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Why Should Blockchain Be Used To Prevent Issues Of Cybersecurity?

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By Author: Diya Jones
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Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology is touted as the next biggest thing arguably after the advent of the internet. This is mainly to do with its potential scale of impact in multiple verticals like healthcare, government, manufacturing, energy, and financial services among others. In fact, blockchain is expected to provide a benchmark in financial services as far as recording transactions or any digital interaction in a transparent and secure way is concerned. Of late, the drive towards digital transformation by corporates, organizations and governments has led to increased digital transactions and interactions.
And no point in guessing that the ease of carrying out online transactions coupled with its cost effectiveness has driven this transformation in a big way.

However, with an increase in global online transactions, there is a commensurate threat to cybersecurity as well. If statistics are to be believed then the total revenue lost on account of cybercrime in the year 2018 is a whopping $1.5 trillion (Source: https://www.thesslstore.com/blog/2018-cybercrime-statistics/.) The range of cybercrime activities includes illegal online markets, theft of trade secrets and IP, data trading, and ransomware. With the growing menace of cybercrime thanks to its low cost and high yield characteristics, businesses and governments are at their wit’s end to find a way to prevent or limit its impact.

The broad parameters of enforcing cybersecurity measures as envisaged by experts include protection against unauthorized access, tampering, and outages. This is where blockchain technology can offer a robust and innovative way of pre-empting cybercrime. Before discussing the features of blockchain implementation, let us understand what it is all about.

What is blockchain technology?

It is a decentralized but interconnected list of records aka blocks, which is part of the series of transactions conducted across a peer to peer network of computers. In other words, blockchain is a distributed and decentralized digital ledger where all transactions are recorded, maintained and secured by cryptography. Since it does not have any centralized authority and is managed by the majority opinion of users, it is highly secure and transparent. The technology allows every user in the network to view each and every transaction but does not allow any change or deletion of the same unless guided by the majority opinion. Thus, even though blockchain technology came into prominence with the evolution of cryptocurrency like bitcoin, it has a wide range of application especially in the domain of cybersecurity. Importantly, blockchain testing must precede its deployment due to the broader security ramifications, especially involving financial transactions.

Facets of blockchain technology to address security issues

Blockchain implementation can address cybersecurity issues quite effectively due to the below mentioned facets.

Distributed nature: The records of any financial transaction or data interaction are stored in a distributed and decentralized format. The format is transparent and open to peer review. However, due to the built-in security measures like encryption and the need for a consensus, records or blocks cannot be modified, changed or deleted.

Peer to peer network: Each and every node in a blockchain network has a copy of the distributed ledger thereby ensuring resilience and robustness. In case certain nodes of the network are infected with malicious codes, the correct nodes will be accessible to other users. This way users will be able to detect any unusual or inconsistent behaviour of the nodes and apply correctives.

Need for a consensus: To modify, change or delete a node or a series of nodes in a blockchain, a consensus among the users is imperative. This is easier said than done as any hacker will have to win over the consensus (read exploit 51% of its computational power.)

Cryptography: Blockchain is secured by a public key cryptography or encryption process. According to this, the keys to encrypt and decrypt transactions are different, which come in handy when data and/or information travels across the distributed network. Encryption secures any completed transaction from modification or deletion. For example, should you want to change a particular transaction in the network, you perforce have to generate a new one, which then gets added to the chain and made available to every user along with the previous encrypted transaction. Importantly, this aspect should be validated during a
blockchain testing process.

Decentralization: Since each and every user in the blockchain network can see the transactions, the need for third party verification is done away with.

Tracking transactions: Each and every transaction bears a digital signature and time stamp enabling the network users to track its history. This feature comes in handy during blockchain testing as glitches, if any, can be effectively traced to their point of origin. Moreover, any business entity can keep a track of its inventory thanks to this feature.

Authentication of users: The use of public key cryptography authenticates users besides encrypting their transactions. In fact, this can happen the other way round as well wherein users can verify their digital signatures without disclosing their keys. Also, since most websites or emails engage certificate authorities to distribute, save or delete the public keys of individuals, they are prone to misuse or theft. This can be eliminated by publishing the same on a blockchain that comes with a proper verification mechanism.

Smart contracts: The records in a blockchain are verified through smart contracts. The latter are computer programs that facilitate, verify or enforce rules among users. However, smart contracts should be properly validated as part of the blockchain testing strategy or framework.

Increased trust: If your data and/or information network is driven by blockchain technology, it will have a greater level of security. This leads to the generation of trust among your clients and users.

Conclusion

Blockchain technology can be used to enhance the security of data and information in a distributed network. In today’s day and age of growing incidences of cybercrime, the technology can be implemented to ensure data confidentiality, integrity, availability and security of data and information.

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