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Blockchain for Cybersecurity
In today’s hyper-connected world, financial transactions are instant, access to vast information is at our fingertips, and same-day package delivery is a reality. The digital era is compressing the turnaround time of various activities, but it is tagged with additional cost.
The identity data available online which are often not protected with strong passwords include login credentials, banking details, PII, PHI, EMR, EHR, SSN and passport numbers. These data are not always protected with secured protocols, leaving it vulnerable to hacking. This calls for strengthening of the defenses and in this article, I will be highlighting how Blockchain plays a major role in it.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a system of recording information in a mechanism that makes it harder to change, hack, or cheat the system.
A blockchain can be thought of as a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. Each block in the chain contains several transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger. The decentralized database managed by multiple participants is known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
Blockchain is a type of DLT in which transactions are recorded with an immutable cryptographic signature called a hash.
This means if one block in one chain was changed, it would be apparent it has been modified. To corrupt a blockchain system, every block in the chain, across all the distributed versions of the chain would have to be changed.
Types of Blockchain
The two most common types of blockchains are private blockchains and public blockchains. There are other variations such as the consortium and hybrid blockchains. Let us discuss each in detail.
Public Blockchain Networks
A public blockchain is one that anyone can join and participate. These require substantial computational power. Other drawbacks include little or no privacy for transactions and weak security. These are important considerations for enterprise use cases of blockchain.
Private Blockchain Networks
A private blockchain network is also a decentralized peer-to-peer network. However, one organization governs the network, controlling who can participate, execute a consensus protocol, and maintain the shared ledger. Depending on the use case, this can significantly boost trust and confidence between participants. A private blockchain can be run behind a corporate firewall and even be hosted on premises.
Hybrid Blockchain Networks
A Hybrid blockchain works by generating the hashed data blocks using private blockchain network, this is followed by storing the data in a public blockchain without compromising the data security.
Different organizations can come together to share the responsibilities of maintaining a blockchain. These organizations determine who may submit transactions or access the data. A consortium blockchain is ideal for business when all participants need to be permissioned and have a shared responsibility for the blockchain.
Blockchain for Cybersecurity
Business Blockchain is the latest technology which provides privacy and security solutions for most domains including Banking, Healthcare, Insurance and Food industries. Digital Ledger Technology is the key building block of Blockchain, which makes it robust in security and difficult to breach.
Following are few key features of Blockchain.
Associated Data Blocks
In blockchain, every single transaction is stored in the form of blocks, every block is associated with one other block when its integrated with the digital ledger. This makes the blocks more secure than other security mechanisms. When a third party tries to hack the data or modify it, changes will have to be made everywhere the data is associated, which is difficult. The data is immutable since it is appended with time stamps. Hence, the data is secured.
The Digital Ledger Technology (DLT) in blockchain makes the data encrypted cryptographically while storing it in ledger for any transaction and information sharing. This ensures the data is secured in the network and there is no room for hackers to steal the data or modify it.
The data could be stored in the different locations, no centralized location for data storage is required. The hacking or modification to the data needed to be done in all the locations to hack the data, which is difficult, this makes the data ever secured.
Since all the information is stored in ledger with timestamps and in chronological order, tracking the data becomes simple and unauthorized access to data could be traced easily.
Blockchain platforms can be private or publicly available. Therefore, Blockchain cybersecurity offers authorized access, reliable backup, fault tolerance, redundancy, and prevent data loss.
Blockchain technology has the capability to protect against unauthorized data access. Data will not be made accessible without an organization’s consent. With blockchain, data is secured throughout the transaction in the ledger and afterwards as well.
Following are a few key blockchain vendors that provide BaaS product (Blockchain as a Service). Regardless of industry, and service providers can leverage these BaaS products to develop their applications
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- IBM Blockchain
- Microsoft Azure
Blockchain provides enhanced data security and paves the way for the future of secured data environments. With DLT, chronological order of saving data, consensus algorithms and time stamps, blockchain is poised to provide strengthened cybersecurity for businesses.