Many people primarily know the blockchain as the decentralized digital ledger system used to record cryptocurrency transactions. That’s one definition of it. But the blockchain also shows promise for improving cybersecurity. Here are five compelling examples.
1. Stopping Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware attacks are devastating incidents that lock victims out of crucial files and networks. Some of these events force affected businesses to resort to pen-and-paper methods when operating.
Oklahoma-based company HeraSoft created a blockchain-based solution to combat ransomware attacks and other cybersecurity incidents. It recently raised $5 million in a Series A funding round. HeraSoft has two government clients. However, the company’s leaders have their sights set on expanding into other sectors.
In a recent interview, CEO Anthem Blanchard further discussed the blockchain aspect of his company’s solution, saying, “We are using distributed technology to eliminate single points of failure in enterprise cloud systems and guard against damaging cyberattacks.”
He also mentioned that this technology is especially relevant now, with so many people working at home due to COVID-19.
2. Enhancing Data Sharing
Today’s world involves the frequent transmission of data between private, public, and individual parties. Such data-sharing practices can facilitate business and productivity, but it also poses cybersecurity risks.
For example, a person may mistakenly send a confidential file to the wrong person. In other cases, a company may want to share data with several external parties but restrict what some of them see. If that’s not possible, individuals could have too much access to company data.
A company called Xage Security offers blockchain-centered industrial solutions that make data sharing a safer activity. The products provide extra safeguards by giving data holders more control over how they permit others to see and use the information.
3. Reducing the Need for Passwords
The blockchain represents an increasingly popular area of investment due to its ongoing growth. For example, four exchange-traded funds represent $1.3 billion in managed assets and more than 160 stocks. Even if investors aren’t blockchain experts, many can still appreciate its potential — particularly concerning cybersecurity.
Almost everyone has gone through the frustrating process of trying to recall — then having to reset — forgotten passwords. People commonly choose passwords that are easy to remember to avoid that situation. The trouble is, they’re often simple for other people to guess, too.
The blockchain offers fascinating alternatives to conventional passwords. One option is self-sovereign ID. Here, a person gets a private identifier that links to a public ID that exists on the blockchain. When they receive information that would typically require a password — such as a banking message — they use their private identifier to verify who they are instead.
This decentralized approach prevents hackers from getting the information they need to infiltrate a network.
4. Detecting Deepfake Content
Cybersecurity professionals are increasingly concerned about how deepfake content could pose a rising threat to businesses. More specifically, criminals can create fabricated material so that people appear to say false things. It’s easy to imagine the potential damage if a renowned leader became targeted for a successful deepfake attempt.
However, the blockchain may provide much-needed assistance in helping people verify the authenticity of videos and other types of online media. Many supply chain professionals already use blockchain technology to safeguard against counterfeit goods, so relying on it to check for fakes videos makes sense, too.
Graduate student Haya Raed collaborated with a professor at her university to develop a solution that uses the blockchain and smart contracts to combat fakes. The system works on the Ethereum blockchain and creates new contracts whenever someone wants to edit or distribute content. People can then see records of those transactions, thereby tracing the media to its source.
5. Opportunities for Safer E-commerce Transactions
E-commerce has soared lately, due in large part to COVID-19 and restrictions implemented to curb the virus. People spent more than $861 billion with e-commerce retailers in the United States in 2020. That was a 44% jump compared to the previous year. Of course, cybercriminals hacked online stores before COVID-19 happened.
For example, the “Keeper” group has broken into more than 550 e-commerce sites since 2017. After accessing them, those responsible inserted malicious code that captured credit card details as shoppers entered them into forms. If online shopping continues its rise, online criminals will likely find e-commerce sites even more tempting.
However, the distributed structure of the blockchain could thwart their efforts to seize information.
Building e-commerce platforms on the blockchain is not yet a widespread concept. However, it’s an option with exciting potential. An e-commerce marketplace called CashPay launched recently, and it uses Ethereum’s blockchain technology. The team behind it has several other projects in the pipeline, too.
For example, they want to create country-specific online stores and apps, plus offer payment integrations that let people purchase things at other shops with cryptocurrencies.
The Blockchain Should Continue Improving Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity professionals are well aware that new technologies could spur progress in their field. These examples show why the blockchain is well worth further exploration on the grounds that it could make the internet and its associated activities less prone to security breaches.
As more companies develop related products, people should expect to see even more use cases demonstrating blockchain’s potential in cybersecurity.