This week we talk to Stefan Ateljevic, Head of Content and Community Manager at <BitFortune>. With an extensive background in content creation and love of all things regarding cryptocurrencies, Stefan passionately works to help people understand the benefits and potential of the crypto industry. Outside work, Stefan enjoys learning about the new tech and innovations in the IT industry.
In this informational age, the importance of data security has become one of our greatest concerns. It seems as if our entire lives have become trackable through databases, and our most sensitive information is more vulnerable than ever.
This is the reason why cybersecurity holds so much relevance today. Hacking has grown into a serious and common issue in cyberspace, and organizations all over the world are caught in a kind of arms race to patch up existing weaknesses in their networks and fortify them against future cyberattacks.
But a new weapon has been forged to combat the rising cyber threat – the blockchain technology.
What Is Blockchain Technology?
A technology that emerged from the creation of Bitcoin, blockchain is a distributed ledger that handles data in a novel, intriguing way.
Information gets stored throughout the network in blocks of data which are secured by cryptography. This data has to be “mined,” meaning that complex mathematical puzzles need to be solved for it to be added to the blocks. The solution is then shown to other members of the blockchain network, who verify it and attach said data to the blocks.
Should someone introduce a new piece of data to the system, it must be first verified by at least 51% of the blockchain members before it’s added to a new block. As a consequence, there exists no central hub where all information is stored. Instead, it is equally distributed throughout users. This stands in stark contrast to typical centralized data storage methods used worldwide.
What gets added to blocks cannot be removed and can be viewed by all blockchain members (private blockchain) or anyone (public blockchain). This ensures that no change to the blockchain network goes under the radar.
Overall, we can define blockchain by the following characteristics:
- It’s decentralized
- It’s immutable
- It’s transparent
And it’s exactly these traits that make it an excellent solution for cybersecurity issues.
How Blockchain Can Boost Cybersecurity
Blockchain’s decentralization would greatly reduce the odds of databases being tampered with. The way hackers manage to get a hold of information is usually by attacking a spot where all the data is clustered, like a mainframe. On a blockchain, this is highly impractical, if not nigh impossible.
Because all information is stored on a blockchain network, there exists no data artery for hackers to target. Instead, they would need to corrupt the same data on each block. Seeing that every alteration on the blockchain is visible to everyone and that it must be verified by a majority, such an attack would take an insane amount of computational power, which greatly discourages anyone from attempting such a feat.
Transparency and Immutability
A public network has the advantage of keeping all of its data in the public eye. Any change made therein inevitably comes to light, easily detected and traced by anyone looking hard enough. And with hundreds or even thousands of eyes on the lookout, the likelihood for an alteration to make it through undetected may as well be nil.
Furthermore, thanks to hashing, when a data string is added or modified, a record of both the update and its previous state remain visible, neither of which can be erased. Thus, cyber invaders face the added challenge of a plainly visible marker pointing out every step of their attack.
In that case, an aspiring cyber attacker would have to enter the blockchain unnoticed and get away with corrupting its information without being seen. Add the previously discussed difficulty of accessing every block to the issue, and you get a task too unfeasible for virtually anyone to complete it effectively.
Blockchain’s Safety Soft Spots
While it presents a great improvement in data security, blockchain isn’t a foolproof safe option, as there were large-scale breaches in the past, such as the infamous Mt Gox incident. It can be abused and manipulated, though it takes much more time, resources, and efforts than traditional technology.
Currently, the greatest chink in the blockchain armor are centralized exchanges. They are more open to attacks because of their centralized nature. But precisely because of the frequent malicious attempts to steal funds through such exchanges, they will fall out of favor, and decentralized exchanges will certainly become the norm as soon as the technology gains enough prominence.
However, a coordinated attack could still happen on the blockchain proper, wherein a single entity or a group holding the majority of mining power creates a stranglehold on the said blockchain, free to control it as it pleases.
This is called a 51% attack and it can cause severe damage, as seen with Bitcoin Gold. However, the amount of organization and resources needed for this kind of operation makes it of very little concern for large blockchain platforms with much higher hash rate like the original Bitcoin.
Blockchain Will Take Over Data Protection
Some organizations have begun implementing blockchain technology with great results. For example, the Estonian software company Guardtime has seen its KSI blockchain initiate immense improvements in the Estonian government, with its maritime and insurance sectors awaiting their restructuring as well.
There is little doubt that this revolutionary technology will radically increase data safety, seeing that it displays characteristics far better suited to withstand the all too frequent slings and arrows of cybercrime. And the shift toward blockchain is already happening.
Blockchain has clearly proven itself to be an industry disrupter, even beyond the security sector. To see exactly how blockchain is changing industries, take a look at the infographic below this text. It’s an awesome info sheet about everything blockchain is doing to make industries better than they ever were.
Infographic URL: https://bitfortune.net/blockchain-disruptions-infographic/