have thought this might be part of the problem? There is still a human element in this process in regard to how this information is ultimately processed, but the key is that it’s not one human, but many humans verifying in real-time that a transaction is valid. The platform itself also does a lot to support the success of these processes.
For example, the blockchain completely eliminated the need for a password. Instead, it uses “hashes” to help secure and connect this decentralized and distributed data. A hash is a unique timestamp and randomized alphanumeric code that provides the computer a way to link the scattered chunks of data together.
So, the computer is doing most of the authenticating work, but this is also coupled with a two-step authentication process, wherein multiple participants in the blockchain must verify the validity of a transaction.
Another bonus of this process is that you won’t need an email address or phone number to associate with the blockchain. This may sound unimportant, but it wasn’t long ago that there was great hesitation about sharing this information online. So, it could (and probably should) be seen as a step in the right direction. The further we can distance our personal information from those who are trying to illegally obtain it, the better.
Potential threats of the blockchain; what’s the big hold up?
Speaking of those trying to illegally obtain our information, the blockchain also provides a great way to defend against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. This prevalent attack method involves the malicious disabling of multiple computers’ services at once.
This is sort of like in the movies, when a whole government cybersecurity defense team is hacking away furiously at their computers, then an ominous pop-up appears on all of their screens at once, saying that they no longer have access. This gives hackers a substantial window of time during which they can collect, tamper with, and even destroy secured data.
With the blockchain’s decentralized and distributed system, information is encrypted and scattered over many machines, some local and some remote, so it eliminates the risk of a “single point of attack.” In short, these types of DDoS attacks could become a thing of the past.
So, with all of these benefits and more under development, why are these ideas taking so long to adopt and implement? While this platform is showing a lot of promise, there still seems to be significant hesitation. However, I don’t see this as something that a little more time won’t solve.
A lot of this hesitation stems from a general lack of common knowledge about this platform, the stigma that comes with its origins in bitcoin and black markets, and fear of the potential counterattacks to this new method of data security. That being said, many large companies are already backing the blockchain as the probable next security step. It’s just going to take more time and careful preparation to implement the platform successfully. Overall, the future of the blockchain looks promising, and it’s coming at an apt time, with so many cyber attacks taking place at a nationwide level.
Get your online security measures in place
At Luminos Labs, we’ve become obsessed with understanding the blockchain, the cybersecurity involved with its functioning, and how cryptocurrency could potentially be used to support a business in the digital commerce space. We believe this is a particularly exciting thing to be exploring, as the future looks promising for this platform’s large-scale use. If you’re looking to strengthen security for your digital commerce platform, we’d love to hear from you. Remember that there’s no charge for initial consultations.
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