Over the last few years, the world has realized, through the current era of digitalization, that data is a valuable asset. There are thousands of accounts containing personal information, digital finance data and lots more spread across the internet only protected by weak passwords, just waiting to be exploited. In the search for a viable way to improve cybersecurity measures and protect valuable assets from the myriad of cyber-attacks that have plagued organizations and the economy as a whole, blockchain technology has taken center stage in creating a more secure and trustworthy cybersecurity eco-system.
What is Blockchain Technology?
Blockchain technology or distributed ledger technology is a decentralized, distributed ledger that records the place of origin of a digital asset and makes the history of said asset unalterable and transparent. To put it simply, blockchain technology allows access to digital assets to be distributed instead of assets being copied or transferred, and creates a transparent recorded history of changes that preserves the integrity of the documents.
A blockchain can have millions of users’ across the world, and each users is responsible for adding and verifying every piece of data that is added to the blockchain.
Why is blockchain a vital cybersecurity tool?
Hackers are getting better at hacking, their attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated and frankly, we need to improve our cybersecurity protocols if we intend to survive the onslaught that is coming with this new digital era.
The blockchain ledger records every sequence of data from beginning to end. As each data is added, it is put into a block and each block is connected to the one before and after it, groups of data are blocked together and a fingerprint of each block is added to the next, thus creating an irreversible chain.
Because it is distributed, it works as a shared form of record-keeping ensuring no one person or organization holds ownership of the system. As new data is added, everyone on the system is permissioned to have a copy of every record and piece of data and no new data can be added to the chain without consensus across the other participants.
This means no one person can add to or alter the blockchain without being permanently recorded, making it tamper-resistant and highly secure, and eliminating the risk of fraud and error. No one, not even a system administrator can delete it.
Making it almost impossible for hackers to destroy or corrupt a blockchain, they would have to simultaneous destroy or corrupt the entire network of computers because any computer left undamaged on the network still possesses a copy and continues to verify every data on the network.
It is practically impenetrable, and so far stands as one of the most secure ways of storing and sharing data online that we’ve discovered so far.
Mitigating DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks using blockchain
Distributed denial of service is typically a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal flow of traffic of a target server or network. The attacker infects multiple computers and other networked electronic devices like IoTs with malicious software or malware, these infected devices are called bots.
All these infected bots work together to create a disruptive network called a botnet which floods it’s targeted site, server or network with junk requests, increasing traffic and exhausting communication and computing resources until the target gets overwhelmed and ultimately crashes.
These attacks are only possible because of the current Domain Name System (DNS) is partially decentralized and so the attacker preys on that centralized part to execute the attacks.
Blockchain technology can be used to fully decentralize DNS and distribute the site’s data across a chain making a server practically invulnerable to hackers, domain editing rights with only be granted to domain owners across the blockchain.
For cybersecurity measures to move forward and stay on top of migrating cyber-attacks, balkanization in the cybersecurity eco-system is proving to be a major hurdle. Over the years, we have developed a culture that doesn’t recognize the necessity to have open lines of communication and shared responsibility across the organization to make cybersecurity not only a priority but a standardized part of daily operational procedures. Especially now when organizations are moving to multi-cloud platforms and non-technical employees are tasked with distributing information across networks without understanding the security outcomes.
Transparency and open lines of communication between all sides of the house, from security, DevOps, and business units to financing, marketing and HR will be the only way to successfully move forward to protect against the never-ending evolution of the threat landscape.
Trust and transparency is essential for any collaboration and the African Cybersecurity and Fraud Prevention Forum aims to provide a space for sharing visible and reliable information between cybersecurity professionals with Benedict Anyalenkeya the MD/CEO of New Capital Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Nigeria speaking on Blockchain in Cybersecurity: Getting Beyond the Plateau. Be a part of the experience in Lagos, Nigeria from May 6-7, 2020.