By Katie Greene
You may be familiar with Bitcoin or other Cryptocurrencies that rely on the Blockchain for security, but what exactly makes the Blockchain so secure? And how will the Blockchain shape the future of Cyber Security as it is adapted to Cyber Security beyond Cryptocurrency?
In this article, we will discuss potential Cyber Security roles where Blockchain is being researched or already deployed and what makes Blockchain so secure in the first place.
The Blockchain in Cyber Security and IoT
IoT (Internet of Things) devices will number in the tens of billions by the year 2020, which makes alternative forms of Cyber Security as crucial as ever. Most IoT devices such as fridges, smart TVs, home controllers and more all have numerous crucial vulnerabilities.
These crucial vulnerabilities include the fact that antivirus software cannot be installed on IoT devices, and the embedded firm wares often have very poor security. Some vendors such as Bitdefender, Avast, and Norton have been rolling out IoT security solutions, which are able to monitor network traffic and encrypt data.
The Bitdefender Box, for example, simply plugs into your router and begins monitoring all internet traffic, and stopping brute force password attacks. You can check this Antivirus website for a comparison of many antivirus products, including those which offer IoT security solutions.
While antivirus vendors are rolling out these products, there is in fact an even better alternative – the Blockchain. It has a highly distributable nature, is cost-effective and could eliminate the need for high infrastructure and maintenance costs, including the end of large server farms.
To date, there has never been a successful major hack of a Blockchain security system. Thus, security vendors around the world are embracing the Blockchain as a viable, fool-proof security. Here are a few areas where Blockchain security has been used successfully:
- Preventing data tampering
- End-to-end privacy and encryption
- Creating peer-to-peer consensus mechanisms which reduce fraud
- End-to-end encryption
The Blockchain also removes the human element of Cyber Security, which security researchers have claimed for a long time is a major contribution to security flaws.
What makes Blockchain so secure?
If we use a bank robber analogy, successfully hacking a Blockchain system would be the equivalent of robbing thousands of banks all over the world, at the same time, without tripping a single alarm. How exactly does this analogy break down?
As the name ‘Blockchain’ implies, it is really a chain of digital blocks, each containing records of transactions. These records are secured through cryptography and network participants each have their own private keys, assigned to the transactions they make, as well as acting as a personal digital signature.
The individual’s private key works in pair with the public key, as the private key is a unique individual identifier and the public key is a long alphanumeric string which is randomly generated by the private key. If someone knows a corresponding private key, it’s possible to generate the associated public key. But it is impossible to generate a private key. There are very long, technical explanations for all of this. You can learn more about ECDSA (Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm) and other cryptography keys here.
In any case, due to the length of private keys and the fact they cannot be brute forced, Blockchain offers a tremendous amount of security and completely eliminates reliance on weak, easily cracked passwords.