Blockchain technology is one of the most ground-breaking developments in cyber security. Although not indestructible, blockchain has established itself as one of the most secure transaction methods in the digital network arena. Its technology has been recognized for its ability to protect information integrity when utilized as intended – and the benefits of blockchain when applied to cyber security are becoming more and more innovative and impactful.
But first, what is blockchain?
A blockchain is a decentralized ledger that records transactions across many computers to ensure security and transparency. After being around for almost a decade, it is only now that businesses are starting to realize the potential of blockchain.
Blockchain allows for the highest levels of data transparency and integrity. Since blockchain technology automates data storage, it eliminates the most common cause of data breaches – human error.
Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) refers to a decentralized database managed by multiple participants. It means that if one block in a chain were changed, it would be obvious. To corrupt a blockchain system, a threat actor would have to modify every single block in that specific system, and across all distributed versions of the chain.
Blockchain is a decentralized, immutable, and transparent ledger that efficiently records transactions between two parties in a verifiable and permanent way. Blockchain can be used to store information about who owns what at any given moment in time without the need for a central authority to verify the validity of these transactions or data sets.
The blockchain network has no single point of failure because it is spread across multiple nodes, so it can’t be compromised all at once. Hacking into one node to then change data on another node becomes impossible as they are not connected to the same network. Data exchanges are therefore rendered permanent. This decentralized nature of blockchain makes it ideal for cyber security.
The role of blockchain in cyber security
Cyber crime is one of the most prevalent threats to organizations, and blockchain technology can help combat it. Blockchain technology automates data storage while also ensuring data integrity and transparency.
When it comes to defending companies and other organizations from cyber assaults, blockchain is developing as a highly promising technology. Here are five intriguing application cases that are making the transition from the lab to the real world.
1. Solutions for decentralized storage
Organizations gather tons of sensitive data about customers, presenting an appealing and valuable asset for threat actors to target. Storing everything in one location only further facilitates data thieves to enact their crimes.
All too often, when it comes to data storage, organizations continue to rely on centralized storage. As blockchain technology is decentralized, implementing it would mean cybercriminals no longer have a single point of entry. They also wouldn’t be able to access whole data repositories if they do gain entry. Reducing the attack surface with this characteristic is one of the primary reasons businesses are beginning to investigate blockchain as a more viable data privacy solution.
2. Internet of Things (IoT) security
The Internet of Things (IoT) has a sizable and ever-growing commercial market. Various types of sensors connected to the internet are being installed to fulfil a range of useful purposes in everyday devices and items. Many of these new technologies are not designed, produced and marketed with security-focused features, making them vulnerable vectors for threat actors to exploit. Threat actors frequently gain access to systems by exploiting flaws in edge devices.
Blockchain technology has the potential to protect systems and devices from cyber-attacks, such as doorbells, security cameras, routers, switches, white goods, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), among other devices.
Blockchain technology can also secure data transactions between IoT devices. It can be used to ensure near-real-time secure data transfers and timely communication between different systems. Furthermore, blockchain security implies that there is no longer a centralized authority regulating the network and validating the data that passes across it.
3. Adding security to private messaging
Although many messaging systems utilize end-to-end encryption, some are beginning to leverage blockchain to safeguard data. Developing secure blockchain messaging ecosystems addresses this issue and aims to create a new uniform communication system. A blockchain is an excellent option for this since it encrypts all data transactions and allows communication across various messaging services.
4. Reducing the threat of cyber-attacks to human safety
Innovative technological advances have enabled the introduction of unmanned military equipment and public transportation in recent years. The internet enables automated vehicles and weapons to be controlled remotely since it facilitates the exchange of data between sensors and databases.
A recent trend has been for threat actors to break into and access networks, such as Controller Area Networks (CAN or CANBUS) commonly used in cars. Cyber-criminals possess complete control over vital automotive functions when they infiltrate and can exploit such networks. A breach of this kind could have a direct impact on human safety. However, many problems could be avoided with blockchain-based data verification on all information entering and leaving such systems.
5. Verification of cyber-physical systems
Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are groups of physical and computer components that work together to run a process safely and effectively. CPS examples include industrial control systems (ICS), water systems, robotics systems, smart grids, etc.
Data manipulation, system misconfiguration, and component failure have all harmed the integrity of data created by cyber-physical systems. However, blockchain technology has the ability to authenticate cyber-physical system statuses, as the data created on the system’s components via blockchain can be more reliable for the entire chain of custody.
The future of cyber security and blockchain
Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated and executable because of the current rapid advancement in technology. With the advent of 5G networks that can transmit data ten times faster than preceding networks, threat actors will find more opportunities for cyberattacks. Faster speeds increase the chances of more devices being compromised and larger cyber-attacks being carried out.
Blockchain can revolutionize the way we do business. It can improve the security of contracts, money, and assets. Because this technology is relatively new, it is impossible to predict how it will fare in the future. We will most likely not realize its full capabilities for years.
Blockchain technology’s key strength is its decentralization. As a result, there is no single point with the potential to be compromised. Infiltrating systems or sites where access control, data storage, and network traffic are no longer all in one place becomes virtually impossible with blockchain implementations.
Hopefully, we can look forward to blockchain becoming one of the most effective cyber-threat mitigation strategies in the near future. Nonetheless, like any other new technology, blockchain faces a slew of startup challenges as it goes through the arduous expansion process. An understanding and interest in the crossover between blockchain technology and cyber security could put you at the forefront of promising cyber job opportunities.
To learn more about starting a career in cyber-security and applying innovative technologies like blockchain, contact one of our course advisors today.