After finance, blockchain has approached the complex field of online security. Due to the increasing number of attacks (+ 31% in 2018, source Clusit), investing in cybersecurity has become a priority for all the biggest companies.
Among the available technologies, blockchain-based solutions are proving particularly effective and promising. So much so that even NASA has decided to implement blockchain technology in order to increase IT security and prevent cyberattacks.
What is blockchain
Blockchain is a technology that functions as a shared and immutable register of information relevant to a given network. This digital register is structured as a chain of blocks that anyone can access but no one can modify, as they are protected by cryptography.
Although not editable, blockchain is not static. It’s possible to add new blocks once their reliability has been verified by consent. Through this process it’s certain that the chain stays:
- Decentralized: since the register is organized in blocks (on the different nodes of the network), there is no single depository of information.
- Safe and trackable: you can trace with certainty who generated the events.
- Unquestionable: the reliability of the information is verified and decided through a mechanism of consent, therefore it is never unilateral.
Blockchain and cybersecurity: the main advantages
How does this apply to cybersecurity? First of all, blockchain decentralizes sensitive data. The information circulating on the web today has enormous value. For this reason, it’s often the objective of cyber attacks.
As written above, blockchain is a decentralized register of data. That is, instead of using centralized storage, blockchain-based solutions store data on multiple nodes. This makes things harder for cybercriminals, who can no longer access entire databases from a single access point.
Another way blockchain will transform cybersecurity is by making IoT devices “smarter”. According to Joseph Pindar, co-founder of the Trusted IoT Alliance, thanks to blockchain technology, the systems and devices of a plant can make safety decisions independently, without a central authority.
For example, they can form a shared consensus on ordinary events within a network and block nodes that behave differently and suspiciously. This would make it harder for hackers to exploit the vulnerability of peripheral devices to break into a network.
Finally, blockchain is useful to prevent DNS attacks. Since DNS is mostly centralized, it is easier to break the connection between the website name and the IP address. In fact, hackers use this weak point to make sites unusable or redirect people to scam pages.
In a blockchain-based system, decentralization would allow domain information to be stored in a distributed registry. In addition, the connection can be powered by immutable intelligent contracts.
In an IoT based context of Industry 4.0, it’s clear how blockchain is an important solution that can improve cybersecurity in production.