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Knowledge breaches have, sadly, turn out to be an all-too-common actuality. The Varonis 2021 Data Risk Report signifies that the majority firms have poor cybersecurity practices and unprotected information, making them susceptible to cyberattacks and information loss.
With a single information breach costing an organization a median of $3.86 million and eroding a model’s status and its customers’ belief, mitigating the dangers is not a luxurious. Nevertheless, as cyberattacks get extra pervasive and complex, merely patching up conventional cybersecurity measures will not be sufficient to fend off future information breaches.
As an alternative, it’s crucial to start out searching for extra superior safety options. So far as progressive options go, stopping information breaches by using the blockchain could also be our greatest hope.
Blockchain know-how 101
Blockchain know-how, additionally known as distributed ledger know-how (DLT), is the end result of a long time of analysis and advancement in cryptography and cybersecurity. The time period “blockchain” was first popularized due to cryptocurrency, because it’s the know-how behind record-keeping within the Bitcoin community.
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This know-how makes it extraordinarily tough to vary or hack a system, because it permits for the info to be recorded and distributed however not copied. Because it offers a brand-new strategy to storing information securely, it may be a promising resolution for information breaches in any atmosphere with high-security necessities.
Constructed on the thought of P2P networks, a blockchain is a public, digital ledger of saved information shared throughout a complete community of pc techniques. Every block holds a number of transactions, and every time a brand new transaction occurs, a report of that transaction will get added to each community participant’s ledger.
Its strong encryption and decentralized and immutable nature might be the reply to stopping information breaches.
Enhancing information safety through encryption
World Extensive Internet inventor Tim Berners-Lee has mentioned lately that “we’ve lost control of our personal data.” Corporations retailer monumental quantities of personally identifiable data (PII), together with usernames, passwords, cost particulars, and even social safety numbers, because the Domino’s information leak in India (amongst others) has made clear.
Whereas this information is sort of all the time encrypted, it’s by no means as safe as it will be in a blockchain. By making use of the most effective elements of cryptography, blockchain can lastly put an finish to information breaches.
How can a shared ledger be safer than commonplace encryption strategies?
To safe saved information, blockchain employs two various kinds of cryptographic algorithms: hash features and asymmetric-key algorithms. This manner, the info can solely be shared with the member’s consent, and so they may also specify how the recipient of their information can use the info and the window of time during which the recipient is allowed to take action.
When the primary transaction of a series happens, the blockchain’s code offers it a singular hash worth. As extra transactions happen, their hash values are then hashed and encoded right into a Merkle tree, thereby making a block. Each block will get a singular hash with the hash of the earlier block’s header and timestamp encoded.
This creates a hyperlink between the 2 blocks, which, in flip, turns into the primary hyperlink within the chain. Since this hyperlink is created utilizing distinctive data from every block, the 2 are immutably certain.
Uneven encryption, often known as public-key cryptography, encrypts plain textual content utilizing two keys: a non-public key that’s usually produced through a random quantity algorithm, and a public one. The general public secret’s obtainable freely and will be transferred over unsecured channels.
However, the personal secret’s stored a secret in order that solely the consumer can understand it. With out it, it’s nearly not possible to entry the info. It features as a digital signature, like real-world signatures.
This manner, blockchain offers particular person customers the power to handle their very own information and specify with whom to share it over cryptographically encoded networks.
A major motive for the rise in information breaches is over-reliance on centralized servers. As soon as customers and app customers enter their private information, it’s instantly written into the corporate’s database, and the consumer doesn’t get a lot say in what occurs to it afterward.
Even when customers try and restrict the info the corporate can share with third events, there might be loopholes to use. Because the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data-mining scandal confirmed, the outcomes of such centralization will be catastrophic. Moreover, even assuming goodwill, the corporate’s servers may nonetheless get hacked by cybercriminals.
In distinction, blockchains are decentralized, immutable information of knowledge. This decentralization eliminates the necessity for one trusted, centralized authority to confirm information integrity. As an alternative, it permits customers to share information in a trustless atmosphere. Every member has entry to their very own information, a system often known as zero-knowledge storage.
This additionally makes the community much less prone to fall sufferer to hackers. Except they carry down the entire community concurrently, the undamaged nodes will shortly detect the intrusion.
Since decentralization reduces factors of weak point, blockchains even have a a lot decrease probability of succumbing to an IP-based DDoS assault than centralized techniques utilizing consumer/server architectures.
Along with being decentralized, blockchains are additionally designed to be immutable, which will increase information integrity. The blockchains’ immutability makes all the info saved therein nearly not possible to change.
As a result of each particular person within the community has entry to a duplicate of the distributed ledger, any corruption that happens in a member’s ledger will robotically trigger it to be rejected by the remainder of the community members. Due to this fact, any alteration or change within the block information will result in inconsistency and break the blockchain, rendering it invalid.
The underside line
Though blockchain know-how has been round since 2009, it has a lot untapped potential within the subject of cybersecurity, particularly in relation to stopping information breaches.
The highest-notch cryptography employed by blockchain protocols ensures the protection of all information saved within the ledger, making it a promising resolution.
Since nodes working the blockchain should all the time confirm any transaction’s validity earlier than it’s executed, cybercriminals are nearly assured to be stopped of their tracks earlier than they achieve entry to any personal information.
Jenelle Fulton-Brown is a safety architect and web privateness advocate based mostly in Toronto, Canada serving to Fortune 500 corporations construct future-proof inside techniques.